Let’s talk about sex, baby
As writers, we should know more about our characters than we know about ourselves. We should know instinctively how they will react and what they will do. We need to know what they do when they see someone beating up a homeless man.
- Do they call the cops and keep their distance?
- Do they rush in fists swinging to save him?
- Do they walk past and pretend they don’t see it?
- Or do they make a video and post it on YouTube?
We also need to know how they act and react on a sexual level. Sometimes, we are too embarrassed to write a sex scene. Writing a sex scene is like jumping into a freezing pool. You stand on the edge for a moment, thinking about the wisdom of this decision before you jump. Once you hit the water your heart feels like it is going to seize and then it takes a moment for your brain to register that you are not going to die. Your limbs start moving and you realise this isn’t all bad.
Remember that the same rules apply to sex scenes as to any other scenes. The scene must have a goal, it must advance the story and it should increase the conflict. Don’t add a sex scene simply because you think it’ll increase sales.
There are also levels of description. You don’t have to write a scene that would make a seasoned prostitute blush. You can stop at the bedroom door and start again the morning after. Readers, contrary to popular belief, are not dumb and will understand without step-by-step instructions what is happening. That said, there are times that we need a bit more than that.
To help writers who are struggling, I thought I would look at different types of characters and their possible sexual quirks. Next week, I will write about six male archetypes and their sexual behaviour. The week after that, I will look at six female archetypes and their sexual proclivities.
Source for comic: Tom Gauld
by Mia Botha
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