1. thenexlevel
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    thenexlevel New Member

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    General Question about Sex Scenes in a Mystery/Suspense Novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by thenexlevel, Apr 25, 2013.

    Hey guys,

    I grew up reading mystery/suspense novels and i'm attempting to write my first book within this genre. I have a general question about sex scenes...I'm not sure how far to take it or to leave it out all together. The main characters in the story are young adults in their 20s and about half way in the book they are in their hot and heavy stage where they are getting it on quite often. I write out the scenes in detail rather than glance over them and i'm afraid it doesn't really fit with the type of book i'm writing. As for the sex scenes, they are not as elaborate or have as much description as an erotica novel but they do compare with the scenes within 50 shades of grey. I'm trying to cater this book to both males and females.

    My wife tells me that she feels its weird that a man is writing descriptive sex scenes...she says its ok for women but not men. I know that's her opinion but somehow I feel she has a point. There are several unique things i'm trying to incorporate within this book and the sex is part of that uniqueness. But is it going to alienate my readers?

    Any advice for me about this?
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is an area fraught with peril for many writers. You really have to do what feels right for you and the story. I'm a little concerned that you've indicated they're FSOG-like. A book I've found useful is called The Joy of Writing Sex, which is about writing sex scenes in literary fiction.

    I highly suggest you google the Bad Sex in Fiction awards, awarded each fall. There are great examples about where folks go wrong, including some very well-respected and best-selling authors. You'll find a lot of information on this.

    Although many people say women are better at writing sex, because they're able to focus on the thoughts and feelings more than the actual act itself, this doesn't mean that men can't write them or that an author should not merely because he is a man. It depends on the story, not so much the gender of the author.
     
  3. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    you need to research this site for threads on sex scenes - there are many.

    What are you afraid of? Being too explicit?

    Who is your target audience? The 50 Shades Bregade? Ot the old woman's catholic society?

    These are questions you need to answer before we can help :)
     
  4. thenexlevel
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    thenexlevel New Member

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    Thanks for the tips...I will definitively take a look. I have tried to focus on thoughts and feelings through dialog but i'm not sure if that is enough. I'll have to revisit the scenes again and see if I can add to them.
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I too am writing my first mystery novel, being a huge fan of the genre. It's a difficult call. If sex scenes feel natural, add to the story somehow and are well written, they are perfectly fine. I can write sex quite well, so I too have sex scenes, but in crime fiction I use them for something - to add tension, to introduce darker shades of personality, to foreshadow a later event. The sex scenes in crime novels shouldn't be overtly descriptive for the simple reason of it being incongruous with all the violence and death (or in poor taste if they are overt within this genre). However, they can add a balance to the novel. I am excluding descriptions of sexual violence which fits better with the genre but again, needs to be treated with respect and survivors of such violence in mind (just my opinion).

    As for your wife's opinion, it could be that you just didn't make it work well enough? I don't think men shouldn't write sex, that's just not true.
     
  6. thenexlevel
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    thenexlevel New Member

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    My target audience is young adults to middle age readers. This book isn't really for teens or the elderly. Since i'm trying to appeal to both male and females, I done a few things to try to appeal to both.

    First thing is the narration of the characters. I wrote the main female character in first person present tense and the main male character along with side characters in third person past tense. I wanted to female readers to be able to relate more to the character in terms of her feelings and thoughts. To be honest this has been very challenging, it is hard to write as a woman and also in first person for me. I wrote the other characters in third person because i'm able to share their experiences and surroundings better. The chapters alternate between the characters so it never has both first person and third person narration together.

    Second thing is the storyline. It's actually about tournament computer gaming in South Korea. I know most people look at it and instantly think this has to be meant for guys but I tried to leave out all the little details about gaming and tried to focus on the characters (past issues, current conflicts, love story). The current conflict is what gets the two together.

    Now the love story part is what i'm getting hung up on because I wrote them pretty descriptively hoping that it'll keep the woman readers interested. Although I did try to leave out the details about the tournament gaming, the overall plot still relates and I'm not sure woman really cares.

    Sorry that's a lot of info, does that help? I guess I'm asking because unlike a book like 50 shades or any other romantic novel where the basic premise is focused on sex, my book is not. The sex I feel does add to the character development especially when the two characters becomes a couple but does not really relate to the bigger storyline and how to resolve it.
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd be careful with this statement. It may not be for teens, but "the elderly?" They usually know quite a bit about sex. You're not going to offend their delicate sensibilities.

    I think you're going about this wrong. There must be a reason you're setting it in the South Korean tournament computer gaming world. Tell us all about that. Little details will add to the realism and will make the story more believable and interesting, if done correctly.

    DON'T - let me repeat, DO NOT put in a plot point or scene because you think it will appeal to some additional segment of readers. Put it in because you want to, and it advances the story and makes the novel more complete. Not everyone is going to like your story. But trying to please everyone will make almost no one like it. Just write the best story you can. A woman reader will care about your gaming story if you make it compelling. Women readers aren't reading for sex scenes -- well, some may be but they're going to buy erotica, not a lit fic or mystery novel.
     
  8. thenexlevel
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    thenexlevel New Member

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    I included the elderly because I don't think that tournament gaming would be something they would be interested in reading, not because of the sex. I should have explained that better. My bad. Of course I can be wrong.

    The storyline focuses on huge gaming phenomenon that only occurs in South Korea where playing the game Starcraft is considered a national sport. Professional sports teams are formed of teens and young adults that compete in tournaments for big money. Pros make 200-300k a year competing.

    My book focuses on an american ex-gamer living on the streets of south korea and on a college student who waitresses at a popular internet cafe. The story follows Nick the ex-gamer and shows how his life have dramatically changed in the last three years and how he is turning it around. Kim the college student waitress looking to earn more money gets herself tied in with the mob who owns a professional team. Through their lives they meet and set to help each other out.
     
  9. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is your story, and it doesn't sound half-bad. I'd read it and I'm female. Just make sure you get your characters to come alive. Really present them as separate people, with different hopes, dreams, worries etc.
    And like chicagoliz said, don't write it to please anyone. Just write the best damn story you can and the rest will follow.
     
  10. thenexlevel
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    thenexlevel New Member

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    Thanks. I believe I got the answers I was looking for. I think the descriptive sex was my way of trying to lure more women readers. I think i'm going to revisit the scenes and go with the 'less is more' approach and concentrate more on emotions and feelings.
     
  11. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Jazz -- your story sounds very interesting. I had no idea such a competition existed. My favorite novels are those that teach me about something I didn't know anything about previously. If you convey the environment of this competition and the atmosphere of South Korea, you could have something really good. Fantasize about being that novel everyone wants to copy -- oh, another story about the South Korean gaming world? ;-)
     

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