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Smut 101: Part 3

This is Part 3 of Smut 101. 

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The entire text is available as a PDF or a
Google Doc.

This part contains the following chapters:

Popping  Your Cherry:  Your First Smut Fic

Sex Info
Writing Resources
Fic Archives & Communities
Recommended Reading

Popping Your Cherry:  Your First Smut Fic

Let's assume you've done your homework.  You've read lots of smut, you know what you like, and you've given some thought to the kind of story you want to write. So where do you start?

Fortunately, a sex scene has a natural progression (foreplay, the act, climax, closure) that you can build on and if you just take it one step at a time you'll be done in no time.  The easiest way I have found to do this is to build the scene gradually through layers. 

Your first step is to decide what is going to happen in your scene.  An example of this would be Grissom and Sara have sex in front of a mirror.  Then you need to give your scene a context in their relationship (or lack of relationship depending on what you are writing).  For my example scene, the context is Sara letting Grissom know that she found his letter.  His reaction to that is a desire to show her how he sees her when they are together. Action->Reaction comes into play on every level of your story.

Your second step would then be to map out what is going to happen in the scene.  This means you have to decide the kind of sex your characters are going to have and who is going to do what to whom.  (Remember the outline we talked about above.  This is where it would come into play.)  In my example, I intend for Grissom to take Sara from behind. You need to know this to write it so it’s important to make a decision, and you can always change it if your characters surprise you along the way.  After you know what is going to happen in the scene, you write out a rough sketch of the scene.  At this point, try to just write and not edit. It doesn’t matter if you use the same word fourteen times. You’ll have time to fix that in the revision process.

Your third step is to go through your rough draft and start to layer in the detail.  You don’t have to do this all at once. Maybe one time through you concentrate on Sara, then Grissom on the second time and the third time you look at how they are acting and reacting to each other. Revision doesn’t have to be this huge thing if you break it up in to small chunks. Set a timer for 15 minutes and work at it that way. At this point, I also start to refine and tighten the dialogue.  At any point in this process, you may want to send a draft to your beta and have her give it a few read throughs. The genius of a beta is that they have distance from your story, and can sometimes give you some much needed perspective.

Below, I have included two versions of a piece of the mirror sex scene that I have used as an example--one from the first draft, and one from a progressive draft.

Sara followed him, unsurprised that they were heading for the bedroom; she’d seen the look in his eyes.

He led her over to the dresser, turning her so that she was facing the mirror.  “I want you to see what I see.”  He trailed two fingers along the side of her face, bringing them under her chin.

She found his gaze in the mirror, and felt a sudden flush throughout her body as the heat she found there.


Several drafts later, and after some beta input, here's the same scene snippet:

She looked up at him before sucking lightly on the sensitive skin just below his ear, murmuring her assent as she allowed him to guide her into the bedroom, her limbs still tangled with his.  She could see his desire for her so clearly etched on his face that it made her wonder where he’d hid it for so long.

She stopped beside the bed, but he swung her around in his arms, leading her over to the dresser.  He answered her questioning look with a kiss, turning her around in his arms so that she was facing the mirror, and he was standing behind her.

He trailed two fingers along the side of her face, bringing them under her chin as he met her gaze in the mirror.  “I want you to see what I see when I make love to you.”

She felt a rush of heat travel through her as his meaning became clear.  Looking into the glass, she was embarrassed at the nakedness of the emotion she saw on her own face, she tried to turn away, but he held her close to him.


The same basic structure exists in the second version; it's just been fleshed out with more detail.

A few final words here, on endings and how to write a good one. As I have mentioned previously in this guide, the best way to connect your reader to your characters is to show them evolving throughout your story. The evolution does not have to be epic, you don’t have to save anyone’s soul or turn Ecklie’s black heart to gold. The only thing you need to do is bring your story full circle.

Using the mirror fic as an example, the basis for that fic was Sara letting Grissom know she found the letter, in which he admits he has a hard time expressing his feelings for her and no matter where she is, part of her is always with him. The focus of the story then is Grissom wanting Sara to see how he loves her. He does this by making love to her in front of a mirror. However, in order to show his character’s evolution, he needs to say the words that often seem to elude him.

