Sex, Loquacity and Vicarious Details

DaveK's picture

There is a thread at Absolute Write - about the lack of sex in fantasy or space opera. My contribution to that was:

My feeling is that most explicit sex scenes do little to advance the plot or character development, at least in the type of fiction I prefer. What if we wrote other activities in the same fashion. Take writing for instance:

I slid the mouse toward the icon. Slowly, slowly until the icon lit up as I reached it. I pressed once, twice, because I knew what was needed. The application opened up showing me that with which I was so familiar. I placed my fingers above the top row and slowly slid them down to where they belonged. A few quick pecks and suddenly the disk started trashing. I watched as the computer vibrated and shook until I was sure it would fall off the table.

Way too much detail for an activity we know well.

Thanks to Dimanagul for pointing out the term, Ikea erotica, at - .

Sex, of course, always gets attention but the fundamental idea of how much to include in a story is bigger than that. I admit, confess, whatever to being very terse. "He entered the room," is my style. Not – John removed his gloves and placed them in his leather jacket. He reached for the door knob and noted that it was antiqued brass. As he turned the knob he wondered if she would be on the other side. Well, you get my drift. If the gloves, jacket and finish on the door knob are important then bring them up. If not I don't care.

There is probably an exception to this for mysteries. If all you show or tell are the clues than it becomes easy to solve a problem. The red herrings and MacGuffins are needed to make the story real. How far this exception carries into other genres is the hard part. Maybe most of the detail I mentioned above is unnecessary but maybe not. Perhaps the gloves are a clue that our hero is afraid of germs or his hands are mechanical. I guess I'm talking myself into including more detail. The old Heinlein line – the door dilated, conveys a lot of info in very few words.

I will continue to be terse but I really should get out of my comfort zone and write something very wordy. Not to try to publish it but to stretch myself and who knows maybe I'll get better at it.


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Congratulations on reaching

Congratulations on reaching your W1S1 goals for August Smiling


Well done on getting your

Well done on getting your W1S1 goals for August, Dave!

--Sam Mae

Congrats on reaching your

Congrats on reaching your W1S1 goals!

For me, I'm not into sex scenes; I know characters have sex, and it's fine to mention it, but I don't need the details. Plus, the imagination is far more powerful in those, err, intimate situations. 


Way too much detail for an

Way too much detail for an activity we know well. " "

That made me chuckle; and I agree with you for the most part. Anyhow, way to go on meeting your August Write1Sub1 goals!


Funny that there isn't much

Funny that there isn't much sex in sci-fi/fantasy stories, but the book covers, ... often times, that seems to be another matter ; ) 

Congrats on meeting your goals.

~ Erin

~ Erin

That description of writing

That description of writing sure got me excited. : ) Congrats on meeting your W1S1 goals.

Fade to Black, FTW! - Dawn

Fade to Black, FTW!

- Dawn