Romance Readers Rendezvous discussion

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Coffee Corner > How much is too much?

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message 1: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Arno (lesliemarno) | 8 comments As an author I asked myself this question daily. How much sex is too much? How graphic should it be? I try to think of my readers, but they vary. For me, detail in general is very important, but describing a sex act can be scary. How much detail do you like? Is it sometimes better to leave some to the imagination?


message 2: by J.B. (new)

J.B. (goodreadscomjbmorrisauthor) The more you can trigger the imagination, the greater the sex. The reader's imagination is far stronger than an author's words.


message 3: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Browne (victoriabrowne) I started my writing days as an erotic writer but tamed down the sex details in my books before I published them. My books are now more for the Chick Lit market, but I do appreciate a well written sex scene. I was suppressed recently when reading Never too late By Robyn Carr, and it had a few well written sex scenes, nothing that could be call romance or erotic but well written tame sex scenes.

I, personally like to read about the body movements but if the writer can use good decryption of the lust felt then that makes a big difference.


message 4: by Chantel (new)

Chantel Seabrook (chantelseabrook) | 56 comments Mod
Great question Leslie! I really think it has to do with the genre and whether or not it adds to the story. Trust me, I like a good sex scene as much as anyone, but there have been a few books that I have read where I have skimmed over the sex because it doesn't add anything. For women, sex is usually about relationship and tension, without that it becomes book porn. Just my opinion though.


message 5: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Arno (lesliemarno) | 8 comments After my dad said he was going to read my book I re-wrote the sex scenes. They didn't kiss each other on the cheek and then sleep in separate beds, but close. The relationship of the couple in my book is detailed and sex is a part of life so I put all the sex back in. It's not explicit, but when a co-worker or family member says they're reading it -- I cringe a little. Catholic guilt? Or do other writers have this problem?


message 6: by Victoria (last edited Aug 24, 2015 10:02PM) (new)

Victoria Browne (victoriabrowne) Hi Leslie, I feel your cringe. My Dad and my father in law also read my books. I try not to think about it or I couldn't write what I want to...


message 7: by A. (new)

A. Hart | 18 comments I don't mind reading books with more details however to be honest I usually skip over the super nitty gritty stuff. It's not that I am a prude, its just that my brain doesn't need all the extra words to get the image in my mind and it starts to feel a little overwhelming. When I write I like to lead into it and then let the reader fill in the rest with their imagination. I know some may be disappointing but I think it is just enough. =) Also I like to let my family, including my brothers and grandma read my work...so I take it as far as I can with out crossing the line into erotica =)


message 8: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Shaw (smutnut429) | 3 comments As a writer I try not to censor my work. If I feel the story and characters call for a more graphic sex scene I will write. I've never been too concerned with what friends and family believe think or are comfortable with. however I don't write gratuitous sex just for the hell of it. If it doesn't add to or enhance the story I don't bother with it.


message 9: by Karen (new)

Karen Gordon | 18 comments I'm with you Tiffany, it depends on the characters and the story. I don't shy away from sex scenes because it can be a great way to physically express the dynamics of a relationship.
I'm pretty proud of my sex scenes. It's important to me to write realistic sex scenes that don't perpetuate wrong ideas about women's sexuality in particular.
When it comes to reading, I'm all for sexual characters, especially when the author has done their research and I learn something new. I always choose a sexy book over a violent one, just not my thing.


message 10: by Lori (new)

Lori Schafer (lorilschafer) | 1 comments I write mostly about non-traditional romantic relationships, and my sex scenes are accordingly pretty graphic because I think the sexual dynamics in those situations have a big impact on the romantic relationship. For example, in my romantic comedy Just the Three of Us, which involves a MFM trio, the female character is constantly being confronted by logistical difficulties when it comes to sex, especially early on. How does she decide whom to kiss first without having it seem that she favors one over the other? On any given night, who takes the first turn? If she goes to sleep facing one of them, does she risk hurting the other one's feelings? Can she sleep with one of them when the other is away or absent, or is that like cheating? The sex is not the basis for the relationship, but it does play a huge role in how it develops.


