ObsessingOverEdward author of Holding Out For You
How do you strike a balance between getting across the emotional side of smut with the physical actions taking place between the characters?
Depending on the demographic you are shooting for and your characters personalities, you should balance the emotional side according to your audience and what is natural for your characters. As for balance, that all depends on the type of scene you are writing. You’re not going to have a lot of emotion in erotica. A few comments that connect the main characters in a way besides sexual is enough. However, with sensual and young adult, your focus is more going to be on the emotional connection of the characters. When I say emotional connection, that doesn’t mean the ILY’s and tender lovin’, that just means that they acknowledge their partner as more than a sexual object (unless you’re writing male erotica, lol). Even in angry sex, you see an emotional connection, it’s just not fluffy.
How do I make sure what I write isn’t overly graphic, but at the same time not too emotional?
Hehe, If you don’t want to be overly graphic then don’t describe the girly and manly bits, usually if you stay away from that, then you won’t get too graphic.
Don’t let emotion scare you! Emotion is a good thing when writing smut, it’s a connection between the two (or more) characters. Let me reiterate: An emotional connection is any feeling or thought toward the other person, whether it’s anger, love, hate, tenderness, etc. Go back and look at the sensual erotica example from the lesson (Black Dagger Brotherhood) and you see that there is still an emotional connection, even though it’s rough, angry sex. The point in writing emotion into your smut is to steer away from the trap of: Insert Tab A into Slot B. You are giving the characters emotions and feelings about what’s going on. The male erotica example shows no emotional connection between the characters. It’s all about the fucking, sure we get how hot and turned on he is and what a stud he is, but that’s not a connection between the characters, it’s just two hot bodies going at it. I just recently spoke with a friend that is pre-reading an original erotica story that I’m writing and here’s her opinion on the missing elements in porn and how it applies to written smut as well:
And if I may address your erotica/plot/story . . . I think THAT is why I get SO turned on with this story & your B&E stories because you HAVE given me some story, some plot. Ya, see . . . some of the porn I’ve seen (when I order with Adam & Eve, online, they send me a free DVD with each order) so yeah, the free ones are raunchy & amateur — the couple is just fucking in their kitchen or living or where ever . . . it has absolutely NO story! No background story. NO emotional connection. – just BOOM . . . instant fucking and it’s really not a turn on – for me at least (I’m sure a guy likes it though). Now, I’ve bought a porn DVD and it had a story – like a movie – and yeah, eventually lots of sex, sex, sex BUT it lead up to it with the storyline and character development. SO that is why I love this story
What terms do you think are over used in smut?
Hmmm, this one is a hard one because my answer will probably include a few that I’ve written myself. Over used terms eventually turn into cliché’s and cliché’s are BAD! So, if you’ve heard the phrase that you are writing more than once, then it’s probably best to leave it out or change it around.
As for overused words? There’s only so many ways to call a penis a penis (or a vajayaja, or boobs, etc), so we’re kinda stuck with the handful of words that we have. I don’t see anyway around that if you are writing erotica.
What are your dos and don’ts when writing emotional smut?
I think you’re referring to sensual romance or YA, right?
Do’s – Use metaphors and similes to help paint the visual without actually detailing the act. I also loved the visual imagery class taught earlier. I think it’s a perfect way to set up “emotional” smut.
Don’ts – Don’t slip in too many metaphors and similes when trying to find an even balance to writing more emotional scenes. A few will enhance, too many will detract from your writing. If you are squirming in your seat or looking over your shoulder to see who’s peaking at what you’re writing them it’s probably not sensual or YA.
What are your smut peeves?
I don’t have many when it comes to phrases and specific words. There’s a trend in the fandom that doesn’t necessarily exist in published works when it comes to what’s acceptable. I’ve seen tons of best-selling authors use words like “core”, “center”, “mound”, or technical terms like “penis” for body parts, so personally I don’t mind reading them. Do I think there are better words to use, sure, but who am I to say what someone shouldn’t use when published authors, that are making a whole lot more money than me, are using them in their books.
What bothers me the most is more of a character development flaw than a smut peeve. For example, I read a fanfic that I absolutely loved. I loved the characters, the story line, the angst and suspense, then they had sex … The characters turned into completely different people when they got under the sheets. If you have a shy virgin, then she’s not going to be a sex-goddess. If your character is an educated, nice guy, he’s not going to start talking like he walked out of a gangster rap video. Just because they have sex doesn’t mean they lose who they are. Yes, people become adventurous and do things they might not ordinarily do, but they don’t completely change, especially when we are hearing their internal monologue for ¾ of the story and they never even think the word “fuck”.