HWH Workshop, Bringing that emotion into bed

So if backstory and getting into the character’s head is important to the overall emotional aspect of the story, how do you bring that emotion into the bedroom?  Or against the hall in the foyer or on the hood of a car out in the country…. (hey this is erotic romance)

There does have to be emotion.  You can’t just have them hopping into bed every five minutes.  There are books out there like that and uh…well, they don’t do anything for me.  Erotic romance is a big trend right now, but trends are waves.  They swell, then they crash.  If you want to ride through the wave and survive the crash and keep selling, you have to establish yourself as somebody that can do the heart as well as the heat. 

This doesn’t mean I think erotic romance isn’t here to stay.  The market right now is booming.  Just like the paranormal market is.  But booming can also mean the market is inundated and that can often lead to readers getting bored.  Bored readers don’t keep buying the same old same old.  Unless you can tell a fresh, heart pounding, emotional erotic romance, you might end up in that same old same old category. 

A booming market can also lead to a tight market, making it harder to sell even though everybody is reading that hot stuff right now.  You have to make yourself stand out.  So heart has to be there.

Going back to my trusty friends and their insights into erotic romance…I asked

When you’re writing a love scene, is there anything in particular you do to focus on the emotion?

Dianne Castell says

Taking special effort to please their partner, puts their partner’s pleasure above their own.

Jordan Summers says

I try to get into the character’s head, so that I see things through their eyes. I think about their past and how that will alter their behavior during intimacy.

Hmmmm… more backstory… ;o)

Jaci Burton says

I get inside the character’s heads, feel what they’re feeling, and I don’t mean physically….understand the emotional stakes of every scene, including a love scene, in order to convey that to the reader.

Touch is another way to convey emotion. A soft caress or a tight grip, can convey love or passionate intensity. How your characters touch each other tells much about their emotional state.

If the hero and heroine are getting ready to face down death, then it’s possible (theoretically) that their lives on the line (even though we know in romance the hero and heroine don’t die… err… they shouldn’t). But if you were looking at the love of your life and you realized you may never see them again, would you just jump in the sack and go at it without a care in the world?

Probably not. There might be some tears. There might be slow, lingering touches or frenzied, desperate lovin. Try working some poignancy into the love scene, tell us what they are thinking when they look into their lover’s eyes. Writing these sort of scenes should almost leave you with tears in your eyes.

On the flip side, if it’s a playful love scene, we need to know why. Were they playing a game of strip poker? Is she laughing? Is he smiling? What are they doing and how are they touching each other? When you’re done with this, when you read back through it, it ought to bring a smile to your face. Chances are if does that, it will do the same to the reader.

Tug their heartstrings. Make them laugh. Make them cry. Make them smile. But you can’t do that without getting them invested in the story, and the only way to do that is to get emotional.

Today’s assignment… you can do this on your own or you can post it here (but if you post it here, try not to make it any longer than oh… 500 words) 

Jot down a scene leading right up to when they’re getting ready to make love.  Convey the emotion.  Show me their tears or their laughter.