Most of you probably don’t know this, but I write erotica. It’s not a dirty little secret or something I’m ashamed of, because I’m pretty good at it, but it is something that takes a certain mindset to get into. And while it’s probably not something you’d tell your mama about, once you’re in it’s really rewarding. And addictive to write. But those things aside, I was reading a post a couple of days ago about what makes erotica erotic, and that got me thinking about the techniques we erotica writers employ to make our stories effective. My brain then leaped over to how a lot of those same techniques can be applied to the fantasy genre. Here’s the musings from my brain.
Writing erotica teaches you how to…
- Create tension
His eyes traced along her skin, his hands hovering. She couldn’t catch her breath, and he was making it worse, moving slowly ever closer. She wanted to taste those lips, and he knew it, his little smirk needling her as he stopped just short. There are different kinds of tension besides sexual, but the way you chose your words, the way you string the reader along and dangle one tiny bit of information in each sentence doesn’t change. You want your readers just as on edge as they wait for the smoke to clear from the battlefield as when they’re waiting for that first touch, it’s just that their physical reactions will be different.
- Use sensory details
No matter which approach an erotica writer takes to the sex scene, the five senses are the way to paint the picture. Touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing are all ways we become aroused, but they’re also ways we assess the world around us, the people nearby and any potential threats. The whisper of a touch in a candlelight bedroom is different from the whisper of a touch that comes from behind and is clouded by that battlefield smoke, but getting your readers to that point, and giving them that jolt of reality, is the same.
- Get dirty…
…And not to shy away from details. I’m not going to traumatize some of the innocent minds I know are out there reading with an example, but getting into the nitty-gritty, the ugly, the gory details is what makes good writing, when they’re used with care and in the right context. Once you’ve written a couple paragraphs of real bedroom actions, everything else looks like a cakewalk.
- Write dialogue
There’s nothing that will unmake erotica faster than cheesy dialogue, and in my reading experience this is the part of the genre that’s hardest for newbies to master. Some people like to whisper sweet nothings, others like to talk dirty and still some can’t get past, “Oh! Oh!” but regardless, writing dialogue in the context of a sex scene forces you to understand how description and dialogue work together, and how they don’t. Sometimes less is more, and that can be said in and out of bed.
- Get over the drama of everything else
Seriously. Each one of the points above can be summed up like this: Stop struggling with your work in progress for a couple of minutes, take a deep breath. Now write a sex scene. Once you’ve gotten those words onto paper you’ll view everything else differently.