Author Kylie Scott tells us ‘How to not write sex in ten simple steps’

I confess – I couldn’t write a sex scene to save my life… well actually I probably could, but it would be terrible, so I’ve turned for advice to my Momentum colleague and fabulous author, Kylie Scott. Kylie has seen massive success with her erotic, post-apocalyptic novel, Flesh. The hotly anticipated sequel, Skin, will be available 1st February 2013 from Momentum.

So now over to Kylie!!…

1. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of writing sex, then don’t.

Skip to post-coital cuddling if you like. Show a big tongue wrangling smooch and then move on. You know how they say you should challenge yourself? Paddle out to deeper waters to expand your horizons or some such? Yeah, well, no. Fact is, if you get squeamish as opposed to hot and squirmy at the idea of putting penis into vagina onto the page then don’t go there. If you are not comfortable it will show.

2, Great Aunt Mavis may read what you’re writing.

Can you live with that? Or will you spend more time censoring yourself for the sake of Aunty Mavis then giving your characters the good time they deserve? Think about it.

3. If you’re trying to write sex because that 50 Shades chick made money then you’re an idiot.

Self explanatory.

So, I haven’t put you off yet? All right, let’s get this show on the road.

4. His heat seeking missile honed in on her hot, wet, garden of delights.

Ah, the old plunge and thrust. When you get right down to it, the range of words to describe what goes on between the sheets can at times feel a bit limited. Still, it’s no excuse to go purple prose. No helmeted warriors or velvet gloves, please. Penis and vagina aren’t sexy either. What would your character refer to that act or body bit as, hmm?

5. C*nt.

On the other hand, if a certain word seems to you to reflect your genre and the feel of your book, go there. Maybe it will take you a few goes to get it right. Maybe you’ll need to stand in front of the mirror reciting said word until you can rattle it off without blushing brighter than a baboon’s arse. If you feel it’s applicable, give it a go. But don’t overdo it. Contradictory much?

6. It’s an action scene dummy.

No, seriously. It is. She did this. He did that. Action and response. Watch your pacing. Brief sentences keep it moving.

7. The five senses.

They matter. Include them. Again, let your own comfort level dictate just how gritty things get. If delving into all the minute details of sticky, salty male ejaculate doesn’t work for you, then don’t do it. But sex has sights, sounds, scents, tastes and textures unique to the situation. When in doubt as to how much detail to put in, I always go with ‘less is more’. People are surprisingly filthy minded and will fill in the blanks just fine on their own.

8. It’s in your pants.

If your scene doesn’t turn you on it probably won’t work for anyone else either. Have a glass of wine and put on some Barry White. Get yourself in the mood if you think it will help. Go on.

9. Does the sex further the plot?

Well? Does it? Like any other scene, a sex scene needs to develop the story. It needs to reveal something about your characters beside the fact that Trevor is uncut and Maureen waxes.

10. Exactly what sort of sex is this?

There’s all sorts of sex. Happy sex. Sad sex. Angry sex. Kinky sex. Shouty sex. Silent sex. Every time your characters hit the sheets it needs to be different. Make it so.

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15 Responses to Author Kylie Scott tells us ‘How to not write sex in ten simple steps’

  1. Imelda Evans says:

    I’m quite sure that ‘get yourself in the mood’ is a euphemism. Which possibly proves your point about filthiness of mind…

  2. Victoria Purman says:

    Great tips Kylie. I never need encouragement to have a glass of wine ;). “It’s an action scene, dummy.” Of course! Why didn’t I think of that before??

  3. Tony Park says:

    Phew. I was suffering a bit of performance anxiety until I read that. Good advice.

  4. seantheblogonaut says:

    I’m not worried about Aunty Mavis, she was a dancer in Paris. I do wonder though at how you might handle wider knowledge of your work ie a friend of mine has published erotica under a pen name because they fear/were worried about how widespread knowledge of that fact might effect their employment.

    Presuming of course that you are not raking it in like EL James.

    • Kylie Scott says:

      Honestly, Sean, I’m terrible at keeping secrets. I publish under my maiden name. My parents know what I do. My Dad’s still deciding if he’ll read it or not. I’m proud of my writing, it’s not something I hide though I don’t walk down the street in a ‘Flesh’ t-shirt either. Generally the response has been favourable about the erotica though I have shut down cocktail conversation by bringing up the zombies. People get icked out about them more.

      It took me six years of hard work to get to this stage. Everyone has sex. If we’re not doing it, then we inevitably have an opinion on it. If people want to get silly at me about it then good on them. I do worry about my kids getting teased for it as they hit the teenage years. They know I write adult books but they just concentrate on the cool factor of zombies being involved somehow.

      P.S. Aunt Mavis sounds like a hoot.

  5. Princess Fi says:

    All good points. Shall turn on air-conditioner and go and review sex scenes in current WIP

  6. Pingback: Friday Fry-Up — Speakeasy

  7. Great points Kylie! I’d also add setting. Think about where they’re having it and how it might impact what happens or how they do it 🙂

  8. Tjhoyi says:

    I think another important factor to consider is how and where, how your characters make love and where, are they up side down? or are they going nuts in the back seat of a car hanging on the edge of a cliff. Its always exciting when characters go at it in unusual ways. Anyway, love the advice, will definatley take it into consideration.

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