1. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Heat level

    Discussion in 'Romance Forums' started by Tenderiser, Dec 24, 2017.

    I'm working on revisions for an editor. One of the things she asked for was for me to up the heat level - worth noting she's the editor in charge of the publisher's erotic category line, although my manuscript was subbed to the general contemporary romance line. I assume she prefers her romances hot.

    I don't shy away from sex scenes but I usually only include one or two per book - typically the first time the MCs bonk, and then maybe another later on. @BayView gave me some great advice about upping the heat level, but now I'm actually making the changes, I'm getting all neurotic that I'm either going to add too much or too little.

    One of the things Bay suggested was getting sex in earlier, as well as more of it. I can't really get the MCs humping any earlier than they are (Chapter 15 of 31). So, with my revisions, there will be:

    - A hot dancing scene in Chapter 7 of 31 in with erections and fantasies of fingers disappearing into clothes etc. Nothing sexual actually happens, besides a bit of grinding on the dance floor.

    - A near-miss between the MCs in Chapter 13 that ends with the MC masturbating while she imagines him.

    - An actual sex scene in Chapter 15.

    - Another in Chapter 17.

    - Maybe a short one in Chapter 20...?

    - One in Chapter 27. Can't really be any between 20-27 because the MCs have ended their affair.

    Is this sounding too much? Okay for erotic romance?

    I guess my other option is to have fewer sex scenes but make them hotter with kink or something... but the only kink I feel comfortable writing is light BDSM and I'm *so* over that trend.

    Any advice? Pats on the head? @Wreybies @CoyoteKing @Trish @Laurin Kelly
     
  2. Trish

    Trish Damned if I do and damned if I don't Contributor

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    Sounds fine to me. Definitely not too much. You could do more for erotic romance, I don't think you're anywhere near the line. Doesn't sound like too little either. You can up the ante just by making one character notice things like lips when the other one is talking, or imagining how their hands would feel on their body while they're doing something mundane. The lips one is great because they're presumably talking to them, so then you've got the flustered "I'm sorry... what?" and such.

    Are you worried about anything specific?
     
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  3. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Just the amount of sex, really. I get bored with sex scenes as a reader so I'm generally uncomfortable with the whole add-lots-of-sex thing, and it's making me feel clueless about it all.

    There's a lot of noticing-body-parts, so that's good. :D
     
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  4. Trish

    Trish Damned if I do and damned if I don't Contributor

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    I think you're probably good :D
     
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  5. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    It sounds about right to me - I usually have 4-6 sex scenes in a novel-length romance.

    I like the idea of dancing as foreplay; I had a hand caressing/holding scene in UTK that served much the same purpose, and it was called out in more than one review as being extremely sexy and hot. Masturbating while fantasizing is a scene I use often so I think you're on the right track there. Is this a contemporary setting? If so, any chance for phone/cyber sex?

    Not knowing what Bay's input was, is the editor's feedback just about the amount of sex, or are they also concerned about how explicitly the scenes are written?
     
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  6. Trish

    Trish Damned if I do and damned if I don't Contributor

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    I will say though, I understand the clueless thing. I try to think about when a relationship is new and you just can't keep your hands off each other. In those terms... nothing is off limits.
     
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  7. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I agree that you can do a lot with the noticing-and-thinking-about stuff. I don't think heat has to equate to actual sex scenes, at least not automatically.
     
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  8. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    It is contemporary and they are in a secret relationship (the heroine falls in love with her BFF's father, but the BFF wants his parents to get back together after their divorce). Phone sex is a great idea!

    This is an R&R rather than post-acceptance revisions, so I only have vague feedback to work with. The editor said she loves the taboo but thinks it would work better as an erotic romance, and "the heat level isn't there yet." I think the one full sex scene in the original version was very explicit - as much as vanilla sex can be, anyway.
     
  9. Trish

    Trish Damned if I do and damned if I don't Contributor

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    How vanilla? Just moving it from the bedroom to up against a wall can up the heat level significantly.
     
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  10. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    Agreed! One thing I love to write and read in sex scenes is anything that indicates that the people involved are overwhelmed with and unable to contain their desire for each other. Up against the wall, on the floor, bent over a desk...oh yeah baby. ;) One of the best critiques I've gotten on a sex scene (an M/M/F 3-way) from a beta reader (who herself is IMO a master of smut) was that they loved how absolutely uninhibited the characters were during the scene.
     
