Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Really Great Sex: A Writing Lesson

So an old friend and I were sharing an innuendo filled conversation recently, and it occurred to me that the KEY to really fabulous sex has been wavering and floating me around all this time. Really fabulous, mind-blowing sex is NOT about specific technique (oh sure, that can't hurt)--it's about KNOWING what your partner wants, or... more subtly...getting them to want what you have to offer. And the communication of what they want is NOT necessarily transferred right there on the spot, or, if you are ME, what you are going to end up with is GIGGLING sex, not mind-blowing sex. Boys seem to like all those naughty words... to me they are mostly a bit of ridiculum.

No, the REAL answer is to have been paying attention all ALONG to the kinds of things your partner likes... What hints are to be found in every day conversations? Do they linger over dessert or ravenously gorge? What are their visual stimulations? Aural? Audio? Is there anyplace you can TOUCH that sends shivers through them? Mostly though, talking about it and sharing when NOT engaged, and BOTHERING TO REMEMBER--what suggestive comments give them a happy blush? And then pulling all those cues into that big action sequence.


Doesn't that tickle your writing brain?

*cough* Just me then.

Anyway, I'm going to share it with you, because I'm kinky that way.



Sex and the Final Action Sequence.

So in order to have those things PULLED into the final sequence (PUSHED in, even--can we say THRUST? *giggles*--I warned you.), the communication and observation has to have happened already. There are TWO WAYS this can happen, and the effect of the two is different, but complimentary.


THE PIECES

This is the trail of information that, in the final action, can then be pulled in without a 'Deus ex machina' accusation. Does an earlobe nibble make his knees weak? Do they adore visual stimulation? (leave the lights on) Literarily... Nobody previously UNintroduced should have a pivotal role.  No OBJECT or EVENT without history comes in here.  The ACTION can be fresh, but the props and participants cannot (use only what you have good reason to think your partner might enjoy).  If there is a sister given up for adoption that is going to donate the kidney, this CAN'T be the first time we have AT LEAST gotten a hint about it. Since it is the series I am most familiar with, let me pull a couple Harry Potter examples.

JK Rowling is a master at mentioning an idea that will matter later in the most casual of way—she repeats ideas, upping the role... things like polyjuice potion, or the room of requirement. Dragons in Gringots are mentioned in the Sorcerer's Stone... and FINALLY come into play in Deathly Hallows. Goblin distrust of wizards is discussed in detail in Order of the Phoenix... (as is the Goblin parallel to Swizerland and their role in cutlery, time pieces and dairy products *shifty*) Deathly Hallow payoff. The WHOLE BOOK of Chamber of Secrets lays the groundwork for books 6 and 7.

These hints should register on emotional, sensory, and cerebral levels, though the first can be taken care of if you've just made people CARE about the characters and the second can lead to the third... something observed can lead to a clue clicked into place.


And THEN, there is SWEET ANTICIPATION

This is the hint of what is GOING to happen... in real life, it might be a whisper at the restaurant, or a flash of your sexiest lingerie. Maybe it is as obvious as a phone call saying, “I'm on my way!” or as subtle as a smoldering look across a crowded room. In literature, this is foreshadowing. I prefer the variety that AFTER the fact you can spot, but BEFORE, it doesn't help you guess.

So in action and in... action... start paying attention, picking up and dropping clues, and thinking about how the audience is going to want to be tempted prior... and for the ACTUAL event, bring it all to the table...

So there.


Along those lines, I got an award yesterday from Alex Cavanaugh that has a related theme.

Imagine the world was ending when the Mayan's predict, December 21, 2012... What would you do between now and then?

1)  Edit my books that are done but not clean, so I can share them with pride.

2)  Go on the FANCY SCHMANCY version of the book tour, in spite of it being a bad investment.

3)  Quit my job in June of 2012 to spend the last 6 months with friends and family in my beloved Pacific Northwest. (if the house sells, go sooner)

4)  Write my grandpa's story. Never mind it would probably never be read. It is something I need to do.

5)  Eat all the things I enjoy, drink what I like, and shoot all that foreshadowing and plotting into my sex life.

6)  Laugh A LOT--I have a few lifetime reliable laugh-makers and i would definitely fit them in.

7)  Read all the Harry Potter books again, as... in this life, those have had the biggest effect, and I am pretty sure I could summon a group of people I truly love to read them with me to relive the anticipation... MAN that was a good time.

And I am going to pass this on to:  Ted Cross because much of what I mentioned above was driven home by how well he did it with a significant section of his book, and RaShelle Workman for being a superstar commenter and to Leigh Moore, my most recent kindred spirit!

34 comments:

cassandrajade said...

Some really good advice in this post. I loved how you explained J.K's use of foreshadowing. It was one of the plot elements that I really enjoyed while reading the series - to the point where I continually went back to find the first time something had been mentioned.
Thanks for sharing a great post.

