Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction => Fantasy Book & Author Discussion => Topic started by: Francis Knight on September 28, 2011, 08:53:31 AM

Title: Sex
Post by: Francis Knight on September 28, 2011, 08:53:31 AM
I knew that'd make you all look :D

Anyway, this cropped up somewhere else and I thought I'd get a broader opinion.

A writer said they would have to tone down their sex scenes/fade to black if they wanted a hope of getting with a big fantasy publisher.

I said:
Quote
Odd, innit, that a rape can (and often is) graphically described in loving detail, but consensual sex? Oooh matron! Fade to black...*


*Not saying this is what writers necessarily do. Maybe they are asked to tone down the smexy time. In which case why are the rapes still so graphic? Seems arse about face to me. I know which I'd rather read...

Am I seeing things skewed here? Because I'm trying to recall any consensual sex scenes that weren't fade to black in mainstream fantasy/SF (not PNR etc). Tbh, I can't think of many consensual sex scenes at all that weren't just alluded to (at least ones where there is no controversy/taboo/other 'shock' value to it) On the other hand I can name a half dozen books with graphic rape in them (by graphic, I mean, you know, we see everything, including all the implements used and other graphic details) without even stopping to think about it much.

Now, I have a few theories as to why that might be, but am I just picking up the wrong books? Or is this a trend? Anyone else got any theories?
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: AnneLyle on September 28, 2011, 09:56:26 AM
As I posted on the other forum, it's the old puritan ethic - sex is only allowed if you don't enjoy it. Also, if the non-sexual violence in the book is also graphic, the writer may simply be taking the same tone throughout. Admittedly I tend to avoid these types of books so I have no examples to draw on. I'm pretty sure there's a whole lot of consensual sex in Jacqueline Carey's work (which is certainly not PNR), but again it's not really my thing.

There's a consensual (gay) sex scene in my forthcoming book - it's soft focus, though, rather than graphic. The point of the scene is to show the relationship between the characters in more depth, not to explain who puts what where :)

I anticipate there may be other such scenes (of whatever orientation the story requires) in later books, but again I don't think they'll be terribly graphic, because I don't find it that interesting to write.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Overlord on September 28, 2011, 11:11:02 AM
It just isn't really needed in a novel... If sex is good - awesome, it usually is. If sex is bad though, why is it bad?

You should really only go into detail on things that affect your story... good sex isn't really going to do that. Yes, it brings characters closer together, but you can just fade to black and readers know. "Jazil and Aiax kissed passionately. Jazil pushed him back onto the bed in a playful and yet firm manner, laughing as she followed him down". We know they are going to have sex and we can see it is probably going to be pretty good ;) You can also do the whole 'next day' scene where they are either getting out of bed happy or just generally thinking about a 'great night'.

Now, rape. That will affect your story - greatly. If you put a rape scene in there the consequences will last a very, very long time - probably forever and completely change that character. You can't skip over the experience really... "Jazil was forced onto her back. The masked man held her down and against her will, he took her." just doesn't work... you don't have the emotional trauma or the brutality of what rape actually is... without it, you cannot convey to the reader how a character is affected.

That is my take anyway =/
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Francis Knight on September 28, 2011, 11:23:02 AM
Lol, I didn't mean 'erotica' level graphicness nesc. - just on a par with the graphicness overall. Even if the focus is softer, the scene is still there, if you know what I mean?

For instance, naming no names, but the book I am reading at the moment. Fair enough the abuse is there to show what the POV character is going through. It's fairly graphic. (personally I think it would have been more effective without the graphicness, leaving the grisly details to the imagination, but hey, that's me)

Now, when she later has consensual sex, (and this is part of her character arc, coming out of the abuse she suffered, so how she experiences it would be relevant) it comes over rather coy.

It's a disparity that seems very odd to me. But it could just be me.

I haven't read Jacqueline Carey, but I understand the sex scenes aren't exactly usual.



Overlord: Well, perhaps, but do I need to see all the gory details? Just the fact of the rape might be enough in the same way knowing that two people have got it on might be enough? (Obviously depends on the story) Maybe it's because I read fantasy romance too - where the opposite is true: Rape is usually either not there or alluded to only, the consensual sex is more on screen, explicit or 'sensual', that is, no insert tab A into slot B action, but it's clear what they are doing.  

