Saturday, May 17, 2014

Elegant Smut Writing 101

By Nora Snowdon (Guest Blogger)

Thanks for having me on your blog, Lisabet. As the Writer of Elegant Smut, there are a few misconceptions about my craft that I’d like to clear up. Writing straight smut is not just continually describing heaving bosoms and throbbing manhoods (love guns? joy sticks? turgid rods o’steel?) in sweaty action.

Hell no!

We also have to write the part where the nerdy pizza delivery guy walks up to the front door accompanied by cheesy 1970’s jazz music. The door is then opened by a heavily made-up babe with over-inflated boobs. (Note, if you’re ever on a sinking ship, stand next to this woman. I bet those things are great flotation devices! But I digress…)

The point is, you need context for your smut. And if you are writing Elegant Smut (i.e. romance) you need to include even more details not actually related to the boink-fests. A plot, for example, is often considered important in romance. And with plot comes characterization. Who are these star-crossed lovers and what exactly is crossing their stars?

If you’re writing a 75,000 word novel, you’d better have a pretty good conflict tearing the two lusty protagonists apart. Otherwise those wily orgasm-fueled stud/studettes will just keep sneaking back for more sex, then regretting it and breaking apart again. And that’s just bloody annoying. Having them split up because she was betrayed in an earlier relationship and now doesn’t believe in love is waaay too feeble. Or if someone tells him a lie about his new love and he believes it and dumps her without finding out the truth, well then that hero just isn’t worthy of romantic love in the first place.

Romance readers are also a bloodthirsty lot. They want their heroes and heroines to suffer mightily before overcoming great obstacles to actually earn their happily ever after. Honest. Go to any romance writer conference and you’ll find a multitude of workshops on upping the conflict in your novels. Also talks by police officers, coroners, and other emergency personnel on how to make horrendous scenarios even worse and more realistic.

I believe the problem is that we write our heroes to be such fabulous catches that we figure only someone equally as brave and resourceful should get to have them. No hopeless wallflower for our Superman. Nosirreebob! (Well unless she delves deep to find her inner Wonder Woman.) And then if you write an amazing heroine, the hero has to up his game too. (Note, for these characters to resonate, they should be realistic people like the reader and then, after being tested by adversity, become the best that they can be, hence worthy of the Greatest Love Ever. As, of course, all us readers would be if only we had such ferocious dragons/demons/serial killers to slay.)

But it’s important that we don’t lose the main point of having such virile, virtuous and vivacious characters in our romance books. It’s because we want to imagine having endless and mind-blowing sex with these fabulous people ourselves. Romance rarely touches upon S.T.D.s and erectile dysfunction because unfortunately they are way too prevalent in real life. In our fantasies we’re still looking for Erica Jong’s infamous zipless f—k. (And wow! That’s dating myself…) As readers, we want to be caught up in the raging desire, not the messy reality. As writers, we need to make that over the top passion seem plausible. And just so you know, in real life, nerdy pizza delivery guys don’t really get that much unexpected action on the job. Just sayin’…

Please feel free to leave a comment regarding either what you look for in your smut books or if you have any other great euphemisms for sexy man bits, and one commenter (who leaves their e-mail address) will be drawn to win a copy of my new short story, My Hero. This story is about a fabulous Writer of Elegant Smut who pursues the male model from her book cover. (Hint, things do not go well for our heroine.)

Excerpt from The French Resolution

Antoine kissed her. Then he grabbed the wine and the food and headed to the living room. “Have a seat. Eat. Then we will discuss the next few days.”

She appeared nervous at the proposition, so he popped a cracker with Camembert into her mouth. 
 
D’accord. We will discuss it now. I think you should stay here with me for the next few days. I realize that if your father should come back, I will have to return you, but I do not think the butler is a good enough excuse. Tomorrow is Monday. I will have to do some business but not for long. I will be in meetings on Wednesday, so you may use that day to see old friends. I am willing to negotiate days off for good behavior, but not nights. Is this acceptable?” Antoine stared into her blue-gray eyes, willing her to agree. She paused long enough to worry him.

Does this agreement include food? Because for a short person, I eat a lot.”



