What are the hardest scenes to write?

I am sure the answer to that question is as varied as there are authors and genres, so I will enjoy reading all of your responses.

For me, the most difficult and yet exciting to write are sex scenes. There is a fine line between a well-written sex scene and erotica. Or perhaps there’s no line at all. It’s simply the words you choose to use.

There are all kinds of sex scenes with all different levels of heat, from the kiss-fade-to-black and mild groping, all the way to full frontal erotica that tests the limits of our taboos. Sex scenes actually can serve a real purpose in the story.

A sex scene can complicate or resolve a relationship. Sex can be used as one of the bad, impulsive, very human decisions that a character makes. Done right, a sex scene is a brutally accurate barometer about the psychological, physical, and emotional state of a character. Sex scenes can deepen our immersion in the world, identification with the characters, and indulgence in the fantasy and suspension of reality. Finally, sex can be used to explore some of the most profound ideas about human relationships, gender roles, and power.

I once took a workshop about writing compelling sex scenes and the teacher said, “if the sex scene you are writing does not get you hot and turned on, then you’re doing it wrong.” That’s one way to look at it.

For me, I like focusing on what the characters are internalizing rather than the physical act itself. Let me share with you a short scene from my new book, GHOSTLY INTERFERENCE, which will be released through the Wild Rose Press (no release date yet), and give me your thoughts.


His breath came hard and fast. He picked her up and walked to the bedroom with her legs wrapped around his waist, their lips locked.

He sat her on the edge of the bed, unzipped his jeans, and pushed them over his hips. Their eyes met. She wrapped a trembling hand around his erection and leaned forward to kiss it.

Her boldness caught him off guard again, and the forest fire morphed into an inferno. He pushed her back and slid her jeans off, then knelt on the floor and pulled aside her panties to give his tongue access to her wet, warm, sweet spot.

She writhed and moaned and clamped her hands hard on each side of his head. Her breath came in hard, short gasps.

Never could he have imagined that making love could be so incredible, so natural, so easy. This woman was everything and more than he ever dreamed of. He loved her with an intensity that shook him. And he wanted nothing more than to make her happy in every way and to spend the rest of his life making love to her.  

He stood and slipped her panties off. She scooted over, and he slid onto the bed beside her. His mouth found the peak of a hard nipple while his hands left feathery trails along her side and down her hip.

Her fingernails raked gently down his back. Her hips grinding against him drove him to the brink of insanity.

Exquisite was the only word that came to mind. Making love to Rena Jett was simply exquisite. When he was sure she neared climax and was ready for him to slide inside, she suddenly pushed him over onto his back.

Pinning his arms above his head, she straddled him and trailed kisses across his eyelids and down to his mouth. His heart hammered inside his chest as they breathed the same air. No woman had ever pleasured him this way.

“What are you doing?” he croaked.

“Shh.” She kissed his neck and made her way to his nipples that were hard and erect. He lost all track of everything around him except this beautiful woman and the desire that burned hot and begged for release.

Slowly and methodically, she licked and sucked on each one. He struggled to free his arms and she held them tighter. Her tight grip forced him into submission. A long, low growl came from his throat, and he tossed his head from side to side.

Oh, how he loved this show of aggressiveness. Had he once dared to think she might be a tiger in bed? That seemed years ago but damned if she wasn’t.  

Their skin slick with sweat and desire, she made her way down to his flat belly leaving a trail of burning kisses along the way.

She released his arms and moved between his legs. And, when she took him inside her mouth, he wrapped his hands in her silky hair and let out a primal cry. 

She licked and sucked on his erection until he could feel the earth shift from its axis. Heat in his belly roasted him alive.

In one swift move, he pulled her on top of him and slid hard inside her wetness.

They moved together as one. He memorized every detail, every sharp intake of breath, every moan, and every whisper.

“Look in my eyes,” she murmured.

When he did, they disappeared into each other as a shuddering orgasm shattered them both—it was nothing short of a spiritual exchange between souls.