M.J. Nicholls said...

It's easy to titillate but harder to write a scene of dignified coital pleasure between two mortals. I like describing things in a very mechnical way, as usually my characters are sexually incompetent, which is not something I draw from experience by the way, oh no, no way, never, well, maybe.

Cold As Heaven said...

Sex is easy enough to do, but very difficult to write, in a good and elegant way. I enjoy the writing of good old Marquis de Sade, but his style is probably not something we want to copy in the 21st century. Henry Miller is also fairly good.

In my own writing I often stop at the point where the action starts, and leave the rest to the imagination, to avoid all the over-used cliches, and because I'm not able to come up with something better >:)

Cold As Heaven

Ted Cross said...

Aw shucks, Tart!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Foreshadowing=anticipation--you've nailed it!

I think you should do all 7 things on your list. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Damn, Hart! Now I want sex.

Jan Morrison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jan Morrison said...

I love this sex analogy - it is right on, durango (sorry I'm stuck in the sixties today). As to what I would get up to on the end of days - well first of all - the world is ending on my 61st birthday. Jeesh! So I plan on a party. A party that takes a year. And is in the Italian riviera and has lots of chocolate, good wine, scotch, gorgeous food and swimming. I will, of course, practice daily as well. Will I write - probably as I always do but it might be more of journaling than fictioning. And I will laugh quite a bit and practice my foreshadowing anticipation techniques with sweet patootie. Yep, that oughta do it. Jan Morrison

Old Kitty said...

Congratulations with your End of Days Award!!! I loved how you will your last days - cavorting and indulging AND writing! Brilliant!!

Take care
x

Clarissa Draper said...

YOur title really enticed me to read the post. Wonderful job at relating sex to writing. Also, congrats on the award. I would do similar things with time ending.
CD

Deb and Barbara said...

A little "two steps forward, one step back" also works quite well in sex and writing...
B

Hart Johnson said...

Wow! Being on vacation and all, I'm just getting up, but somebody tweeted me, and i've had a lot of hits, considering it is totally pre-promotion on my end. So to whoever did that--THANK YOU!

As for writing sex... yes... that can be hard. I ALWAYS write it from inside somebody's head and focus on the emotion and sensation, rather than mechanics--but more often, I close the door and leave it to the imagination.

Cassandra-thanks! Hope it isn't blasphemous to focus on Harry is a sex-focused post *snort*--though I think JKR would appreciate it--I have channeled her before *cough*

Mark-I'm sure you have NO IDEA what awkward sex is like. I imagine you are a veritable sex kitten.

CaH-I haven't read either of those, but I do tend to prefer the older styles, where sex is the topic.

Ted- you're welcome!

Jan, I knew you'd see it similarly! And FABULOUS to have a whole year party starting and ending on your birthday! I will try to get to my 7...

OK--thank you! I don't REALLY like contemplating the end of time (nor do I believe it, really) but it is fun to put a list together.

Clarissa-Thank you! Yeah... provoking titles wouldn't work every day, but if you throw one in now and then, it can bring in the masses (though I think I offended a follower--which I think means they didn't READ the darned thing, so makes me sad, but clearly it would have been someone who doesn't get me anyway.

Barbara--VERY TRUE! That one has to be careful in writing, because I can get frustrated when characters act bone-headed, but it is a GREAT thing to shoot for.

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

((hugs)) Oh, how I have missed your blogs and how you can relate anything to anything. Yes, foreshadow=anticipation much like foreplay. Loved all your examples and strangely Harry Potter fit well in this post titled Really Great Sex...only you my dear.
Congrats on the award and love the list of final days, but lets hope it doesn't come to that ;) And you just do that stuff cause ya wanna and not cause the Mayans were on to somethin'

Boonsong said...

What a delightful analogy, but unfortunately I can't apply it my writing, because....
our sex life involves Mrs S clubbing me over the head with a blunt instrument and then having her way with me whilst I'm unable to resist. So my plot would be comatose and my final action scene would be one of me wondering why I didn't wake up earlier.

Have a good day, Boonsong

Talli Roland said...

Great tips! I've never tried to write a full-on sex scene. But if I did, I'd come back here for your advice!

Helena said...

Congrats on the award AND on so sensibly linking foreshadowing/ anticipation with sex. I've found there are two rules when it comes to writing about sex: 1) It's impossible to be original, and 2) It's impossible to keep a straight face.

Hart Johnson said...

Erica *snort* Yeah, I'm bendy that way... And YES--no world end! And I DO wanna do that stuff. I wish I had a sugar daddy. Then I just WOULD. Or a best seller... a best seller would be better than a sugar daddy, unless the sugar daddy danced like I like...

