Sex vs Plot

I know, I know, that subject has probably been talked to death somewhere, somewhen. But as a new writer I'd really appreciate some fresh opinions on the subject.


*uses improved evasion to dodge barrage of cruise missiles.*


As I was saying, from what I've seen so far in fantasy books (I don't know about other types), the amount of hard plot-or at least the speed at which said plot advances-is inversely proportional to the amount of sex, or allusion to sex, contained in a story. However, sex scenes as well as indirect hints do appear to draw in an amount of readers.


So, my questions:


1) Of sex scenes and impractical action suits, is there a reason other than fanservice to add them?

2) How much in your experience (if any), do such scenes derail or delay the actual plot and how can one use deus sex machina without it appearing as a writer on board?

3) When having to choose between a century-old introvert vampire MC and a secondary character who is a sorceress, hardcore extrovert and barely legal, who would you pick to write such scenes about?

4) What do you do when readers want such scenes but it doesn't fit with the plot?


^_^ frankly if it comes out naturally I belive it ok to toss it in there.

As for your straight up questions here ya go.


1. The only 2 things I can think of that are NOT categorized as a fanservice would be:

A. Someone being manipulated by the prospect of the err, intercourse. Thus falling for trap or whatever.

B. The character are actually in a realashionship, and its the first time they ever do it or the last, depends on the situation.


2. I won't go far as to say it may derail the plot or delay, it just depends if that was the focus or if there was even a point to dropping the scene in there. For personal experience with the as you put it 'Dues Sex Machina', I never directly state that my characters actualy go through with the deed, I simply insinuate(pardon my spelling)it. Very Sparingly at that, you know they did. I just never said it.


3. I would go with the century on introvert vampire personally. Its not a graphic novel so the age really don't matter, and vampires have that odd charm ability thingy that makes them infinitly attractive. Makes it less shallow as such. The other character type you described could fall into the category of 'The village Bicycle'. To quote "Everybodies Had a ride"


4. The characters them selves need to dictate the actual attraction, NOT the writer. IF they want sex scenes but it don't fit the story, they can write their own story.


In closeing if you are writing a romance novel so be it, you expect such things. Now for pretty much ANY other type of story, sex aspect should be used rarely if at all. It doesn't belong in th action genre or adventure or anything that doesn't deal directly with the fictionous characters. It waters down the overall theme and people keep expecting them to do it again! And when it doesn't they leave and never come back. As such I would really not recommend planting such scenes in the first place unless you can keep it 'on the down low'.


Thats my say on the matter. Peace out brother-from-another-mother!

*Poof like-a-ninja* *Smoke clears and space it empty*


1) If the actions are sudden/uncalled for, then I'm afraid I could only call it fanservice. But every now and then, a writer may do something offhand as much for himself as for his readers. Fanservice, as I've come to understand it, is a one-way street. You're doing it only for the immediate gratification of your audience, not for you or the story. If you want to do it, like it, and maybe even manage to weave it into the grand scheme of things, then it isn't really just fanservice anymore is it?


2) To be honest, I can't really offer anything on that. Any story that allows itself to be taken so far off track due to sex is likely to be a story I will never read.


3) The introvert vampire. Hands down. The fact that the term 'introvert' is used to describe this character all ready sets him apart from your garden variety 'creatures of the night'. Plus, I can sympathize better with the struggles an introvert may experience versus a 'hardcore extrovert'. Sorry, but the sorceress character conjures up images of an annoying slut, and I just don't like sluts and could never empathize with one.


4) Two words: Artistic integrity. I take suggestions and heed what my audience tells me, and if it goes along with my story I try and appease them--"when is this character going to grow a spine?", "this character can't seem to decide whether to be scary or funny.", "are we going to see a softer side to this character?"--but I would never sacrifice the soul of my story for a horny reader. You want sex scenes? Rent a porno. If your going to read my story, what you'll find is emotion, thought, and consequences. Not never-ending orgasms.


1) I've written exactly one sex scene in the 106 episodes I've done (ok, there was one other scene in which there sex going on, but the point was that it had been walked in on - there was no detail whatsoever).


I put in detail - not for fanservice, that actually hadn't crossed my mind - but to show that they were being intimate in two ways - one obviously being the sex, but that he was sharing a memory with her (it's fantasy). She actually states halfway through that it's the only reason she sleeps with his kind - so whilst he's getting off on sleeping with his Queen, for her it's more about being able to experience the memory.