***

To read the first chapters and perhaps buy Nora Snowdon’s published books on Amazon.com, please go to http://amzn.to/1lWYWIo

To read more about Nora Snowdon and check out her blog, try www.norasnowdon.com

And you can follow her on twitter @norasnowdon and facebook Nora Snowdon

Nora Snowdon’s Official Bio (accept no others)
 
Living in New York and Toronto, Nora Snowdon was a jerk of all trades—one week hawking toys at major toy conventions, the next in a high end jewelry store pandering to the rich. She worked in the financial market, gambling dens, environmental protection, food service industry and sold shoes. During these years she also either appeared in or directed over twenty five plays.

Then Nora moved to the wet coast, took up health foods (dark chocolate and red wine) and became a Writer of Elegant Smut. She currently has five books available, published by Crimson Romance and Rebel Ink Press. Her ambition is to become a crazy cat lady and wine hoarder, not necessarily in that order.


32 comments:

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Nora,

What a hilarious post! I love your bio, too. Do you ever use your theater experience in your books? (Silly question. Of course you do.)

I've been accused by my editors of having too much plot in my romances. ;^(

Sometimes I think you just can't win.

Looking forward to reading some of your elegant smut at some point.

Jacqui Nelson said...

Nora, you are my favorite author of Elegant Smut! Love your humor. Love all of your books.

Lisabet, I think I'm in the same boat as you: I've too much plot in my romances for most editor's tastes. But that's the kind of story I like to write...and inflict on my critique partners.

Looking forward to testing another complicated plotline on you, Nora, when I see you later today :)

Jodie Esch said...

Oh yes! Loved the comment that the reader wants the 'raging desire' rather than 'messy reality'. So true, well said. I enjoyed this post.

orelukjp0 said...

I love your humor. It makes reading so much more fun when you can occasionally smile.

Lisabet, the one euphemism that I really do not like is "hunka-hunka burnin' love". There are so many bad euphemisms but that just doesn't fit in any story unless its attached to Elvis.

Thank you for the great contest.

orelukjp0 at gmail dot com

erin said...

hahaha... what a fun post! Ummm... I look for seamless euphemisms in my elegant smut :) Gotta flow and not being glaringly obvious. Thanks for sharing!
efender1(at)gmail

nora snowdon said...

thanks for hosting me, lisabet. and in answer, yup, I think I tend to be a little dialogue-heavy in my writing due to starting out writing comedy skits for various acting companies. I still haven't written a book set in the theatre, but one day...

nora snowdon said...

thanks. hmm, I think i'll have to agree. if nothing else, hunka-hunka burning love is just too cumbersome. I did use hound-dog recently, tho.

nora snowdon said...

thanks for dropping by, erin. I think seamless is a good thing in almost everything... :)

nora snowdon said...

thanks Jacqui. can't wait to see you, too! plotting shall abound! (with mucho vino, of course...)

nora snowdon said...

thanks, Jodie.
I think it's the "messy realities" that drive some of us into reading romance for escapism.

Austina Pow said...

Too funny! Nora. I never expected to learn some survival skills from you today. But the lady with the bimplants (thanks, Margaret Atwood), wouldn't she be well practised at fending off the wrong men trying to grab her orbs? If she's trying to swim for her life (on her back, one would expect) and finds that EVERYONE is trying to hang on wouldn't she become, well, vicious?

Loved your post,

nora snowdon said...

hmm, I just assumed that a person with built in flotation devices would be willing to share. obviously she would've only gotten them for the betterment of humankind. (unless they contain squeaky toys--those are more specifically for men)

Celia Lewis said...

You are one brilliant writer, Nora! Comedy and all, your elegant smut is right up my alley (whoops). Very clear what is needed in any good story! And I definitely drool over your latest cover guy - does he have a father more my age?

T. Rae Mitchell said...

I think I'll have to leave the elegant smut to experts like you, Nora. Sounds like there's too many balls to juggle while keeping the story interesting. ;)

Loved the post! You make me laugh every time.

nora snowdon said...

thanks, celia. I'd tell you not to be an ageist, but in this case it's a good thing. French Resolution guy is MINE! in fact, he's the guy I wrote My Hero about.
disclaimer: no male models were harmed in the writing of "my hero."

nora snowdon said...

thanks t.rae,
love your juggling balls. hmm, how to work that into a book title... ;)

Anonymous said...

