Author note: This blog post was previously published on the lovely Trinity Hanrahan's blog.
There are a few common misconceptions about smutty romance authors. Like that we’re all pervs and sex craved maniacs…
Okay, well, that part is probably pretty true.
But there are a few myths about writing sex that I’d like to debunk.
Myth 1: We wanna chat with random dudes on Facebook about sex
Truth: Imagine being an author, trying to catch up on Facebook. You see you have a new message, and get excited, thinking it’s a fan message(which are the BEST!). BAM! Dick pic. And not even a very impressive one…
First of all, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say sending a chick an unsolicited dick pic is never going to work. Ever. Let’s stop that from being a thing. But sending a random author a dick pic? That’s a good way to end up in a story, and not in a flattering way.
We write sex, true. That doesn’t mean we want to talk to random men about it. This brings me to my next myth…
Myth 2: Writing about sex gets us hot and bothered 24/7
Truth: I can’t speak for everyone with this, of course. But writing about sex is not the same as reading someone else’s scene.
If I read a book and the scenes are hot, that’s one thing. When I read my own finished work, though, I tend to dwell on what I’d change. Or whether I'm putting people to sleep with the dullness. And when I’m writing? Pppffff. Hot and sexy thoughts aren’t running through my mind. Instead, there are a lot of logistics I need to focus on.
How many hands did I just write? Wait, can she bend like that? Did I forget to have her take her panties off? Where are his arms? Can they just watch Daily Show and go to bed? How plausible is it that they’d have Cirque Du Soleil ribbons hanging from the ceiling? Why isn’t there a math equation to know if the height difference will change the logistics? Like ‘Height – Height x Dick Length= Angle’.
I also have to be careful not to just write the actions and mechanics of sex.
There has to be heat. Emotion. I like to add some playful humor between the characters before the intensity takes over. Dirty talk is also a big plus.
But it all has to be real.
Even before we get to the down and dirty, the buildup of tension takes chapters and chapters to write. And, once again, I have to pick my words carefully.
If I don’t choose the phrasing and timing of the dialogue just right, it’s easy for the dirty talk to sound like a phone sex line transcript.
So sexy, right? Excuse me while I fling my panties across the room.
All of that takes time. Effort. Uhhh, and let’s just be honest… Some borderline obsessing.
And I definitely look like I’ve spent hours in front of a computer.
Myth 3: We’re dressed like naughty sex kitten librarians while we write
Granted, I do wear glasses, but out of necessity, not fantasy.
It’s not like the movies, where I’ll take them off and pull out the one bobby pin that’s magically holding up a tumble of snarl free hair. Taking off my glasses means I’ll look shifty and squinty. And if I pull my hair out of the messy bun, I’m about 99% sure Cheetos will fall out.
And, look, while I’m being honest here… I’m pretty sure this Spongebob t-shirt I’m wearing is in danger of disintegrating off of me because I’ve worn it for a... uhhh, couple days. And the Jack Skellington PJ pants? Comfy as they are, they’re hardly the height of sexy.
Actually, that gif brings up a valid comparison. Most romance authors are like Liz Lemon.
We’re sometimes frustrated.
Writing is usually accompanied by eating what’s convenient, which is junk food, I mean, free range tofu.
Seriously, we can get really, really frustrated.
But when everything clicks together and the scene flows, it’s incredibly rewarding!
And it’s something to be celebrated
Myth 4: Romance authors aren’t real authors
Truth: This one throws me. Not real? Do people think I’m invisible? Does this mean I can finally walk around without pants on? Because last time I tried, they told me I was drunk and I wasn’t allowed back at Target.
Write suspense? Author. Biographies? Author. Mystery? Doesn’t take a detective with a magnifying glass to see you’re an author. Short stories, poems, porn with a plot? Author!
And don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise.