TIPS FOR WRITING EROTICA
Let me start by saying I believe the essential elements to be being a good erotic writer are imagination and organization. Don’t let grammar and spelling get in the way of your story telling. Correct your spelling and grammar errors after you have finished writing the story. Erotica should be written in a conversational tone and only a handful of people (you probably wouldn’t want to know) have a grammatically correct conversational tone.
I am not here to help you with grammar and spelling. I couldn’t help you with grammar if I wanted to, because I took bonehead English in college. I assume you already have imagination or you wouldn’t be interested in this topic. Organization and technique are the elements that I am attempting to help you with.
Once you have a story idea, test the plot to see if it has all of the elements of a story and question the idea to become familiar with the essential elements. What is the dilemma (a choice between two unpleasant options)? How is the protagonist (main character) in jeopardy? What is the intended audience? Once you have an idea for a story, most of these questions are already answered, but you need to know the answers and keep them in mind. Don’t confuse your audience by being inconsistent.
Both the dilemma and the jeopardy can be simple, but they are essential. The dilemma may be something as simple as choosing between promiscuity and celibacy. An example of a commonly used jeopardy is that the protagonist is away from home without his usual sex partner. This jeopardy could also create a dilemma of choosing between celibacy and fidelity. The point is: no matter how simple the elements of your story are, it is important to know what they are and keep them in mind when you are writing.
Chances are, your intended audience is a group with which you are a member of, or are very familiar. The importance of knowing your intended audience will become clear as we proceed, but for now accept that it is important to identify and keep in mind while writing.
The formula I use for writing erotica is fairly simple, consisting of an introduction, crisis, climax, and resolution.
The purpose of the introduction is to introduce your main character. The setting and period can come in the introduction, but because the setting will likely change throughout the story, we will discuss the setting as a separate topic. The introduction should be very brief, fast paced, and contain little description. Shortcut long descriptions by using stereotypes your intended audience is likely to be familiar with. It might take pages of unnecessary and uninteresting descriptions to describe various aspects of a certain character which could be accomplished with a stereotypes and examples. “He was as swishy as Liberace.” “He was built like Rambo.” “His ass reminded me of Joey Stephano and he knew how to do the same trick with a beer bottle.”
Once the stereotype is embedded in the reader’s mind, you can tack on deviations. “He was as swishy as Liberace, but he was built like the statue of David and just as hard.”
A part of the introduction is to establish the character type of the protagonist. In erotica, the protagonist is either vulnerable or masterful. Some examples of the characteristics of a vulnerable person are weakness, accessibility, defenselessness, exposure, assailability, innocence, ignorance, and curiosity. “He was an easy target for the other man because he was as horny as a sailor.” The protagonist in this example is vulnerable because he is horny.
Some examples of mastery are experience, leadership, dominance, having the upper hand, a position of authority, knowledge, power, wealth, physical strength, self-will, and talent. “Because he had been a call boy, he knew exactly how to seduce the other man.” The protagonist in this example is masterful because he has the experience and knowledge of the art of seduction.
It is also important in erotica to establish the setting, period, and other salient information early in the story. Don’t throw your reader a curve by stopping to describe the setting in the middle of the climax. In erotica, you don’t want your reader to lose his erection because you started talking about furniture.
The following example actually came from a book.
I still laugh when I read this paragraph. The clues and information in this paragraph are more confusing than defining. Who are the neighbors? Are the neighbors too far away to help, yet close enough to be awakened? Is his roommate sleeping in the same room, or is he in another part of the house? What kind of uniform is he wearing? Is the guy a cop or a sailor? Is he being attacked or seduced? What time is it?
If things like his uniform are important, it is also important to clearly define it. Generally speaking, it is best if it was already established in the introduction. “The earlier the better” is the rule when it comes to establishing necessary facts. On the other hand, don’t turn the introduction into a laundry list of boring facts.
It is better to avoid nonspecific adjectives than clutter the introduction with a list of facts. Nonspecific adjectives include words like incredible, amazing, fantastic, good, bad, big, small, awesome and so on. Be precise. Be concise.
As we mentioned above, the jeopardy is usually simple, and has already been decided upon when you got the story idea, but it is important for you to identify the jeopardy and keep it in mind when you are writing. Most often in erotica, the jeopardy is a risk that the protagonist might not get laid. Here are some examples of establishing the jeopardy.
“He was an inexperienced traveler and didn’t speak German.” The protagonist is in jeopardy of not getting laid because he cannot communicate with the locals. This line also establishes his vulnerability.
