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Sex?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Iamfenian, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Chime85

    Chime85 Sage

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    I'm in the middle of the road on this one. I see no reason for putting them in, except for one reason. If they are important to the plot, they need to be in, if not, do not.

    To be honest, if a sex scene cannot be truly justified in both the scope of the writer and the reader, either leave it out entirely, or note card it with a "fade to black." It sounds lazy, but sex scenes are often a plot stopper, a fade to black caters for both the plot and the scene.
     
  2. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    The only reason I'd consider actually including a sex scene in my writing is if it actually serves a plot purpose -- say, for example, my lustful vampire finally gets to bed his long-time object of affections on their wedding night when she becomes his second wife, only to turn her into a vampire mid-coitus when his urges overtake him. Thus he's driven mad with grief and shame, and starts down the slippery slope toward craziness and all-around "I don't give a crap, I'mma feed from all the humans and have all the sex I want, cuz holding back hasn't done me a lick of good." (This actually happens, I just haven't written it out yet.)
     
  3. Jess A

    Jess A Archmage

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    I've only got one scene that comes close to a sex scene in my WIP (so far). I don't describe anything explicit, and the act isn't described either. But their thoughts and feelings are, and a bit of the lead up to it. It's plot specific so it's there, but I find no need to describe the act at all.

    I must note - I'm writing my book for a wide age group, with my main characters ranging from ages 16 to 50. I find this isn't uncommon in fantasy. Though I'm writing mostly for adults, I want it to be accessible to teenagers too - I read a lot of adult fantasy books as a child and I don't remember many explicit sex scenes. I'm not saying kids are naive, but I'm not sure I'd be happy with my 13-year-old reading explicit sex scenes :p
     
    Devora likes this.
  4. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Agreed ^^. I prefer sensuality to sexuality. I think most readers can use their imagination as to what happens anyway. Conveying of emotions and the energy between lovers can be done without going into great detail. Although there are times when a bit more is needed. I wrote a piece once about a young wife that had been taken advantage of by a friend of hers. It was a fade to black sort of thing after the readers were led to what was happening. Later on in the story, this woman's sexual relationship with her husband was of importance to the plot. The strain that such an event had on their physical relationship was definitely noted but it was more through hear say or the protagonist's thoughts. Part of the healing journey for her was being intimiate with her husband again but I didn't highlight the act. It was done through a conversation along with some making out...then fade to black again. But the readers had already captured everything she had gone through in between so writing of the act would perhaps have been fine...but I prefer to leave such details to the wonderful audience. :)
     
  5. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    Normally I don't think about target audiences whenever I write, but my mom has told me that if I ever manage to finish and publish anything, I would enjoy the most success among teenage boys. Certainly my own interests (namely sexy women and action) intersect the most with many adolescent males'. I wonder how they would feel about sex scenes?
     
  6. Nebuchadnezzar

    Nebuchadnezzar Troubadour

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    If I'm reading Iamfenian correctly, the point of the sex scene would not necessarily be plot driven but reader driven. I.e. 50 Shades is popular because its female readers liked the sex scenes and Iamfenian is hoping to tap in to that. I can't argue with that as a motivation and I think it can be a big driver behind romance novels, many of which are quite explicit nowadays when it comes to the bedroom scenes. I think there are some of the vampires books (Anita Blake?) that sell a lot because they're verging on (or are) erotica. I also understand it has alienated some of the author's fanbase as she has gotten more explicit over time.
     
  7. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    Focusing on the emotional angle is certainly valid, although a lot of authors who do that make the whole thing... weird. Like, I get that you don't want to go into the physical bits too much, but when you avoid them the whole scene just ends up reading like an acid trip instead of romantic intimacy. There's definitely a balance to be struck when you take that route. Or you could just write fantasy/erotica and have at it. The choice to cast Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit films has created a great demand that just isn't being filled... yet. ;) *

    * Please don't actually do this; I couldn't live with myself if I inspired a story that is to Tolkien as 50 Shades of Grey is to Twilight.
     
  8. Jess A

    Jess A Archmage

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    I always think of a target audience. I suppose that comes from being a journalist.

    On your book - as a book seller I would be inclined to put books like that (full of explicit sex) up on the top shelf and not in YA fiction.
     
  9. Jess A

    Jess A Archmage

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    Ugh I imagine it's too late for that - not just for The Hobbit but LOTR in general...

    In fact, if I recall, a friend of mine who was very into Orlando Bloom came across a LOTR fan-fiction that nearly scarred her for life.
     
  10. Chime85

    Chime85 Sage

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    In many ways, a sex scene can be seen as a lazy arc to throw two (or more) characters together. It is a band aid on what cn otherwise be a more emotional and observational relationship between characters. In fact, I'd personally go as far as to say most sex scenes in literature happen because the writer has painted themselves into a corner (we've all been there!.)

