Sunday, December 05, 2004

Writing Sex - Technique & Structure


Art by Royo
Having Sex on Paper
- The REVISED Edition -

The easiest way to plot an Erotic Story is to decide on what you want for your climactic sex scene then build a story and characters around it to make it VITAL for that scene to happen.

Writing Sex is easy because it's formulaic. Not the stories but the way the sex scenes are written.

I dug out my favorite erotic stories and highlighted the sex scenes I liked best. Then I broke that scene down on paper; not the words they wrote, but the order of the Actions and when Description was used to Show what was going on.

Just so you know, I modeled my writing style on Angela Knight and Laurell K Hamilton.

SEX Scene = ACTION Scene

The First thing you need to realize is that a SEX Scene is nothing more than a highly detailed ACTION Scene with emotional trappings, and Action sequences MUST be written in the Order in which they actually Happen: Chronologically!

ACTION Scenes = Chronological Order
ACTION then REACTION


Chronological Order is the ONLY way to write an Action (Sex) Scene. If you visualize the characters doing something in a specific order, you write it in THAT order!

  1. This happened.
  2. Then this happened.
  3. The results of those actions was this. 
  4. Then this happened. 

REALITY = something random happens to you
- and then you React.

Action > Reaction / Action > Reaction
- In Chronological Order
 
FICTION = the Plot happens to the characters
- and then they React.

Action – Reaction / Action – Reaction
- In Chronological Order

If you want the reader to SEE the actions that you are trying to portray as a movie in their minds, writing it in the order it actually happens --Chronological Order-- is the ONLY way to make your events crystal clear in the reader's mind.
  1. Something happened TO the character, starting a CHAIN of REACTIONS.
    1. The Character knee-jerk REACTS - Physically.
    2. AND the character feels the Physical Sensation of the Happening -- suffering a Physical Reaction.
    3. THEN they have an Emotional Reaction reflected in their thoughts and/or comment about what had just happened.
    4. THEN they DO Something in Retaliation.
  2. This Retaliation Action incites the Other character to do something NEW -- starting the whole Chain of Reactions again.
This order is Very Specific. You may SKIP steps and even switch back and forth repeating events, but you may Not change the order.


Violating
Chronological Order
is Bad.


WRONG:

The flash of pain exploded in my cheek from the slap her hand lashed out at me.
What happened first, really?

RIGHT *!*:

Her hand lashed out in a slap. [action]
My cheek exploded with a flash of pain. [reaction
(*!* ONE Character Talking or Acting per Paragraph ALWAYS. You definitely don't have two characters Acting in the same sentence!
Read: Writing DIALOGUE ~ the Secret to Proper Paragraphing

When you knock the actions out of order, the Reader's Mental Movie STOPS. The Reader has to STOP READING to mentally rearrange what they just read into the correct order to get the movie back. This is BAD.

Making the scene hard for the reader to picture in their minds while they read is Bad because anytime the reader has to reread a passage and rearrange the words to FIT their mental movie, you’ve created a Break.

Breaks are Bad – very, very BAD! A break creates a moment where the reader can Put the Book Down and forget to pick it back up again.

The confusion comes in because written chronological action and dialogue tends to look very choppy on the page. It doesn’t look Neat and Tidy.

Screw Neat and Tidy! 

Who cares what the words look like on the page? Once the reader has a Mental Movie rolling, they won’t even SEE the words. If you did it right, they’ll be too busy making pictures in their head to even notice that they are reading.

Clue-by-four:
If your scene looks choppy on the page with lots of little short sentences instead of big juicy paragraphs, you are Short on Description. Adding some body-language and facial expressions will fatten those paragraphs up for you.

What about Literary styles?
What about them? If you simply MUST have stylish phrasing in your fiction; save it for the description and dialogue, and keep it in Chronological Order -- or keep it out of the Action Sequences!

Now, on to the Dirty Details!
.
WRITING SEX
The Magic Formula!
(> = leads to...)

