Episode 69: Writing Sex Scenes with Michelle Hazen

Welcome to the Most Appropriately Numbered Episode Ever…

Today on MomWrites we welcome Michelle Hazen, romance novelist, KindleWorlds bestselling author, and Author Accelerator book coach. We're tasking Michelle with questions from our listeners AND ourselves today, covering everything from appropriate vocabulary to emotion to just plain… what do I write?! Michelle answers us with solid writing advice, so take a seat and prepare to take notes as we cover Sex Scenes 101.

One listener asks: what's the difference between porn and erotica?  Answer: Romance is where the sex is included, and it moves the relationship along and happens in the context of the relationship. “Erotica is just bangin'.” 

Michelle notes that sex scenes in novels need to have a point and a purpose - it needs to move the relationship and story along to be important to the reader. Her second suggestion is to make every sex scene different - mix it up! Different locations, emotions, positions, etc etc. Variety is the spice of life. Sex scenes in books are metaphors and show what's going on in the story through the scene. Urgency, anger, love, nervousness - all of these things can be translated through sex scenes.


Second question from a listener - Can sex scenes in romance vs erotica be graphic?  Answer: Yes!  They can range from fade-to-black scenes to pretty damn erotic! The downside of fade-to-black scenes is that you use the utility of the scene and you miss a chance to move the story forward, but it can be done and done well, it just depends on the context of the scene. 

Mel asks: How do you get past the mental block of writing a sex scene? Abby agrees, especially as a former art major in college - drawing penises is one thing, writing about them is something else entirely! Michelle says that the voice of the critic (i.e. YOU) is the biggest challenge you've got to overcome. Make a commitment to writing ten+ sex scenes that you're never going to show anyone, and then keep going until you write something you think is hot. Like so many other things in writing, you've got to get out of your own way.