2) This scene was actually used to reveal plot, rather than delay it - through the memory, we find out the history of two characters, then exactly who those two characters are (something that wasn't hinted at before).


For more traditional examples - for the foreseeable future, I only have two sex scenes planned (more will crop up, probably in the "close the door" fashion). Both of these, whilst probably not revealing plot as the above example did, are all *major* character development moments.


3) The introvert, of course! Half the reason I'm looking forward to my MC losing her virginity (if/when she does - it's not one of the above planned ones) because of how horribly awkward it's going to be. ^_^


4) I'm the author, so they're out of luck. Most of my cast are emotional cripples, so they're out of luck. I'd rather write action sequences or geekish rants than sex, so they're out of luck. >_>


I'm going to echo Eikasia here: artistic integrity is what you have to strive for. Above all, stay true to the character you're portraying. If that character doesn't care to let you in on what goes on between their sheets, don't push it. On the other hand, if you have an extroverted, exhibitionist character that really doesn't see a difference between narrating having breakfast and narrating a sex scene with their partner of the evening, what right have you as the author to decide which is a more valid part of character development?


Just to argue with myself for a moment, however, it also comes down to what you're comfortable with as an author. If you're /bad/ at writing sex scenes, for goodness sake, don't write them. Your readers will thank you for it.


I think I'm going to veer away from the general view here on how acceptable it is for a given story to have sex scenes for fun and kicks. I'm not going to do it, but if an author wants to attract an audience who likes reading about sex, why not? That is, after all, part of the concern of target marketing. You're writing for a specific audience, and if you find yourself writing for people you don't like, you have a big problem. I'm lucky enough to write for people I like and respect a great deal, and I wouldn't change that for the world.


Personally, though? My main character would /kill me/ if I wrote about her sex life. She would track me down, cut all my hair off because I'm obviously a shameless hussy, and kill me. Then her husband would do the exact same thing, only he'd be more creative - and Sev is /scary/. So no sex scenes. At all. Not for Tapestry.


In my opinion, a great example of weaving sex into the story in a natural way is the first 30ish chapters of Tale of Two Kingdoms (MeiLin's story). It toed the line in the rest of the first book, and I haven't gotten around to reading the second so I can't speak to that.


A good example of excessive sex that does little for the story is MU after the first (this is a pure guess, I don't know exactly where the turning point was) one hundred chapters.


I think Lord Likely's adventures are about 75% sex, 20% story. And 5% moustaches.


Well I don't use sex in my stories to pull people.

I USED sex in two occasions only (non of them on the net):

a)the first use was a scene that 'implied' rape (having only the interchange of emotions and not the actual thing going on) as a major plot-weaving mechanism to trigger an emotional decompose of a character.

and b)to create a 'feeling' of satisfaction and elevation to a character that, in the end, what he was trying to achieve was to become one with another one.


So, to sum it up: I can't see sex as a device to extend the story, but as a tool to promote circumstances. It doesn't need to derail the plot, but it can be used to promote it, and above all, it MUST be (in my opinion) something that the character would do eventually.


As far as describing the scene, I don't see the point. When used as a plot-hook, it doesn't needs graphical representation but just enough innuendo for the reader to acknowledge what and why is happening, and how this can be change/further an already existent goal/emotions of a certain character.


I think that the above answered the 1st and 2nd question... about the 3rd one it is an easy answer: THE VAMPIRE CHIC 'CAUSE SHE IS HOT!!!


No really, having a character as the 2nd one that you describe having sex, isn't going to 'change' anything. But in the case of an extreme introvert which doesn't invite or scream for social attention (not to even talk about sex), having such an encounter that 'can' change her disposition to some things or even alter her views on such a subject, can be used fairly nice as a trigger to evolve to another person.


and about the 4th question: I don't have readers so I don't really care <.< >.>. Heh, if I had people asking for my characters to have sex for the shake of sex and only, I would simply ignore those requests. In the end, if someone hasn't understand my character well enough, either he hasn't read about him in detail or I haven't described him well...