message 11: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Feltner | 18 comments Maybe this is a little bit off topic but oh well. As a writer, I've avoided right down to it sex scenes in the past because of knowing that my family and friends might well read what I've written. I was sure it would make me uncomfortable. I've done a complete turn around with what I'm working on right now though by adding some steamy sex. I'm not sure how I feel about it. How do all you other writers handle that part of it.


message 12: by Peter (new)

Peter Timbrell (petertimbrell) | 3 comments Good morning Debbie. You are right, it's a step that has to be consciously taken and, in my opinion, it's key to the freedom you have to claim for yourself in order to express yourself through your writing. Honesty is important for your readers but especially for you. I think you may find that once 'it's out there' the discomfort you are currently feeling will ebb away. If your family and friends don't like what you write, they won't read it. Yes they will know you pen steamy pros but if the scenes are necessary to your story and you enjoy the process of exploring erotica, you owe it to yourself and your readers to go for it. From day one, if anyone asks what I do (inc friends and family) I tell them I write erotic fiction. The reaction varies from a short silence to unadulterated enthusiasm. Even the silences morph into questions but never judgemental ones. Hope this helps just a little. Pete


message 13: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Feltner | 18 comments Peter wrote: "Good morning Debbie. You are right, it's a step that has to be consciously taken and, in my opinion, it's key to the freedom you have to claim for yourself in order to express yourself through your..."
Hi Peter. Yeah this helps; it always helps to hear that you're not doing something wrong. I've had a few of my readers comment that they loved my stories but wished they had some sex scenes so I figured what the heck then, and I tried it. I think it's what my stories needed once I've done it but I'm still going to have to get used to putting it out there like that and that's how I feel about it; like I'm putting myself on display because I'm convinced that my readers will think I'm sticking my own experiences into it.


message 14: by Peter (new)

Peter Timbrell (petertimbrell) | 3 comments Hi Debbie, unfortunately readers will think whatever they like, true false or with indifference. Just be true to yourself, easier said than done I know. If readers think your are conveying your own experiences, let them, many will feel envy that you are having a better time than they are. Imagine you're making a casserole for hungry guests. No one would be happy if you served up a bland dish. Spice is a very important ingredient. Metaphors aside, let you hair down and have a bloody good time. I bet you will be surprised and even surprise yourself at how much spice you and your guests can take, sorry back to the metaphor again. When, if, certain members of my family read my second book, I will probably be disowned. What the hell. Pete


message 15: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Feltner | 18 comments Hahaha...I hadn't thought about it like that. Maybe they will envy me. Thanks Pete.


message 16: by Peter (new)

Peter Timbrell (petertimbrell) | 3 comments My pleasure. Release the beast. Pete x


message 17: by Cara (new)

Cara | 4 comments I think it's important that any sex scene makes sense within the context of the story. It has to feel natural and not contrived. While writing I always have this internal debate about whether to add another sex scene or not but if it feels forced or slotted in just for the sake of it then I don't think it's worth it - it won't be believable and readers probably will skip it. In the end I wrote four sex scenes in my book and I feel one each added some insight into the growing relationship between the couple. The book I am currently writing has three and I feel that's right. I know my mum was a bit put out when she read them but hey - sex is a part of life and when it's written well it can be incredibly moving and hot!!


message 18: by A.M. (new)

A.M. Helen | 11 comments I try to add as much emotion in as I can. But you always worry if you’ve put too much in or if it’s cheesy in some way. My new book Five Step To The Harem is the novel I wanted to write. It has a lot of sex in there but it flowed naturally with the story so I left it in. I must admit, I was worried that it would not get looked on well – and yet it has already received 4 Five Star Reviews earning a quote from one NetGalley reviewer as “Provocative, erotic and just plain delicious!” So it goes to show you should have faith in your instincts with writing. Write what you want and add in the sex scenes your instinct says should be there. But don’t make it plastic. Listen to your characters. Add the emotion. As Cara says “sex is part of life”. And the people on the page are your inventions – so who knows what gets them hot better than you?