When she shifted under him, he turned her in his embrace, holding her face between his hands as he kissed her.  Her arms circled his neck, pulling him even closer to her.  He trailed kisses across her cheek, and along the curve of her ear.  He smoothed her hair back, as he pulled back to catch her eyes with his own.   “Words have often failed me, but my heart has always been yours.” 

“I always knew.”  She drew her thumb across his bottom lip.  “Even when you didn’t.”   She felt his hand curl around hers and she twined her fingers with his.  When his mouth found hers, his kiss held a new promise, and she knew that the letter was only the beginning.


When you are thinking about how to end your story, just remember to look at your beginning and bring your story’s focus right back to the issue that brought your characters together.

You can find the full text of the story Words Fail at Geekfiction.

Your Turn

Sex, when it's good, is intense.  It's intense to have it, to read it, and to write it.  By mapping out your framework first, you can help alleviate some of the stress of getting it right the first time.  Once you have your sequence of action, you can go back through and fancy it up a bit.  If you get stuck, sit back, close your eyes and imagine the scene unfolding before you. Do this whenever you get stuck throughout the writing process. Put yourself in the middle of the scene, imagine how it might feel to be your character. If you give it time and attention, a scene will grow in your mind and all the tiny little details will begin to fill in as you spend more time with your story.

So what are you waiting for? Go write!!


Sex Info

Sextutor.com - Sex Tutor offers accurate, clearly written, helpful sex advice.

Wiki After Dark – Sex wiki, positions, technique and more.

The-clitoris.com - Everything you ever wanted to know about the Clitoris and Female Sexuality.

Writing Resources

Minotaur’s Sex Tips for Slash Writers – I think that says it all

Usingenglish.com – Particularly helpful for non-native speakers writing in English

Alan Cooper’s Homonym List – Homonyms are words that are pronounced the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings. Example: carrot and carat. Go here to check if you are unsure you’ve used the correct word.

Common Errors in English – Massive list of misused words and how to use them correctly. Covers grammar as well.

Fic Archives & Communites


Passion & Perfection: A Femslash Archive: CSI: –or- CSI: Miami

What Makes the Desert Beautiful: A Nick/Greg Archive

CSI Forensics : From Out of the Lab – CSI Fic Archive

GSR Fic Find: Smut – Grissom & Sara smut

The Frisked and Conquered…CSI Stories – Femslash Archive. Has some exclusive stories.

CSI Transcripts – If you look at the menu on the left of the screen, you will see links to all three CSIs.

Recommended Reading

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King

This book is worth its weight in gold. You can get it at the library too. Read it, it will make you a better writer and a formidable beta!

Elements of Style by Strunk & White

A classic you should own if you don’t. Very easy to find at the library. Online Version.

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

I would never miss a chance to recommend this book (or anything else she’s written.) If you have ever had writer’s block, this is the cure.

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( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 24th, 2008 08:54 pm (UTC)
*points to icon*
Jan. 25th, 2008 02:42 am (UTC)
I have a lot to type... so this will be long!
First off- thank you, and the writers you interviewed, for using what must of been a lot of time and thought to pull this together.

Personally, I've written a few GSR fanfics, and have posted them on ff.net. None of them have really been great (as in leaving me to feel accomplished and completely proud), and I haven't felt that my fics thus far are up to the standards that this community strives to display.

For the sake of self-preservation, I will say I'm behind the curve on characterization in general, as I just picked up the show at 'Living Doll'. I have a HS education only, and probably read all of 2 books during HS as I had little desire to apply myself at the time.
I know very little on appropriate grammar and sentence structure beyond. I grew up in a very southern, redneck, country-bumpkin town in North Carolina with little to no socialization.

Basically- I am nervous to comment on the impressive writer's stories for no other reason than the fact that I'm afraid my poor writing skills will show in the few sentences I leave to review their story. Being honest, I'm completely nervous to write this very note.

