Tag Archives: kelly lawrence

Kelly Lawrence Talks ‘Passionate Plots’ – Using Dialogue to Convey Sexual Tension

Kelly Lawrence Passionate Plots postI wrote my new book, Passionate Plots as a guide to writing sex scenes both for emerging erotica writers and writers looking to branch out in this area, or who feel that their current story might benefit from some added heat. The main thrust of the book – as well as specific advice on writing a good sex scene and writing exercises to help you do this – is that sex scenes, whatever your genre, need to be integral to the overall plot and make sense in terms of your characters. One way to ensure that your erotic scenes don’t just pop up out of nowhere is to ensure that there’s some build-up of sexual tension between the characters involved. Here’s a little extract from the book on conveying those tension levels….

‘What is sexual tension? It’s that simmering between two people who are attracted to each other but are fighting it, or can’t be together for whatever reason, or the first time you talk to someone and you look at each other and just know you’re going to end up between the sheets, but you’ve only just met and you’re in public/company so it wouldn’t be polite to say anything. If the couple becomes long-term, sexual tension evolves into chemistry, where you’re finishing each other’s sentences and even your friends sense the simmering heat between you.

Sexual tension is crucial for your story if you’re writing an erotic romance or erotica; think of it as foreplay. In these genres sexual tension will be one of if not the major source of conflict. It sounds like an obvious point, but I’ve read a few erotica novels where, although the sex scenes come fast and furious, there’s little or no sexual tension, which results in the reader not really caring about the characters or even what happens next, flicking through to the sex scenes and discarding the book.

Even if you’re writing in another genre, if you’re planning on including erotic scene, it’s still important to have some levels of sexual tension that give the reader a build-up. Otherwise the sex scenes appear to come out of nowhere and can jar the reader out of the story. Sexual tension serves to give the reader a hint at the scenes to come, so by the time they reach the first love scene they’ll be not just expecting it but looking forward to it. It can also serve your plot in other ways; a little sexual tension simmering away can work with other points of conflict in the story to up the overall rising tension and drama. Particularly in thrillers and action-adventure novels, two characters battling outside conflict while sexual tension simmers away between them really adds to the levels of excitement and urgency. Just look at some Hollywood films for examples of this. The same principle can work in horrors and Westerns too. Historical fiction can also benefit from a good dollop of sexual tension and done well it can really add to the plot; think of the restrained and corseted Victorian era with all that passion bubbling under the surface for example.

Of course sexual tension is subtle and hard to describe; like that all elusive chemistry you know when it’s there but it’s almost impossible to pin down and define. Therefore, although our stories might need this form of tension, it’s not the easiest thing to convey in words, unlike a film where you can practically see the sparks fly between characters. Here is where you really need to be able to ‘show not tell’. Telling your readers there’s sexual tension between your characters, even in the first-person, won’t let them feel it.

So how do you do it? There are a variety of ways, from body language to interior monologue, but dialogue is one of the most powerful ways to convey that simmering sexual tension….

The use of banter between two characters trying to fight or avoid their attraction to each other is a strong device in romance novels, and if this is an area you’re not familiar with I suggest you read a few and see how other writers do it. ‘Banter’ can be used to refer to flirting, teasing, even a heated debate if it’s already been made clear the characters would rather be ripping off the others’ clothes than their head.  Whatever the context, banter is witty, fast-paced dialogue with a sexual edge. You can make this sexual aspect quite clear with the use of flirting or innuendo, or subtle with the use of subtext.

How do your characters flirt? Think about their personalities and don’t make your heroine turn into a pouty-lipped giggling hair flicker if she’s usually quiet and serious, or a ballsy no-nonsense kind of gal, or your down-to-earth guy metamorphoses into Mr Charmer. Let your characters lead.

Sexual tension between characters often arises due to some interpersonal conflict between them. This may be because of the situation they’re in, one a cop, the other a fugitive, to give an obvious example much beloved of Hollywood screenwriters, but is at its most effective when there is a conflict between their personality types. As we all know, opposites attract.

