Support for Indie Authors discussion

73 views
Writers Workshop > WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE BETWEEN SEXY AND EROTIC?

Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Esther (last edited Dec 05, 2018 03:20AM) (new)

Esther Rabbit Hi guys, I'm Esther and my Paranormal Romance, Lost in Amber, will be published in February. It's classified as New Adult, so since writing steamy scenes is my strong point, I was able to give it a stretch without crossing the Fantasy/Fiction genre (well, at least that's what I think).

From a reader's point of view, what kind of "steamy scenes" do you like to read? How much sexy is too sexy and where do you draw the line?

The beauty stands in the variety, I know it's all very relative, but I'd love to read your opinions.

UPDATE: Please do not misunderstand, I am not asking for writing advice, but only asking you, the reader, about your personal preferences.

Thank you!


message 2: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 694 comments Mod
Hello, Esther. Since I find myself in a similar spot - trying to find the right spot for the intensity of a steamy scene in my work-in-progress - I understand the concern, even though my genre of choice is slightly different.

Now, when it comes to reading such a scene, regardless of genre, I have no trouble with most 'normal' scenes, regardless of how much they show. Weird fetishes, violence, abuse and such is something I'd struggle with.

What I'd advise is to consider the target audience and think about what they might like. Maybe find a book of the same genre, with the same target audience and have a look on how it's approached there - and how it's received by readers.
Personally, I'd say the scene should feel organic in terms of story and character development, feel like a natural escalation of the story. Sex for the sake of sex will get you bashed in reviews by some of the more prudent readers, no matter how well it is done. What I wanted to say is that the better it fits into the story as a whole, the more open will readers be.

Again, all of that is my own personal opinion.


message 3: by Phillip (last edited Nov 30, 2018 05:33AM) (new)

Phillip Murrell | 367 comments I think it depends on if the scene becomes graphic or simply fades to black after a few paragraphs.


message 4: by Leah (new)

Leah Reise | 350 comments It’s frustrating that Amazon considers my book having “erotic” material, even though there’s only one non-graphic sex scene, and one heated fondling haha.


message 5: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit Tomas wrote: "Hello, Esther. Since I find myself in a similar spot - trying to find the right spot for the intensity of a steamy scene in my work-in-progress - I understand the concern, even though my genre of c..."

I agree with you 100%, I think I'd struggle with violence and abuse scenes if they were much too graphic. If you don't mind me asking, what's the percentage of steamy scenes in your novel? (more or less, I know it's impossible to be exact)


message 6: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit Phillip wrote: "I think it depends on if the scene becomes graphic or simply fades to black after a few paragraphs."

Thank you for your input, Phillip! Any recommendation or suggestion is encouraged :)


message 7: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit Leah wrote: "It’s frustrating that Amazon considers my book having “erotic” material, even though there’s only one non-graphic sex scene, and one heated fondling haha."

Do tell me the name of the novel, I'm sold :)

Can you share more insight around Amazon's definition of erotic?


message 8: by Leah (new)

Leah Reise | 350 comments Esther, we can’t self-promote here, but you can message me or send me a friend request.

About Amazon, a lot has changed apparently when it comes to what they consider “erotic.” There’s articles about it online.


message 9: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 694 comments Mod
Esther wrote: "If you don't mind me asking, what's the percentage of steamy scenes in your novel?"
Can't say the percentage, because it'll change during drafting. What I can say is that there, in the current draft, are two steamy scenes, one intimate scene that doesn't even get to nudity, one 'skinny dip in the lake' scene and one sex scene I don't know yet how much I'll have it show in the final version - the current attempt starts fading out after foreplay but said foreplay is VERY detailed despite focusing it mostly on their emotions. That is in 180k word book, though mostly in the first part. On the other hand, I am writing fantasy with romance elements, not PNR, so it might not be as useful to compare.

Side mention: I have a file on Google docs I used to get feedback on some of those scenes, so if you'd like to look at some excerpts to see the level of detail I use and length, send me a private message and I'll give you the link.
---------
To Leah: if the book is on your Goodreads author page, I think it's okay to say "look the book up on my profile, it's the one released in [year]".


message 10: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit That's excellent, I'll DM you for details! Thank you!


message 11: by Haru (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments Hi Esther. As an paranormal romance/erotica writer, I can tell you you must write what you're comfortable with. There are people with all kinds of tastes out there.

Personally, I like going all out. I don't like scenes where a guy's "length" makes its way into a woman's "slit" "down there" while he says "you have beautiful breasts", but I know plenty of people who are okay with that. If you're uncomfortable, it shows. I don't mind putting a lot of very explicit words, and I have a feeling it's because I'm not a native English speaker =D Oh, and by the way, nothing is "too sexy" for me.

On a side note, can you change the title of this topic? The all-caps makes my eyes bleed.


message 12: by Leah (new)

Leah Reise | 350 comments Esther, of course!


message 13: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit Thanks for your input, Haru. My novel is already written and I'm super comfy with its content.

I was asking people what were their preferences in terms of reading and how much was too much from a reader's perspective. I apologise if my question was not clear enough and I love brave writers, so keep at it :)


message 14: by Haru (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments Sorry, I thought I had replied to your questions, just not in a linear way.

