Fluffy Toddler Bunny

260 Posts
Karma: +32/-1
Back when I was writing fanfiction for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I came across this amazing essay about how to write fight scenes. Specifically, how to translate a fight scene that you see onscreen, or imagine in your mind as a television show, into prose. I did read some passages of books that had action scenes that obviously didn't follow this how-to, that I still considered well-written fight scenes. But, just having a structure was a really big help. Think about how the fight will affect the rest of the story. Consider features of the story that goes into the fight scene (skills, setting, the personality of the characters and relationship to the opponent). Get into detail: what body part was injured, with what weapon? Choose your words carefully. Condense the sentences to keep the pace up.

I'd sometimes adopt those categories for scenes I was having trouble writing that weren't fight scenes. How will the setting affect the story, that I have to describe the landscape? What features of the story will go into the emotional introspection of a character? What details should I mention, and how, and is the pacing okay?

When it comes to writing erotica, though, it kind of falls apart.

I mean, I do consider what this sex scene would do to the plot that I have to mention it. What is it about the context of the story that influences how the sex goes (skills, setting, the personality of the characters and relationship to the partner). That's helped, I think, those are good guidelines to consider.

When it comes to the details, though, of word choice, that seems to be where I have some trouble. "Penis" and "vagina" are too clinical. "Cock" and "cunt" are too vulgar. "Skin" is all right but not exactly specific.

The essayist about fight scenes said to choreograph the scene in your mind. Apply that to sex and it comes off as a how-to manual, which isn't how I want the scene to come off as. But I don't want to be so coy about referring so vaguely to this feeling or that tip that only those who'd actually had sex would know.

So, what I've figured out so far in sex scenes I've written is to keep it "in the body" but even that's difficult for me because...I'm writing it, and it's something considered private so there aren't many conversations I can go by that don't eventually resort to gestures and very expressive but ultimately wordless verbalizing. And giggling. So, basically, I don't really have the vocabulary for this.

I have read some erotica that I think was pretty good and they do basically get by on just being suggestive. Not coy, but not direct either.

So I just give up and load the scene with metaphors as if the characters can't bear to actually experience it and their minds start to wander off somewhere else.

both of them settling into a sort of rhythm like the tides, and at the taste of her salty sweat in the kiss he planted upon her neck, he was home at sea once more.

He could feel something building, like the swelling of a great wave, the crest breaking like

Well, that won't do!

I guess it really is just about finding your own voice first, and a readership that would go, "That's hot" or even, "I understand and find this completely appropriate and yet I personally remain utterly unaroused and that's okay because the writing is decent in my opinion" secondly. Some like the vulgar vocabulary, some can have different connotations to the clinical vocabulary, others just know what you mean when you write "between" and "legs" and "pleasure" and for some reason "lost".

Some just have a talent.

But how do you do it? I mean, how do you like it. Writing! I mean writing and reading! :$ Does it have different "rules" than any other scenes, like fight scenes?



Growing Baby Bunny

82 Posts
Karma: +6/-0
You  may be onto something. I've noticed I tend to write sex scenes as if they were fight scenes --and no, I won't invite comments on my sanity. ;) There is a logic to that. A needlessly graphic, "objective" description of a sexual encounter would fall into the dreaded category of "IKEA sex" (google it but it's pretty self-explanatory), but being too ethereal makes for cheesy writing. Now, how would you write a fight scene?

"He threw his fist at Jack's lower lip, which broke upon contact." This is IKEA fighting.

"His hands made a mess of Jack's face." This is too vague.

"A quick punch drew blood from Jack's lower lip. He stumbled backwards, still an unbeliever." Better. The attack is descriibed succintly, and Jack's reaction takes three words for the physical part and three more words for the mental, or emotional, one. This is a very good description that I just wrote because I'm good. (Just kidding. But one of my editors actually praised my fight scenes. On the other hand, I write in a different language.)

The lesson here is: what doesn't work for fighting scenes doesn't work for sex scenes, and what works for fighting scenes works for sex scenes. Sex is a mutual physical attack, and in involves both physical and mental/emotional reactions from all sides (I had written "both sides" and then realized that there aren't necessarily just two of them).

So, a good sex scene must: (1) be descriptive enough; (2) be as concise as possible; (3) account for both the physical acts and the emotional or mental reactions to them.

"He inserted his penis into her wet cavity, which opposed just a bit of resistance." IKEA sex.

"His thrusts flowed through her as a current of feelz." Tumblr sex.

"That was a cock to taste, and her vagina embraced it as if trying to squeeze all the flavor from it." Better, in my opinion. But I wrote it myself, so what do I know?


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Elly Marks (EllyMarks) is a Just Creative who has made 260 posts since joining Creative Burrow on 01:25am Wed, Feb 26, 2014. EllyMarks was invited by no one.

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