All that being said (shew- I really feel like I just dished to my therapist there, I now have a new confidence- that perhaps despite the fact I'm not good at what I write currently, I can learn it.

I know that I will never be labeled as having a natural ability to write, and I may not ever live up to the standards that you and a few others on this community have set. However- I can strive to better myself to the best of my abilities since I truly do have a passion for the work.

Bottom line- this tutorial- on writing and smut fics- has forever changed my way of thinking about myself. It may be a week, a month or years before I feel ready to post on geekfiction, but when I do- it will be with a confidence that will stem from this post.

Thank you again,


Jan. 25th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC)
Re: I have a lot to type... so this will be long!
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I think anyone can be a writer--it does take time and perseverance and a willingness to be open to constructive criticism...and to ask yourself every single time you sit down to write "how can I be better?"

I was wondering if you would mind posting this to the post at Geekfic (this one went to my journal), I really feel like other writers could benefit from what you said here.

I would really, really like to recommend that you read the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I think that you would find it very inspiring. I put it on the resources list for the Smut Guide. I am very inspired by the fact that you said the smut guide has changed your outlook. I am planning on writing a few more. :-) I would also encourage you to post at Geekfiction and to try and find a beta who you could work with. Also if you are open to concrit, you could put that on your post, and there are some members that will help you out with that.

And please feel free to comment on stories, mine or anyone else's...you spoke honestly and beautifully here so you have nothing to worry about.

Thank you again for these comments...they totally made all the work worth it!
Jan. 25th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC)
Re: I have a lot to type... so this will be long!
Posted to the post!

I might just take your advice and post my first WIP on here and definately open it to concrit... though that will be like throwing chum to a pack of sharks lmao.

Thank you again Daphne!

Feb. 17th, 2008 05:09 am (UTC)
Hmmm...and even more to ponder on whilst attempting to write slash. Again, thanks for the "insiders know-how" in the interviews and your own experience, and mega-thanks for all the links *loves* I'ma thinking that I'll be making great use of this, especially as I'm a woman who can't seem to write anything but slash and wants to take it to "the next level".

Umm...the link for the PDF keeps crashing my browser, so I'm snagging a copy of the Google document instead. Thanks for having both versions available.

Thank-you so much (and to the authors you interviewed) *love y'all*


Edited at 2008-02-17 05:43 am (UTC)
Feb. 17th, 2008 06:05 am (UTC)
If you want me to email a copy of the pdf, I would be happy to. You can email me at daphne.dangerlove@gmail.com. My email is in the document as well.

I am delighted that you are finding it helpful...it makes all the work worth it!

Feb. 17th, 2008 06:11 am (UTC)
Thanks a lot for the offer, but I think the Google document's just fine :)

Posts like this are made of win (and so are the people who make them) as they really help me to figure put just what the heck I'm trying to do! I've only recently started writing fics (instead of just plot them out and then run for cover!) and it was because of a post like this, so when I actually write and post a smut-filled fic, it'll be as a direct result of your hard work.

Feb. 17th, 2008 06:29 am (UTC)
I'll check on that link just to make sure there is nothing wrong with it. Keep your eye on Geekfiction, we have another guide in the works and even more planned for the future! :-)

Feb. 17th, 2008 06:35 am (UTC)
In which case, I think I have another community to join and some re-scheduling of my Uni work to do...*g*

Apr. 17th, 2010 05:09 am (UTC)
You rock!!!
This helped me soooooo much. You hae no idea!
I was stressing about writing my first smut. And this helped me soo much!!!
Thank you so much!!!
Apr. 17th, 2010 05:22 am (UTC)
I am glad to know that it was helpful even after all this time!
Feb. 20th, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)
I find this quite helpful, thank you very much ^^

I'm quite nervous though because a dear friend of mine wants me to write smut for them. I'm totally fine with it in theory but...when it comes right down to writing it, I just can't bring myself to. Much as I really want to, I'm a bit of a chicken @__@ *sigh*
Sep. 7th, 2015 12:11 am (UTC)
thank you so much!
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )