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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Adding Steam to Your Love Scenes – Lesson #4

One cannot write a good story without some good research or some first hand knowledge. This week we go over some books that a writer needs in their bookshelf for writing great love scenes.

Get some good research material.

It is always important for a writer to know where to get good research material. And the best place to start doing your research today would be the internet. It is an invaluable resource that you can use from the privacy of your own home. I can tell you that I would have been mortified at first when I started doing research for erotic romance. But being able to look for books on line was a different matter.

The first thing to do is to know what you are trying to research. Once you have honed in on a subject the next thing would be to compile a list of websites and from those websites a list of books.

Good research books are invaluable.

There are certain books that a writer must always keep on hand. Find yourself a good English rule book. I personally use Diana Hacker’s A Writer’s Reference. She also has an electronic version. She continually updates the book and makes it better each time it comes out. I have a very old version.

Another book to have is The Chicago Manual of Style. While this many be more geared toward the college student, one can always find something of interest in this books. What the first book doesn’t have, this one will.

If you are writing for a specific genre, there will be a ton of genre related books on the subject. Writer’s Digest books have some of the best known genre books out there and their Writer’s Basic Bookshelf is a must for any beginner.

Another two books I have on my shelves are The Romance Writer’s Phrase Book and The Millennium Phase Book. These books are great when you are stuck and can’t think of a term you need. They also help when you need a little push in the right direction but just can’t put the words together.

Now for writing love scenes, there are some very special books to look for which will help add steam to your scenes. One would such book is the Sexicon. It is the end all book on sexual terms. It has everything you’ve ever thought of and many of those things you haven’t.

For writing tamer scenes, The Idiot’s Guide to Getting Your Romance Published and Writing Romance are the best two I’ve read in recent years. I don’t know if any of you have ever purchased the Idiot books and I have to admit at first I was reluctant, after all who wants to be viewed as an idiot? BUT I found some new information in there and was really surprised when I got this book.

Now one thing I think important on any sensuality level are picture books. The three books I have on my desk, and yes they are in plain sight, are the Kama Sutra, Ultimate Sex and The Better Sex Guide. These will help you visualize if a position is even possible and they will help overcome any fear you have about writing physical contact scenes. First, I didn’t know that there is a name for every sexual position and I’ll bet you didn’t either. The rest of the world does not view sex the same way we do in America. Part of what we have to do is to get over any of our inhibitions regarding the sexual act. These books will help you do that because these are not porn books but are books where the sex act is brought to life in a positive, loving way. If an author feels that sex is dirty, it will show in their writing. Sex always, no matter at what level, needs to be portrayed in a positive manner.

All these books are easily found on Amazon by just typing the name in their search engine.


1. Pick a research topic and give five website references concerning that topic.
2. Give me a list of ten research books. Pick five and tell me why they would be good research books in your opinion.

You can post your exercise here for everyone to see, or you can send it to me privately at Please leave me a comment so I know you’ve been here to visit. And have fun!

Until next week…



Pan Historia said...

Don't forget imagination! I like to visualize the best encounters I have had, and then to add the spice what would have made them even better.

Celia Jade said...

Love or sex scenes might be just about the most difficult or challenging to write sometimes. I speak from my own experience as I often edit and polish mine several times before I'm happy with them.

I find it is helpful to be in the mood to write sex scenes--not much different than being in the mood for sex, lol. Apart from that, try setting the mood with candles and dimmer light. If music helps, go ahead...anything to get you in the mood.

And the more I read from all kinds of sources, the more potent my writing--in general but specifically for the intimate scenes. And authors shouldn't feel they might be 'stealing' material because they aren't. It's just injesting ideas, words, phrases, styles that get stored in your creative mind and eventually become part of your individual style. Don't limit yourself to romance books or fiction.


Lynn Crain said...

You're right, Pan. Visualization is good.

For me, things usually run through my head like a movie. Sometimes it gets stuck and I have to figure out how to move things forward.


Lynn Crain said...

Good points, Celia.

Mood is very, very important. There have been times when I've put aside the love scene because I'm not in the mood to do it justice. I'll put in a few key phrases and go on. I'll come back to it when I am better suited to write it well.


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