Sunday, May 5, 2013

Putting the Sizzle in Steamy Scenes: Part Two (Contains ADULT Content)

Last month, we began a two part post about writing steamy scenes. To refresh, this was Part One. This month's offering delves much more into the writing of graphical scenes. The example, therefore contains more explicit language. Picking up where we left off:

So, we have covered setting the mood, and foreplay. How do you get down to the nitty-gritty? The brass tacks. The graphics. First of all, by not resorting to out-dated euphemisms or coy symbolism. There is still no need to get crude, but there is less tolerance for the "straining manhood" and "womanly nest" of the past. Unless you are recapturing a period mood or style. Today’s audience can handle more graphic wording, and expect it if it is tastefully done. For example, in the following:

As soon as Peter had shut the bathroom door, Beth stepped to the bed and sat on the edge of it. It was hard, yet yielding. She closed her eyes as she ran her hands along the spread and imagined lying back on that surface, and looking up as Peter knelt over her. She bit her lip. What was she doing here? She chuckled throatily to herself...just taking a little advice and "going for it" She opened her eyes and saw his jacket on the bed beside her. She swept it up and cradled it to her breasts, taking a deep whiff of the scent of him. She hugged it tightly. And smiled wickedly as a thought came to her. She laid the jacket back on the bed, and slowly reached for the next button on her blouse. Should she...?

Coming to a quick decision, she slipped the last two buttons undone and dropped the blouse on the bed, and then she reached behind her and unzipped the velvet skirt, dropping it to the floor. She took a deep breath. No turning back now. "Just do it!" she whispered, biting her lip again.

Stepping to the bathroom door, she put a hand on the knob, and all of a sudden had a heart stopping thought. What if it was locked? God...let it turn....

The knob twisted beneath her hand, and she pushed the door open a crack. A wave of steam billowed out at her. It caressed her bare skin like a lover's kiss, and she shivered. Then she slipped inside the bathroom and closed the door softly. The water roared in the shower, and she felt her nipples tighten in anticipation. Silently, she stepped forward and pulled back the rear of the shower curtain.

Beth felt her heart pounding so fiercely in her breast that the world went a little gray around the edges. She saw his stare drift down, and freeze at her crotch. She grinned a little, catching her lip between her teeth, and then let the grin widen impishly as she slid her hand down her own thigh.

Peter was staring at her with an obvious interest that was centering in the long, hard length of him. She panted, stepping toward him and feeling the hot beads of the shower caress her every pore.

"Welcome to Texas, Peter," she whispered huskily, her voice so thick with desire she could hardly force it from her throat. "And welcome to me...."

Peter held out his arms, and she stepped into the circle of them, tilting her head up to meet his lowering kiss. She could feel the iron tension of his cock pressing into her belly, and she rolled her hips lightly against it. He chuckled, the sound deepening into a growl as he laid claim to her lips. His mouth moved hungrily on hers, his tongue demanding entrance into her throat. She opened her lips willingly, greedily feeding upon his tongue as it explored her mouth, and then, tightening her arms about his neck, pulling his head still closer and probing back with her own tongue.

His arms tightened about her waist, and then she felt herself being lifted from the bottom of the tub. He placed his hands beneath her buttocks, and she arched upward. Peter used his sensual fingers to reach underneath her and part the lips of her slit. She pulled her head back long enough to whimper. "Oh, yes, baby. Please. Please...." And then attacked his lips with increased fervor.

He raised her a little further, and then eased her down onto the hot, throbbing tip of his rigid penis. She sighed, arching backward to better the angle as it slid slowly into the core of her. Deeper...and deeper...until she wanted to scream with the intensity of it. He was deliberately teasing her, drawing out the penetration for as long as he possibly could, but when at last she felt the ridge of her pelvis meet his, she could feel the tip of him resting deep inside her. Her body tightened around him automatically, and he groaned. She locked her feet behind his waist and slowly rotated her pelvis, feeling the shaft within her respond like a well-oiled gearshift. The water continued to pour down around them, blissfully warm, and it danced upon her breasts, teasing the taut nipples. Carefully, she began to work herself up and down on the length of him. He filled her like the cork of a wine bottle, plugging her as if he were made for the task. The friction was heavenly torture, and she arched her back as he leaned back slightly to counterbalance her movements. She could feel a building tension. It had been so long since she had been truly satisfied....

Suddenly, she could feel the crescendo building to a head, and she whimpered again low in her throat.
"Go ahead and scream if you want one will hear you," Peter urged, and thrust forward an extra fraction.
It was her undoing and scream she did. Long, incoherent babbling praises. She bucked against him, and he laughed.