    Now, I am discounting romance novels of course. Speaking strictly to the fantasy bone of our writing, do sex scenes really drive the plot? By all means, sometimes, yes. But, the justification of such a scene dwindles in concern of character building and world design.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not prudish to scenes of an "adult" (I hate emphasized speech!) nature. However, unless it is adding to character, building the world or essentual to the plot, what's the damned point?
     
  11. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    The way to do that would be creating a story in which the sex becomes relevant. Storytelling is a lot like branding. If something doesn't match the message you're conveying, it hurts your message. Sex only sells if it fits.
     
  12. Androxine Vortex

    Androxine Vortex Archmage

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    I do not ever plan on involving any sex scenes in my books. It's just not a crucial element to my stories and I see no need for it. I never really was into the whole sex/affair/cheating scene that you see in a lot of books/shows/movies. I always hated it because I thought it was a distraction to the plot. Now I'm not going to write a novel and pretend that no one has any desires. I might mention a thing here or there or a character might note how attractive someone else is but most of my stories involve topics such as the redemption of fallen gods or the salvation of the human race, so I don't see how "he cheated on her" is going to spice things up.
     
  13. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

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    I see myself as something akin to a writer for a superhero movie. A good superhero movie may have fights that do nothing to make the story better--that is to say, if the movie cut to after the fight, the story would not suffer. However, a superhero movie should never have fights that make the story worse. If a fight breaks a character's established personality or pushes the story in a bad direction, that fight shouldn't be written, and I apply the same standard for my sex scenes. (This is a lesson I think Richard K. Morgan in particular has failed to learn, since he sometimes writes sex scenes that simply should not occur given the personalities involved.)
     
  14. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    If sex is really key to plot and character development especially, then I can see a hinting of sex or even a light skirt through it. Personally, I think sex scenes in literature belong in erotica or romance fiction...not necessarily fantasy. When most readers think fantasy, they think dragon, elves, mages, whatever, not something explicit. Everything has its place and sex is worth writing about yes...but I think many fantasy readers are not expecting sex in their hero tales. I think it also depends on the author and geared audience as stated in previous comments here. Does it fit the characters to let readers into their bedroom? Another thing to consider.
     
  15. I don't really use sex scenes - they usually don't suite the tone and style of what I write.
     
  16. The Dark One

    The Dark One Archmage

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  17. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    I, for one, do not believe in shutting the door on the reader's face. It's rude. I've always thought of the whole "fade to black" thing as lazy writing. You end up with...

    She woke in the morning, sunlight streaming through the curtains. Oh what a night! Her whole outlook on life had changed... blah blah I'm-too-Puritan-to-include-physical-intimancy-so-I'm-going-to-try-to-tell-rather-than-show.

    If it suits the development of the characters or the plot for sex to occur, then it will. Whether this happens on or off screen is going to depend on the needs of the story, of course, as I don't believe in gratuitious anything in story telling. But if the story calls for it, heck yeah those clothes are hitting the floor!

    And going back to the sex vs. violence thing. How is showing two (or more) people sharing loving, positive physical intimacy somehow "adult" and "taboo," while an act of physical violence be it beating one's wife or blowing someone's head off acceptable for mixed company? Case in point - I just watched a facinating series called "Warrior Graveyard." It depicts reanactments of long-ago battles based of forensic evidence. Great show, highly recommended for the writer. However, it is graphically violent. In one scene, an English marine is cut down by a French sailor with a cutlass blow to the face. The lower potion of his right mandible is sheared off by the force of the blow. The special effects guys have him lying on the ground, blood gushing from the gaping wound in his face, teeth exposed... and what is the rating on this? TV-14! Seriously?!?
     
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  18. Nebuchadnezzar

    Nebuchadnezzar Troubadour

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    Agreed, and I would argue that if e.g. you're writing non-YA vampire fiction you pretty much have to include explicit sex scenes, because that's one of the things the readership is looking for when they buy your book. If you're writing a typical fantasy novel or sci-fi in the Larry Niven vein, explicit sex scenes would be out of place.

    And again, if I'm interpreting Iamfenian correctly, they're looking to tap into the 50 Shades audience, which basically means they need to write a story that leads to an expectation among the readership of explicit (and possibly "deviant") sex. So essentially vampire or (some) werewolf fiction, or romance featuring incredibly wealthy, powerful and handsome young male characters.
     
  19. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I'm not sure whether my vampire novel will end up falling under the YA banner or not, and if it doesn't, I really don't want to add explicit sex scenes because someone says I "have" to. :/
     
  20. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    I don't think "fade to black" is being puritan or about shutting the door in the reader's face. If the author has moved the tale along to a point where a scene of intimacy is warranted, then they should go through with it. If there hasn't been a build up to sex then to suddenly place it in doesn't seem appropriate. I don't think violence in writing is better than sex. Its all part of life. Just like with anything else, things that happen in tbe story should fit the plot, etc. If the OP is writing a tale that warrants sex and the reader expects it to be so when he/she opens up that book, then there is nothing wrong with that.
     
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