“Tim’s next step was to figure out how to get his trick past the hotel dick.” The protagonist is in jeopardy of not getting laid if the hotel detective discovers he is bringing an unregistered guest and male prostitute into his hotel room.
Let’s face it, most gay erotic stories are about a guy who wants to have sex. About the best we can do is employ techniques for creating sexual tension in the story.
Making it more difficult for the protagonist to get laid creates more sexual tension.
Keep the reader in suspense about how “it” will happen.
Emphasize the dilemma by dramatizing the conflict. The Madonna/prostitute conflict is commonly used to create sexual tension in erotica. “I am a good guy under normal circumstances, but when I get horny I get real sleazy and real easy.”
Adventuring into unfamiliar situations and circumstances creates jeopardy and sexual tension, which is why “coming out” stories are so popular. Coming out stories are also easy to write because they are usually from personal experience, have all of the essential elements built in, and usually involve a lot sexual tension. If you have never written gay erotica before, an embellished version of your own coming out experience would be a good place to begin.
A lot can be accomplished in a very short sentence. “Frank wanted to fuck Tim’s virgin ass.” The jeopardy is that Tim’s virginity is at risk and the dilemma for Tim is whether to stay a virgin or miss the experience of being fucked. Tim is vulnerable because he is inexperienced and sexual tension is created because he is venturing into an unfamiliar situation.
(Seduction, Surrender, Orgasm)
The climax of a story is the turning point. It is where the hero makes a choice in his dilemma. In erotica, the climax consists of a seduction, surrender, and an orgasm. It is no accident that the word “climax” is a euphemism for an orgasm. Although this section deals with the climax as a whole, all of the elements (seduction, surrender, and orgasm) are essential and deserve equal attention.
A common mistake in erotica is that the speed of the action will increase during the climax. This mistake is the very reason I decided to write this brief article. I was reading a very interesting coming out story that had been posted on the Internet. When the author got to the climax of the story, he said, “He came.” This was such a let down it pissed me off.
I am still struggling to understand why anyone would call a story erotic and summarize the climax into two words. Is he uncomfortable talking about sex? Is he so inexperienced he didn’t know what he was writing about? Was he masturbating while writing and lost interest at the climax because he had an orgasm? Did he not understand that the climax is the essence of an erotic story?
I suspect the “He came” climax happened at the same time the author shot his load, but whatever the reason, don’t fall into this trap in your own erotic writing adventures. When you get to the climax, put your mind into slow motion. The speed of your action will slow way down. This is where your prose becomes very descriptive. Use lots of adjectives, use visual images, and inspire your reader!
In real life, the orgasm is painfully short. In magazine layouts, you will see one or two introductory pictures and page after page of cum shots. In movies and videos the introduction is very brief (often during the credits), and the climax is prolonged with cum shots from multiple angles, slow motion, repeated sequences, and sometimes even substitute ejaculate. In your erotic writing it is your duty and obligation to prolong the orgasm with words.
Tease your readers with visual images. “He was buck-naked.” Seeing a man buck-naked is easy to imagine and for me very seductive.
Describe the emotions involved. “I felt so vulnerable that’.” Describing the emotions would be more important if you were writing lesbian erotica. Although emotions are usually not as integrated into sex for men as for women, men are not devoid of emotion and including some emotion in your story may be useful.
Sensationalize the action of your characters. Sensations include, sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. “Tim could smell Frank’s manly aroma of sexual excitement.” The scent of a man in heat is very seductive and familiar enough that I can experience it at mere mention.
“Tim could feel the heat as Frank’s huge cock came closer to his moist butt hole.”
Sensations can also be perceptive, such as a sense of humor or a sense of danger. “Tim could sense the man’s presence behind the curtain.”
Because the outcome of our story is expected and obvious, the writer must employ techniques to create sexual tension and drama. These techniques make the reader a part of the story by helping him experience the story. Gradual arousal and sensual imagery is an essential element of story telling in genreral, but it absolutely crucial in erotica. The purpose of erotica is to provoke the reader to conjure up his own images and bond with the characters so that he will identify with them and care about them. It shouldn’t be too difficult to make the reader of an erotic story to care if the hero gets laid.
Here is an excerpt from a story I actually paid money for:
Here is the same story excerpt sensationalized with a few erotic images:
Tom was a muscular blond guy who worked in my office. Every time he bent over the bottom file drawer my pecker tried to escape from my pants. He had the finest bubble butt I’d ever seen.Last Thursday he invited me over to his house and when I arrived, I found him naked. I had to blush when my cock stood straight up and showed through my pants. He took me by the hand and led me into the living room. He brought in a bowl of fruit and offered me a peach, after he took a small bite out of it himself. I ate the peach, but I was eyeing his butt. As I sunk my teeth into the fruit and licked the juices off the fuzzy skin, I was imagining what it would be like to be licking Tom’s fuzzy, juicy butt.
