To Smut Or Not To Smut

Posted: June 21, 2013 in Uncategorized, writing
Tags: , ,

(Do I need to warn people that there is “language” in this blog post? It’s about sex scenes so you’d think it would be obvious but just in case:

WARNING: mild language ahead and also a lot of confusion. This was a very confusing post to write.)

 

Writing a story with romance elements is difficult. Insanely difficult more often than not. And why?

Because of the sex scenes.

Sex scenes are one of those things that seem to divide people. Some prefer the lead up and “close the bedroom door” approach. Others like full contact, explicit sex. Somewhere in the middle lies that purplish area of prose in which I fear to tread.

And what is my preference?

Hell if I know.

How much is too much? Where do I draw the line for “too graphic?” Or too long? Not long enough? (This is starting to sound like a euphemism and maybe it is.)

I still haven’t figured out where to draw my line in the sex scene sand. In fact, I think I’m more ambivalent about them NOW than I was when I started.

I’ve considered cutting all the sex scenes from Forgotten Monster. I know. It’s shocking. It would also shrink the book by at least 5k. Some people would probably like the book better like that, without the clutter and the complications of sex. Just one problem. With Taisce and Sef, the sex scenes have their own plot. They’re not just going at it like rabbits (though they are doing that too). There is a conversation going on. Usually it’s literal but sometimes it’s a mood, a show of trust or comfort. If I cut the sex scenes, Taisce and Sef’s personalities would be cut in half too. So despite some misgivings, the sex scenes stayed.

Sef was thoroughly pleased by that of course.

But of course the difficulties didn’t end there. Smutty scenes come packaged with their own specific problems. Namely the language. I’ve never been a fan of purple prose and I just feel silly writing about manhoods and cores and blah blah anyway. So I either play coy with the sex scenes, drifting through them like an obscure fog, or I charge in guns blazing and (in their case) dicks out. XD It wasn’t an easy choice to make. And I still haven’t made it, not completely.

I spent two days pondering word usage for these sex scenes. I wish I was kidding. My friends can attest to the fact that I debated the likelihood of Taisce’s internal monologue including the word cock. I finally decided that it would not. He’s much too proper for that. He’s also unlikely to wax poetic about rippling muscles, throbbing members, or surging anything. (Sef would but only because he’s a sarcastic bastard and he knows it would annoy Taisce. *makes note for future sex scenes*)

Every time a sex scene shows up in my plot I take a moment to analyze it. Do I really need it? What does it change in their relationship? How do they arrive at the scene? What will they do?

These are the decisions I’m left with and they’re frequently hilarious. Much as I complain about writing sex scenes they’re starting to amuse me.

Am I great at writing them? No.

Are they easier to write? Hell no. Taisce made me feel supremely uncomfortable writing the first two or three. I felt like a voyeur and no doubt it showed in the awkward writing. One more thing to fix with editing.

Am I going to stop writing them? Nope. Because my characters need them. I guess I can live with the fact that frequent m/m sex scenes may turn some readers away.

Will I stop giggling every time my characters use the word prick? Eh, probably not because I’m still a twelve year old at heart.

I wish I had a one size fits all plan but just like anything else, sex scenes have their own rules, most of which I’ve had to make up for myself. I’ve made them for this story. I’ll have to remake them when I move on to the next story. And maybe someday I’ll thank Taisce and Sef for giving me so much practice at writing them. Someday. Maybe when I’ve finished giggling.

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Comments
  1. kaikiriyama says:

    I’m a “lead up and close the bedroom door” kind of writer. Smut is something I’m definitely not ready to try my hand at writing. I’m not afraid to admit that it’s because I’m not comfortable enough to write it. Although, I do have to say that there’s something to be said for leaving that bedroom door closed and making your audience think about (and debate about!) whether they did the deed or not. And yes, while it does make for an interesting dynamic shift and it’s a great way to pad your word count, I feel like sometimes it’s unnecessary to go for the full out explicit descriptions.

    But yeah, I’m mostly just not ready to go there with my writing yet. Kudos to you for being able to push the limits though. (One day, Kai, one day you’ll be there too.)

    • There’s nothing wrong with being smut free. I’m not a fan of sex scenes that are story fluff either. I treat mine like any other scene. They need to show character or plot development. If not: trash. Of course I don’t go into full detail either. Maybe that makes me a “peeking through the keyhole in the bedroom door” smut writer. XD

  2. trishschmidt says:

    This post comes at perfect timing (which you know since I mentioned it to you). I find that these scenes are out of the blue for me. No clue why they’re there and I know I will have to make big decisions when I edit. Should the scene be there? Should I back up on the language? Only one in the current WIP and that was a total surprise to me. Mine isn’t m/m,but still, it seems a bit graphic and I know I will most likely have to reword much of it, but I feel it makes sense overall. And I too, giggle (or blush in my case) as I write it. I still debate if I could do a full book of it. That’s a lot of cocks and members! Time will tell if I ever venture down that road. Thanks for saying what I’ve been thinking lately.

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