Explicit sex in LitRPG

Discussion in 'All Things LitRPG' started by roguetrader, Mar 1, 2019.

  1. roguetrader

    roguetrader Level 2 (Initiate) Citizen

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    Hi all, new member here - I was wondering what the general feel was about explicit sex in LitRPG?

    I've been reading Succubus by AJ Markham, which is pretty fun and essentially erotica wrapped around LitRPG.

    So what do you think - sex is fade to black, on the page, explicitly described on the page?
     
  2. Gryphon

    Gryphon Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Nothing does a better job than your own mind. Fade to black is always more fun.
     
  3. Jun

    Jun Level 13 (Assassin) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    As a general rule 95% of the time I want fade to black.

    These are my reasons:
    #1 - Most people suck at writing sex scenes, and the really bad ones become more of a joke than anything else.
    #2 - The instant I get to something that doesn't correlate with my personal experience I'm yanked out of the story. This happens a lot when women write sex scenes from male PoVs. I suspect this is also true with men writing women, and the readers are women.
    #3 - My imagination is well developed. I can fill in the blanks in more satisfying ways than someone else pushing me to see one thing or another.
    #4 - In the case of LitRPG, I don't read/listen to LitRPGs for sexual purposes. I have women in my life for that. I really don't like harem, or erotica in the genre because I feel like it makes the genre overall harder to take seriously by people who are starting into it.

    The only times I want the details are:
    #1 - The author is really really good at it. I've yet to encounter a LitRPG where the author was.
    #2 - Something happens during sex that has a meaningful impact on the story or character that couldn't be adequately conveyed via a fade to black sequence.
    #3 - Alternately, if something funny happens... For example an untimely interruption, or something that becomes the source of an ongoing joke in the novel. In which case lead into it, and then cut to silliness.
     
  4. Northwest Grant

    Northwest Grant Level 7 (Cutpurse) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I think if you can write good explicit sex scenes, then there's nothing wrong with that. But I think it's worth asking yourself whether you can actually do that or not. And just because you can write one, doesn't mean you can write five. I've written over 30 books in the erotic romance genre, and so at one point I was writing maybe 25+ sex scenes a year. I think I'm pretty good at it, and practice is useful and all that. But after a while I just didn't want to write one more sex scene. In the genre I was writing in, fade to blacks were considered taboo. In LitRPG, even harem LitRPG, the author has the option each time there's a sexual situation.

    I think writing good explicit combat scenes is challenging, too. Fading to black is generally not an option, but sometimes I want to skip and just find out who won and who died.

    If you want to write sex scenes well, there are a number of books on just that subject. I'd recommend How to Write a Dirty Story, by the long-time editor of Best American Erotica, Susie Bright; Passionate Ink by Angela Knight; and How to Write Erotica by Valerie Kelly. Sexy writing is its own craft.
     
  5. Declan Heyse

    Declan Heyse Level 9 (Burgler) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    There's room enough for both. Just depends on your preference as a reader. But if a writer is adding the full-on erotica, you definitely need to consider the explicit sex scenes within the overall pacing of the book. Even as someone who writes and enjoys erotic LitRPG, having too many sex scenes one after the other (especially too-similar sex scenes) will have even me skimming on ahead to whatever starts moving the story forward again.
     
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  6. roguetrader

    roguetrader Level 2 (Initiate) Citizen

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    I've actually found myself skimming too. Like... I want the story, not the sex scene.

    When I go to Amazon though and check top author lists, I see a few people who are writing LitRPG with erotica mixed in (or harem LitRPG-esque). The success of them is undeniable.

    I do wonder if there is longevity though.
     
  7. A J Bishop

    A J Bishop Level 7 (Cutpurse) Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    I'm probably odd in that i like the sex scenes.
    Whilst Fade to Black is very much a staple in the LitRPG community a lot of people will just mark you down as porn in reviews, so why not go all the way.

    Honestly their is more than enough room for both just gotta make sure you state that their is sex within the book.
     
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  8. Maikel Yarimizu

    Maikel Yarimizu Level 7 (Cutpurse) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Depends on how well it's written, and how well it supports the story. Sex for its own sake is good for erotica, but LitRPG's supposed to be focused on other genre tropes.

    Also... now I'm flashing back to certain question types on Quora that seem to bring out all the "true, really!" sex tales by anonymous folk from India who've obviously never actually had sex, because they lack any basic understanding of the mechanics of the act.
     
  9. A J Bishop

    A J Bishop Level 7 (Cutpurse) Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    HA. Now i want to write a sex scene that uses mechanics and abilities, keeping their stats in mind.
     
  10. David M Zahn

    David M Zahn Level 8 (Thug) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    I treat sex in writing the same way I do in my marriage-- as an unlimited source of humor at my wife's expense. Ha!

    In all honestly as long as the book is advertised correctly to readers I don't think there is an issue with it either way. You just don't want reader picking up a book expecting it to be friendly to kids and then bam balls slapping against balls in a vigorous bout of man love.
     
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  11. Maikel Yarimizu

    Maikel Yarimizu Level 7 (Cutpurse) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Hm... need to keep track of Charisma... Constitution... probably Dexterity... but the more detailed we get things, the more likely we'd have to dig up a copy of FATAL to ... okay, need to stop this line of thought. There is nothing good to come from it.
     
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  12. Prax Venter

    Prax Venter Author of Entrhalled and Irrelevant Jack LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I wanted to read an epic LitRPG story that had 100% of the naughty details, while not skimping on the actual story. So I wrote one.
    I was still learning at first, and the sex scenes, while crucial to the plot and character growth, lacked a bit regarding repeated words. You can see by the end of Enthralled that I had picked up some better sexy-time techniques.

    IMO, if graphic hardcore sex is there, it should matter... to everyone involved.

    Obviously, there is no universal answer here. People like what they like.
     
  13. Maikel Yarimizu

    Maikel Yarimizu Level 7 (Cutpurse) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    And here we have Rules #1 and #2 of writing sexuality into fiction.
     
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  14. brucexwrite

    brucexwrite Level 3 (Apprentice) Citizen

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    I liked Succubus book 1. I knew there would be sex in it and I would have been disappointed if there wasn't.
    In general, I love sex scenes in sci-fi and fantasy if the book is well done and I am anticipating the characters getting it on.
    It seems like most litRPG fans have to be warned otherwise they get all pissy about it.
    What is irritating for me is when the sexual tension is from the perspective of a teenage boy who is afraid of TIDDIES. I mean, I can deal with it... I just prefer
    full-on adult action.
     
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  15. grimshawl

    grimshawl Level 8 (Thug) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    As long as it fits in the story and is meaningful and well written I am fine with it. However, there are times when it feels more like it was just thrown in there to check a box IMO.
     
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  16. A J Bishop

    A J Bishop Level 7 (Cutpurse) Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    There is more than a few that do that frankly. On the other side of that however if the characters are already within an established relationship there is no harm in having some casual sex within the books but most of it should be directed at story/emotional progression.
     
  17. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 13 (Assassin) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    It's super-easy to get lost in writing the blow-by-blow (^_~) only to end up with something that is a dry, investigative-journalism report on what happened. Especially when writing something that is inherently fun for you the author (like sex or battles). This is a quick way to bore the hell out of readers.

    That said... IMO, sex scenes and battle scenes are very similar in execution. That's because, both in sex and battles, the pitfalls are the same yet the scene still has to obey the rules of good drama to be interesting. I.e. an emotional, character-driven story about people chasing their needs. When you're writing these things, you need to consider what role they have in your story structure.

    For example,
    1. Does the sex/battle serve to contribute to the tension of the central conflict? (my favorite quote on this ever - "Sex should always make things worse.")
    2. Or, is the sex/battle the payoff for all that tension you've been carefully building up?
    When I think of the most boring battles or sex I've read, it was the stuff that felt like it either came out of nowhere or wasn't building to anything. The "so now we're in bed doing it" types of scenes or a trivial battle encounter which somehow goes on for 2000 words. These things just feel empty, purposeless, and a waste of time.

    The best ones were significant events for which my anticipation or apprehension (or both) were sharpened beforehand. I've also read some good scenes which seemingly came out of nowhere, but they quickly got serious and then served as inciting incidents or turning points for the plot or emotional arcs of the story.

    I suppose there are also scenes which exist purely for titillation and fantasy, but even those tend to have a bit of story to them and they all need some build up in order to feel worth the time of reading. Even well-executed, they have sharp limits on how often they can happen and how long they can go for.

    My two cents.
     
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