ETA: Obviously, this will depend greatly on the story. How often do we NEED to know exactly how someone was raped?Sometimes teh details of the rape might be necessary, same as details of the sex might be. But not often, in either case if you get down to it. It just seems rather prevalent and frankly it's beginning to wear a bit thin, you know? And just sometimes you get the feeling that it's a case of 'I need this guy to be evil. I know, I'll make him rape someone, that'll do it!' or 'I need this woman to have a angsty past. I know!....'

Meh, maybe I'm just grumpy today!
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Overlord on September 28, 2011, 11:32:09 AM
Lol, I didn't mean 'erotica' level graphicness nesc. - just on a par with the graphicness overall. Even if the focus is softer, the scene is still there, if you know what I mean?

For instance, naming no names, but the book I am reading at the moment. Fair enough the abuse is there to show what the POV character is going through. It's fairly graphic. (personally I think it would have been more effective without the graphicness, leaving the grisly details to the imagination, but hey, that's me)

Now, when she later has consensual sex, (and this is part of her character arc, coming out of the abuse she suffered, so how she experiences it would be relevant) it comes over rather coy.

It's a disparity that seems very odd to me. But it could just be me.

I haven't read Jacqueline Carey, but I understand the sex scenes aren't exactly usual.



Overlord: Well, perhaps, but do I need to see all the gory details? Just the fact of the rape might be enough in the same way knowing that two people have got it on might be enough? (Obviously depends on the story) Maybe it's because I read fantasy romance too - where the opposite is true: Rape is usually either not there or alluded to only, the consensual sex is more on screen, explicit or 'sensual', that is, no insert tab A into slot B action, but it's clear what they are doing.  

ETA: Obviously, this will depend greatly on the story. Sometimes teh details of the rape might be necessary, same as details of the sex might be. It just seems rather prevalent and frankly it's beginning to wear a bit thin, you know? And just sometimes you get the feeling that it's a case of 'I need this guy to be evil. I know, I'll make him rape someone, that'll do it!' or 'I need this woman to have a angsty past. I know!....'

Meh, maybe I'm just grumpy today!

Haha - no, I get you. It is like, if you pick up books like True Blood or say Kelley Armstrong's work you expect sex... in-fact, your probably buy it (in part) for the sex. But, if you buy something like The Painted Man or a Traditional Fantasy book you don't really expect to find it. If I was reading Lord of the Rings and a big sex scene was sat there on the way to Mordor I would probably think it was stupid. If I was reading a book by Kelley Armstrong about a hot woman charged with a wolves heat I'd read it and be happy that it fit :) I think it all depends on the tone of the book and your intended audience :)
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Francis Knight on September 28, 2011, 11:46:18 AM
Oh I know target audience has a lot to do with it - I read certain things when I want hot sex lol.

My point was, why this disparity in detail? If the consensual sex is alluded to, why not the rape? If the sex doesn't need to be graphic, why does the rape need to be? For instance, while I had a lot of problems with the Painted Man, the rape happened off screen. The girl's reaction to it was the important bit, not what bit went where. The details weren't needed. The reader was aware of what a horrifying experience it was. And that's what you need to know, how it affects the person. You don;t need a blow by blow account for that (well you might on occasion, but not often)

In the same way I might just need to know that two people got jiggy and had fun and how it affects their relationship etc, then I often just need to know that someone has been raped, or the barest details. That's often, to my mind, a lot more effective*. Less is more and all that.


*One of the most horrifying (true) accounts of abuse I read gave no details of the actual acts other than : 'The monks would come into the dorm every night. We would pretend to be asleep and pray their footsteps wouldn't stop by our bed. And on a night when our prayer was answered, we would have to listen to some poor soul whose prayer had gone astray.'
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Overlord on September 28, 2011, 12:04:00 PM
Oh I know target audience has a lot to do with it - I read certain things when I want hot sex lol.

My point was, why this disparity in detail? If the consensual sex is alluded to, why not the rape? If the sex doesn't need to be graphic, why does the rape need to be? For instance, while I had a lot of problems with the Painted Man, the rape happened off screen. The girl's reaction to it was the important bit, not what bit went where. The details weren't needed. The reader was aware of what a horrifying experience it was. And that's what you need to know, how it affects the person. You don;t need a blow by blow account for that (well you might on occasion, but not often)

In the same way I might just need to know that two people got jiggy and had fun and how it affects their relationship etc, then I often just need to know that someone has been raped, or the barest details. That's often, to my mind, a lot more effective*. Less is more and all that.


*One of the most horrifying (true) accounts of abuse I read gave no details of the actual acts other than : 'The monks would come into the dorm every night. We would pretend to be asleep and pray their footsteps wouldn't stop by our bed. And on a night when our prayer was answered, we would have to listen to some poor soul whose prayer had gone astray.'

Very true. Perhaps then a lot of it depends on how good the author is at doing things too. If you can do a really good, really sexy scene and it works well in the novel - do it. Look at people like Brent Weeks or Peter V. Brett or James Barclay for example - they are really good at doing fight scenes so they do them blow by blow. Other authors such as Tolkien or Jordan (from what I hear) like to pan out and give the aftermath because they are not so good at writing that kind of thing. Yet, they can portray the reaction well enough after.

A good question indeed - got me thinking on it now ;)
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Overlord on September 28, 2011, 12:04:28 PM
Oh I know target audience has a lot to do with it - I read certain things when I want hot sex lol.

P.S. I am saving this in a quote box somewhere ;)
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Cherie on September 28, 2011, 01:37:14 PM
Julia, I have a feeling I know which book(s) you're referring to. The rape was pretty detailed and drawn out, and had a good few pages dedicated to it, but when it came to the sex, it was a bit wishy washy in comparison.

In some ways, I can see why it happened that way around: 1st person narrative, so a certain amount of detail is inevitable. Maybe the author decided that by lingering on the mechanics, the character could avoid the emotional impact. At least temporarily. I mean, how many people in a car crash can vocalise the terror of the accident, but can easily describe the crunch of metal, the shattering of the glass, the almost impartial thought of 'that's going to hit me'?

Also, if I'm correct with my assumption, the author has said that she can't write good sex scenes.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: AnneLyle on September 28, 2011, 01:42:45 PM
I'm also a believer in the less-is-more school of squick. One of the most harrowing things I've ever seen is Guido Fawkes' signatures before and after he was interrogated (i.e. tortured). You don't need to see the gory details - the pitiful scrawl of a man unable to even hold a pen properly, never mind form letters, tells you everything you need to know.

I wonder, though, if it's just easier for a lot of writers to describe the physical violence rather than try and get inside the head of the victim?

ETA - cherie beat me to it, dammit!
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Jon Sprunk on September 28, 2011, 02:16:28 PM
A big part of it (which I think Overlord was referring to) is that consensual sex is a release, while rape builds conflict, and modern novels live and breathe on conflict.

I don't necessarily believe it's the best practice for all stories, but it seems to be the general approach.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Nighteyes on September 28, 2011, 02:18:54 PM
I do get Overlord's point for earlier but just like the best horror films and books are the ones in which you rarely glimpse the monster, the most terrifying rape scenes are surely the ones that leave you yourself filling in the details. Nothing creeps you out more than your own imagination. And there does seem a worrying tendency for fantasy writers recently throwing in rape scenes to their novels cos it makes it more gritty and real in their opinion. Why do you need rape to make your novel more gritty?why not have your characters suffer from the horrible ailments that plagued medieval society?have them in pain every time they take a shit cos of their horrible piles, but I guess rape sells, and painful dumps dont?
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Mark Lawrence on September 28, 2011, 02:33:05 PM
GRRM puts in moderately graphic sex scenes with POV characters & whilst rape happens it is (as far as I can recall) off screen.

Whilst writers may vary, the writing process alluded to in some places in this thread is alien to me and sounds more like cookery:  Tastes stew, stirs it, tastes it again... "Hmmm, perhaps a sprinkling of sarcasm?" Reaches for the tub and shakes a light dusting into the mix. Tastes again ... "No..." Another stir. "Oh. I know. A dash of rape is what it needs." Reaches for narrow bottle, twists off cap, three drops... another for good measure. Tastes again. "Ah, that hits the spot."

Possibly some folk cook their books. Me, I'm in the moment, seeing it, dreaming it. What happens next? what happens next? Write it down. What happens next?

The idea of wooing a demographic, shocking them by numbers ... is that the way some readers envisage it, or really how some writers write? I sure don't know.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: AnneLyle on September 28, 2011, 02:36:40 PM
I was going to say that there's no rape in my book, and that's technically true - but there's some in characters' backstories that I only hint at very obliquely. Sometimes people don't want to remember...
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Francis Knight on September 28, 2011, 02:37:23 PM
Just a quickie - on phone at work. Shh lol

Not the book you're thinking of cherie - it's not in first person

and not to say I'm any less guilty either (I find it much easier to write graphic violence than sex of any sort...), but I think it's something to  consider. And gosh, consensual sex can be fraught with conflict!

