Erotic fiction has been around for centuries but, in recent years, has enjoyed a surge in popularity. If you have ever toyed with the idea of writing erotica but don’t know where to begin, here are a few tips to help get you started on the road to writing bedroom fiction.
1. Get with the genre
Though both deal heavily with the subject of sex, pornography and erotica are two different animals. Erotica follows the basic rules of writing in that there must be interesting characters and a plot surrounding the sexual elements. Porn, on the other hand, deals strictly with the act itself. If there is a plot or even interesting characters, it’s purely coincidental.
It is important to know the difference therefore immerse yourself in the writing of published erotica authors such as Katy Terretaga and Erica Jong. There are also many websites that offer a library of free stories by both professional and amateur writers. I assure you, you’ll quickly get a sense of what is and what is not erotica.
2. Study up on the basics
As mentioned before, erotica is character and plot driven despite the descriptive love scenes. Before even thinking about getting your characters into the bedroom, work on developing them and their relationship to each other. Books like ‘Characters and Viewpoints’ by Orson Scott Card and ‘Plot’ by Ansen Dibell are excellent resources for learning how to write in these areas.
3. Decide on a flavor
Just like other genres on the market, there are many subcategories under the umbrella of Erotica. There is softcore, where the sex alluded to, and hardcore where the sex scene is described in graphic detail. You can write Scirotia; erotic with science-fiction elements, Literotica; erotica in the style of Lady Chatterly’s Lover, Gay and Lesbian; homosexual erotica and a myriad of choices in between.
The Guardian has book recommendations for homosexual erotica lovers
Most people find it easier to begin in a genre they are familiar with through their mainstream reading favorites. This means if you enjoy fantasy, you may be more comfortable writing about a hot romance between two elves. Wherever you decide to start…
4. Do your research
Nothing ruins a story faster than ignorance. Unless you are writing in the subgenre of science fiction or fantasy, make sure your sex positions are humanly possible and that your characters are equipped with the proper parts. Spend some time getting to know how the sex organs function. I assure you there is more to it than erections and orgasms. With erotica, the probability is high that your reader is going to know a little something about sex and anything odd or unbelievable can cause them to drop your story like it was on fire.
5. Get work-shopped
The best way for neo-writers to hone their craft is to join a writing group and get feedback. But not all critique groups are created equal. Be aware that not everyone is open minded about sex and sexuality. Therefore, to get the best feedback join a writing group tailored specifically towards erotica writing.
Before submitting your work, spend time on the site reading what others have submitted and the type of comments they received. If the majority of the critiques go something like “Good read” or “Nice story” move on. This is a feel good group and the most you will get out of it is a few strokes to ego. You want a group who will be fair and honest in their evaluations and will tackle not only your spelling and grammar but your characterizations and plot. Be warned, however, that these types of groups also expect you to put in the same type of effort in your critique of their stories. The benefits you receive are worth the trouble.
Whether for publication or your own personal enjoyment, erotica writing can be both fun and fulfilling. Just remember that no one wrote a best seller in a day. Take your time, be persistent and most of all enjoy the ride.