Style vs Immersion for romance scenes

Hello all! This is my first topic-post, wee!!

I need help, opinions, suggestions, because I’m writing romance for the first time.

Romance is one of many facets of the story, alongside adventure, fantasy, and mystery. My writing style tends to be rather poetic (?) or prose-y, and this works fine when describing a landscape or the character’s internal narrative. I worry however that with romance scenes the writing style will get in the way of the immersion and heat that I want to inspire in the reader. In my first R scene I’m aiming for smut, but in its freshman year and with no actual sex quite yet. I’ve read a bunch of smut (you know, for research) and there are a lot of different styles. Some are less immersive and less hot than others, IMHO.

What distracts you when you’re trying to get into a smut scene?

Hello hello! This was a topic that just got addressed today I think. I hope it helps:

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Thanks for the link! I did a search and there were plenty of results; the linked thread is from a week ago with recent replies, but I guess they didn’t match my search words. I’ll check this out as well.

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I have read an excellent smut scene from Just One Day by Gayle Forman, it’s not exactly sex but I think that’s what you want. She set up an atmosphere first by letting the two have a deep conversation, and their location is in a dark secret art studio in the middle of the night in Paris. Then she focused on actions and added one paragraph of the MC’s thoughts, like only one paragraph. The rest are actions and lastly she ends with dialogues. Avoid too many inner thoughts of the characters and I normally am not a fan when people describe their faces, it’s overused sometimes

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For sure! And just for my input:

I don’t like hearing about how the sex actually goes. I’m more into the feelings and subtle intimacies. I don’t care if he thrusts so deep he puts her low back into her shoulders – I care about the words whispered, the sensations being evoked, and the feelings they have during sex. Especially if it’s sex between two people that have feelings for each other and in love. Of course, having the physical details of the act is important to set the scene for the emotions, but since you tend to write in pros (I do too, and rather than write smut, I would consider it borderline R rated and PG-13 cause I don’t care to talk about a guys donger going in since everyone already knows how it goes) its actually really fun to write :slight_smile:

(Note: I think I’ve written 3 smut scenes in my life and they were actually the funnest thing to do HAHA. But they were for Star Wars and Harry Potter fanfics)

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Thanks, this is helpful. I’m seeing that my first draft has actions and inner thoughts interspersed, maybe that’s my problem.

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Well, it really depends on if you’re writing in first person or third person. That changes what distracts me. Which one will yours be in?

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Lol her poor back, hopefully there’s a medical droid nearby.

You’re right about adding in what they say to each other. Sometimes it’s hard to analyze my own reading experience, but I realize now that when a sex scene doesn’t have any talking or mentions of audible reactions I am way less piqued.

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Third person. A whole other world than first person, I know.

Okay, I was going to say that the poetic, flowery language is distracting to me in first because it never feels genuine, but it doesn’t bother me nearly as much in third.

Other than that, the focus on the actual actions is what distracts me the most. I think I participated in that thread linked above and said the same thing :joy: but their emotions and how they feel about each other is the most important thing to get across. Not the action of having sex.

Other than that, awkward dirty talk that sounds like it came straight out of a low-budget porn film. Too many dialogue tags, which is true for any kind of scene but I see it so much in smut scenes - “she moaned”, “she screamed”, “he grunted”. Both the official names for body parts but also, weird creepy words used in place of body parts :joy:

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So metaphors like “stoking the fire of his lust” isn’t too much, when paired with an action? It feels so cliché and then I remind myself what I’m writing about…

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Eh… hahah it’s hard to say without reading the scene. It sounds a little funny, but then again, taking any line from a smut scene out of context is most likely going to sound a little funny :joy:

I don’t like when people get too creative with body parts. Like heat and length is all good, but ‘quivering womanhood’ slows my roll. On the same coin, unless the book is inheritly graphic, using obscene wording is difficult to read cause I feel like it’s a sudden change.

Romance is difficult for this reason. Lol

I do however love poetic writing. For instance, The Great Gatsby. Very dramatic and poetic. Extra, you might say.

Sorry I’m of no real help! Lol

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For me, it comes down to context. How does the smut move the story along? How does it change the characters? If they leave the smut the same way as when they went in, I’m always like, “What was the point of that?”

Also, I find the language has to fit the mood when I write smut. Short, clipped, noun and verb sentences for hardcore stuff and longer, more adjective and metaphor filled sentences for the more tender scenes. Bear in mind, the scene can switch. If it does, the language switches with it.

But, I think the bottom line for me is always “Do I care about these characters and do I want to know what happens next?” If the answers are yes and a scene deepens that then I’m good. If it doesn’t then the scene is the equivalent of a smut scene with only one person, wink, wink.

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Ty- mindless sex in books, for me? Boring. Unless the character is having it for a reason- Like they’re troubled or commitment phobes etc. Then it’s a character arc.

Exactly. Like with anything, if it doesn’t move the plot it’s gotta go.

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I tend to write Chekhov’s gun’y too!

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I’m the same way. Especially with “little” details.

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Yasssssssss

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We seem to be on the same page with a few things. If you ever want to talk writing feel free to DM me, I don’t want to clog up this thread. If not, no sweat.

@ASCharleston

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