Boonsong *snicker* Oh my poor, taken-advantage-of friend. I'm sure it's JUST like that.

Talli-Sadly, most of the sex scenes I've written have had components of violence -- not sure why I don't write HAPPY sex more often. Uh oh. I am wondering if I need therapy now...

Helena-I SO hear you about the straight face! I've seen some original--My friend the Bed Wench in my side bar does a fantastic job with erotica, but MOST other stuff I've seen, I'm convinced is written by virgins. You can't REACH both of those at the same time!

Cheeseboy said...

I think that if I were to write about sex it would be unintentionally funny and no one wants that. Come to think about it, maybe I should write about sex?

I won that award from Alex too! Congrats. I need to get bloggin'.

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

Foreshowing is key. I adore authors that pull it off just like you said. Didn’t see it beforehand but it was so obvious afterwards.

Hart Johnson said...

Cheeseboy-I thought you always wrote about sex? Have I been misreading you all this time? *shifty* Yeah--I go for intentionally funny to avoid unintentionally funny... unless I go for violent, I mean... that's not funny.

Holly EXACTLY! I love that! The MAN, I should have seen that coming!

Tessa Conte said...

LOL I cannot believe you managed to relate Harry Potter to writing sex scenes! You're SO COOL!!

RaShelle said...

Hey Hart - Sex, and foreshadowing, and Harry Potter! Oh, my!
Fantastic.

And thank you so much for my award!!!! Your list sounds like a lot of fun. Vacation. Reading. Enjoying yourself. *sigh* =D

LTM said...

So I drag in from the long drive taking the little ladies to vist their adoring g'rents and find a message that I've won an award...

You can imagine WHAT (tha hay?) I was wondering before I got to the end of this post... LOL!!!

Yes, I have been wrestling with the "clean teen" debate. It's true. ;p j/k

Very nice. Thank you, thank you very much. And it's true we share many traits. I also giggle during sexy sexy talk. But so does JRM, so we're cool.

And I'm sure this is also because I saw that swallow flying with a coconut the other day whilest I was jogging...

RosieC said...

Buffy!! :)

RosieC said...

Really, that deserved it's own comment.

I savored your luscious comparison between sex and craft. Your post is swollen with flirtatious advice to turn your reader on... to the ending.

Yeah, I'm not doing so well with the double entendre. It happens to a lot of guys every now and then. Doesn't it?

Worth repeating: BUFFY! Mmmm... Spike...

Hart Johnson said...

Tessa-teehee--me being bendy... I try to keep up the flexibility.

RaShelle--thank you and you're welcome! And yes--fabulous to have some vacation time!

Leigh--helps to have your partner on the same page! *snorts at coconut laden swallow*

Rosie--I ADORE Buffy. Then again I was a Sarah Michelle Gellar fan from her days on All My CHildren, but Buffy did a great job of justifying their sympathetic vampires, which is more than most of the genre does-- plus, I love women who kick butt. (and yeah... Angel and Spike... HOTNESS)

Lisa said...

It's a great analogy! And you're right - one of the reasons I so adore reading the Harry Potter series is because of that build up and crescendo.

These are great things to apply as I do revisions. Thank you for that.

Geof said...

Geez. I JUST realized I have not been officially following you and I apologize. I have rectified that issue. Now speaking of rectification, I want to give you some credit for the interesting post you just wrote, filled with sexual themes. Bravo HJ!

Hart Johnson said...

Lisa--jumping on the revision train myself, so ABSOLUTELY! (and JKRowling is my queen!)

Geof--I do that all the time! No harm, no foul, and welcome to the following! I like my sexual themes around here... typically in as twisty a way as I can get away with.

davidbdale said...

So I have to learn to make readers want my short, flaccid, somewhat misshapen prose?

John M. Poindexter said...

So that's what I need to know.

It has been so long since I last had it, I had forgotten all about the "Really fabulous, mind-blowing sex".

Thanks great artiole

Hart Johnson said...

David-you made me cackle. That's always good.

John-I think it's been too long for EVERYONE because we'd all like it all the time, but I hear you... my sex life in writing is really much more interesting than the real thing.

kimberlyloomis said...

O.M.G. Your analogy is dead on. It also has me thinking of some rather non-literary things which I will NOT share here.

Since you seem to be a HP expert... Since so much rested upon this pivotal book "Tales of Beedle the Bard" where did JK mention it before Book 7? That's always bugged me and, ultimately, why I pretty much hated Deathly Hallows.

Hart Johnson said...

kimberly-I admit to some issues with Tales of Beedle the Bard, too. I think as a mechanism it was an answer that came late that solved several unanswered problems. I am all for something that solves a lot of things at once, but with the EARLIER books, all those things could be edited in, as the production wasn't so far ahead of the writing of later stuff... by that point, the production had caught up.