The final element of our formula is the resolution. As with the introduction, it should be fast paced, have little description, and be brief. The resolution is to erotica what the “kicker” is to news reporting. The function of the resolution is to take the reader back to the source of the situation.
If you can’t do any better than “They lived happily ever after,” then set up some dichotomy in the introduction. For example in the introduction you stopped at a gas station where the hot water wasn’t working, but the mechanics was hot and working just fine. At the end of the story, the water is hot, but the mechanic isn’t working anymore.
The chances of this part of your story being read are slim, but it is possible. Just for your own peace of mind, you should include a resolution.
The setting could come in the introduction or the jeopardy, and it is likely to change more than once during the story. You should establish salient information early so you won’t distract the reader from the work at hand when the story gets good.
Use shortcut descriptions of the setting, but at the same time you should know every detail of the setting in your own mind, eve if you don’t use it in the text. As with characters, I like to have a picture of the setting hanging over my computer. Travel books, Better Homes & Garden, porno books, and etc. are good sources for these kinds of pictures.
Here are some examples of shortcut descriptions of settings and character locations: “The room was like a bordello.” “His home reminded me of the Palace at Versailles.” “His room was as bare as a prison cell.” “My roommate was sleeping on the sofa just outside my bedroom door.”
Keep the reader informed of character location. It is distracting to the reader if you are not consistent and you move the characters and furniture without telling him. I read a story yesterday in which the character was in bed with a guy in a sleazy bedroom off an alley. In the next sentence the same character was having breakfast conversation with his mother and father in a coffee shop. A few sentences later the character was back in the alley, but the author forgot to mention until the end of the story that it was now nighttime and the protagonist arrived at the alley in a daze. I had to laugh out loud because by the time I found this out, I was in a daze from reading the story.
In another story the setting kept changing. When he entered the room, the mattress was on the floor in the middle of the room. A few sentences later his head was hitting the wall, and during the sex scene they fell off of the bed. No wonder they fell off of the bed, the mattress was in the middle of the room and he was over by the wall. I hope they didn’t hurt themselves when they dropped three or four inches from the mattress onto the floor.
Keep the characters straight. In the another story, there were four characters without names or any distinctions such as being tall, horny or whatever. Distinctions such as “the tall guy” or “the horny one” can be used to keep the characters straight, but they get boring in short order. It is much more practical and succinct to identify characters with names. If the reader has to stop and figure out who is doing what to whom, then you will lose them. Holding a book or operating a keyboard while jacking off is enough distraction, don’t add to it by making the reader figure out what’s going on.
Some writers like to enhance the character’s image by giving them masculine, ethnic or suggestive names.
Dick, Rod, Harry, Mack, Beau, Pierce, Lance, Clay, Thor, Bruno, and Butch are a few suggestive and masculine names that come to mind. Porno stars are good at picking masculine sounding names.
Ethnic names can enhance a story, if appropriate, such as Kurt, Vladimir, Gino, Erich, Cezar, Jose, Ramon, etc.
I like to use short names and familiar names. I use Tim and Tom a lot. If I want to change them later, the “replace” function of either MS Word or Corel WordPerfect will fix it for me in an instant. I probably selected Tim because it was my father’s nickname.
THE POINT OF VIEW
(Person – Tense – Action)
Your point of view will either be objective or subjective. Most erotica is subjective because it is drawn from personal experience and it is easier to manipulate. If you write in first person (subjective), you will most likely be telling the story from the hero’s point of view and nothing can happen unless he is there to witness it. The story belongs to the main character. It also gives you the flexibility of having the protagonist express his impression of scenes and events and you can add their fantasies and make them surrogates.
Subjective writing does have limitations, however. You cannot enter a second person’s mind and their feelings, sensations, and experiences must be expressed through dialog. If the second person’s thoughts are important, you can express them through the first person. “Tim could tell Tom thought he was hot meat.” Shifting the point of view will be disastrous if it isn’t done with great care and even then it can make the reader uncomfortable.
The safest way to handle the point of view in a short story is to pick your hero and stick with him all the way through your story.
Objective writing gives you more flexibility, but also gives you the burden of keeping everything straight. Objective writing makes you an onniscient narrator and the reader becomes a sort of voyeur. This can be good because we are all avid voyeurs.
When writing erotica, you should choose between present tense and simple past tense. Readers are often uncomfortable with present tense and it can be difficult for a writer to work with.