Crap, look busy. Here comes the boss

ETA: to correct abysmal spelling due to new phone...

And also

Quote
Whilst writers may vary, the writing process alluded to in some places in this thread is alien to me and sounds more like cookery:  Tastes stew, stirs it, tastes it again... "Hmmm, perhaps a sprinkling of sarcasm?" Reaches for the tub and shakes a light dusting into the mix. Tastes again ... "No..." Another stir. "Oh. I know. A dash of rape is what it needs." Reaches for narrow bottle, twists off cap, three drops... another for good measure. Tastes again. "Ah, that hits the spot."

I'm the same as you - I 'discover' as I go along in teh moment, I don't plan ahead, but some writers do (and you can still tweak on subsequent drafts even so, if the story takes you a place you want to rein in)I know of one who writes a detailed outline half the length of the book before they start writing the prose and yes, they do add and take away things like that. But what I meant to say was sometimes it feels that way, if you see what I mean. The first two scenes from Bad Person POV are of them raping someone. Almost as though so we can tell they are Bad Person straight away. It's...I don't know, maybe a shortcut to actual characterisation in some occurrences. Or it feels that way. If it was a book about a serial rapist, that's different. When it isn't, it feels different. And in some cases (when handled badly I suppose, I dare say I wouldn't notice as much if it was done well) it's just gratuitous.

To me, gratuitous anything isn't good. Of course one person's view of what constitutes gratuitous will vary from the next person's. Or maybe the next person likes gratuitous...

It's a knotty problem. I just thought it'd make an interesting subject.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: AnneLyle on September 28, 2011, 02:38:58 PM
The idea of wooing a demographic, shocking them by numbers ... is that the way some readers envisage it, or really how some writers write? I sure don't know.

I have no idea either - it's not the way I write. It may not be calculated, more a knee-jerk storytelling "solution", like making a character an orphan in order to force them to stand on their own two feet. Sometimes there's a good organic reason, but often it's just lazy shorthand for "troubled past".
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Overlord on September 28, 2011, 02:39:22 PM
GRRM puts in moderately graphic sex scenes with POV characters & whilst rape happens it is (as far as I can recall) off screen.

Whilst writers may vary, the writing process alluded to in some places in this thread is alien to me and sounds more like cookery:  Tastes stew, stirs it, tastes it again... "Hmmm, perhaps a sprinkling of sarcasm?" Reaches for the tub and shakes a light dusting into the mix. Tastes again ... "No..." Another stir. "Oh. I know. A dash of rape is what it needs." Reaches for narrow bottle, twists off cap, three drops... another for good measure. Tastes again. "Ah, that hits the spot."

Possibly some folk cook their books. Me, I'm in the moment, seeing it, dreaming it. What happens next? what happens next? Write it down. What happens next?

The idea of wooing a demographic, shocking them by numbers ... is that the way some readers envisage it, or really how some writers write? I sure don't know.

One of the most amusing sex scenes I read recently was of a young emperor to be resting his book propped up on a young lady's butt-cheeks... wooed and shocked me ;)
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: AnneLyle on September 28, 2011, 02:46:45 PM
Also, conflict in a scene doesn't necessarily have to be between the couple themselves. It can be about the risk of getting caught - or actually getting caught, or at least interrupted... :)
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Wilson on September 28, 2011, 02:50:37 PM
I think a part of it is that most mature readers have their own sexual experience and fantasies, so by avoiding any real detail, the reader's own memories and imagination can usually fill in the blanks better than the author can, and in a more personal way.  Some authors can write good sex scenes, but many can't, and even a well written one can seem awkward if it misses the target audience or if it's too much of a break from the reader's experience.

With rape, you're creating a horrific experience that most readers, thankfully, have not experienced.  Less can still be more - like with any particularly graphic scenes, it can be more effective to supply only a few details and let the readers build the most horrific version of the scene they can - but it's more akin to other forms of violence in that you can't rely on the reader's experience the way you can with sex.

I think another factor could be that a book with implies sex can still reach a younger audience, whereas rape, whether graphic or implied, raises the maturity level.  That's not a factor if a book has both graphic rape and implied consensual sex, but I could see some situations where the publisher looks at the detail in the sex scenes as a barrier to opening a book to a younger audience, whereas a book with rape in it is more likely to be inappropriate for youth regardless of the detail.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: AnneLyle on September 28, 2011, 03:01:05 PM
I think another factor could be that a book with implies sex can still reach a younger audience, whereas rape, whether graphic or implied, raises the maturity level.  That's not a factor if a book has both graphic rape and implied consensual sex, but I could see some situations where the publisher looks at the detail in the sex scenes as a barrier to opening a book to a younger audience, whereas a book with rape in it is more likely to be inappropriate for youth regardless of the detail.

