Friday, November 11, 2011

Guest Post from Author Charlie Kenmore


One of the lead stories in last week’s news was about a local deputy who is accused of taking sexual liberties with female prisoners. As news stories go, this one was pretty salacious. Of course, there was no actual recounting of the sex. Given the same factual scenario in a work of fiction, the setting was great for writing some serious “Prison Sex" encounters.

As a fiction writer, I have a luxury that news reporters don’t have. My characters can do anything I want them to, any time, any place, any way. But as any Spiderman fan knows, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  It isn’t enough to place a sex scene in an unusual setting.  There is more to a sex scene than merely making the female and male parts fit together. The scene still has to be believable within the context of the work.

When it comes to writing a sex scene, I have a basic checklist:

A) Set up: is there enough background to support the scene?

Tom dropped the letters into the mailbox slot. He flipped the door several times to make sure that all of the letters fell into the box. Mary, a tall, buxom business woman waiting to deposit her letter tapped her foot impatiently. He turned to her, “Is there a problem?”  Their eyes met, the untamed fire in hers immediately lighting a fire in his groin. He ripped open her blouse as she unfastened his belt.

This scenario doesn’t seem likely even for a hand-held camera, 8mm black and white porno. There needs to be a believable build up, however unlikely the setting. Part, or even a substantial portion, of the build up can occur offstage in indirect action. But the buildup is still necessary. The more improbable the setting, the greater the need for a solid foundation for a sex scene. Even if the scene is just casual sex for the sake of having sex, the characters still need to connect in a believable manner. If the reader remains skeptical that the characters are about to have sex in the scene, then the scene will fail.

B) Foreplay: is there enough?

Bill hit “play”, and set the remote on the arm of the black, leather couch. He put his arm around Suzy, who snuggled closer. She turned her head, and opened her mouth for a kiss. His tongue met hers as he rucked up her skirt. He drove into her powerfully, as relentless as a force of nature.

This is a bit thin on details. The reader is probably going to need a bit more information on their feelings and reactions to tactile stimulation before reaching the “force of nature” bit.

C) Temporal consistency and mechanics: does the sex scene work from technical point of view?

One problem that I’ve found in sex scenes that I’ve edited is that the mechanics of the scene are off. In one memorable scene, the couple is coupling fiercely. Two paragraphs later, she unzips his slacks and takes his cock out. Being old fashioned, I suggested that the paragraphs needed to be reversed. In another scene, the man held her breast in one hand and fingered her dripping pussy with the other. She moaned as he pulled her hair. My question as the editor was, pulled her hair with what? His teeth?

D) Originality: 1) what makes this scene different from the other sex scenes in the book?

Chapter Three: Mary slowly did a scissors split,  impaling herself, as she slid down Tom’s long, thick rod until she was filled.

Chapter Seven: Suzy swung her legs out of the pike position, and flipped one leg over each of the parallel bars. She spread her legs until they were straight out at her sides in a perfect split. Bill reached around her and grabbed her breasts as he slid his long, hard shaft into her until she was filled.

Been there, done that. Yes, Mary was in the bedroom, and Suzy was in the gym. But the novelty of a woman doing the splits wore off after the first time. One of the splits has to go. If the reader really likes the splits scene, then s(he) can reread Chapter Three. Chapter Seven needs to give the reader something new.

2) Word choices?

How many times do the same words or variations on a root word repeat?  Using “throb”or “throbbed” in every sex scene will bore the reader at best, or at worst, produce a throbbing headache. Find some new adjectives.  If in Chapter Three, Mary “slid” until “she was filled”, then in Chapter Seven, Tom’s actions need to be something other than “slid” until “she was filled”.  I would need to find a new verb for “slid”, and a new adjective for “filled”.

In Earth Angel, there was a brief stand alone sex scene that my editor wanted to cut because she didn’t think it added anything. I disagreed because I wanted to change the pace at that point, and work on character development rather than plot development. The scene stayed after we discussed its purpose. But to make sure the scene added something, I still had to make sure that it fit within the internal logic of the overall story, and didn’t merely rehash stock footage from a prior sex scene.  

Thanks for letting me ramble.


Blurb: There are seven parallel worlds known as the Seven Realms which are separated by a Veil. Six are inhabited by all manner of entities, some natural, some not. That may not be the case for much longer. The first portion of the High Sidhe Prophecy of the Sevens has been fulfilled. The Anarch, who is one with the Veil, has escaped. If she chooses, she can part or drop the Veil or she can lift the Veil in its entirety. The Seven Realms will converge. The laws of physics and magic will collide head on. Unless she is stopped, there will be nothing left.

Queen Amura has called for an assembly of the signatories to the High Sidhe's Second Accords, a multi-realm peace treaty to consider how to deal with the threat of the Anarch. An Earthside TechnoWitch and other dark forces also are  seeking to control the Anarch. Prince Dzhok (Jack), High Sidhe Ambassador Salash (Jack's oldest friend and lover), and Valkyrie Brunhilde set out to find and befriend the Anarch before all is lost.

(you have to register-free)

Jack took a moment, and then he saw the light. Unfortunately, it appeared to be attached to an oncoming train. Jack was no pacifist. Like Salash, he would kill to protect his children (and had). But as a pansexual high blood Prince of the Human Whisperers and Allied Kinds, "make love, not war" was not a mere platitude, but rather was the very core of his being. Jack knew that he would have little influence on the upcoming gathering in Paradox. This was not a symposium. It was a war council. The outcome was fairly certain. His Mother and her allies would seek to kill the Chosen. And they would fail miserably.

"We have to find her first."

"Exactly, Jack."

You've got mail.

Salash reached over and pulled the MAPP out of Jack's pocket. She rolled down her window, and with a flick of her wrist, sent it pin wheeling into a fresh steaming pile of bison dung. Salash paused and scanned the tree line. She was fairly certain at least one of the shadows had flinched. 


  1. Thanks for this. Sex scenes have always seemed problematic. Even "great"(TM) authors seem to go off the rails when it's time to describe sex...which is no doubt why we have the annual "Bad Sex Awards" to remind us (and humble a few giants).
    My current favorite for literary sex scene outside of erotica is in Amelia Beamer's The Loving Dead.

  2. Awesome post! I admit until I started to write my own sex scenes I gave it no thought whatsoever. I think I might pay more attention to the scenes I read now!

  3. Great post! I think I learned a bit from you. I love writing sex scenes and I'm very careful about the timing of the events, but I do tend to repeat words a bit too much and I have a bit of trouble building up to the appropriate scene. Thanks for sharing these tips with us. I hope to implement some of them in my next story.

  4. Oh, this is great advice. Repetition of words is one of my weaknesses too. It's important to be sure each scene is fresh and adds something new. Thank you for sharing these tips!