Random thoughts on our impending doom and everyday life, courtesy of a Romance Writer who occasionally feels the need to talk like a Sailor.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Writing the Erotic by my guest Babette!

I am lucky enough to be one of the members of the Moody Muses, a critique group that Kylie Scott belonged to. Needless to say we have read Final Girl ......while you will all have to wait.

Kylie and I first met while doing a workshop at Queensland Writers Centre given by Louise Cusack on how to write sex scenes. Well I can assure you the social barriers break down very quickly in a workshop like that. Talking about sex, how to write it, how not to write it, defining what ‘it’ actually is and then reading each other’s work. It opened the door to a frank and humorous friendship.

As we took our new found knowledge into the world two things became quickly apparent when writing sex scenes.

Firstly, there is a big misunderstanding about writing sex. You are not writing your personal experiences, you are writing those expressed by your characters for a particular purpose in the plot and the relationship. I had to laugh when I recently read a crime writer ( sorry can’t remember your name if you ever read this!) who said that he could kill a dozen people in his book and no one imagined he’d actually done those crimes himself but write a sex scene and people felt that he was writing from experience.

The second is that sex in a romance is erotic. We know that Eros is the Greek version of Cupid, so it is about Love or some form of its expression, the journey to seek it or the different ways we can express it. Wiki erotica, from its definitions by Plato to those given in the French Enlightenment, I think there is one key element which they have in common. That is the idea that erotica in addition to its stimulation of the physical is something that strives towards beauty, towards a passion for life and a quest to be.  

Blending intense and sensual encounters with deeper and deeper layers of emotional revelation / vulnerability / connection is extremely challenging to do well. When you marry the intensely physical with the intensely emotional, you have a great erotic writer.

Babette is currently working on a series of books set in Victorian times, tentatively titled the Tattooed Sisters. She chooses great wines and thinks deep thoughts so that I don't have to.

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