Unfortunately that's not true - IIRC, on the forum that sparked this thread, someone (Julia?) mentioned a book that was deemed unsuitable for a YA audience because of the consensual sex - the rape scene in the same book was not apparently considered unsuitable.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Francis Knight on September 28, 2011, 03:35:44 PM
I think another factor could be that a book with implies sex can still reach a younger audience, whereas rape, whether graphic or implied, raises the maturity level.  That's not a factor if a book has both graphic rape and implied consensual sex, but I could see some situations where the publisher looks at the detail in the sex scenes as a barrier to opening a book to a younger audience, whereas a book with rape in it is more likely to be inappropriate for youth regardless of the detail.

Unfortunately that's not true - IIRC, on the forum that sparked this thread, someone (Julia?) mentioned a book that was deemed unsuitable for a YA audience because of the consensual sex - the rape scene in the same book was not apparently considered unsuitable.

T'was not me - I replied with shock to the tale of two books banned by a school because of (iirc the mention of/implied, not graphic)consensual sex while a third book with a rape (not sure how graphic) was apparently fine.

Which is just O.o
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: AnneLyle on September 28, 2011, 03:45:03 PM
I think it was around that point that I suggested it was puritanism at work...
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Douglas Hulick on September 28, 2011, 03:47:14 PM
To my mind, sex and combat are both variations on the action scene, and a good action scene should both move the story forward and illustrate something about the character. Well done violence, or sex, or what have you, will reveal character, up the overall tension, and provide not only resolution, but also raise more problems/questions. This tends to be easier to accomplish with combat, since at the end of a fight you (often) have a Winner and a Loser: easy conflict, straight-forward resolution, obvious consequences--at least on the surface. Sex is harder in this sense, because, ultimately, it's more internalized for the characters--there are no clear winners or losers or easily visible resolution at the end of the scene (rape being the biggest exception, and another matter entirely, IMO). The best actions scenes, be they centered on fighting or sex or getting away or breaking into a building or whatever, accomplish many things on many levels. It's all about consequences: the trick is, with fighting, it's easy to show those consequences right away; with sex, it's much harder.

I think some authors see sex scenes as a culmination of a series of events, with the act itself being the resolution. Hence, we fade to black. Fights, on the other hand, are usually presented as events on the way to a resolution. In that sense, it makes sense to show more detail, since you are illustrating a step on the path, rather than the doorway at the end. This isn't universal, of course (Jacqueline Carey is an excellent example of the author using sex as mechanism en route to a conclusion, rather than a conclusion itself), but, to my mind, the two acts tend to be treated as different kinds of tools by many writers in the genre, and so are handled differently.

(And, of course, it's always possible that some people simply excel at writing the one and sucking at the other, too. Sometimes the simple answer it the best, despite long-winded theories. :) )
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Francis Knight on September 28, 2011, 03:58:03 PM
I suppose I should note that while this cropped up elsewhere, that's in a place that is almost entirely writers. I was hoping that here, we might have more readers' takes on it.


To my mind, sex and combat are both variations on the action scene, and a good action scene should both move the story forward and illustrate something about the character. Well done violence, or sex, or what have you, will reveal character, up the overall tension, and provide not only resolution, but also raise more problems/questions.

Absolutely, and you make some good points.

And perhaps simple is the answer. Or maybe writers don't want to catch romance author cooties! j/k. I j/k

Title: Re: Sex
Post by: AnneLyle on September 28, 2011, 04:03:34 PM
And perhaps simple is the answer. Or maybe writers don't want to catch romance author cooties! j/k. I j/k

I think it's more a problem of certain reader demographics not wanting to catch girl cooties...

I've been described as writing "pulsating romance", me. I think it was meant as a compliment :)
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Francis Knight on September 28, 2011, 04:07:43 PM
As long as it's not throbbing....
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: AnneLyle on September 28, 2011, 04:09:07 PM
Definitely no throbbing. Actually, even Mark C is now a bit embarrassed about that adjective in his blurb *lol*

I'm thinking of asking AR if there's still time to take it off the cover...
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Jon Sprunk on September 28, 2011, 04:54:40 PM
I think it was around that point that I suggested it was puritanism at work...

