So I recently finished editing my first erotic fiction novel, Just One Night. It was an interesting experience in that it really is different from editing other kinds of fiction. Before this my editors looked at all my manuscripts (save one) and asked me to trim this or that passage down. Longer isn't necessarily better, get to the point, how does this scene move the plot forward and so on.
But here I have an editor's note saying, "I think we need to extend this sex scene by a page or two."
A page or two? The sex scene being referenced was already four pages long! As you can read in this excerpt, a character known as Mr. Dade has my protagonist, Kasie, in a chair, against a wall and on the floor in this particular love making session so my feeling was, that's enough! Girlfriend needs a nap!
And then it occurred to me that maybe my editor wasn't counting the foreplay as being part of the sex scene (typical man, right?). So I looked to see how I could actually expand the sex which was harder than I thought it would be. As a woman I value sex and foreplay fairly equally but as an author I find foreplay much more interesting. You can get more creative with foreplay. Even Kama Sutra was only able to come up with 64 positions, but when it comes to foreplay there are hundreds of options. I read a Cosmo once that suggested you get mangos and combs involved in your foreplay! Mangos and combs! Of course I don't remember what it is you're supposed to do with them...I think you're supposed to chew up some chilled mango before going down on your guy while the mushed fruit's still in your mouth...that would be bad for me because I'm afraid I would forget myself and start chewing again at a really inopportune moment. God only knows where the comb comes in...but I digress (full disclosure, there are no produce or hair products involved in any of my sex scenes...although my characters do find some creative uses for expensive scotch). But my point is that I give Cosmo props for their creativity. Mangos and combs...that's the kind of stuff that just can't easily be included in the act of actual intercourse.
In the end I did lengthen the sex scene, not by a page or two but certainly by sevearal paragraphs and I can see now that my editor had a point.
But then he had another request...he wanted me to get more graphic and descriptive in regards to the actions of Mr. Dade while he's administering oral sex to Kasie. At first I thought, "Sure, I can do that..."
And then I realized that I had a problem. For me to get graphic about what he's doing I'd have to know what he's doing and honestly guys? Women don't know what you're doing when you go down there. Every woman who has ever told me how great a particular guy is at oral sex has always said something along the lines of, "I don't know what he was doing down there but it was great!"
That's the thing, we can't actually see what you're up to...and even if we could we probably wouldn't want to. It's just not a moment when most women want to take notes.
But I needed to be more graphic...
So fifteen minutes later I'm reading an About.com article on How To Give A Woman Head and wondering about what's going on with my literary career. It's not that I'm unhappy about writing erotica. I actually am enjoying writing Kasie and Mr. Dade's story quite a bit! I like my characters, I like my story and their inner and external conflicts and I think I'm pretty good at writing sex scenes. But this is definitely a different kind of research. Between this and the research I do for my murder mysteries (like, what poison is most readily available, what are the most common practices of drug cartels, where can one buy a switch blade and so on)...well, if my computer ever gets confiscated I'm in trouble. It'll look like I'm a homicidal, bi-curious nymphomaniac.
For the record, I'm not...but if I'm ever called upon to write a book about a homicidal, bi-curious nympho I'm ready.