Innuendo is a great way of injecting an element of simmering sexual attraction into a conversation without the characters blatantly saying ‘I really fancy you.’

The only thing to be careful of is that your dialogue doesn’t become too obvious, with your innuendoes becoming blatantly sexual in a 1970’s skin flick kind of way. No ‘gun in the pocket’ jokes, please.

Sub-text is a subtler way to show tension of any kind in dialogue – it’s the reading between the lines, what the characters don’t say – and it only works in the context of what has gone before. For example, look at this simple exchange;

John ‘I’ve always liked to dance.’

Jane ‘I remember.’

This could mean anything. John and Jane could be old friends having a casual conversation at a school reunion, with no further implications. However if we already know that John and Jane are old flames that are still attracted to each other, and that this is the first time they’ve seen each other since a brief night at a friend’s wedding where John asked Jane for dance that turned steamy and ended up with him sweeping her out of the ballroom onto a balcony for a passionate embrace, then the exchange takes on a different meaning. We know they are now both thinking of that last frenzied embrace, and that the tension is growing between them.

What isn’t said can be as powerful as what is.

About Kelly Lawrence:
Kelly LawrenceUnconditionalRei Bennett Photography - Kelly 10Kelly Lawrence is a writer, teacher and mother from the West Midlands. She is the author of the bestselling erotic memoir ‘Wicked Games’, New Adult romance ‘Unconditional’ and two writing guides, of which ‘Passionate Plots’ is the first, to be followed by ‘Building Your Story’ in August 2014. She is currently working on a book aimed at young adults called ‘The Anger Games’ exploring teen trends in digital activism, and also writes historical romance and contemporary crime for Harlequin as Michelle Kelly, with ‘Sins of the Children’ her first major crime novel being released later this year.
You can contact Kelly here:
Buy Passionate Plots Here: 




Kelly Lawrence on Writing About Sex for Teens

Kelly Lawrence Unconditional

There has been a lot of talk in the publishing and literary world this year about the emerging ‘New Adult’ genre, particularly those stories focusing on romance and relationships, which thanks to their increased heat levels have been dubbed ‘teen steamies’. It’s a great opportunity for writers of erotic romance to reach a wider market. But just how steamy can they be? As erotica authors, we have to ask ourselves how much responsibility we have towards providing suitable content for possibly underage readers, and how we balance this with writing commercially readable stories – after all, sex sells.

‘New Adult’ stories feature and are aimed at young women in their late teens to mid-twenties. The title ‘teen steamie’ is then something of a misnomer. Of course the average nineteen to twenty year old is probably having a fulfilling sex life, so why shouldn’t she be entitled to read about it? But just as women from their twenties to their eighties enjoy stories aimed at much younger women, so most teenage readers will read above their age group; one of the recent works reported to have contributed to the rise of the steamie is in fact the infamous ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ which is most certainly aimed at fully grown adults; this hasn’t stopped schoolgirls reading it in giggling groups on the buses! Which brings me back to my first question; how steamy should they be?

Predictably the very mention of ‘teenage’ and ‘sex’ in the same sentence gives rise to outraged parents and political tub thumping. Teenage sex is bad, is the general consensus. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to stop them indulging in it, if the rates of teenage pregnancies in the UK and US, both major markets for NA fiction, are anything to go by. For authors to ignore this seems to me both unrealistic and even irresponsible. Do you remember being sixteen?

As with all and any possibly controversial subject matter, the important thing is surely how it is handled. In my first YA (New Adult? crossover?) romance, ‘Unconditional’ I have tried to find a balance between writing a realistic and dramatic love story and handling the more erotic scenes sensitively. The main character, Ashley, is about to go to university and is still a virgin, in direct contrast to her friends, one of whom is a teenage mother. When she meets self-confessed ‘bad boy’ Joe he is the catalyst for her sexual awakening. Although I would categorise the sex scenes as ‘sweet’ rather than ‘steamy’ others may disagree. As much as the heroine makes – I think – empowered choices during the course of the novel and I have tried to address the issues facing young women in this situation (contraception for example, and that utterly modern phenomenon, sexting) I was ultimately aiming to write a good, sexy story, not a moral fable.

