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A Note About Erotic Story Writing

6 September 2013

It isn’t just about the sex. The sex is important, obviously. It is why we bought the book to begin with, but you have to have a decent story to carry your readers from sex scene to sex scene.

You will always have readers who will completely ignore anything that happens between the sex scenes, but if you want your book to be good, if you want people to talk about your book in audible tones right out in public, you are going to have to have a real story with real characters who have real emotions and motivations. In case I am not clear, I mean that you are going to have to MAKE IT REAL.

I have a lot of ideas about how you should go about this because I am not a writer. I am an editor, and I know what I want you to do because that will make my job easier.

As an editor, I think all stories should begin with an outline. As a person, I know that writers do not always start with an outline. Writers that I know just start pouring words out on the page and hope that they turn into something useful later. I greatly hope that they will have turned their stream of consciousness thoughts into something that passes for coherency before they send it to me, but that is likely a rant for another post.

In my ideal world, though, you start with an outline for the story that you want to tell. Make sure that your story is complete and compelling. Write your story without the sex scenes. Make it a good story that can stand on its own merits. Give each character depth and life. After you have told a really great story, go back in and add the steamiest sex scenes you can describe. Add as many as you can possibly imagine.

I have a reason for this request.

I want sex to be mainstream. I want violence to be the dirty secret people sneak around to indulge in and sex to be simply a part of the story that is being told. I am tired of going to movies and seeing parents cheerfully watching horrific violence with their kids, but then gasping and covering their children’s eyes because a breast appeared out of nowhere.*

I think one of the ways that we get there is with well-written erotica.

A good example of what I am talking about is in a book I recently edited, Genesis Deflowered, by Matthew Stillman. He took an existing book, the book of Genesis, from the King James version of the Bible, and he filled in the details of the stories that were already there. His additions actually made the book much more readable, and they made the characters much more human.

This is what I want you to do with your writing. I want you have a story that you feel is full and complete, then I want you to add intimate scenes that enhance the character of your characters. I knew a woman once, ages ago, who loved to say, “You never really know a man until you’ve slept with him.” I want to know your characters.

Things I Do That Might Be Considered Strange: If a food is really, really good, I don’t want to eat the last bite unless I am reasonably sure I am going to be able to have it again soon. I will delay the last bite until the choice is, “eat it or throw it away”, and then I will reluctantly go ahead and eat it. If I am in a restaurant, I can often hide this behavior by saving half and asking for a to-go box.

*I did not realize that the 3D version of Hansel & Gretel was going to be that violent.

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