Writing Erotic Scenes (More)

The Stray Sentence

Sometimes, an otherwise grammatically-normal narration will contain a single sentence of ungrammatical pieces. For example:
They moved onto the bed, each taking pieces of clothing off between hard kisses. Her body was beautiful, the tan lines distinct. He kissed her lovely small breasts and gently pushed her back on the bed. (The Last Coyote, Connelly)

Plain White Cotton Bra (King)

1. Her bra is plain white cotton. (King)
2. The bra is plain white cotton
King wrote #1. To say the obvious -- good choice (even if they have the same meaning).

Choosing the best word can bring your writing to ife and make your message easier to understand. Same for punctuation and grammar. You can make careless choices, but . . . you can also be obsessive compulsive about finding the best words and grammar.

1. Her bra is plain white cotton. (King)
2. She has a plain white cotton bra.
A sentence tends to start with the Given and then state the New. (Or so "they" say, and how well this is actually followed depends on the writer.) She is a logical "given"; meanwhile, bra is very "New". So King's formulation is a little odd, for the goal of communicating information

But it works fine as a piece in a sex scene, if the goal is to communicate images, etc.

1. Her bra is plain, white cotton. (King)
2. She has a plain, white, cotton bra.
3. He bra, plain white cotton.
Multiple adjectives are supposed to be separated by a comma. Sometimes. I can't understand the rule for when you do or don't; you can look it up. I used to be able to follow it intuitively, but I now mostly just break it.

Anyway, King likes to follow the rules. It might have bothered him to leave the comma out of his actual sentence. I rate it as a good decision, but -- see above -- I usually leave them out. Anyway, #2 is missing two commas, which is another reason King might not have chosen it.

#3 is a way of writing the same thing in pieces. The first piece is her bra, the second piece is that it is plain white cotton. It prevents the triple-adjective. It also suggests an order to noticing things, which King might not have wanted (but I would have).

1. Her bra is plain white cotton. (King)
2. He sees a plain white cotton bra.
3. A plain white cotton bra.
#2 is, I'm pretty sure, EXACTLY what King meant. But . . . his third-person limited narration tells us only what the main character notices. So He sees is redundant and #2 is not practical (except rarely).

Which leads us straight to #3, which does nothing more than eliminate the redundancy. It is, of course, a pure piece. But King wrote #1, presumably to be grammatical.

I am pretty sure King likes strong verbs. Why didn't he write: 5. She was wearing a plain white cotton bra. 6. ..., and he could see her plain white cotton bra. 7. He started taking off her plain white cotton bra. 8. He gently touched her plain white cotton bra. As noted, King might have been just avoiding the triple adjective. But, really, he could have just put in commas to separate them, I don't think he has any aversion to them.

My guess is that King wanted to capture that moment when the main character first saw her bra. If so, than saying "She had" was also a little misleading. Which is back to the "pieces" way of writing an erotic scene:

A white bra, plain cotton, he softly touched it, she began unhooking it.
Everything should either advance the plot or show character. Or so it is said.
1. Her bra is plain white cotton. That fit her character.
Her bra doesn't advance the plot. Does it say something about her character? I think so. There's a message to the reader. But we don't know what Hodges (the main character) infers from it.

Does it say something about the main character that he noticed that? I suppose he's a bra man, he noticed a lot about that bra.

Was King actually trying to say something about his main character? I don't think so. Was he trying to say something about her character? Probably. But he also probably just wanted to write a sex scene. To show that sex does advance the plot and characters.

But that leads back to how to best write the sex scene.

Hemingway (and Being Different)

The following is -- I'm pretty sure -- a sex scene by Hemingway. Well, definitely Hemingway. Anyway, the point is Hemingway's willingness to write "unusual" grammar.
Now, please now, only now, not anything else only this now, and where are you and where am I and where is the other one, and not why not ever why, only this now; and on and always please then always now, always now, for now always one now; one only one, there is no other one but one now, one, going now, rising now, wailing now, leaving now, wheeling now, soaring now, away now, all the way now, all of all the way now; one and one is one, is one, is one, is one, is still one, is still one, is one descendingly, is one softly, is one longingly, is one kindly, is one happily, is one in goodness, is one to cherish, is one now on earth with elbows against the cut and slept-on branches of the pine tree with the smell of the pine boughs and the night; to earth conclusively now, and with the morning of the day to come.