Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Revising the Novel - Writing the Sex Scene part 2

Back on the subject of sex.

As I mentioned in the prior post, of utmost importance to me when writing a sex scene is to avoid cliche. There are only so many non-offensive euphemisms you can use for penis. Even fewer for a vagina. Most of these are so full of purple prose that I'm embarrassed any time I even think of using one.

Breasts are easy. The word "breasts" works fine. So does nipple. But when it comes to the male and female genitalia, "penis" and "vagina" seem far too clinical for our writing. So we improvise. That's how things like "pulsating member," get published. I've even read once about a "vibrating stinger." I'm still scared at the thought.

My advice on this sensitive topic is to use the real words, or the least of the purple prose euphemisms. It is unlikely that you'll come up with a term that hasn't been used before, or one that is so terrifically original that it will send your scene over the top. Usually, all that results is that you succeed in drawing attention to your poor word choice and away from the steamy sex happening on the page.

Just write it.

Use the words we're all familiar with. Concentrate on the action and whatever originality you can create in the scene. The mood, the background, the character's thoughts, their actions, unique fetishes, etc.

Don't get hung up on the words, or else a pulsating member may inadvertently make its way into your writing.

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