Monday, September 08, 2008

Scene Crit 1--critted

First, I want to say a big, HUGE thank-you to the author of this piece (and all of those who submitted. It's never easy to have your work picked apart by a bunch of strangers; you're very brave to do this in order to help others, and I really, really appreciate it. I hope my comments aren't too harsh, and that they prove helpful to you, as that's the whole point. Please keep in mind this is only MY opinion. Don't make any changes you're not comfortable with, and if you feel something isn't helpful or doesn't work for you, ignore it. In a few places I've suggested some rewordings; feel free to ignore those, too, they're just suggestions.

This is an interesting experience for me; I’m not a fan of first-person sex scenes and have never written one, so…

First a few general comments. The writing here isn't bad at all on a technical level, although I'm not a fan of the "Doing a thing, he then did the thing" structure, and the scenario is fairly interesting. But I feel disconnected here; I'm getting some physical action, but there's very little sense of how these people feel physically or emotionally. I don't feel like I'm experiencing this with the characters, I feel like I'm watching it from a distance, like I'm watching them through a telephoto lens as they race through the sex act. I know I had a word limit, so you might have deleted some things, but on the whole this just skims the surface; it could be much, much longer.

He stretched my arms over my head and yanked my tunic off. A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth as he brought up one hand to fondle my breast, massaging it, running the flat of his hand lightly over my firm nipple, then tugging on it until I arched my back. He lowered his head and took the other nipple in his mouth, rolling it around with his tongue.

But how does that all feel? When he yanks off her tunic, does she feel air hit her skin? Do her already-hard nipples (hard, not firm) grow even harder? Painfully hard? Is his hand warm or hot on her skin? How about his breath?

I’m not crazy about the sentence beginning with “A smile”. “Hand” is used in it twice; instead of “the flat of his hand” why not use palm? How about instead of a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth as he brings up his hand, his lips twitch?
Everything he’s doing to her should evoke some sensation, but we’re not getting that here. The only indication that she even likes what he’s doing is her back arches. Why does she arch her back? Does it arch on its own? How about something like:
I watched his eyes as they scanned my body, trailing heat the way his hand did when he stroked my breast, sliding his palm over my tight, hard nipple before tugging it gently with hot fingers. I gasped. It had been so long, I’d wanted him for so long. Now it was happening and I could barely think, could barely do anything but feel. My back arched, my body taking over, begging him to pull my nipple into the warm, wet cavern of his mouth and responding with a shudder when he did.

I held his head, entwining my fingers in his thick hair. How does that hair feel? Soft, slippery? Does it smell like cut grass or smoke or musk? Is she holding his head gently or pulling him closer, forcing his head onto her breast, begging him not to stop? My groin ached from wanting him so badly. What else does it do, just ache? Is it swollen? Can she feel wetness against her panties/pants? Can she feel pressure building between her legs? I rocked my hips against his and he groaned. Does she feel his erection when she rocks her hips up? Is it hard under his pants, does it radiate heat through the fabric? Is she dying to see it, touch it? Moving my hands to his pants once more, I tugged on them, but Jack grabbed my wrists, pinning them over my head as he once again found my mouth. I’m not crazy about this sentence. I see you don’t want to start another sentence with “I” but how about starting with his pants? “The ties holding his pants shut teased my fingers, just out of reach, but when I finally caught one he grabbed my wrists…” Or “My fingers found the soft skin/hair/whatever or his abdomen, found the ties holding his pants, but he grabbed my wrists…” After kissing me ravenously, he moved his lips to my neck then my breasts, then my abdomen, at last running his tongue under the edge of my pants. How does that feel? Does she want his mouth everywhere on her body? Does her skin leap to his touch? Is he making her so hot she realizes she’s moaning? Writhing? Is he just kissing, or is he nibbling too, scraping his teeth on her delicate skin, letting his tongue play over her collarbones? Is he turning her to jelly, is she losing herself to blinding need?

Plus I do dislike the word “groin”; I usually use “pelvis” (personal choice, of course). I like the way you show us her desperation a bit more here, tugging on his pants. I also like Jack pinning her hands over her head, but I’m a little confused as to how he does that when his mouth is at her waistband?
I also feel “kissed me ravenously” is a bit awkward.

