Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Shut UP!

(or, why I hate writing dialogue in sex scenes.)

Yeah, it sounds like the title for a nice long post, doesn't it? It's not. It's the title for a short whiny post, namely this post, in which I confess that as much as I think my dialogue is generally pretty good, my dialogue in sex scenes is usually...well...let's just say I prefer to have less talky sex scenes. (As Miranda Hobbes said, "Sex is the one place where it's okay not to talk.")

The problem is, almost anything anybody says in the middle of a hot sex scene has probably already been said in a porno film. This holds especially true if you are a certain very well-known writer whose once exciting books have lately gone down the really bad erotica tubes, with sex scene dialogue so bad it actually made me laugh. At least my characters don't form entire, page-long conversations using only the words "You", "I", "am", "Are, "So", "hot", "tight", "and", and "wet". Seriously. Picture a conversation like this, but substitute the adjectives above for the ones below:

Hero: I love how sweet and pretty you are.

heroine: I love it when I'm sweet and pretty.

H: I notice when I touch you get get very sweet and pretty.

h: When you touch me it does make me sweet and pretty.

H: I can feel how sweet and pretty you are. Do you like being sweet and pretty?

h: God, yes. I am sweet and pretty. I love when you tell me how sweet and pretty I am. It makes me even more sweet and pretty.

H: You are so sweet and pretty.

h: Feel how sweet and pretty you make me.

Scintillating, isn't it? Makes "Showgirls" look like Oscar material.

It's just so hard! (No pun intended.) It's so hard to have your hero say sexy things that aren't offputting but also aren't overly romantic. Very romantic sex dialogue is fine later, when they're really in love. In the earlier scenes, though, it's got to be more complimentary, and it's hard to write that stuff without the Hero sounding like some kind of perverted Eddie Haskell.

So that's where I am now. I'm in the middle of a scene, and somebody needs to say something, but they both feel a little stupid saying the standard stuff.

What kinds of things sound sexy to you?


Bernita said...

You are so right, December.
I think I have exactly one line of dialogue, and even then I wonder if I over-did it.
She says "You're so big."
Hoot! Hoot!

S. W. Vaughn said...

What kind of things sound sexy to me?

"Shut up and f**k."

Yeah. Dialogue stinks in sex scenes. I hate reading it and I hate writing it. With you all the way, girl. :-)

Jenna Howard said...

I'm not big on chit chat in the sex scenes either. Kinda detracts from the mood.

I gotta say nothing jars me like ready a really sexy sex scene and all of a sudden the heroine says "I love your c**k. Put it in me." etc. Uhm. Yeah. Cue porn music. Sigh.

S.W.'s dialogue made me laugh.

Anonymous said...

"Say my name." -JTC ;~)

December Quinn said...

Haha, JTC! How about, "I love it when you call me big Daddy"...

Woo-hoo, Bernita! Actually, I've used that line before. It's fine, IMO, as long as he doesn;t agree and she doesn;t say it again. Then it turns into another "You're so sweet and pretty" conversation. Like Jenna says, it turns into porn talk if not handled right (which isn't to say your "You're so big" goes anywhere near pron talk to me, because it doesn't at all.)

Actually, SW..."Shut up and fuck" is pretty damn hot. Mind if I use it?

(How appropos...my word verif is "wionng")

fringes said...

Layman's suggestion: skip the dialogue entirely and let the (awesome, beautifully written) narrative do all the work. The reader can mentally inject his/her own dialogue if needed.

Dialogue, to me, is an expository tool, and your readers may not need anything explained during a sex scene unless a character is revealing something shocking while being flipped over.

Just a thought. Professionals, take over from here.

December Quinn said...

Actually, Fringes, I think most of us agree with you, but I've seen far too many comments from editors/readers/critics that complain about lack of dialogue in sex scenes. I keep mine to a minumum, generally, and try to have at least one in each book where they don't talk, but I do put some in there just because sometimes it feels like they should say something.

Sam said...

Oh, I don't know. Sometimes they can say the sexiest things, lol. It doesn't have to sound corny. I think the sexiest thing a heroine can say, for example, is "Don't move." (when I read that coming from the hero I usually crack up...) And he can say things like, "So do you like that? What about this?" Sort of leading the reader on to the action before it's even described - you see?

December Quinn said...

Oh, no, Sam, I don't think all dialogue is bad. It's just trying to find a balance isn't always easy, especially with some characters. I've had a couple who were really verbal, but not everyone is.

S. W. Vaughn said...

It's all yours, December. :-)

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