Monday, March 1, 2010

Sex Appeal

Everyone’s got it. Some more than others. What I find sexy, might not ruffle your feathers. Erotica has it in abundance and, we have to admit it, sex sells.

How do you convey sex appeal?

It was one of the hardest things for me to learn as a writer. Some authors research history or world build, I spent a huge amount of time learning the art of attraction. Not the sex part, slot A into B. I learned about that in sex education but the stuff that gives you shivers as you read. I reread all my favorites again, but not a reader. Placing my writer’s hat on, I took notes, literally. What worked, how did they pace it, why did it draw me in?

A. Flirting

(these are not in order by the way)
- there needs to be a smile
- eye contact is pivotal, the more intense the more interested
- a touch or even better, a soft brush of skin

I once read that when a man lets his eyes wander down a woman’s body from the head down, he’s interested in HER. When his gaze wanders from her feet up then it’s only her body.

Once again, I find myself on the soap box preaching the use of body language. It SHOWS the reader so much and makes them FEEL it better. Does the reader want to read how his gaze made her shiver? Sure, but I bet they’ll be happier if you make them shiver with the heroine.

B. Presence

- you can’t force your character to be sexy. It’s hard to explain this so I’ll give you an example. You can’t place Lucille Ball in Scarlett O’Hara’s shoes and expect the same results. Not that comedy can’t be sexy but you approach from a different direction than something dark and sultry.
-somebody should have confidence. If both characters are unsure then it could lead the reader to feel awkward.
-persuasion, charm, and wit are all part of presence. Without it a handsome/beautiful person is only a manikin.

C. Appearance

-being attractive helps but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. (See my Bald is Beautiful campaign.
-a skilled writer can make any body type seem attractive. What matters is the hero/heroine’s response to it.

D. Response

-If your character reacts to someone in the story that has presence, flirts, and finds them attractive so can the reader.

Haven’t you read an excerpt where you’ve no clue what the guy looked like but from the heroine’s reaction to him you think, ‘Hot damn.’

I’m off my soap box now.


Sandra Sookoo said...

Rock on, Annie :-)

Annette Gisby said...

Very interesting, it does all depend on their reactions to each other, not necessarily what they look like ;)

Renee Vincent said...

Great post Annie. And as an author myself, I'm always reminded of the saying, "Don't tell me, show me."
That is sooo true when writing a good scene with sex appeal and sexual tension.

Glad I dropped by and thanks for sharing your advice.

J Hali said...

LOL, I just came from Renee's site ogling male model Seth, and *HOT DAMN!* For me the hero has to be sexy, sexy, sexy! That comes in many forms. His strength of character, how he treats the heroine, how he MOVES! Show me a man striding across the floor, exuding confidence, going after what he wants--I'll forget the color of his eyes and hair for a minute. Now, go see Seth

exploringeliza said...

Thanks for the soapboxing!

I'm struggling to write a heating up romance right now, and these are some great poitners. Also good for me is the way the hot damn talks to the sexy dame--a little bit of assumption, a little bit of a power play, both are good, especially if the heroine is a little skittish.

Sandy said...

You write really interesting blogs and this is no exception.

Thanks a bunch.

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

Very good post, Annie! I so want this 'wow', jaw-dropping factor when I read about a hero!


Annie Nicholas said...

Thanks for coming by. I'm glad you found this information useful and/or interesting.