Sylvia Day’s sex scenes and advice on threesomes

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sylvia daySylvia Day is the #1 New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of over 20 award-winning romance novels sold in more than 40 countries. Her books have topped lists in 23 countries, with 16 million of copies in print. (That was a lot of numbers, wasn’t it?) Her Crossfire series has also been optioned for television by Lionsgate.

We’re not sure about you, but we think Sylvia sounds like the sort of person to ask for advice. So that’s what Allison Tait did for us in a recent interview on our podcast So you want to be a writer.

Sylvia on writing sex scenes – what’s the most difficult thing about them to get right?

“For me, I don’t have to worry about differing positions or anything like that, because it’s extremely vanilla. I mean it’s just your everyday man and woman having a passionate affair.

“I don’t worry about the mechanics of it, that’s not important. To me, it’s not interesting. As a reader, I don’t want to hear about tab a into slot b, that’s just not interesting to me. I’m also not interested in storylines with a bunch of toys and tools and all of the other things like that, because I feel it distracts from what the core of that scene should be, which is two people connecting physically in a way that they can’t emotionally or verbally.

“That’s what makes that scene integral to the book. Really, I always look at – any time I’m reading either my work or somebody else’s work – ‘Did this scene further the character growth?’ ‘Did it move their relationship forward?’ ‘Are these people different at the end of the scene than they were at the beginning of the scene?’ If so, then, yes, that scene is integral to the story, it has to be there.

“That is what makes a love scene work.”

Sylvia’s threesome strategy:

“Produce three manuscripts before you think about publication.

“Nora Roberts once said to me, ‘Anyone nowadays can publish a book – not everyone can write one.’ And she’s absolutely right. In today’s age of easy digital self-publishing we see people who finish their very first work and put it up for sale. That is rarely a good idea… even if you happen to have a great grasp of the English language, your grammar, your punctuation… you will still not know who you are as a writer or what your stories are meant to be at that stage in your writing career.

“Every author has a theme, every author has a strength, every author has a weakness, and you have to recognise what those things are. For me, I feel that it takes three novels to do that. I tell people to write three books and then think about publishing something, because you will have learned so much about yourself and your style at the end of three novels that you will be able to really put a work up for sale that is very reflective of you.”

To listen to the whole interview, or read the transcript, go here.


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