"Careful, love, you'll spill us to the floor!"

But she didn't care...her mind was locked in red-hot flames. She pulled herself down as tightly as she could on the miracle of him, and ground her hips into his pelvis one more time. She bit the side of his throat lightly with her teeth, suckling the salty flesh that still bore traces of sweat despite the prolonged shower, and she felt him stiffen beneath her. "Your turn," she growled in his ear, nipping at the lobe as she redoubled her assault on his cock.

She felt him gulp, and then begin to thrust within her. She rode his thrusts, feeling the energy building again. After so long a starvation, she was not sated yet. As his strokes became faster and more urgent, she panted encouragement. "C'mon, baby. C'mon. Do it for me, come on...come on!"

Her panting grew louder and louder, as the scream gathered once more in her throat, but this time, she was not alone. He cried out with her. She felt him give one final jerk and thrust forward, and then she felt the hot spurting jets of his seed filling her like molten lead. She leaned forward and crushed his mouth beneath her own, forcing her tongue into his mouth once more, and kissing him hard. There were tears mixed with the hot water now...water that was beginning finally to cool, as if realizing that its purpose had been served. He crushed her to him, returning her kiss with an equal passion.

At last, she pulled her head back enough that she could see his eyes, and murmured in a sated growl. "Now THAT is how we say welcome in Texas."

Let’s recap—the most important thing to remember about writing a steamy scene is to be honest with the material. The way I judge whether a scene is working is by how it makes me feel. Does it cause a reaction in me as a reader? If it does, then it is probably working. Set the mood for yourself, and it will be easier to create it for your reader. If you don’t have a lot of experience in this area of writing, model yourself on what has sold in the past. You can tone down easier than you can heat up. But, as always—research your market before you submit a piece. Most markets looking for steamy content have very specific limits on how graphic their writers should be. Don’t send a publisher more detail than they are willing to accept. Tasteful love scenes can really add fire to a story, and punch to character relationships.

One of the most successful romance writers on the market today, Julie Garwood, is often cited by her readers for her well-written sexual encounters. For a good example of how to integrate the love scene into your action, I strongly recommend her work. Several of Anne Rice’s non-vampiric novels also contain erotic scenes. Besides the extremely graphic fairy tales comprising The Sleeping Beauty trilogy, "East of Eden" and "Belinda" also contain some fairly explicit examples for the would-be writer of steamy scenes.

Do write for the senses. Don’t forget that you have five, and in a good encounter, all are engaged. Set your mood for the reader; paint the room around your lovers before throwing them in bed together. Is there a scent of apples in her hair from the shampoo she used that morning? Does his beard stubble scrape against her cheek? Can they taste the wine on each other’s tongues? Give your readers details to bring them into the world you are creating.

Don’t overwrite the scene. If you are targeting a specific market, make sure that you stay within its prescribed guidelines. For example, the last time I sent out for romance style-sheets (and it was several years ago, so don’t take these as gospel—always send for up-to-date guidelines) Harlequin Temptation was looking for love scenes that were "highly erotic, realistic and fun, but above all emotional." They expected the hero and heroine to consummate their relationship. Silhouette Romance, on the other hand, stated, "Although the hero and heroine don’t actually make love unless married, sexual tension is a vitally important element." Silhouette Desire was a little more lenient; "The characters don’t have to be married to make love, but lovemaking is never taken lightly." And Leisure Books spelled out their requirements as "Spunky heroine whose love for the hero never wavers; he’s the only one she makes love with and she’s as passionate as he, although he may have to instruct her in the ways of love, since she’s almost invariably untouched before she falls in love with the hero." As you can see, there is a wide variety of style here—each line is geared toward a specific segment of the reading public, and you want to be sure that you are in line with the publisher you target for your manuscript.

One final word of advice when you are deciding how far to leave the bedroom door open for the reader—keep in mind the age group you are targeting as well. Most of the readership for the mainstream romance lines is adult. They can handle more graphic sex. However, there are more young adult lines all the time. In these books, it is irresponsible to promote underage sex without presenting the consequences as well. It is even more vital to check for guidelines when working with this age group.

In summation: 1) Be sensual; let your readers experience all five senses. 2) Be specific; follow the guidelines for the market you are targeting. 3) Be responsible; don’t advocate casual sex merely for the sake of a salacious scene. Remember, all of the markets mentioned above look for the encounters to be within a committed relationship. 4) Have fun! Remember, this is your chance to indulge all your erotic fantasies….

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