Interestingly enough, in the past I've been asked by certain foreign publishers to remove or tone down a graphic (to them, not me) scene in my first book. So different sensibilities do play a part in this.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: AnneLyle on September 28, 2011, 05:02:56 PM
Was that in a non-English-speaking market, Jon?
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Funky Scarecrow on September 28, 2011, 06:59:15 PM
I do think prudishness from a small but strident group of readers and (Gods, I hate saying this) librarians plays a part, I've often grumbled about the small c conservatism that seems to prevail in the genre, but speaking as a reader, I sometimes suspect that there's a hint of fear with sex scenes. The most common, basic fear of all when it comes to consensual sex: that somehow, in some bizarre fashion, you're doing it wrong and as soon as you write about it in graphic detail, everyone reading your story will know how appallingly bad at it you must be, or else how unspeakably depraved you actually are.

I suspect, rightly or wrongly only a huge survey of experienced pros could tell me, that it's easier to write with freedom about the horror of rape, than it is about the joys of consensual sex.

Side Note

If I was reading Lord of the Rings and a big sex scene was sat there on the way to Mordor I would probably think it was stupid.

Considering the all male, cross species nature of the Fellowship and old J.R.R.'s natural reticence on such matters, that would have been the most hilarious thing ever committed to paper. I'm now imagining the scene in both the quaint, bucolic prose of the hobbit sections and the epic, saga-esque prose of the Aragorn sections. Each is equally hilarious in its own way. "Onwards the Three Hunters!" indeed.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Dan D Jones on September 28, 2011, 07:06:34 PM
This is largely driven by publishers.  For an eye-opening look at the rigidness of the industry, listen to this podcast:

http://www.writingshow.com/podcasts/2008/04202008.html (http://www.writingshow.com/podcasts/2008/04202008.html)

Podcast has some explicit language.

I suspect that the advent of self-publishing will do a lot to break down these walls.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: AnneLyle on September 28, 2011, 07:27:22 PM
The most common, basic fear of all when it comes to consensual sex: that somehow, in some bizarre fashion, you're doing it wrong and as soon as you write about it in graphic detail, everyone reading your story will know how appallingly bad at it you must be, or else how unspeakably depraved you actually are.

I wonder which category I fall into? *evil chuckle*

Seriously, though - the graphic anatomical details can just be ick/bathetic (and no, that's not a typo - look it up!) if not done well. A light touch with the precoital shenanigans tends to be much easier to make sexy than the really steamy stuff, IMHO.


Considering the all male, cross species nature of the Fellowship and old J.R.R.'s natural reticence on such matters, that would have been the most hilarious thing ever committed to paper. I'm now imagining the scene in both the quaint, bucolic prose of the hobbit sections and the epic, saga-esque prose of the Aragorn sections. Each is equally hilarious in its own way. "Onwards the Three Hunters!" indeed.

Makes great slash fodder, though ;)
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Dornish First Sword on September 28, 2011, 08:11:07 PM
A hobbit orgy on the way to mordor has the makings of a bizzaro story. I wonder what else glows if its unsheathed around orcs.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: AnneLyle on September 28, 2011, 08:13:05 PM
The orcses had better not - Sam will kill them:

http://www.ealasaid.com/misc/vsd/ (http://www.ealasaid.com/misc/vsd/)
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Elisa Nuckle on September 28, 2011, 11:10:57 PM
I think it depends. A Game of Thrones has some graphic leading-to-sex moments, but really no sex, now that I think about it. Anne McCaffrey did though. I remember being a little shocked by that because it wasn't common. Why isn't it more common, anyway? It's just sex. :D
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Francis Knight on September 28, 2011, 11:30:26 PM
Having written a graphic sex scene or two (because I though as I writer I should be able to write a sex scene that was not giggle/barf inducing. A writing exercise I then sold, though it remains the story I'm least happy with for various reasons. However the sex was part of the character/relationship development and so pretty vital) I can say it was a lot harder to write than, say, someone getting their hand chopped off etc.

Partly because I knew my Mum would want to read it....

But just because it's harder, doesn't mean we shouldn't write it. I doubt I'll ever be that graphic again. My love scenes tend to be more 'sensual' than 'Bloody hell! Avert your eyes dear.' Mainly because I don't I'm likely to wrote a story where it's necessary. But then I don't think I'll ever write a story where the graphic ins and outs of a rape scene is necessary. I've got a story out on sub at the moment that is actually partially about ritual abuse etc (it was inspired by various real life abduction cases) and I didn't need to do more than allude to it. Mainly, I suppose, because if I don't want to read it, I'm pretty certain no one else does either...and also because as someone said up thread, it's way creepier when your own mind fills in the blanks - because the reader's mind will fill in what is most horrific to them. If you spell it out, what the writer considers horrific may not strike the same chord.