Unless you are an experienced writer, you should probably choose first person, simple past tense.
If you are writing in third person, the writer and the reader are sort of like the “fly on the wall”. In my opinion, third person (objective) writing is too passive and not intense enough for gay erotic writing.
Your action will be either active or passive. Trust me, passive is not intense enough for gay erotic writing. Compare the following two passages and you will see what I mean.
Tom opened the door for Tim and told him he’d better leave now. He refused by shaking his head and folding his arms in defiance. Tom told him in that case he would have go himself and with that, walked out, slamming the door behind him.
“You’d better leave,” Tom said, as he opened the door for Tim. But Tim remained standing there, folding his arms in a gesture of defiance. He shook his head, “No”.
“Well then, I’m leaving”, Tom said, slamming the door behind him in a final act of aggression.
Whenever you can, bring the reader into the drama by making it happen for him instead of telling him about it.
As you can see in the passages above, dialog helps bring the drama to life and makes the reader a part of it. Keep in mind, however that dialog has a purpose. Dialog is designed to either reveal character, express humor, or keep the plot going.
Verbs also bring action to the drama, but you should use them so that your hero causes the action instead of it just happening around him. “He slammed the door'” instead of “the door slammed behind him.” Don’t let your hero become a victim by having everyone else control the action.
Sensationalize the verbs by explaining the hero’s feelings about the verbs. “He touched my cock and I suddenly felt powerless to resist.”
Explain the action. “I touched his cock because I never could resist a prick hanging out the bottom of a hot guy’s shorts.” “I licked his cock because I wanted to discover the taste of a man’s cum.”
You can tease the reader by being indirect. “Tom gave Tim a kiss.” This is a better example of being indirect than it is an example of teasing the reader. “Tom kissed Tim.” This is obviously more direct, but I don’t want to spend too much time on sentence structure and grammar.
Without getting bogged down in sentence structure and the mechanics of the English language, let me just say that in erotic writing, short paragraphs work best. Each action gets it’s own stage for you to sensationalize and explore it’s effects.
Variety is the keyword in sentence construction, subject, and length. Although I usually write erotica with short and simple sentences, if they are too short and simple, the readers begin to feel like they are reading a list.
We have already discussed that the introduction and resolution should be fast paced and the jeopardy and climax should be slow paced. In fact, the climax should be in slow motion so the reader can savor every nuance of the seduction, surrender, and orgasm.
The vulnerable character is always thinking about the masterful character. The masterful character is making the action happen. The vulnerable character responds to the action.
If it is a true story, skip over any distractions. Let’s face it, in an erotic story, the last thing you want to happen during the climax is have the phone ring.
Stick to the main story line. If “that’s another story”, then make it another story. If you have any side stories that are essential, then get rid of them before you get to the climax.
Each sentence should lead to the next sentence. Don’t leave any gaps in the story and don’t take your readers on a tangent.
I reiterate that maintaining a point of view is crucial and changing a point of view can be catastrophic even when handled correctly.
Use words to create emphasis and avoid using tricks such as bold print, underlines, italics, CAPITALIZATION, and exclamation points!!!!!!!! If you use an occasional exclamation, point, your reader and your spell checker will appreciate it if you use just one of them.
Erotica should always be conversational, light hearted, and seductive.
Write the story as if you were telling it to someone. Concern yourself with dangling dicks, not dangling participles. You can always correct spelling and grammar after you finish telling the story. Your audience will most likely forgive mechanical errors, but they are murder if the story is boring.
Seduce the reader by making him a part of the action. Visualize, emotionalize, and sensationalize the story for him.
Visualize by using examples. “He had a blacksmith’s biceps.” “His balls were as big as a grapefruit.”
Emotionalize by expressing feelings. “He was so masterful I felt vulnerable and a little bit panicky.” “He was so concerned about his own cock at first I was angry, but'”
Sensationalize by using vivid sensual descriptions. “I felt the blood rush to my groin.” “I could smell his desire.” “His cum tasted as sweet as whipping cream.”
Use sexy words. I know you know some. These are words like cock, dick, hard, juicy, erect, rigid, stiff, suck, blow, kiss, lusty, big, thick, throbbing, muscular, virgin, and etc.
THE PROCESS OF GAY EROTIC WRITING
Find the situation. Jump from what actually happened to what could happen. Create the dilemma. “He is shy, horny, inexperienced, homeless, injured, helpless, or whatever.”
Then exaggerate the dilemma. “He is homeless and horny with no place to have sex with the man he just met.” No wonder erotic stories are so often set in parks and bathrooms.