First off, it sounds like you're describing plot-driven stories as opposed to character-driven stories -- the roles of sex and other intimate behaviors are different depending on the various styles of storytelling. That said, I don't think the breakdown of plot vs. sex is as black and white as you're implying -- for me, it's very much a gray area. But to answer your questions:


1) Of sex scenes and impractical action suits, is there a reason other than fanservice to add them?


Yes. Sex scenes can tell a lot about the different characters if written properly. They can also allow for a lull in the story if there's a need for one (all stories need a break in the action at some point). Not to mention having sex as a plot element in-and-of itself -- say a character reveals important information or is extra-vulnerable during sex, etc.


I'll admit that I'm not sure what you mean by impractical action suits. ^^;;


2) How much in your experience (if any), do such scenes derail or delay the actual plot and how can one use deus sex machina without it appearing as a writer on board?


If the writer's worth their beans, those scenes won't delay the story at all -- instead, they'll propel it forward. I'm assuming you're an adult, yes? ((Otherwise, perhaps you shouldn't be writing sexual scenarios in the first place.)) Think of your own sexual encounters, how often your thoughts turn lusty, how those thoughts and encounters can enrich or complicate your life, and then think of how it can be applied just as naturally to fiction.


[rant]Sex should be treated like any other element in a story, and not seperated out as if it were something that most adults don't experience (especially compared to violent zombie raids, which have a tendency to be treated with much less care and/or derision).[/rant]


3) When having to choose between a century-old introvert vampire MC and a secondary character who is a sorceress, hardcore extrovert and barely legal, who would you pick to write such scenes about?


The extrovert sorceress, all the way. The introvert vampire seems a bit cliched to me. Though really, they could both be very interesting in the bedroom, since people's non-sexual demeanor doesn't always correspond with how they act in the bedroom (or kitchen, library, public park, etc). The vampire might be interesting, if I got over his cliched nature, if the biology of his sexual mechanics were explained. ^^;;


4) What do you do when readers want such scenes but it doesn't fit with the plot?


I love my readers, I really do. I adore hearing their comments and feedback, and think that at times hearing from them can be what keeps me going. That said, I don't like to let reader comments impact the over-all flow of the story if it's against my better judgement. If I don't think it fits with the plot, it won't go in it. Readers are free to write fanfiction of my works or draw fanart if it strikes their fancy, and I've seen some great pieces based off of my stuff. But if I were listening to fans, Daryene and Ysilde (from Larkenia's Flaws) would've had mad crazy sex after two installments -- and then their UST wouldn't have been able to fuel the plot!


1) Of sex scenes and impractical action suits, is there a reason other than fanservice to add them?


There can be, but it's a fine line to walk. In my opinion it would have to be significant to a characters development or the story itself. If there was a way to avoid them, I'd lean towards doing so.


2) How much in your experience (if any), do such scenes derail or delay the actual plot and how can one use deus sex machina without it appearing as a writer on board?


I have no experience.


3) When having to choose between a century-old introvert vampire MC and a secondary character who is a sorceress, hardcore extrovert and barely legal, who would you pick to write such scenes about?


The vampire. I like shy people. :)


4) What do you do when readers want such scenes but it doesn't fit with the plot?


I wouldn't write them as part of the main story, but maybe as a one-off short if given the appropriate persuasion.


If 'Sex vs. Plot' is a legitimate contest to you, you're not writing the right way. That's the realm of fanfiction and bad erotica right there.


Let me explain and answer your questions at the same time.


1) I do feature sex in my stories, but never graphic or tasteless, and always as part of the plot/character development rather than something disconnected from the story itself. As for action, it should always be within the physical limits of your characters and their setting. Fanservice is a bad road to go down in any circumstances.


2) Keep sex scenes short and intense, focus on the feelings expressed rather than the physical mechanics, and especially do NOT lovingly describe your matchups in intricate gory detail. If you do get a bit physical, slightly more functional language is usually better to keep it from sounding purple or otherwise overdone. In all cases, use sex to drive the plot and develop your characters. Don't use it to titillate.


3) A 'highly extroverted female' sounds like a pretty sexually-focused character and could easily find a partner, whereas forcing some character to develop a sexual interest in a moody vampire of all things would definitely mark a story down in my eyes.


4) I would back away slowly from any reader who asked me to add sex scenes to any story of mine, keeping something between me and them at all times, and then reach for a weapon.