What about his billy club? I don't think I have seen that used.
I loved Arsonists Anonymous . Perhaps his huge hose could have worked
In that when cooling down her fiery passion.
Shlong and salami are not common enough in romance stories!

JoAnne Myers said...

Hello, the post was very informative and interesting. I dont write erotica, but I do think you know what it takes to write a good smut book. Good luck with your books.

Skeeter Lee said...

Too funny. I vote to remove "her quivering channel" and "his throbbing man meat" from the romance grab bag.

I am not too picky about the plot. More plot is better than less plot (I don't care what Lisabet's editors say). I do require some sort of REAL conflict. Books filled with pages of "s/he loves, s/he loves me not" lamenting with no conflict drove me away from the romance genre for years.

Perhaps long enough to not know about Erica Jong’s infamous zipless f—k? I need to catch up ;-)

skeeterlee63 @ gmail.com

BTW -

Whenever I hear "hunka-hunka burnin' love," I think S.T.D.s, not Elvis or sexy man bits.

Kayla Hampton said...

Loved the blog Nora! We are a blood thirsty lot aren't we? :)

nora snowdon said...

thanks anonymous,
funny you should mention that, I believe shlong, salami and that old favorite, shmeckle, are all being featured in the next smut book. (billy club? not so much...)

nora snowdon said...

well quivering channel just sounds yucky, but throbbing man meat? how could you not love that?! and thanks to you, i'll never be able to listen to elvis again...
thanks for visiting.

nora snowdon said...

thanks, kayla. yup.

KIM TALBOT said...

I love a spicy sexy read as long as there is a story in there as well.

nora snowdon said...

my god! you expect a story as well?!? some people are sooo demanding...

DeeLancaster said...

As always, you make me smile. You are a funny, funny lady. I live with three sons & hubs, they have so many terms for their equipment and find the opportunity to mention it with alarming frequency. I'm not sure most of their terms are flattering enough for a romance novel. And you're so right about the characters. I hate it when hero or heroine out classes his or her counterpart. I'm screaming 'no! You can do better!'. Oddly enough people screamed this at me around the time of my first marriage. Turns out they were correct, hubs 2.0 is a huge improvement.a thanks for sharing, Nora. You really do owe it to us to share your insights more often.

nora snowdon said...

hey dee,
I'm glad hubby 2.0 was an improvement, but perhaps hubs 3.0 might be even better. a French gazillionaire with a heart of gold? An Italian poet with amore on his mind? A Canadian canoeist with a case of Labatts Blue??? One can always dream...

Susan Coryell said...

Nora: I've gotta admit I rarely read "smut," elegant or not unless I come by it accidentally. However, you've given me hope for when I TRY to write my own romantic scenes in my cozy mysteries. It is HARD work (take it as a pun, if you wish). Thanks for a fun-to-read post!

nora snowdon said...

hey susan,
I think accidental smut may be the best. (well, except for when they tried to get dick francis to smut up his stories. I loved his first books, but when he wrote sex scenes in later ones they just made me cringe...) thanks for dropping by.

Amanda Whittaker said...

HI Nora! Loved the blog post! And I absolutely LOVE the idea of your short story My Hero!

Newer to the hope-to-get-this-published world, I find I teeter back and forth of a good balance between story moving plot and page turning scenes of passion. The characters themselves would like nothing more than to tangle in the sheets endlessly, but is there a (unspoken) rule? Strange questions I'm sure, but I sometimes am not sure how much is Too much, in a contemporary romance, for example.

bn100 said...

Don't have any euphemisms

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

nora snowdon said...

thank you all so much for dropping by. the winner of my short story was orelukjp.
in answer to your question Amanda of how much is too much sex, that really depends on context. if the sex scenes don't actually move the characters along emotionally then it becomes pointless boinking. some people like reading just steamy erotica, but with contemporary romance, the sex should change things between the characters and propel the story. imo even well written sex scenes get boring with nothing to sustain them.

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