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Can You Write a Hot Sex Scene?

Can You Write a Hot Sex Scene?

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Published by Julie Gray
How about a very violent or profane scene? Sometimes it's weird being a writer. We share parts of ourselves that most people keep private. But part of being a writer is akin to being an actor - we make the private public.
How about a very violent or profane scene? Sometimes it's weird being a writer. We share parts of ourselves that most people keep private. But part of being a writer is akin to being an actor - we make the private public.

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Published by: Julie Gray on Jan 31, 2008
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TUESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2008
Can You Write a Hot Sex Scene?
How about a violent murder? How about acharacter cursing like a sailor? Believe it ornot, many writers are too embarrassed toreally go there in a scene. Before you shoveback from your keyboard indignantly, swigfrom your beer and say $%&# this @#$%@, ofcourse I can write that @#$%! - bear withme. Many writers hold back, men and womenalike.Now, ask any reader and you'll hear horrific and sometimes side-splittingly funny stories about screenwriters who do the opposite.Suddenly, in the middle of a script, an adeptly written porn sceneappears. I mean - wow - if you can make a reader blush, you're inthe zone, baby. Because we read it ALL. But in my experience, oneof the hallmarks of novice writers is holding back because someoneyou know is going to read this and they don't know the things yourimagination can muster about sex, violence or otherwise difficulttopics.The Wave-inatrix will cop to it - I've written a short story that gotpublished, called Grace's Beauty. A story I'm very proud of. But itrefers and flashes back to a very ugly and difficult experience formy main character. And I honestly don't ever want my mom to readit. And she hasn't. Because I don't want to hear - Honey, did that
happen
to you?! Because then, only one of two answers would bethe case - yes - which would beget OH MY GOD YOU DIDN'T TELL ME.Or no. Which would beget - then WHY did you write THAT?Writers channel humanity when they write. We do talk aboutdifficult things. And intimate things. And scary, joyful andembarrassing things. But you cannot ever be a truly great writer ifyou are worried about what anyone else will make of what youwrote. A writer is an articulate funnel for the human experience.You may or may not have had the experience you're writing aboutbut it doesn't matter. Because you can imagine having thatexperience. That's why we writers are essentially crazy. We can feeland imagine anything. And we do.I have never put a shotgun in a deputy's chest and blown him off my C'est moi. Julie Gray. Hello.
VALENTINE'S DAY
I hate itI love itWasn't that a massacre?Votes so far: 7Poll closed0 (0%) 3 (42%) 4 (57%)
THE SCRIPT DEPARTMENT
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porch and into the yard, then dragged his body through a cornfieldand dumped it. But along with my partner, I wrote it and it's apretty horrifying scene. I can imagine being on either side of thatgun. I did my research - my partner and I knew which kind ofshotgun is needed to blow someone back several feet. If I had toshop for a weapon, after all we've written, I imagine I'd be prettyinformed.Write what you know. And write what you
can
know, whether thatfear, joy, erotic fantasy or sheer rage comes through thecollectiveunconsciousor, if you don't subscribe to that, out of the depths ofyour imagination. Because at the end of the day, there are only somany situations we humans can wind up in. And if you can't imagineRAGE, if you can't become that on the page, then you have nobusiness being a writer.And remember, you have to get up pretty early in the morning toshock a reader. If what you've written is organic to the story and notgratuitous or clumsy, we won't mind. If the scene works in contextwith the story and is tonally consistent, then go for it. Check in withyourself. Is this scene par for the course relative to the rest of thescript? Does this character curse this intensely for abackstory/emotionally rooted reason? Would this sex be sexiestimplied, or, like A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, does this sex scene needto be explicit? Serve the material before you worry about yourpride, image or mom's opinion. Nobody said being a writer was easy.But how do I know if I'vegone too far?But my script really does need ahot sex scene!
POSTED BY JULIE GRAY ATTUESDAY, JANUARY 01, 2008 LABELS:CRAFT,MOTIVATION,SCREENWRITING
6 COMMENTS:
Geenasaid...With all the skin in the media, isn't it more a matter of the sexbeing manipulative of reader-viewer? The HISTORY OF VIOLENCEscene implied sexual assault( that's what I saw), pushing us to reconsider this man who earlierwas pouring coffee in a diner.LITTLE CHILDREN had sex scenes that made us question theparenting priorities of two characters, they chose sex over childsafety, manipulating us into questioning the town's own judgementof the pervert.Then the script manipulated us again, when the pervert was in thecar with his date ( I consider that a sex scene ) taking our sympathyGet Text Alerts
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for the overly prosected pervert and asking us to make a moralassesment as to which characters were a threat to the town's kids.Romance needs risk.JANUARY 1, 2008 3:45 PMJPSsaid...Great topic. I've had to deal with this issue recently in a novel I'mjust now revising. In the past I've written sex scenes which tend--it'sin their nature--to resemble a recipe ("add two cups of love, a pinchof lust, stir gently...," etc.), and, frankly, it's not that much fun towrite. Which is why in Britain they have an annual Bad Sex Contest.Read the shortlist--most by very well-known writers--and youwonder what got into these people. Or you wonder: do they reallyget up to this between the sheets?In my novel, which is set in 1944, I opted for romance instead ofsex. No graphic blow-by-blow descriptions (please forgive thesepuns, but, hell, it's in the nature of things), and in the end theromance works perfectly, because it's right for the setting and timeof the action itself. Graphic sex would have stopped the action,killed the mood of the scenes and drawn attention to itself.So context, really, is everything.JANUARY 1, 2008 3:55 PMJulie Graysaid...Great comments, Geena! (as always) You bring up some interestingquestions. My post is primarily focused on writers shrugging off self-conscious writing in order to be able to write great stuff.JANUARY 1, 2008 8:50 PMJPSsaid...I disagree with you, Geena, on "The History of Violence". Though thesex was, to say the least, athletic, it was clearly and always amatter between two consenting adults. At no point did I or my wife,for that matter, sense that Viggo's wife was in any way beingassaulted or being coerced into sex with her husband.JANUARY 2, 2008 5:20 AMGeenasaid...It was consenting, I'm not making a direct analogy to sexual assault,date rape. But I did see the sex scene as violent ( I only use theword becuase of the movie title)and it gave the audience a glimpse into what this man was capableof as his past creeped its way to the surface.I can't recall the exact sequence of events, but wasn't the wifealready doubting her husband's claim of a spotless past, and evenbegining to fear him. So he demonstrated he loved her and was alsocapable of violence.JANUARY 2, 2008 11:51 AM
Weekend Box Office,Jan. 28–30
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