Regards,

Ryan


1) Of sex scenes and impractical action suits, is there a reason other than fanservice to add them?


I have used sex exactly twice in Arcana Dium. The first was a rather explicit little scene that I'm sure has driven off atleast a few potential readers.


That said, it (combined with the next 2-3 chapters) helped explore just what sort of relationship one of my MC's had with her boyfriend. Being that this was very early in the story (Chapter 3, onwards) I don't see the problem. It's shocking. Good, it's not a children's story, and it's not your average relationship.


The second time wasn't a closed doors, or even merely intimated, it was spelled out, "they had sex". I think they were even (almost, I think I used "made love") my exact words. It was exactly one sentence long, the whole sex scene. Why/how? The purpose of the chapter was to show a disconnect between the two people involved.


Now for the admissions, the earlier scene was fanservice to one fan who I also consider a good friend, and who was the inspiration behind it. It was also service to myself, I needed to write that scene. It was just a happy coincidence that I could work it into my story.


2) How much in your experience (if any), do such scenes derail or delay the actual plot and how can one use deus sex machina without it appearing as a writer on board?


*cringes at the bad pun*


Sex is a powerful subject. Sex sells. Sex derails my thought train rather often and at the most inappropriate of times, and delays my re/actions towards what I should actually be focusing on.


The real question was the last paragraph written from my view, or the view of plotline? I'm not entirely sure if it's the plot or the author that get's distracted, but that's how it happens IMHO.


3) When having to choose between a century-old introvert vampire MC and a secondary character who is a sorceress, hardcore extrovert and barely legal, who would you pick to write such scenes about?


My MC (the one involved with the sex scene atleast) is 19. So from that point of view, the sorceress, even though age is about all they'd have in common. Personally, the vampire appeals to me more. Call me crazy.


4) What do you do when readers want such scenes but it doesn't fit with the plot?


Simple: Beyond grammar and spelling, I rarely listen to my readers.


Reasoning: Among other things, they've suggested that my MC is being mind-controlled, when she's already in a weak enough position as it is. I know my characters better than my audience does, and my characters know the plot better than I do. Why should I trust my audience when I'm already telling the story second-hand?


Sex happens. Or:


[rant]Sex should be treated like any other element in a story, and not seperated out as if it were something that most adults don't experience (especially compared to violent zombie raids, which have a tendency to be treated with much less care and/or derision).[/rant]


What she said.


Anyway, If I want to write about it, I'll write about it. If I don't, I won't. This applies to ritual feasting on babies, as well.


As far as the introvert vampire and the extrovert sorceress... meh. Neither, really. Yeah I know that this was a "if you had to pick between the two" scenario but I think if I had to pick between the two I'd just go watch TV instead of writing.


Wow. Where've I been? This is the kind of thread that usually has my name on it, and in fact, I see myself mentioned! :)


1) Of sex scenes and impractical action suits, is there a reason other than fanservice to add them?


The *only* reason for a sex scene is if it advances the plot in some way, including characterization. Sex for sex's sake doesn't work. Every single sex scene in "History" speaks either to character or plot, usually both. There are times when I could give the readers a sex scene--a scene they'd really want to see, in fact--and have denied them. For instance, Harsin and Ansella. I skipped straight to the morning after because their sex didn't speak to either; it was the morning after where the interesting stuff was.


2) How much in your experience (if any), do such scenes derail or delay the actual plot and how can one use deus sex machina without it appearing as a writer on board?


If they don't speak to plot or character they completely derail the story. I don't even understand the second part of the question, but then, I just watched the presidential debate and my eyes are crossing.


3) When having to choose between a century-old introvert vampire MC and a secondary character who is a sorceress, hardcore extrovert and barely legal, who would you pick to write such scenes about?


I'd have to know them better, not to mention the situation. Who are they having sex with? Why? What does it tell us or reinforce about their character? How does it move the plot along? Personally I'd go with the sorceress because introvert vampires quite honestly bore me. That meme's been done to death. If you can do it differently--and please Gods, do it differently--I'd love to see it.


4) What do you do when readers want such scenes but it doesn't fit with the plot?


They can make up their own fanwank in their heads. :) But then, there's tons of sex as it is in "History," so I don't get many complaints. If anything I get requests to tone it down a wee. OK, I don't get those kinds of complaints, either. I have sweetly pervy readers. :)