Day: April 28, 2015

#AtoZChallenge: X is for X-Rated

For the A-Z challenge, I am posting writing and editing tips to help you improve and enhance your writing.

X is for X-Rated

erospsyche (1)

I edit a lot of erotica and romance, some of it fairly mild, some of it less so. Sometimes I’ll be sitting at my desk on a Tuesday afternoon with a cup of tea and a digestive, deleting unnecessary adjectives from a raunchy scene and I’ll think to myself how strange my job sometimes is!

But it’s not just erotica and romance that calls for X-rated scenes.  If you’re a writer, the chances are that one day you’re going to have to tackle a scene of this type. This is something that worries a lot of authors. So here are some tips on how to write a sex scene that won’t make you or your readers cringe.

  • Skip the euphemisms. Show your reader some respect. If you need some awful examples to avoid read 50 Shades (Down there? Really? What are we, eleven?)
  • Make it consensual. Obviously consensual. Non-consensual sex is not erotic or sexy. At all. It is just wrong.
  • Your characters are not porn stars. Unless they are porn stars. It needs to be hot, but not unbelievable. Don’t use clichés from terrible porn movies.
  • Stay true to your characters. As with all action scenes and as with all dialogue, your characters need to behave and speak in a way your reader can believe they would behave and speak.
  • Make sure the scene has a purpose. Like any scene or event in your book it needs to drive the story forward.
  • As with all your writing, but especially when writing about sex, use all five senses. ALL of them.
  • Often the idea of sex is more erotic than the act itself. Build up the tension.
  • Act it out! Seriously – one of my best teachers on my Masters course had written both excellent fight scenes and excellent sex scenes and she insisted that the best way to make both realistic and readable was to act them out. (That way you don’t end up having your characters do things that would take three hands each and I don’t have to sit there on a Tuesday afternoon wondering what’s supposed to be going where when I’d rather be eating a biscuit).

Once again, my top tip is to read. Shirley Conran and Jilly Cooper write better sex scenes than a certain other author mentioned above, as does Sylvia Day (sometimes). And of course you can’t beat a bit of DH Lawrence. Though in my humble opinion Flaubert did it best with poor old Madame Bovary.

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#RBRT ‘My Grandfather’s Eyes’ by B A Spicer

Rosie's Book Review team 1

I read and reviewed ‘My Grandfather’s Eyes’ for Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

grandfather's eyes

Alex Crane is the narrator of this dark, clever and extremely well-written book. This novel is completely different o anything I have read for a long time, disturbing and fascinating, Alex’s story is one that tests your sympathies to the limit.

Alex has moles. This might seem a simple thing but they, in some way, define her. She bears them proudly, refusing to be ashamed, refusing to accept the place in society that they should, in others eyes, confine her to. Her mother’s revulsion shapes her too and she grows up to love with passion, particularly her best friend Lizzie, who remains frustratingly out of reach, and to disdain, or at least discount, those who don’t rouse this passion in her – her weak father, her obliging husband, for example.

She loved her grandfather though and has a sort of grudging respect for her grandmother. It is her grandparent’s history, intertwined with her parent’s past, that becomes a source of fascination for Alex – the mystery at the heart of it revealing aspects of her grandmother that are within Alex too.

The first person narration places you, uncomfortably at times, in Alex’s world, with her skewed ideas of right and wrong. But, despite the things she does and thinks, I don’t hate her. I’m not sure that I like her, but I do, to an extent, understand her. And this is where the talent and the skill of the writer show. It’s hard to have the ‘hero’ of your story someone who should be the villain and even harder to write that character in such a way that your reader isn’t completely turned off. The author has managed to do that and the result is a book that’s hard to put down, beautifully crafted and compelling.

My only complaint? Without giving too much away, I would have liked to have known more about Alex’s grandparents and the effects of the Mexico trip. Although this was touched on, I would have liked more details.

Apart from this very minor point, I totally recommend this.

4.5 out of 5

Find a copy here.