How to write just enough but not too much

Question: When I asked a similar question you said sometimes less is more like with torture or sex scenes. Well in my book I have a sex scene and I was going to do the beginning and after but I'm not sure how to do the beginning. How much am I supposed to do for the beginning? How much am I supposed to describe?

Answer: You know better than I do who your ideal reader is. Put yourself in their shoes. What would they want to read? What would address their interests, feelings, situation, etc. Remember, you are trying to please your reader first, not necessarily their parents, teachers, or clergy. At the same time, don't give them something so graphic they put the book down.

There is no "supposed to" about this. You must be true to the story and speak to the reader. Trust your emotions. If it feels right to you, you can't do any better (at least not in a first draft).

Let it rest for some time, then read it again and make a second draft.

Once you have something that feels right and has been revised a couple of times, consider showing it to someone--a critique partner, someone similar to your ideal reader, a writing group, etc. to get their reaction.

Comments for How to write just enough but not too much

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Jul 08, 2014
Just enough is better than too much
by: Jennifer

Hi there - I just wanted to say that from my perspective "just enough" is way better than "too much." Of course, it does depend on the person, but I don't care for overly descriptive sex scenes. I think the human imagination can come up with things that are far sexier than a blow by blow description from someone else's imagination.

I struggle with this just a bit as well, as I think kissing can be way sexier than the act itself, and I do like to describe kissing in quite a bit of detail - and I don't want to lay it on too thick and then tick the reader off when I stop short.


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