He had made it clear he didn’t want me to take off his pants quite yet, but I hoped an invitation to remove mine would not be ignored. This is a little clinical. How about, “He wouldn’t let me take his pants off, but hopefully he’d let me take off my own” or “maybe he’d take off mine”? Something along those lines. Bracing my feet, I lifted my hips off the bed. Much as I dislike a lot of dialogue, this could be a good place to put some in. Just a simple “Take my pants off” would be nice from her here. He reached under and placed his hands firmly on my ass, squeezing it, as he used his teeth to untie the leather strip holding my breeches closed. How about “He used his teeth. His strong hands cupped my ass, holding it up, squeezing it, and he grabbed the leather strip holding my breeches closed in his teeth and tugged until it came free”? Also, how about mentioning his broad shoulders stretching her thighs apart, or something similar? Something to put us in the scene, to get the sense that there are whole bodies involved, not just whatever part is being mentioned at the time.

Just feeling the heat of his breath through the leather was almost enough to push me over the edge. The heat of his breath through the leather almost pushed me over the edge, or was almost enough to push me over the edge.

Once he had finished, his hands moved inside the pants and slid them over my rear and down my legs, as Jack followed their path closely with his mouth. His long, strong fingers slipped beneath the waistband, slid over my rear and down my legs, pushing the pants before them, until I was completely bare, exposed to him. I watched him from beneath heavy eyelids as she finished removing them, then slid his hands back up my thighs, to my waist, following the movement with his hungry mouth. Again, give us more, give us something to picture, show us what she's thinking and feeling.When they were off, he reversed the course of both his hands and lips until they had both returned to my waist. Dipping his head between my legs, his tongue found my clitoris, flicking at it playfully. He nibbled the tops of my thighs, kissed the place where they met my hips. A second heart beat between my legs, I couldn’t breath, couldn’t think anything but please, please, please… I watched his head dip between my legs and saw no more, because his tongue found my clit. I don't think "playfully" really works here; they're not joking around, you know? They're having some fairly serious sex, and he's being nicely dominant. So to suddenly be playful feels a little off.

I gripped the rough wood of the bed frame and bit my lip to keep from crying out. The rough wood of the bed frame dug into my palms. A cry tried to escape from between my tight-pressed lips.

His hands squeezed my ass as his tongue delved into the cleft between my legs, exploring me, teasing me, tasting every inch of me. He explored every inch of me with his mouth and tongue. When I thought I couldn’t handle any more, he slowly trailed kisses up my belly until he found my breasts and gently kissed each firm nipple So did she come, or what? It's kind of lousy of him to pull away when she's just about to, IMO, but it can work if he gives her a deadly smile, or says something like "Not yet. Not until I'm inside you" or whatever. The gentle touch sent shivers down my spine. Playing his fingers across my stomach, he kissed me passionately. See, there's that structure again; it feels sing-songy. How about something like: My breath came faster, faster still. Sweat broke out on my body, I could feel pressure building, my muscles tightening, my thighs shaking. Not just from Jack’s tongue, but from the knowledge that it was Jack, that he was really there, we were really doing this, and just when I thought I couldn’t handle any more, just when I was about to explode, he stopped. His lips touched my belly, blazed a trail of heat over my heaving ribs, over my firm breasts and hard nipples. So gentle, so delicate. I shivered, opened my mouth to say something, but he covered it with his own, explored it with the same thorough passion as he had the rest of me.

I tried for his pants again, but he stopped my hands. “Please, Jack,” I begged.

“Are you certain you want this, Jill?” The look in his blue eyes was full of pain, as if he expected me to say no. But why? He hasn't been at all hesitant throughout the rest of the scene, so why is he doubting now? Doubt is nice, but I would expect to see a hint of it earlier in the scene. Also, I would try something like: Doubt flashed in his eyes, doubt and pain. Did he really think I was going to say no?/After all that, he still thought I might say no. My heart ached for him. My body ached for a different reason.

My fingers traced the line of his jaw, How does that feel? Is his jaw hard? Stubbly? Soft? and he turned his head, kissing the palm of my hand. I closed my eyes, allowing the sensation to tingle all the way down my arm. When I opened them again, I locked gazes with him. “I don’t think I’ve ever been more certain of anything.” I closed my eyes or my eyes shut, reveling in the sensation tingling up my arm and out through the rest of my body. When I opened them again he was watching me. Tension made the silence loud. "I don't think I've ever been more certain of anything," I said, and locked gazes with him so he knew I meant it.