Stimulus > Reaction > Perception > Emotion > Response
  1. Stimulus - Something happened TO the main POV character
  2. Reaction - Their immediate physical reaction (jerk, twitch, kick, punch, groan, shout...)
  3. Perception- What they sensed physically (saw, smelled, tasted, felt, heard)
  4. Emotion - How they felt Emotionally
  5. Response - What they Did or Said* because of what just happened. (*Yes, Dialogue IS an ACTION!)

In Detail: 
External Action
Physical Act/ what was done TO the main POV character>

Viewpoint Character’s Reaction
  1. Physical Reaction / Did they: shudder? flinch? writhe? Shout? Kick? Punch?>
  2. Sensory Reaction / What it felt like physically >
  3. Emotional Reation/ Internal dialogue or Vocal Comment >
  4. Deliberate Reation / What they did or said in retaliation >

External Reaction
Physical Action/Action or dialogue or Action & then Dialogue. > (NEVER INTERNALIZATIN! One Viewpoint at a time per scene!)

Begin whole thing again:
Viewpoint Character’s Reaction
  1. Physical Reaction / Did they shudder? flinch? writhe? >
  2. Sensory Reaction / What it felt like >
  3. Emotional Reation/ Internal dialogue or Vocal Comment >
  4. Deliberate Reation / What they did or said in retaliation >

Partner’s External Reaction
Physical Action/Action or dialogue or Action & then Dialogue. >

Begin whole thing again...

Are we having fun yet?

In ACTION:

Partner’s External Action
Physical Act/ what was done >
His lips pressed onto hers and his tongue stroked her bottom lip in obvious inquiry.

Viewpoint Character’s Reaction
1. Physical Reaction / Did they shudder? flinch? writhe? >
A small moan escaped and her heart hammered in her breast.
2. Sensory Reaction / What it felt like >
His lips were soft yet insistent against hers.
3. Emotional Reation/ Internal or Vocal Comment >
Why did she hesitate? She had already waited forever for this kiss.
4. Deliberate Reation / What they did or said in retaliation >
She sighed and opened her mouth to receive him.

Partner’s External Reaction
Physical Action/Action or dialogue or Action & then Dialogue.
His tongue swept in to taste of her.

On the Page...
His lips pressed onto hers and his tongue stroked her bottom lip in obvious inquiry.

A small moan escaped and her heart hammered in her breast. His lips were soft yet insistent against hers. Why did she hesitate? She had already waited forever for this kiss. She sighed and opened her mouth to receive him.

His tongue swept in to taste of her.
Grammar Keys: 

ACTION always goes BEFORE Thoughts & Comments.

The body reacts faster than commentary thoughts. Ask any martial artist. A REACTIONARY Comment: "Ouch!" Can go first - as it plays the part of an ACTION, rather than a thought.
ONE Point of View Only for an entire Scene! 
Or it gets really confusing as to who is feeling & doing what.
Separate each character’s actions from the other. 
NO SHARING. Characters do NOT share Sentences or Paragraphs EVER. Having two people doing stuff in one paragraph makes the Reader's visuals muddy. The Reader's mental movie --your story-- comes to a screeching halt while they try to figure out what the hell just happened.
Put each individual characters' Actions --AND the Dialogue that goes with those actions-- in a new Paragraph. It may look choppy on the page, but the reader has absolutely no doubt as to who is doing what. The Reader's perceptions are more important than whether or not the page looks tidy.
Use crap-loads of Adjectives to describe sensations. 
THIS is where you use all your purple prose. Make every adjective highly opinionated to get the reader right into the action as though THEY are feeling it.
In Conclusion:

AFTER figuring all this out the hard way, I discovered that this whole routine (Action / Reaction) is explained in exquisite detail in : Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1 comment:

  1. This is incredibly enlightening... I am an aspiring writer and have had some of my "erotica" critiqued by a few people... Usually, I get their gut reactions only and only once or twice have I had actual "feedback". I will have to review and see if I have followed these guidlines. Thank you for sharing this.

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