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The Wetness Test

Three days ago I finished a new story called "Crossed Hearts". It is a M/M short intended for the upcoming TEB anthology Gaymes. Claire's call for submissions for this collection says:

"We're looking for stories set around men playing games - any kind (but not the scrabble kind!!) - surprise us...but make it hot."

Of course, being the egghead that I am, I had already thought about a Scrabble-themed story, even before I got to the caveat. Fortunately I convinced my editor to at least look at at my attempt to make Scrabble sexy. (She replied, "Okay--if anyone can do it, you can...".)

Anyway, I had been working pretty hard on this submission, since the due date was September 15th. I was focused on the characters and their interactions, trying to show how a casual pick-up could morph into something deeper and more serious. I hadn't really been thinking about the sex, though of course, given that this was for Total-E-Bound, the tale contained plenty of it!

I was down to the final chapter when I took a bathroom break and discovered that I was absolutely drenched--wet, slippery, definitely aroused. I was a bit surprised, given my locus of my attention, but pleased too. Because if my stories turn me on, they have a reasonable chance of affecting my readers the same way.

The "wetness test", as I call it, doesn't guarantee that I've succeeded in producing a story that readers will love. It's always possible that I am imagining a scene in torrid detail, but not conveying the intensity effectively in my prose. It's hot in my head, but maybe not on the page. The other risk, I've discovered, is writing steamy sex scenes that don't include a powerful emotional connection between the characters. That can work in erotica, but romance readers normally don't want just a sex scene. They want a love scene.

Nevertheless, it's encouraging when my body reacts positively to my efforts at creating erotic encounters. Actually, I believe that is the key to sizzling sex scenes. You have to write what turns you on.

Over the past ten years that I have been publishing erotica and erotic romance, my own personal horizons have expanded. It's far easier for me to get into a M/M scene now than it would have been a few years ago. I find a much wider range of activities, orientations and fetishes personally exciting. Putting it another way, I've become increasingly perverse. I guess that this is progress!

Here's a blurb for "Crossed Hearts". I don't know whether TEB will accept the story or not. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

For the past six years, Jason Hofstadter has attended the Four States Annual Scrabble Tournament. Jason comes to the Four States for two reasons: to play Scrabble and to get laid. Every year since his first, he has managed to hook up with one of the other players for some sexual fun. This year he has a chance at the grand prize in the tournament. Meanwhile he figures that he has hit the jackpot when he spots handsome, bookish Matt Sawyer, who's competing at the Four States for the first time.

Shy and seemingly innocent, Matt turns out to be full of surprises. First he jumps Jason in the restroom at Starbucks. Then he reveals that he's into BDSM and encourages Jason to experiment with topping him. Jason finds that he has an affinity for dominance, at least when Matt is his sub. Finally, despite his lack of experience with tournament play, Matt ends up competing with Jason in the semi-final round. When Matt throws the game he should have won, Jason is forced to confront his own feelings: about winning, about casual sex, and about Matt.


Jude Mason said...

Oh my! I love the book blurbie thing you added. Sounds like a winner to me, Lisabet. I'd love to be standing watching these two play scrabble. There are some very erotic words they could slip in... hehe! Great post and good luck with the submission!


Kayelle Allen said...

I've always loved Scrabble! Looks like this is verification that it can be sexy too. That blurb is hot! I'll never see Starbucks the same way. lol

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Jude and Kayelle,

Thanks so much for dropping by. We'll see if the head honchos at TEB feel the same way!


Sedonia Guillone said...

Hey Lisabet - I often have the same result when I write a sex/love scene for my books. I think that no matter the context, if it arouses you, it will work for your readers because it is genuine. And even if a scene doesn't have the emotional connection between the two characters, it may be because it's the beginning of their relationship and they haven't developed the bond yet. They are acting on the initial physical attraction. Hey, that's okay too because we as the readers will be looking forward to the development of the emotional/romantic bond and that will make us want to keep reading!