And on that note…here’s a sneak peek at Ashley’s first experience of getting hot and heavy with the delectable Joe…

Extract from Unconditional

What starts as a tender moment quickly turns into a full on passionate kiss, with my butt pressed up against the edge of the table and his hand coiled in my hair, tugging on the back of my head gently. I explore his mouth with my tongue, the warm taste of him and the feel of his arms round me and the smell of oil and aftershave and sweat all combining to make my head spin. I’m lost. I’m so caught up in sensation that I scoot back on the table slightly and open my legs to pull him in between them, my feet hooking around the back of his calves. We’re pressed together so tightly I can feel the heat of his body through his trousers and my jeans. I want to take his clothes off. I want him to take my clothes off.

I arch into him, giving an involuntary whimper when his hand slips up my top and runs lightly over my bra. I don’t freeze or try to stop him this time; I want him to touch me. He cups one breast in his hand and rolls my nipple gently between his fingers. I gasp at the sudden intense pleasure of it and kiss him harder, my tongue diving into his mouth. When he pulls away I think he’s going to stop and disappointment zings through me until I realise he’s lowering his head to my chest.

Published by Lodestone Books

Buy Unconditional Here:

eBook — Amazon.co.uk

Print —  Amazon.co.uk

eBook — Amazon.com

Print — Amazon.com


Kelly LawrenceUnconditionalRei Bennett Photography - Kelly 10About Kelly Lawrence

Kelly has been writing since she was able to pick up a pen and wrote her first novel, an historical romance about Anne Boleyn, at the tender age of twelve; it consists of 200 notebook pages tied together with string and still takes pride of place in her grandmothers’ display cabinet. She was married at eighteen and divorced at twenty-one, and graduated with first class honours from Warwick University in the meantime. After seven years as a literacy teacher she now writes full time. ‘Wicked Games’ is her first book, a true-life erotic memoir that she hopes will scandalise the locals in the beautiful village she now lives in, in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales. She lives with her wonderful and long-suffering partner and has recently become a practicing Buddhist.

Find Kelly Lawrence Here



Kelly Lawrence Talks about Erotica: Fact VS Fiction

Wicked GamesAs a writer of both erotic fiction and erotic memoir, the lines between the two can often become blurred. All memoir, even though it is ‘true’ is tweaked and filtered to fit a coherent narrative and while it may be truth it is a subjective truth. Certainly with erotic experiences we may be feeling something completely different to how other participants remember the encounter.

Fiction, of course is ‘made up’ yet most writers whether consciously or unconsciously write from the ground of their own experiences and knowledge. Certainly when writing sex scenes, which is why it’s often especially difficult to write an erotic scene from the perspective of another gender! In fact in my upcoming writing guide, Passionate Plots, published by Compass Books late 2013, I include a writing exercise that uses memory to craft a sex scene for writer’s new to the genre. If you would like to have a go at this, there’s a shortened version below.

Writing exercise – Write your own sex scene using memory.

I don’t want you to have to do too much thinking about who your characters are, what you’re doing and why for this exercise so to ensure that your erotic scene already has developed characters and a plot, we’re going to use a real memory. Yours. Pick a favourite past erotic encounter; it can be anything you choose as long as it’s a good memory, and turn it into a sex scene. Of course you may find yourself tweaking certain details and you could even tailor it to fit in the plot of a current story you are writing or planning, but in terms of the sexual content, use your memory. If you want to detach from it a little, write in the third-person rather than the first.

Think about where and when you can add sensory detail to create an evocative picture. Let yourself be immersed in the memories as you write.