Find the setting and bring the characters together. “He fell off of his bicycle and was spread-eagle on the ground right in front of me.”
Find the story and create a catalyst. “Blondes are my weakness.”
Let the characters speak for themselves. Your characters will reveal their strengths and weaknesses through dialog.
- A good word processor such as Corel WordPerfect or Microsoft Word. I use them both extensively, but I have a very slight preference for MS Word for erotic writing.
- A dictionary. I have a copy of Webster’s New World Dictionary paperback edition and large print edition.
- A thesaurus. My word processor has one, I am compiling a thesaurus of erotic words, and I have a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus in Dictionary Form.
- A printed copy of the outline below. I keep a copy of my outline handy so that I don’t ever forget the basics of gay erotic writing.
- A copy of Berlitz German for Travellers, Berlitz French for Travellers, and Berlitz Italian for Travellers. My characters travel a lot and these travel guides are in dictionary form and have a lot of useful words and phrases. So far, no one has noticed that the only language I speak is English.
- Because my characters travel a lot, I also have a copy of The Rand McNally International Atlas. This will quickly answer any technical questions about geography, industry, or travel time.
- A copy of Bijou Video Sales Catalog. I like to have a clear image of my characters, so I pick them from the porno stars in the catalog and keep them prominently displayed in front of my computer. As of late, I sometimes download images from the Internet newsgroups and print them on a color printer. In any case, my characters are real people and I look at them often while I am writing. Although I don’t rely on it for action ideas, there have been a few instances where I stumbled onto to some hot action scenes in the Bijou Catalog.
- A copy of Prentice-Hall’s Handbook for Writers. Although I rarely refer to this book, it is handy to have for answers to technical questions on grammar and sentence construction. I know, you are thinking, “Maybe he should use it more often.” It is probably more helpful to someone writing computer manuals or business letters than to someone writing erotica, but you may find the section “Basic Sentence Faults” to be helpful if you review it from time to time.
- I have a lot of books about places I have visited. They are helpful for some of the places my characters visit. I have a lot of books about Hollywood because I also write about Hollywood history. I have a lot of sex manuals because I was afraid I might miss something.
- I read a lot of stories by other erotic writers. I have a lot of gay erotic pulp fiction, but mostly I read erotic stories from the Internet because they are cheap. A lot of them probably came from the same gay erotic pulp fiction books I bought.
1. Introduce characters
a. Very brief
b. fast paced
c.. little description
a. Shortcut descriptions with stereotypes
1. “He was as swishy as Liberace”
2. “He opened the door like Kramer”
2. Character types
1. establish alient information early
a. “My roommate was sleeping on the sofa”
2. Keep reader informed of character location
a. “I felt more tense as he crossed the room”
3. Know every detail of the setting even if not used in the text
1. Shortcut descriptions with examples.
a. “The room was like a bordello.”
b. “It was like a prison cell”
c. “It reminded me of Versailles”
2. Characters dilemma
a. Madonna/Prostitute conflict
b. How it will happen tension
a. Slow paced
b. Detailed description
a. Slow paced
b. Graphic visualizations
a. Takes reader back to source of situation
II. POINT OF VIEW
A. First Person
1. Cannot enter second person’s mind.
2. Story belongs to main character
b. Fantasy person
1. Simple past tense
2. Present tense
1. Action doesn’t just happen…the hero causes it
2. Explain the feelings about the verbs.
a. “He touched my cock and I felt vulnerable
3. Explain why the action
a. “I touched his cock because I couldn’t resist his prick
Hanging out of his shorts”
a. Write images not words
a. Avoid being passive
1. Each action gets its own stage
2. Short paragraphs
1. Use variety
A. Heroine always thinks of hero (vulnerable character thinks of masterful character)
B. Skip over distractions
C. Stick to main story line
D. Each sentence must lead to the next
a. No story gaps
b. No tangents
A. Don’t underline, capitalize, italicize, or use exclamation points
B. Light hearted (sex is a lark)
a. “He was standing nude so close I could feel the heat from his groin…”
a. “I felt vulnerable and a bit panicky…”
a. “I flushed, and the blood rushed to my groin.
b. “I could smell his desire.
A. Find the situation
1. Jump from what really happened to what could happen
a. Create the dilemma
1. He is shy, horny, inexperienced, homeless, injured, helpless,
he hasn’t met the man
b. Exaggerate the dilemma
B. Find the setting
1. Bring the parties together
a. They met at a laundry
b. He fell of his bicycle
c. I rushed to his aid
C. Find the story
1. Create a catalyst
a. Blondes are my weakness
D. Let the characters speak for themselves
1. The characters re