She collapsed on top of him with her head resting next to his on the pillow. His fingers left soft caresses on her back and bottom.

Finally, she rolled off and lay beside him.

Your thoughts? How did I do with this sex scene?

I am so excited that this story, GHOSTLY INTERFERENCE, will finally see the light of day after four years of pitching! It just goes to show that you should never give up!

By the way, today is Rick Sikes’ birthday. If he’d lived, he’d be turning 85. I can’t even imagine what he’d think of today’s world. He wouldn’t be happy with it, for sure! Anyway, Happy Heavenly Birthday, Rick. For all of his rough and tough exterior, he was the most romantic, erotic, and sexiest man I ever knew! Oh, the times we shared!

And, if you haven’t yet read our story, you can start here!

34 thoughts on “What are the hardest scenes to write?

  1. I don’t write sex scenes, Jan, but I can imagine how hard they are! I read yours and it seems to work fine, though honestly, when I’m reading books with sex scenes, I skip them. The hardest scenes for me to write are battle scenes. I have to stick with one pov, but still give a sense of the scale of the larger fight. It’s a tricky balance. 🙂 Great question.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, Diana. Battle scenes would be very difficult in one POV. It’s so different in a movie, but in a book, I can see where that would be tricky. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I stopped writing romance in part because I hated writing the explicit scenes. You say you find them difficult, but that certainly isn’t evident in your work. Nicely done.

    I’m honestly not sure which types of scenes are most difficult for me. I think it actually depends on my mood. In the last few novels I wrote, I sailed through the violent scenes (which used to give me fits) and struggled with the emotional ones (which used to be easy for me). Weird, I know.

    Happy Heavenly Birthday to Rick. I’m sure it was a difficult day for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s interesting how that, as writers, we grow and evolve, and as our lives change, so does our writing. I’m sure there’s some deep psychological theory there. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment and for the heavenly birthday wish for Rick! Have a wonderful day!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, I can see that Rick was the sexiest man you ever knew,Jan! Well done writing this vivid and descriptive sex scene. I think I could write it but it’s not a genre I’ll get into at this point. Congratulations on you up coming new release.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am not good at writing sex scenes. Not that I’ve tried that many. I usually leave it up to the reader’s imagination (put the couple behind closed doors, etc.)

    But I think you captured the scene well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wonderful to hear, John – well the part about liking the scene. 🙂 I agree there is no easy sex scene to write unless you are writing erotica, then everything and anything goes. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You captured that scene perfectly, Jan. Wow. Can’t wait to read this book. I usually fade off in the final verison with sex scenes, even though I usually write what happens. I think its beacuse I started as a children’s writer first and didn’t use another pen name.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow…what a passionate scene. You’ve captured the emotional and the physical very well. As for a difficult scene to write, I don’t think I could write (or would even try to write) an explicit scene involving contact violence against a child or a woman. I could, however, write a scene where an explosive kills people, but otherwise…..no.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that’s very true, Gwen. I would have a very hard time writing a rape scene or child abuse. Well, I couldn’t do it. So, I won’t. 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, my friend! Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a devil of a time writing anything like this. Maybe guys just aren’t good at capturing all the nuances that make it more erotic and less visceral. I tend to struggle with most scenes, but I work hard at them and it seems to help.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wondered if it would be harder for a guy to write a sex scene. I guess you answered my question. However, I think men can capture the male POV easier than a woman can. Interesting perspective. Thanks for your comment, Craig!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Yowza! You definitely have a lot of heat going on in that scene, Jan!

    I’m not really a fan of erotic or steamy romances, but if such scenes are part of the overall story, then they fit. For me, the hardest scenes to write are action scenes. It seems like I end up reworking them over and over before I’m satisfied with them.

    Looking forward to Ghostly Interference!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Interesting, Mae. So, when you say action scenes, do you mean like fight scenes? I’m glad you enjoyed the love scene and I too am looking forward to “Ghostly Interference!” Thank you for stopping by!

      Liked by 2 people

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