Read over it a few days later and see how you feel and if there are any parts you would change.

Passionate PlotsOur own experiences are always a good starting point when it comes to writing erotic scenes. The beauty of fiction however is the reader doesn’t know which experiences are or aren’t your own. Of course, if you’re writing good fiction then the reader will be too immersed in the characters to think of the author at all. You can let your imagination go where it pleases. I recently wrote an erotic scene involving oral sex in a stable with a cowboy. Although I used my own sexual experiences as a springboard, creativity took over from there, as – unfortunately – I have yet to have sex in a stable with a cowboy! I love writing paranormal and historical erotic romance in particular as I can take real flights of fancy.

When it comes to writing memoir, it’s a very different process. As the writer you’re constrained to a certain degree by the facts as you see them, and this leads to a spiralling inwards rather than a creative leap – digging down right into your own dreams and memories and feelings. Although I found writing my memoir ‘Wicked Games’ a cathartic process, it was also an unsettling one that left me feeling vulnerable. There’s no hiding behind your characters when you are in fact the character! It’s tempting to gloss over the most revealing parts, but that often takes away from the intensity of the scene.

Erotic memoir is very popular at the moment, although as a genre it’s nothing new; in fact we get our word ‘pornography’ from the Ancient Greek ‘pornographia’ which means the ‘writings of prostitutes’ referring to memoirs that popular courtesans of the period often wrote to entice future clients – and probably, in time honoured girl talk tradition, share with each other too! Anais Nin’s erotic memoirs became literary classics, in stark contrast to today’s somewhat patronising ‘mommy porn’ labels.

Erotica as a genre is so enduring because all of us to some degree like stories and like sex. Put them together and you’re onto a winner. Erotic memoir, as distinct from its fictional counterpart, is I believe so popular because it gives us the forbidden feeling of delving into someone else’s most personal thoughts and deeds. It’s almost an act of voyeurism, and that’s partly what makes it so hot for the reader and sometimes unsettling for the writer; it’s like inviting the world into your bedroom. Of course as the writer you can pick and choose what to include, but leave too much out and it will feel inauthentic to the reader. Include everything, and you feel as though you’re walking around naked.

Often when writing ‘Wicked Games’ I struggled with including particular scenes that left me feeling raw, yet I knew would be brilliant for the book. More often than not I included them, and I think that feeling of being exposed made the writing better. I do wish my friends wouldn’t insist on reading parts of the book aloud when we’re in a public place however!

Of course there’s the option to ‘fictionalise’ a real encounter; I recently published a piece of ‘flash fiction’ that was originally a journal entry, and very real, but with longer pieces this can mean losing out on two counts. The writing lacks the appeal of being a memoir, but is more constrained than fiction. My advice to anyone considering memoir is just do it, but consider leaving the country afterwards.

Having said that, I’ve found that if you tell people you write erotica, no matter how fictional your work, they will still assume you have indeed had all the experiences you write about. So I would just like to take this chance to state; the scene in the sex club with a pack of shape shifters? Most definitely fiction. Mostly….

Wicked Games Blurb:

A red-hot account of how an everyday woman is seduced into a thrilling sub/dom relationship. This is true-life erotic romance at its best.

From the Back Cover

‘I unwrapped his gift with shaky fingers. A pink and black silk blindfold. It was deceptively pretty and harmless looking. A bit like Alex.’

When Kelly meets Alex, she has little idea of the sexual revolution about to take place in her ordinary world. For Alex isn’t like other men. He likes to play games – wicked games – and he wants Kelly as his playmate…

Dare she submit to him – and to her own deepest, darkest desires?

In Wicked Games, every word is true. You’ve read the fiction – now find out how it really feels to surrender to the one you love…

Published by Black Lace Books, Random House RRP £7.99 Also available in ebook.