At last he stood and let me untie his pants and push them past his hips. His thick hard cock stood ready and willing. My mouth went dry, maybe, or something? I'd like a little more about his cock here. Cock is the main event, really, so when we first get a mention of it we want it to count. Maybe it sprang free from his pants, or brust from them, or something? I started to kneel, wanting to taste him as he had me, but Jack pulled me up. Stopped me, his hands hard on my arms? “It has been too long for me, Jill; I will not last through that.” Where would she kneel? Isn’t she on a bed? How low is the bed?

Sadly, I ran my palm along the tight smooth skin of his shaft and watched him tremble. Be nice to have something here about said shaft; big? Beautiful? A teardrop of clear fluid at the tip? How about his balls? Heavy, virile, hairy? She’s looking at him naked; let us look too! As he lowered me to the bed, I whispered, “Maybe next time.”

A sexy, knowing, very male smile crossed his face then, totally at odds with the words he spoke, Should be a period not a comma “If you would do me the honor of a next time.” How did that smile make her feel? Did it send a shiver of very female pleasure through her? Did it remind her what a big swingin' MAN he is? Did the smile promise her something?

Without waiting for a response, he pressed his lips to mine and slid his hard length inside me. Filling me. Making me feel as if I couldn’t breathe. This would be a good place to mention how the entire length of his naked body is against hers too, and how that feels. The bit about feeling like she can’t breathe is nice, but it would be great if you detailed it a little more: " I couldn't breathe, like my lungs were too full of pleasure to get any air". Which is hokey but you see what I mean. I sometimes have the heroine so focused on that it takes her a second to start really feeling his thrusts, something like that, because “He pulled back and re-entered me” is a little awkward. He pulled back and re-entered me with long gentle strokes. I arched my back and his hand found my nipple, rolling it between his fingers. And he thought he wouldn’t last. His teeth scraped along my lip and I moaned in pleasure and longing. “Please… please…” I murmured into his mouth. Okay. Now they’re really having sex! How does it feel? Is she stunned, amazed? Can she feel every inch of his big cock stretching her? Pressure building? Heat and friction? Can she feel his hot breath on her skin, how is her breathing? Does his face look peaceful, absorbed? Are his eyes closed or open? Did he gasp or make any sound when he entered her? How about now? Is she stroking his strong shoulders or back, letting her hands roam over his warm bare skin? We should be experiencing some *very* intense emotions and sensations here; this definitely needs expansion.

He must have heard me. Either that or he felt the need for release as strongly as I did. His thrusts quickened and his kisses became rougher and more feral. His thrusts quickened, each quick, hard stroking sending me higher and higher. His kisses grew rougher, more feral, our tongues dancing together, his lips taking mine again and again as we strained and fought to reach the peak together.

My hands gripped his buttocks, bottom? Ass? Behind? fingernails digging into his skin as he pushed me closer and closer to the edge. When I was certain I couldn’t contain myself any longer, Just as I hit the edge, he growled against my lips and gave one final deep thrust. Together we exploded in ecstasy. Are they silent? Still? Shaking? Crying out into each others’s mouths? What does exploding in ecstasy feel like? Are they clinging to each other while their mutual orgasm rolls over them, crushed them under its glorious weight, leaves them shaking and shaken, together on the rumpled sheets? This just seems so abrupt; it feels like they only had sex or a minute or so and then came and they're done. Then, exhausted, trembling, limbs entwined, we held each other as if afraid the other would disappear if we let go.

Smiling gently at Jack, I saw an aura around us of writhing colors shot through with sparks of bright, almost blinding light. As I closed my eyes and snuggled tighter into Jack’s embrace, I realized Bob had been right. An aura of writhing colors embraced us. Jack's face stood out from it, illuminated by sparks of bright, blinding light. I closed my eyes and snuggled tighter into his embrace, reveling in the feel of his body next to mine. Bob was right/had been right. What Jack and I had was a different sort of magic entirely. GREAT last line.


BernardL said...

I didn't know the first post today was an entry. I thought it was a test example on the difficulty of writing an erotic scene in first person. I apologize to the author.

December/Stacia said...

Bernard, I can only speak for myself, but I didn't think your comment was rude or mean in the slightest. You noticed something that bothered you and pointed it out; it was a perfectly valid remark.

If I'd thought it wasn't I would have deleted it. :-) Honest. I don't see any reason at all for you to feel bad.