Event report

Conference 2013 - Hot Scenes and How to Make the Most of Them

Report published 01 August 2013

Hot Scenes and How to Make the Most of Them

Presented by Sue Moorcroft

This was a very useful study of how to develop character, theme and plot from the inclusion of sexual content.

The first rule is: Forget about the people you wouldn’t want to read the scene. They’ll only inhibit your creativity.

Build up the chemistry and tension throughout the book.  Don’t have sex too soon unless it has a specific purpose or is a requirement of the genre. Sometimes it’s enough to acknowledge the act happened – description is not always essential. Unless you’re writing erotica, it’s not necessary to arouse sexual desire. Publishers usually have guidelines and taboos for this topic.

How to write a sensual scene:
• We must believe the characters are compatible
• Use all the senses – but not in a tick-box way – and the effect of these senses on the characters’ emotions.  Perhaps link these emotions to memories
• Leave it to your characters, it’s not you in the scene
• Choose words with care – playground terms are not sexy, nor are anatomical descriptions. Consider what language would be hot to your characters
• Engage passions and emotions
• Study the market

How hot scenes develop characters:
• What characters say in the heat of passion or afterwards, can be an indicator of their personality/values/motivation
• Think about what they like, eg: does he like stockings & suspenders; does she like muscular thighs?
• How does it affect them, afterwards?

The value of bad sex (with the wrong person or at the wrong time)
• Can be a good mistake for the character to make
• Can set up new conflicts – think about revenge, blackmail, unwanted pregnancy, abuse of power, heightened vulnerability etc

Value of hot scenes to your novel:
• Sex can create a turning point, relationships are forever changed, and there are consequences – make the most of this
• Know your goal for each character – what do you want the outcome to be? Is it to heighten love, create obsession?
• What are their goals – do they want a deeper relationship or to gain possession or possibly gain ‘political’ points?

Report written by Jan Sprenger.

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The RNA's first president Denise Robins wrote more than 180 books. The second, Mary Burchell wrote 110. Our third President, Diane Pearson has six so far. Current president Katie Fforde has 19 and she's still writing.