“Hi Jim,

I’m in the middle of writing a fantasy novel. In my book, two of my main characters fall in love. I noticed in Magnifica that your main characters wind up having sex. I don’t want my story turning into sex-novel, which it looks like it’s starting to. When you wrote yours, how did you limit yourself? What made you stop when you did?

Thanks,
Lisa”

No matter what, no matter where or who you are… it ALL comes down to sex.

I was afraid that this would come up at some point… okay… Personally, I try to avoid the subject in my writing as much as possible for that very reason. However, when I wrote Magnifica, I went about trying to make a fantasy novel as realistic as possible. While there are limits to how ‘real’ a novel with Elves and Dwarves can be, expecting that two college kids who love each other, have been together for months, and are alone together before a big event that could change both of their lives, are NOT going to have sex is just not realistic at all. At least not in my opinion, being a college grad myself.

Honestly I went the minimalist route:
*Spoiler Alert*
Without another word, Lia’na bent her shoulders back so she could lean in and kiss him. Toby ran his hands up under his borrowed shirt caressed her back. Their bodies still felt incredibly warm from the night before as they lay together, but Toby’s fingers still managed to give Lia’na chills from the sensation.
Lia’na began to kiss Toby’s neck as his fingernails traced up her back. His right hand continued over her shoulder and down her chest. His hand then gently caressed her breast, which was firm but very smooth. His touch caused her to breathe more heavily than before.
Lia’na responded by moving away from his neck and kissing him firmly on the lips. Toby gathered what little composure he had left and gently pushed Lia’na back so he could look into her eyes, “Are you sure about this?”
A gentle whisper was the only response he received, “Te arshana ni.”

Honestly, I don’t have an answer for you as to what is defined as going too far and what isn’t. However, I do pride myself on trying to help anyone who comes to me asking, so I’ll say this; If you’re concerned that your book is going in that direction, then it probably is and it’s time to go back a re-read what you’ve written so far. Personally, it depends on how many scenes we’re talking about vs. how long your story is. In my books, I’ve never gone more than 2 of these types of scenes in one book.
In terms of description, that’s really up to you. There’s certainly nothing wrong with a little fan service in the story, but a play by play may be pushing it a little.
That said, this is all subjective. There’s really nothing wrong with writing sex novels, from what I understand they have a pretty massive following… it’s not my taste, but there is a huge audience out there for it.
So honestly, my best advice would be to re-read your book, you are the best judge of your own content when it comes to something like this. If it looks like it’s turning into smut, it probably is. If you read it and you’re still not sure, have someone else read it just to be on the safe side.

I hope this helps… time for a cold shower.

Readers, what do you think? At what point does a novel become a sex novel? At what point does a book go from just your every day story to smut?


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

1 Comment on “Tasteful vs. Smut-peddling

  1. I think something to think about is where the sex is placed in the story. Is the scene meaningful to the characters at all? Does it change their relationship in some way? Smut seems to indicate a novel that uses sex as the driving force of the narrative rather than a companion to the story. As you said though, to each their own. The most important thing to understand is the “why” behind including it.

    Liked by 1 person

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