Sizzling Romance – 10 tips to write love scenes

The romance genre is hot, and as one of the best-selling genres, it lures many would-be authors to try their hand at writing sizzling romance. But any author who’s attempted this genre will tell you, love scenes are hard to write!

Anna Campbell sizzling romance tipsAnna Campbell has written many steamy romance novels, and with titles like Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed, it’s no wonder she’s been voted Australia’s favourite romance writer (by Australian Romance Readers Association Awards). When Campbell is not tapping out a saucy sex scene for her next sizzling romance, she’s often sharing her knowledge of writing the lusty tale at writing workshops.

Recently, I was one of the lucky students eager to lap up her advice and tips on adding zing to character’s relationships. I write mostly for kids, so my characters are of the first-crush, holding hands, and peck on the cheek age, but if you need something a bit saucier for your novel, you’ll love Campbell’s tips.

Anna Campbell’s tips for writing sizzling romance:sizzling romance tips

  1. Sexual tension is crucial for a romance novel. Even if it’s a ‘sweet romance’ with no naughty scenes, there should still be sexual tension mounting between the heroine and the hero.
  2. Sex scenes should be written to move the plot forward, increase tension, conflict, and up the stakes. Never just plonk a sex scene in because you think one is due.
  3. Readers love the ‘will they or won’t they?’ tension in a story, but you can’t have that as the only stakes. Otherwise, once your characters do entertain their own sizzling romance, the reader will feel no need to finish the novel.
  4. A sex scene is not just lusty action, it reveals a lot about the characters. Your characters should be emotionally naked, not just physically naked. This will help you get to the core internal conflict each one faces.
  5. Just as you modulate pace in a novel, change the pace of sex scenes. You can have some tender and romantic, maybe slow and sensuous and then throw in a fast and passionate. Mix it up!
  6. Don’t push your characters into bed before they are ready. Let them set their own agenda, otherwise it will seem staged.
  7. Look deeply at your characters. What draws them together and what pulls them apart? Your characters will reach a stage where they want each other, but there must be some force preventing them from love. Eventually though, the thing that draws them together must be stronger, so they can get their love scene.
  8. Get to know your character’s strengths, vulnerabilities, background, baggage and desires. Be specific about who they are, you don’t want two generic characters having sex, much better to have the arrogant but vulnerable horse breeder ravishing his recently widowed yet passionate next door neighbour.
  9. Watch your point of view. Switching too often can make the reader feel like their watching a tennis match. Keep in one head for a good slab of time, and always make it clear when you switch to the other character’s point of view.
  10. Use the language you are comfortable with, and you feel fits the character. Always be true to the character when choosing the level of language and not the publishing gate-keepers.

You can learn more about Anna Campbell and her writing at:

Even non-romance writers will get a lot from Anna Campbell’s tips. It was a great workshop, and I even came away with a new read:

Anna Campbell love scenes

 writers retreat Gold Coast Hinterland 2014


  1. Hi Charmaine!

    Finally got here! Been too hot to do too much blogging, so I came into the library early today to do a bit of a catch up.

    You’ve summarised Anna’s main points well. I’ll provide a link as I was going to do a post too but won’t bother now.

    I hope bookings are flowing in for the Rainforest Retreat.

    Denise Covey recently posted…Write…Edit…Publish prompt – What’s in a face? My story, Beauty and the Beast, a fractured fairytale.My Profile

  2. Hi Denise,
    Thanks for stopping by, I am way behind in my blog visits too. Blamed the difficulty in getting started for the year, but I guess I can’t use that excuse now that we are well into Feb.
    It was a fantastic event and I look forward to reading Anna’s book. Was also awesome to catch up with you at the workshop.
    Charmaine Clancy recently posted…Sizzling Romance – 10 tips to write love scenesMy Profile

  3. Very good topic, Charmaine!

    I’ll admit, I’m not good at romance scenes…haven’t even ever written one because…it’s so awkward! Maybe my first should be between two virgins…awkward and clumsy, like my writing will be.

    I actually bought my first (and to date, only) romance novel, set in the late 1800’s, as a means to study the style. Still have yet to read it, but I will. And I’ll try not to use words like moist or throbbing.
    ML Swift recently posted…PBC: As A Man ThinkethMy Profile

  4. I love writing love scences, thanks for the pointers!

  5. Things we talk about in private with our lover but never
    to the world, and the things we think about after the first date, or the
    first kiss. Best selling romance novels by the lists:.
    Best romance novels recently posted…Best romance novelsMy Profile


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