What makes a romance novel spicy?
When writing a novel, an author must completely open themselves up emotionally to bring readers not only into their world, but into the hearts and minds of their characters. The execution of this task is one that requires pushing and testing personal limits so that everyone and anyone that reads the story, can become captivated. Sometimes, relating to certain characters involves describing various scenarios that could easily make anyone blush. However, it’s those exact reactions that make for a great read.
Romance novels can be especially tough when it comes to describing steamy scenes. The author has to seriously sit back and reflect on how they can fluidly describe the romance between two characters without making it come across as ‘too forced’ or even worse, ‘too cheesy.”
So how does one go about creating these spicy scenes without making readers cringe, laugh or roll their eyes? Well, in my opinion, authors need to have certain elements in place to create magic.
Let’s take a look at my top five.
The Little Things.
When two characters are falling or attracted to each other, the reader needs see why. What is it that Jane finds so irresistible about Jacob? Could it be the way he tucks his hair behind his ears when he’s nervous? Or perhaps the little snort he makes when he laughs? Knowing the cute little things one character does, says or feels is what makes readers begin to fall in love with them too.
Flirts & Giggles.
You know that giddy adrenaline you get when you do something and your crush thinks it’s the funniest thing in the world, so you do it even more just to hear them laugh again? To me, a good romance novel includes all the flirtatious behaviour and banter between two characters. Readers want to experience the same warm fuzzies the characters get so they can become excited for when things finally pop off. Find inspiration by reading books within your genre to see how the characters flirt, and to find out what is it you love so much about it.
The build up of that sexual energy to me is so very important. Unlike movies where the music, setting and other visual aids help put you there with the characters, authors must be able to deconstruct and recreate this vibe through words. Whether it’s an almost kiss, or a stare that lasts longer than it should, the chemistry between two characters should be thick enough to have readers furiously turning pages just to see what will happen. Some of my favourite reads involve multiple little teases throughout the book that led me to the moment that practically had me grinning like a fool. Trust me, it works.
As a reader, I want to be so caught up in a scene that I might need a cold shower afterwards. Does this involve being too graphic or overly sexual? Nope. This is where tiny details come into play that can enhance a feeling the character is going through. For example, Jane and Jacob finally kiss. If a scene solely describes Jacob shoving his tongue down Jane’s throat and groping her, I’m going to cringe and lose interest. However, if the scene takes you through Jane’s thoughts while it’s happening like how soft she thinks Jacob’s lips are or how fantastic it feels to be in his arms, I’m more likely to get caught up in the moment too.
If something just happens for no reason and just for the sake of it, readers are going to roll their eyes and throw that book against the wall. When things progress and happen naturally, it always makes for a great romance. If Jane is shy then all of a sudden becomes this brazen person around her crush, its unrealistic. Knowing your characters is the key to determining how they react when put in various situations, especially ones of the romantic nature. Adding in little embarrassing things that Jane might do in front of her crush makes readers relate to the story more. Hey, we’ve all been there!
You see, romance isn’t just about hot guy, meets hot girl, and has hot sex. It’s about connection, feelings and realism. If love knows no boundaries, don’t be afraid to walk beyond your own when creating spicy scenes. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how beautifully you can create the magic you seek when you allow yourself the freedom to do so.