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  11. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Very vanilla, but up against the wall wouldn't work for this particular scene.

    The next one I'm planning is bent over the kitchen counter, though!
     
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  12. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    That's the spirit!
     
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  13. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing Good Boi Contributor

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    I agree with what all the others have said— if you ramp up the sexual tension, that will make the whole thing hotter even without increasing the number of actual sex scenes.

    I really like the dancing scene thing. It sounds like it’s pretty much foreplay for the later scenes.

    +1 what Trish said about the wall thing.

    My only concern would be— you’ve got a dancing scene, a masturbation scene, then four sex scenes. I feel like four sex scenes that close together could get repetitive? That’s just my feeling, though.

    My only recommendation (without reading the book) would be... drag it out. The first sex scene is just fingering/touching, second is oral sex, third is penetrative sex. That kind of thing. Hold something back each time, ramp up the sexual tension. The reader should be eagerly looking forward to the next steamy part.
     
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  14. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    That's my fear. :supercry:

    The MCs are only having sex between Chapters 15 and 20, which is kinda limiting. 1-14 have a *lot* of fantasising and sexual tension, but I can't have any actual sex. It's a toughie.
     
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  15. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing Good Boi Contributor

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    That actually sounds great to me.

    “Can’t” as in the story hasn’t progressed far enough, or “can’t” as in “I want you but can’t have you”?
     
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  16. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I very much agree with mixing it up so it's not just PIV sex each time, because yeah, that could come off as perfunctory. Fingering/oral especially works well if there's a narrative reason why full on intercourse isn't an option - lack of time, space, privacy, etc. I also happen to find intercrural or other non-penetrative sex super sexy if say, they don't have a condom but still have a white-hot need to get down with the naughty stuff.
     
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  17. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Bit of both, mostly the latter. It's all from the heroine's POV and she's attracted to the hero the moment she meets him in chapter 2.
     
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  18. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing Good Boi Contributor

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    Umfph. That sounds good.

    I like it when the MCs are like, "We'll do just this, it doesn't count." It's like eating one potato chip. It's just a taste, and then you need more.

    Like-- after the dance, she's all worked up. He's all worked up, too. She's not supposed to be attracted to him; it's taboo. She goes outside to get a breath of air. She slips her hand down her pants to get off real quick. She's already almost there, it'll only take a minute. She's so worked up already. Then... he stumbles upon her. They're both a little drunk. He offers to help her out. Thinking she'll say no, obviously, and once she rejects him, he can go nurse his pride in peace. He can't actually fool around with her, after all.

    But then she says yes. She's feeling daring. Everyone is supposed to have a little daring romance in their lives, right? This can just be one little mistake. One time.

    So he slides his hand down her pants, and she's trying to be quiet while they're out in public. She's got her hand over her own mouth, trying not to whine. She's breathing hard through her nose.

    It's just a little touching. They aren't having sex. They're both a little drunk. In the morning, they can brush it off as nothing, right? And the whole time, his his arm is around her waist, and...

    Now I want to write a sex scene.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
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  19. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Dear god you guys, I'm so bored of writing sex scenes.

    And it doesn't feel like I've added enough. :supercry:
     
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  21. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    See!!! See!!! Sex scenes are bad and stupid!!!

    You're gonna come around sooner or later and start writing low-smut stuff like me!
     
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  22. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing Good Boi Contributor

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    I wish writers could just collaborate.

    Like-- somebody writes the sexy bits, someone else writes the romantic bits, somebody else writes the murdery bits.

    A friend of mine-- she just wrote a fucking amazing book, love it to pieces. Her query game is weak, though, very weak. I wish I could just write it for her sometimes.
     
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  23. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I'm IN. I would contract out all my big plotty parts and the sex scenes and just come along and insert in the character development and banter and be happy as a clam!
     
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  24. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I'm starting to think again about hanging out my shingle - how much could I charge for pornifying other writer's works? Like, $0.02 per word for regular smut and $0.05 per word for the kinky shit? :p
     
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  25. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I'll write the dialogue if someone does all the boring connecty bits.

    Also, someone else can do the antagonist. I write terrible antagonists.

    So, I finished my revisions. I resorted to sexy vegetables for the last sex scene, just to change it up. I hasten to add that none of them entered anybody's person.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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