Extract from Wicked Games

Then he reached for the butterfly clamps that I only now realised were on his desk. Of course, before he had ordered me in here all but naked he would have known how he wanted to play it. I licked my suddenly dry lips as I saw the clamps in his hands. I had wondered when they were going to make an appearance. Lately his nipple play had been getting rougher and more prolonged, as if in readiness for more brutal treatment. He would twist and pinch until my breasts ached. I had such sensitive nipples they practically had a direct line to my clit, so I guessed he had been building me up to the clamps.

‘This won’t hurt, but they will pinch a little. It’s when you take them off that they will really throb, but,’ he paused to suck a thumb and forefinger and then teased one nipple with them until it stood to stiff attention, ‘by that point, you’ll love it.’

I hoped he was right, wincing as he fastened the clamp over me. After the initial pinch it wasn’t too bad, and my arousal increased as he carefully applied the second.

‘Gorgeous.’ He admired his handiwork. ‘And now, you may suck my cock.’

I bent my head to take him into my mouth, swirling my tongue around his glans to lubricate it before sucking it vigorously, then slowly sliding down the length of his shaft. As I did so he tugged and twisted on the clamps, pulling my breasts up and sending shocks of pleasure through my nipples and down to my now-throbbing clit. As I sucked him harder he pulled harder, so that I moaned around his cock.

Abruptly he stood up, taking me by surprise.

‘Stand up and turn around. Bend over the desk with your palms flat on it. Yes, like that.’

He kicked my legs wider apart with his foot as I bent over just enough to support my weight on my outstretched hands, the stiletto boots putting me at just the right height. He reached around to my breasts with one hand, pulling at each of the clamps in turn as he eased his cock into me, his girth making me gasp. He began to move inside me, slow and rhythmic, teasing at my nipples. It was an exquisite torture that made me desperate for more, but every time I tried to push my ass into him, hungry for him, he only slowed down, making me grip the desk with my fingers in frustration. I was desperate to touch myself, but knew I would only be reprimanded and that he might even stop altogether, so I tried to hold myself still, the sensations building in me as he played my body expertly. I was so wet around him I could feel my juices soaking my thighs, and a high whimpering sound came unbidden from my mouth.

‘You like that, baby? Hmm, I think I’m being too soft on you.’

He pounded into me then with a stroke that all but had me sprawling over the desk, stopped only by his hand in front giving a now-truly-vicious twist to my aching breasts. He fucked me hard and fast for a while, his hands at my breasts mimicking his rhythm, and I drowned in the pain then pleasure then pain then pleasure that warred for supremacy within me until they merged into one and I was no longer aware of the difference between them.

He stopped, pulling me up and round and on top of him so that I was straddling him on his chair, and paused for a moment to remove the clamps, tossing them to one side. As promised my nipples began to throb immediately and with an intensity that made me gasp. He took my breasts in his hands, pushing them together and sucking hard on my already tortured nipples. I rode him frantically, my orgasm taking me over completely, his mouth sending shockwave after shockwave through me, drawing my orgasm out as if he were wringing every last drop out of me. Only when I collapsed on top of him, panting, did he release my breasts, guiding me back on to my knees in front of him to finish as we had begun.

I can, without hesitation, thoroughly recommend nip­ple clamps.


Buy Wicked Games Here:








Kelly LawrenceAbout Kelly Lawrence

Kelly has been writing since she was able to pick up a pen and wrote her first novel, an historical romance about Anne Boleyn, at the tender age of twelve; it consists of 200 notebook pages tied together with string and still takes pride of place in her grandmothers’ display cabinet. She was married at eighteen and divorced at twenty-one, and graduated with first class honours from Warwick University in the meantime. After seven years as a literacy teacher she now writes full time. ‘Wicked Games’ is her first book, a true-life erotic memoir that she hopes will scandalise the locals in the beautiful village she now lives in, in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales. She lives with her wonderful and long-suffering partner and has recently become a practicing Buddhist.

Find Kelly Lawrence Here