And yes, it's just sex. Something I suspect most of us are quite fond of - and of course it's one of the big three motivators IRL(Death/fear of death, sex/love and power/money). It's a fair part of a lot of people's lives, and possibly the one of the biggest causes of interpersonal conflict IRL. Leaving that out seems like leaving out a huge part of a person, not to mention a wasted opportunity! IMO yadda yadda.


I shoudl stop thinking so much. It makes my brain hurt lol.


Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Elisa Nuckle on September 28, 2011, 11:58:49 PM
Well I more so meant that sex is real, it's a part of our lives, why are we acting like it's some gross thing? I mean, adults have sex, these are adult books, so what's the deal? You know? I agree with you though.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Jeryn on September 29, 2011, 02:19:48 AM
Well I more so meant that sex is real, it's a part of our lives, why are we acting like it's some gross thing?

Sex is a part of my life and it's pretty gross. I'm quite unattractive.   ;D
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Elisa Nuckle on September 29, 2011, 07:04:03 AM
Sex is a part of my life and it's pretty gross. I'm quite unattractive.   ;D

Haha, I can pretty much say the same for me, honestly. I'm 50 pounds overweight.  :o
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: AnneLyle on September 29, 2011, 07:14:49 AM
TMI, boys and girls! Besides, Reubens wouldn't agree...

As I've said, I think less is more, on the whole. I don't need to see the minute details of a torture (yes, I'm looking at you, Scott Lynch) to be appalled by the torturer's actions, I don't need to see all the anatomical details of a sex scene in order to understand how these characters feel about one another.

It's perfectly possible to write a sex scene that's neither fade-to-black nor erotica - but if there are few examples in the genre, how are new writers going to learn what's possible and/or acceptable?
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: pornokitsch on September 29, 2011, 08:18:23 AM
TMI, boys and girls! Besides, Reubens wouldn't agree...

As I've said, I think less is more, on the whole. I don't need to see the minute details of a torture (yes, I'm looking at you, Scott Lynch) to be appalled by the torturer's actions, I don't need to see all the anatomical details of a sex scene in order to understand how these characters feel about one another.

It's perfectly possible to write a sex scene that's neither fade-to-black nor erotica - but if there are few examples in the genre, how are new writers going to learn what's possible and/or acceptable?

I must've linked this three or four times now, but I really rate Sophia McDougall's blog posts about writing sex scenes (http://sophiamcdougall.livejournal.com/10235.html). (Appropriately, we're about to publish a very steamy short story from her, too. She practices what she preaches.)
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: AnneLyle on September 29, 2011, 09:20:40 AM
I shall have to read those - met Sophia at Eastercon, she's lovely!
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Overlord on September 29, 2011, 10:11:46 AM
TMI, boys and girls! Besides, Reubens wouldn't agree...

As I've said, I think less is more, on the whole. I don't need to see the minute details of a torture (yes, I'm looking at you, Scott Lynch) to be appalled by the torturer's actions, I don't need to see all the anatomical details of a sex scene in order to understand how these characters feel about one another.

It's perfectly possible to write a sex scene that's neither fade-to-black nor erotica - but if there are few examples in the genre, how are new writers going to learn what's possible and/or acceptable?

I must've linked this three or four times now, but I really rate Sophia McDougall's blog posts about writing sex scenes (http://sophiamcdougall.livejournal.com/10235.html). (Appropriately, we're about to publish a very steamy short story from her, too. She practices what she preaches.)

I can't wait to meet you in real life and find out what you actually do!!!

Great blog article and perhaps the best title for a blog post ever:
'Let’s write about sex, baby!'
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Francis Knight on September 29, 2011, 11:09:24 AM
Nice link - I always find it helps to approach an issue with humour

Speaking of which, I have just realised that the excerpt I am intending to read on Saturday has people doing naughty things in a completely consensual and unexplicit (if a tad Romancy) way.

Oh bugger
You didn't think of that, did you Julia? No, I did not. Maybe I shall skip that para.....

See you have to think about these things too. lol.