From a reader's point of view, what kind of "steamy scenes" do you like to read? : My answer: Not the ones who use euphemisms. From that, the sky's the limit.

How much sexy is too sexy and where do you draw the line? : My answer: Nothing is too sexy for me. I don't draw any lines.

By the way, may I kindly ask to turn your topic title to non all-caps so my poor old eyes don't suffer?


message 15: by Frank (new)

Frank Garland | 10 comments Hi Esther
I draw no line between sexy and erotic, just between necessary and unnecessary. Hitchcock famously said, "Film your murders like love scenes and your love scenes like murders".
I like love scenes to show the tension and distance between two people or the union of them, but it must be a trigger of change between them. But my tales are not erotica, and are not intended to be steamy, but intimate.
If someone has shared an illicit moment with someone else, the spouse might notice something in behaviour, perhaps the way they kiss, and a love scene might be used for this purpose, for the tension of unspoken secrets gleaned or explosive tensions resolved. I'm not keen on traditional fetishes, but unusual acts can be used to subliminally reflect the underlying tensions between people, and so any of these things when used to express a deeper narrative become a necessary part of the story, not an indulgence which could be judged on measures of taste.
But don't be listening to me - I'm just a dry old stick!


message 16: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 367 comments Esther wrote: "Phillip wrote: "I think it depends on if the scene becomes graphic or simply fades to black after a few paragraphs."

Thank you for your input, Phillip! Any recommendation or suggestion is encourag..."


I think sexy is more innuendo and metaphor. Erotica will be specific slang terms that force an R rating. Both have their audiences, and neither is wrong. It just depends on which audience you're targeting.


message 17: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit Frank wrote: "Hi Esther
I draw no line between sexy and erotic, just between necessary and unnecessary. Hitchcock famously said, "Film your murders like love scenes and your love scenes like murders".
I like lov..."


I think this "dry stick" makes a lot of sense lol (hope that didn't come ot too erotic)


message 18: by Frank (new)

Frank Garland | 10 comments Ha. That was the intended innuendo.
I use bawdy humour, clumsy flirtation, blushing embarassment, cocky bravado, teasing and denial, the breaking of furniture, hidden weapons, playful threats, flashes of dream state and symbolism. But the language used is certainly a tricky thing. It's a high wire walk between coyness and vulgarity. I'm still awkward about being too explicit. I'm much more comfortable writing of heartwrenching loss. I have a couple of short stories with bawdy endings which I'm very uncertain about, whereas I'm more comfortable with such a moment breaking the melancholy of a tale. But I reassure myself by replaying the bedroom scene from Romance and Cigarettes with Kate Winslet and James Gandolfini.


message 19: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 694 comments Mod
Choice of words is a difficult part for me, more so as someone having English as my second language. The few people who had a peek on my writing so far can confirm that. There are moments when my attempts to avoid vulgar language sent me to the very opposite - far too "flowery" words.


message 20: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit Tomas wrote: "Choice of words is a difficult part for me, more so as someone having English as my second language. The few people who had a peek on my writing so far can confirm that. There are moments when my a..."

And I know editors also charge more based on that (ESL)!


message 21: by S.R. (new)

S.R. Strickland | 9 comments Hi Esther, I’m the author of The Awakening of La Muse. The line between eroticism and steamy is a very thin one. But it depends on your audience and how you manipulate your language. One chapter in my novel is very intense and sexually charged – my heroine is making love to the man she adores for the first time. My intent was to orchestrate the scene in a way that allows my reader to explicitly see what I am not saying. It took a while to figure out – but I succeeded.


message 22: by Esther (new)

Esther Rabbit S.R. wrote: "Hi Esther, I’m the author of The Awakening of La Muse. The line between eroticism and steamy is a very thin one. But it depends on your audience and how you manipulate your language. One chapter in..."

Congrats S.R., I'll check it out :)


message 23: by Jane (new)

Jane Jago | 888 comments When dealing with any form of sex scene you are going to run the gamut of reader reaction. Because people react differently upon ‘real life’. You have to pitch where you are comfortable, and write what you feel benefits the story,

You won’t please everyone so the best compass is your own sense of what is right


message 24: by Esther (last edited Dec 05, 2018 03:21AM) (new)

Esther Rabbit Jane wrote: "When dealing with any form of sex scene you are going to run the gamut of reader reaction. Because people react differently upon ‘real life’. You have to pitch where you are comfortable, and write ..."

Thanks for your imput Jane. I feel I've been a bit misunderstood in that aspect. I'M EXTREMELY COMFY WITH THE CONTENT OF MY NOVEL, what I was doing is asking you, the reader, where you draw the line. Strictly from a reader's perspective and your preferences.


message 25: by Jane (new)

Jane Jago | 888 comments Esther wrote: "Jane wrote: "When dealing with any form of sex scene you are going to run the gamut of reader reaction. Because people react differently upon ‘real life’. You have to pitch where you are comfortabl..."

If you are happy then run with it, because you can’t gauge every reader’s response


message 26: by Felix (new)

Felix Schrodinger | 138 comments The line is wherever YOU draw it. It's up to the reader whether they like it or not.


back to top