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How Much Sex Should Be In A Supernatural Book?

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#1 Nila N Brown

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 12:21 PM

I've been editing my book for over a year now...in part because I've had surgery earlier this summer and it slowed me down, and I'm too cheap to hire an editor (I have friends who are reading it for content, flow and errors).  However, the story started out as a fan fiction story that I'm spinning into a full on supernatural action/adventure.  


The story tells the tale of humans and demons; not "heaven/hell" demons - my demons are the manifestation of the animal spirit in humanoid form.  In other words, wolf spirit - wolf demon; bear spirit - bear demon...but they can take on human features with a few distinct items to give away their demon heritage (ears, markings, claws, fangs, etc).  Anyhoo, the demons, who were the first on Earth, are nearly wiped out in a systematic worldwide purge in the middle of the 1800's.  The survivors go underground to replenish and plot against humanity and discover a weakness in their immune system and creates a retrovirus causing humans to lose the ability to reproduce so by the 22nd Century, demons are able to overpower them and rule the world and now charted outer space.  In the 25th Century, the demon lord discover a plot to usurp him and hires a human waitress at his brother's club as an operative to get the information.  During the caper, they sort of fall in love and because of his laws against demon/human marriage, he has to hide her in the shadows while he tries to find who's behind the plot.


When I originally wrote this story, there were six scenes of graphic intimate sexual content; one of which is a near rape that I don't make happen and one very graphically spelled out scene where he impregnates her before going off to the final battle.  After speaking to an agent, I realized that I have to either cut the scenes or seriously edit them down to where you know what's going on but it's not so spelled out because I'm trying to reach a certain market.


How much is too much? 

#2 Lori Sjoberg

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 12:59 PM

Well, that all depends on the type of market you're trying to reach.  And it depends on whether the scenes serve a purpose to further the story.  I wish I could give you a more defined answer, but it's hard to say without knowing the genre you're marketing to, which publishing house you're targeting, and the nature of the scenes.

#3 Fer


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Posted 06 October 2013 - 01:10 PM

How much is too much? Well it depends on what you want to sell it as. There are certain levels of how sex is used in books, there is the behind closed door sex, the light padding and kissing or the full out close to porn and Erotica is a genre of its own and I will warn you right now that no agent or editor will handle a book that has a graphic rape scene in it.


It will take a little research, but the main question is in what genre are you thinking of placing your book?

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#4 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 01:42 PM

A sex scene is still a scene and it must advance the plot in some way. Unless you are writing erotica. So ask yourself what purpose the sex serves, what does it show, in terms of plot or character?

#5 the transylvanian

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 03:40 PM

Is quite easy to think that sex is neccesary to sell - true in part - but sometimes is better to stay on the safe side unless an agent or a publisher is telling you otherwise.

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#6 itsmary


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Posted 06 October 2013 - 03:46 PM

There's no one answer. It depends a lot on the market you're trying to reach and the story itself. If you're marketing toward the YA crowd, the graphic sex scenes should probably be minimal (but at the same time, don't underestimate younger readers -- they can handle a lot more than we tend to think). And no scene, sexual or otherwise, should be gratuitous or left in purely for shock value.


Have you gotten beta readers to look over the manuscript? They might be able to give you answers more specific to your story and tell you which scenes work and which ones don't. By the way, all of this advice goes for any genre, not just supernatural. Good luck!

#7 Nila N Brown

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 04:00 PM

At first my thoughts were to publish the sex as is but then as I was rereading it, I realized I had to target an age group because in its current format, it's not for anyone under 16.  The book is being written as a Paranormal/Science Fiction, not a romance even though the romance is what drives the underlying problems with the society that I've created.


The book is a trilogy - in the first book, there is some tension established between our heroine and the demon lord but the first true scene deals with two conjoined demon twins having sex for the first time.  It's not very graphic but sort of funny.This coupling of the twins to the human twins is necessary to the storyline because it's their relationship that brings the conflict to this "utopic" society to a dangerous boiling point and has repercussions not only in Japan but around the world.


In the second book, the second scene involves the near rape and what my heroine had to do to make it appeared as if she really DID have the sex with a small portion of it being kinda funny/gross.  Before this happens, however, he has her watching a porn video.  A few chapters later, the heroine and demon lord finally consummates the sex and it's not done graphically but there is an oral scene I've decided to eliminate.  I've written the scene very sensually because of the nature of the characters involved - neither would never do what they're doing with each other.  


There's also a chapter involving only the two of them, where he takes her to a hidden island in the South China Sea where they not only get intimate, they get to know each other and come to terms with what's going on between them as not being a passing thing.  It's a turning point for both of them but he now has some soul searching to do because what he's doing and wants to do, he's forbidden for his subjects in his protectorate covering China, Korea and Japan. 


The third book has a two scenes: one where they're intimate without it being graphic and the final one where, because he's a dog demon and has to impregnate her, would be described uh, as almost bestiality even though he's in his humanoid form.  Because of the nature of it, I've drastically rewritten it because it's not suitable for publication.  Two other scenes are just there for the titillation factor and have been deleted.


Some of the sex can be written down to intimacy without being graphic.  I can do this...I don't LIKE to but it can be done...oh and I'm not targeting YA.  

#8 WornTraveler


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Posted 04 May 2014 - 08:04 PM

Just because 'Paranormal' and 'Romance' are seen together a lot lately doesn't mean Paranormal has to have *any* romance in it, much less graphic sex.


Personally, I like my ghosts, ghouls, demons et. al. just fine without any romance at all. Not to say a bit of romance can't round out and complement an otherwise already complete Paranormal, but it's not required.


I also have a feeling I'm not in your target audience. Unless there's some very specific reason I *need* to see the sex, I dislike anything verging towards erotica. If I wanted sexual content, frankly, I'd be watching a video. I'm also a 20-something male. Again, not the target audience you seem to be going for. I can't remember the last book I read with graphic sexual content... probably Game of Thrones, but what with all the backstabbing, gore, intrigue and violence, if there was any overly sexual content, I can't remember it.


Now, as to how much a Paranormal Romance needs, I have no idea. I don't read Para-Rom.


But I think mistaking 'Paranormal' and 'Paranormal Romance' for one and the same would be a grave error, worse than under or over-sexing your MS, especially when you get to marketing. For instance, the error in this instance has drawn me (and I think we all can see I'm clearly unqualified to even answer) to pollute your thread with arguably useless information just to make this point. Query your Para-Rom as straight Para and you're likely to waste a deal of time on agents who more or less want nothing to do with it. Market your Para-Rom as straight Para and it might end up on the wrong shelf- unbought and unread- and waste what could be an otherwise excellent book on poorly chosen categorization because- lo and behold- you've targeted the wrong people.


My two cents.s

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#9 SnowGlobe


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Posted 22 April 2015 - 08:11 AM

Lol WormTraveler the GOT sex got drowned in violence for sure. The sex mostly was violent too. If they stopped for something tender, you'd have noticed.

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