Title: Re: Sex
Post by: AnneLyle on September 29, 2011, 11:18:38 AM
Heh. I shall now tell everyone I see, so that they come along to watch you blush...
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Dan D Jones on October 03, 2011, 06:49:22 PM
Hmm, Overlord, could this be a future Writing Challenge topic?
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Overlord on October 03, 2011, 07:27:44 PM
Hmm, Overlord, could this be a future Writing Challenge topic?

How would we judge it? *Grin*
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Nighteyes on October 03, 2011, 07:37:48 PM
I really want to answer the last question but dont wanna sound childish and pervey!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The size and length of the wood given?:$
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Dan D Jones on October 03, 2011, 08:18:52 PM
I really want to answer the last question but dont wanna sound childish and pervey!
 
The size and length of the wood given?:$

That method's a bit misogynistic, isn't it?
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Overlord on October 03, 2011, 08:51:42 PM
LOL - I will suggest it to Jennie...

Erm... wow... everything on this thread sounds wrong! I meant as a topic for the writing competition.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Autumn2May on October 03, 2011, 09:02:54 PM
LOL - I will suggest it to Jennie...

Erm... wow... everything on this thread sounds wrong! I meant as a topic for the writing competition.

I'm thinking no...  ;)
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Eclipse on April 14, 2018, 06:38:20 AM
TMI, boys and girls! Besides, Reubens wouldn't agree...

As I've said, I think less is more, on the whole. I don't need to see the minute details of a torture (yes, I'm looking at you, Scott Lynch) to be appalled by the torturer's actions, I don't need to see all the anatomical details of a sex scene in order to understand how these characters feel about one another.

It's perfectly possible to write a sex scene that's neither fade-to-black nor erotica - but if there are few examples in the genre, how are new writers going to learn what's possible and/or acceptable?

I must've linked this three or four times now, but I really rate Sophia McDougall's blog posts about writing sex scenes (http://sophiamcdougall.livejournal.com/10235.html). (Appropriately, we're about to publish a very steamy short story from her, too. She practices what she preaches.)

I can't wait to meet you in real life and find out what you actually do!!!

Great blog article and perhaps the best title for a blog post ever:
'Let’s write about sex, baby!'

I never see much sex scenes in the Fantasy I read  if I do it’s mostly badly written, that’s probably why there’s a lot of  fade to black.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: cupiscent on April 15, 2018, 04:18:54 AM
That's some serious thread necromancy, congrats!

A hypothesis: sex scenes in standard, mainstream (by which I mean: non-romance) fantasy are often disappointing because romance development is deprecated in standard mainstream fantasy and therefore the sex scenes are missing key elements and context that elevate tab-a-in-slot-b mechanics into something meaningful and compelling.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Lanko on April 15, 2018, 02:28:12 PM
When I was thinking about the complaints of romance, I wonder if that writing advice to show only the most important things and events in a character's life for pace and etc has something to do about it.

Most people usually end up with various partners during life, each with its various upsides and downsides, great moments and lessons learned and, happy memories and regrets, etc.

But nope, that would be too boring to read all those relationships and maturing. Even older characters in stories only ever had one serious partner, and he/she either is still with them or died some time ago. There may be mentions of prostitutes for more extroverted characters, but usually it's just one person that really marks/marked them.

Then comes the standard story and that writing advice of just writing was relevant and important on the MC's life. So the hero sets up to destroy established and super powerful evil Empire that it's centuries or thousands of years old and that smashed any previous attempt of rebellion.
It would be too boring to go through decades of that, so he/she will do it in the span of a few days, or some weeks maximum.

During that, he/she will of course find the love of their lives, since finding that person it's a very relevant thing in their lives. In the first case, it's almost sure that they both are nice and that'll be love at first sight, but something will get in their way (shyness, social position, etc) but they'll be together by the end.

In the second case they both are repelled by each other and they pass most of the story arguing and etc. If MC is male, eventually he breaks the ice and conquers the girl. If MC is female, she'll find the hottest super Alpha around. Too bad he'll also be an extremely arrogant ass, and that will initially repel the female MC... but hey, it's the hottest Alpha around! After much pushing and pulling (usually through various volumes), eventually the Alpha will change his ways because of the girl.

Anyway, in a few days/weeks, Evil is defeated, heroes meet and marry and live happily ever after in perfection without any kind of problem and also while giving everyone else eternal peace and prosperity.
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Lady Ty on April 18, 2018, 12:20:22 AM
 First question I ask myself, when choosing a book. (http://youtu.be/uJixQ16L5zc)
Title: Re: Sex
Post by: Nighteyes on April 18, 2018, 01:32:33 PM
Yes please.