message 19: by Stella (new)

Stella Alden (stellamarie) | 117 comments Mod
Cara wrote: "I think it's important that any sex scene makes sense within the context of the story. It has to feel natural and not contrived. While writing I always have this internal debate about whether to ad..."

really good advice.


message 20: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Friar | 2 comments I attempted to do something different. I wrote a fiction romance, called Stained Glass, about a successful pastor, with troubles in his personal life. I decidedly wrote sex scenes with no apology. However, the story is sincere. The sex is hot while attempting to keep the story believable, realistic as contemplative. Basically, I chose to not hold back on either the inspirational story line nor the steamy sex...


message 21: by Stella (new)

Stella Alden (stellamarie) | 117 comments Mod
I read the first few paragraphs. Looks good, Patrick. Wish my todo list wasn't so long.


message 22: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Arno (lesliemarno) | 8 comments Debbie wrote: "Maybe this is a little bit off topic but oh well. As a writer, I've avoided right down to it sex scenes in the past because of knowing that my family and friends might well read what I've written...."

Debbie, this is also my struggle. I work in construction...with a lot of men. I love when one of my co-workers asks to buy a signed copy of my book, but then when I imagine them reading the sex scenes I sort of cringe! On the other hand I feel that the story needs to be realistic and sex is part of life. It would be odd to describe details about everything BUT sex. Maybe that's the answer... If you're book is detailed then the sex should be detailed. If your book isn't detailed, then maybe too detailed on sex would be awkward.


message 23: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Brown I'm basically anon IRL, so for now I'm fine with being pretty graphic (yes, as long as it adds to the story). There's such a variety of readers out there... some like the 'fade to black' and some don't... so I just try to write what pleases me :)

(Patrick, have you read Priest by Sierra Simone ?)


message 24: by Stella (new)

Stella Alden (stellamarie) | 117 comments Mod
work in construction...with a lot of men. I love when one of my co-workers asks to buy a signed copy of my book, but then when I imagine them reading the sex scenes I sort of cringe!...

My biggest supporters are some of my coworkers... (omg).. I know what you mean. Although not Erotica.. (sex is not the primary theme), I do have some hot scenes. I just warn the guys.. and my face heats and my ears burn..


message 25: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Feltner | 18 comments Stella wrote: "work in construction...with a lot of men. I love when one of my co-workers asks to buy a signed copy of my book, but then when I imagine them reading the sex scenes I sort of cringe!...

My bigges..."


I feel that way already and the sex scenes are not even out there for anybody to read yet...haha I can only imagine what it will be like when it is. I'm going for it though because I think the story needs it.


message 26: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Arno (lesliemarno) | 8 comments Debbie wrote: "Stella wrote: "work in construction...with a lot of men. I love when one of my co-workers asks to buy a signed copy of my book, but then when I imagine them reading the sex scenes I sort of cringe!..."

That was my exact words and I don't regret it! They're big boys! If they can't handle a little sex then screw it! No pun intended. Haha


message 27: by Stella (new)

Stella Alden (stellamarie) | 117 comments Mod
hahahha! Love it! As long as HR does not get involved!


message 28: by Angela (new)

Angela Claire | 1 comments I do get a little embarrassed when someone I know reads one of my books with a lot of sex in it. It's probably silly, since it's my characters having the hot sex, not me (sadly)!


message 29: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Feltner | 18 comments Angela wrote: "I do get a little embarrassed when someone I know reads one of my books with a lot of sex in it. It's probably silly, since it's my characters having the hot sex, not me (sadly)!"

Hahaha...I feel your pain.


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