Thursday, 30 April 2015

#HIFortnight - Guest Post by Zara Stoneley

Today for #HIFortnight I have a guest post by Zara Stoneley about writing steamy scenes in a book

Writing Steamy Scenes! By Zara Stoneley, who’s written one or two.

Ok, here goes, an admission, I love writing steamy, sexy scenes. There, I’ve said it. But I do, although I know a lot of authors dread them, which can be tricky when the story demands a bit of ramping up and rumpy pumpy! So, here goes with my top tips on writing sexy, steamy scenes.

When you’re writing any scene it’s essential that you’re there, in the moment, with the characters. You are the characters. You have to feel the pain, share in the happiness, see and smell the surroundings, know them inside and out. And if you don’t, then it shows. If I don’t buy into what my leading lady is doing, then the reader will probably go, pah, I don’t believe it (although admittedly some steamy situations are a bit difficult to believe – but believe me, if I’ve written it, you can do it! Moving on swiftly…)

But this, I think, is the really important thing to remember if you’re writing those sexy scenes. It’s not about you, the author, and what your mother, other half or friends might think. It’s about your characters, and what they will do, think and feel. You need to get in their heads, their bodies, and live it out with them – and if they’re not feeling hot and bothered, then the reader won’t either.

Okay, so how?

First you need to know that what you’re about to commit to paper is what your heroine and hero would actually do.  Just because you’re under pressure to ramp things up, don’t yank your characters too far out of their comfort zones (they won’t enjoy the experience, which rather defeats the object). Come on, if she’s sweet and innocent, is she really going to start screaming tie me up, smother me with chocolate and lick me all over, however hot he is? And if she never swears or curses except under extreme circumstances, she’s not going to be begging to be f**d (if you’ll pardon the language) is she? Same with your leading man, as a writer you know him well, so don’t make him pretend he’s someone he isn’t. Yes, your geek might decide to go wild and jump off the top of the wardrobe dressed like Tarzan, but if he does then it’s likely to end in laughter – which is fine, in fact humour in the hot bits is fab… and can lead to the smiles fading as things get serious…

Second the steamy bits have to be within reason and fit the tone of the rest of the story. If kisses involve tongues and clashing teeth, then you can probably get quite naughty. But please don’t shock your readers! If I buy a book called ‘Chocolates and Marshmallows at the Corner CafĂ©’ with a cupcake on the cover I’m not going to be ready for the type of scene I might find in a book called ‘Whip me’ that’s got handcuffs and a muscle bound topless man adorning the front.

Third right, that’s the foreplay over so get into character! You should always write using all 5 senses, but it’s even more important when things heat up. So, close your eyes and feel it…. (And remember it’s not you doing this, it’s your heroine, so it doesn’t matter what you get up to and what your mother will think!)

Sound – hear the beat of his heart, the whispered word in your ear that sends a shiver of need down your spine. The silence as you hold your breath, knowing that he’s going to touch you, that any moment now his hand will move... That moment of everything else disappearing as his lips get closer to yours. Suspense, waiting for his touch, waiting for his hand to drift further down your body as all you can hear is..?
Smell – his smell, unique to him, the fresh smell of shampoo, the earthy smell of his skin wrapping round you, teasing your senses, making your heart beat faster. The smell of need, want that makes you damp with need/sets your stomach somersaulting/makes you reach out…
Touch – his fingertips rough against your skin as he traces a line along your jaw, the warmth of his palm cradling your head, the rush of goosebumps as his teeth graze your ear, as his damp lips burn a trail down your neck… That moment when your heart seems to stop, when your stomach does a flip… The sensation sliding across your skin as his teeth tease at that sensitive spot on your neck. The heat of his body against yours. The cold metal of his belt buckle against the warmth of your stomach.
Taste – (now you can of course get very carried away here, but..) imagine the taste of his kiss, the lingering taste of coffee/wine, and the salty tang of his skin as you kiss his chest…as the tension heightens, as you know you want more.
Sight – his eyes darkening to black as he holds your gaze, the tremor in his muscles, the teasing arrow of hair that draws your gaze ever downwards. The scar that you want to touch with your fingers, parts of him you’ve never really seen before. And as you’re drawn to them, reach out, his body shudders, he grabs your hand, tells you not to touch as it’s too much…

Now you might be screaming, yeah, but how exactly do I write the damned scene? Well, that’s my point. Concentrate on the bits above. Not on the mechanics. Really lose yourself in in the experience, and the words should come. To write a good sexy scene you can’t be logical and distant. There are no rules, it’s all about emotional and physical reactions.

And as you’re imagining all this, forget the purple prose, think ‘real’. I’m sorry I really don’t want to know about a ‘hard rod’ or heaving mounds of anything (eurgh) – I would never ever touch those! And as for throbbing, have you ever seen body bits throbbing?! Okay, that might be how it might feel – so that’s what you write, the character feeling that pulsating, throbbing, building… but if I saw any throbbing, believe me I’d be in the next county before any man could get near my knickers!

Seriously though, if you’re floundering to find the right words then read some hot books, and find out what you like, and what you can relate to.  There are also books (and blog posts) out there that list words to use in steamy scenes – just search the net.

And my final tip? Save writing the sexy bits for when you’re alone. You really wouldn’t get hot and steamy with your man when the kids were asking what time tea will be ready, the cat is rubbing his furry back up your nose, and the pizza is in the oven would you? You would?? Really? J

About Zara -

Bestselling author Zara Stoneley lives in deepest Cheshire surrounded by horses, dogs, cats and amazing countryside. When she's not visiting wine bars, artisan markets or admiring the scenery in her sexy high heels or green wellies, she can be found in flip flops on the beach in Barcelona, or more likely sampling the tapas!

Zara writes hot romance and bonkbusters. Her latest novels, 'Stable Mates' and ‘Country Affairs’, are fun romps through the Cheshire countryside and combine some of her greatest loves - horses, dogs, hot men and strong women (and not forgetting champagne and fast cars)! 

She writes for Harper Collins and Accent Press.

Latest release – Country Affairs
'A great treat for readers who love their books jam-packed with sexy men and horses.' Bestselling author Fiona Walker

Welcome back to Tippermere for the wedding of the year…

Scatty but loveable Lottie Brinkley is famous throughout the village for her disorganised personality so when she steps up to plan the perfect wedding the only likely outcome is disaster.

And when her globetrotting, love cheat of an ex, Todd, literally crashes the wedding on a not-so-noble steed things definitely look set to take a turn for the scandalous! As rumours of why he’s back spread through the village quicker than the stable girl can drop her knickers, is Lottie's future with sexy eventer Rory Steel about to fall at the next fence?

With a wave of unexpected pregnancies, steamy shenanigans in the hay and a farrier with more than shoeing horses on his mind, will Lottie ever be ready to take on the coveted title of Lady of the Manor and restore the Estate to its former glory?

As the heart of the village, Tipping House Estate, makes its move into the 21st Century, pulses start to race in a novel packed full of charm, hunky stallions (the guys that is), and a daring plan that just has to succeed...

Buy links:

Foyles  Waterstones   iTunes    Google Play     Blackwells 

Find out more about Zara:
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