5 Crucial Tips to Consider When Writing Erotica
by Guest Blogger, Cassidy London
So you’d like to try your hand at writing erotica? Maybe you’re a seasoned author with publications in other genres or perhaps this is your very first attempt at fiction. Either way, there are many things to contemplate and research. However, for the sake of simplicity, let’s begin with five crucial tips to consider when writing erotica.
- Pen Names: Yes or No?
Using a pseudonym, or pen name as it’s more commonly referred to, is often considered to be the hallmark of erotica authors. With one’s anonymity guaranteed, we are free to express ourselves in the most taboo of formats without any fear of repercussions in our everyday lives.
This is true; however, using a pen name can make for a slower start to our careers! Without the ability to be authentic, without being able to use our “warm” market, and with readers’ unable to put a face to the name, we are essentially trying to create a following for an unknown product by an unknown and worse, a hidden supplier.
One must keep in mind the sensationalism that comes with being an erotica author. As long as you don’t mind having your personal life under a microscope and a little tittering behind your back at the local grocery store, you may find that using your real name garners more attention.
The adage “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” applies well here, because more attention will definitely lead to more sales. Erotica authors, therefore, need to weigh the pros and cons of the consequences of using or not using a pen name in direct reference to our personal lives and temperaments.
Remember: what is local has the potential to become national; and, if your books really take off [pun intended?], could become international. The sky’s the limit, if you are daring enough! Are you willing to be known for your erotica writing?
- Writing in the 1st or 3rd person
What about choosing the right narrative perspective, usually known as “point of view,” or POV? Of course, fiction can be well-written in either 1st or 3rd person narrative form. In erotica, the goal is to connect the reader very intimately to the adventures and feelings of the characters.
when there are different points of view in your story, it can be one of the best times to write in the third person. Some authors switch the POV from character to character as each chapter progresses. This is a great way to engage many different types of readers, because they potentially have more than one main character to relate to.
However, writing in the first person allows for a more in-depth perspective and perhaps a stronger connection for the reader. In erotica, it is crucial for the reader to relate sexually to at least one character in your book. Either they see themselves as the heroine who wants to experience the hero as he is written, or they are the hero who is captivated by the heroine. Whatever the situation, in order to create a lasting and hopefully, raving fan, erotica must titillate both their emotional needs and sexual desires.
For these reasons, choosing the right point of view for your story is important. Whatever narrative form is chosen, the goal must always be to use the sexual tension between the characters and the consummation of these forces to drive the story forward.
- Using the 5 Senses
Description is the hallmark of fiction and even more so in erotica. Trying to describe a scene that the reader can visualize themselves actually experiencing is the key. Using the five senses is paramount to ensuring that the reader has both mental and physical responses to your words. The reader must see the location as well as hear the dialogue and various sounds the characters make and hear themselves. The descriptions must be so detailed and pleasant to the ear that the reader’s brain can actually feel the touches of the characters.
Not every scene needs all five senses though. In fact, taking the time to focus on just one or two can sometimes enhance the experience. Just like in real life, if a particular sense is no longer working properly, the other four will intensify. Writing erotica works exactly the same way: when only one sense is the focus, or when one or more senses is shut off (think: blindfolds, handcuffs, etc.) the remaining senses become highly energized.
Smell, taste and physical sensations are probably the hardest to describe accurately, but they also elicit some of the greatest responses, because they can be triggers to real-life memories. A sweet vanilla scent, the decadent taste of chocolate-covered strawberries or the feel of cool satin sheets on naked skin all have the potential to trigger recognition in the reader. This recognition, however subtle, helps to take the reader from a removed place behind the pages of a book to becoming a living character within it.
The five senses can never be overused in erotica. The goal is to be able to see, hear, touch, smell and taste it all. Your reader should come away from the experience feeling as though they have truly lived these intimate moments.
- Creativity in Intimacy [section needs a new title; see below]
If erotica is to be moved forward by the characters’ sexuality, then how does one continually write these scenes in a creative and non-repetitive way? Here’s where the element of surprise comes in. Keeping the readers on their toes about how, where and why it’s going to happen is the key.
In a novella, for example, one will usually find four to five intimate scenes. If the same process is simply repeated over and over each time, it will become stale and the reader will lose interest. Each scene needs to build with a different amount of passion and intensity while still being unique in the story.
Having varied levels of intimacy between characters also helps to create more depth and range in each tryst. Therefore, it can be helpful to decide on the background of each scene beforehand. Maybe the first time, it is the power of lust that brings the characters together. However, by the time the second scene comes around, they have fallen in love and the act is more sensual. The third scene might feature the hard anger of betrayal. The final one might be based in forgiveness and show a culmination of both their insatiable lust and ultimate love for one another.
Having a story arc such as this will ultimately change the details in each scene and make it more interesting for the reader. Also, using tried and true tropes, like “friends to lovers” or “forbidden lust” can help authors to follow a pattern such as the one mentioned and build each scene into an exclusive moment in the story, every time.
- Realism vs. Fantasy
Erotica delves into a fantasy world where readers are looking to be swept up into endless magical moments. Although fans of erotica are looking for entertainment and escapism, mixing in a little reality helps to connect the reader better to your work. Combining the idea of lust-filled werewolves with the real-life emotional struggles of a relationship makes for a nice mixture of fantasy and reality. This can ground the readers and enable them to empathize with the characters you are describing. Once they are so connected, it then becomes easier for the readers to suspend disbelief and open up to intimacy between a mythological creature and a human.
So in other words, even though the heroine of your story has been kidnapped by a vampire whose seduction techniques may very well kill her, the story will be more authentic if there is a healthy dose of realism involved. The heroine and the vampire’s decision-making skills, their doubts, fears and even their desires can all make the story more realistic despite the context’s being fantastical. These small moments of realism can enable the readers, just like the heroine, ultimately to fall under the spell of the sexy vampire.
Even when the story does not contain paranormal elements, it is still in the realm of fantasy. Maybe the story describes a sexual fantasy that your reader has always dreamed about experiencing. Often, erotica can allow the readers to live out their fantasies in a safe environment far from the complications of real life. If the descriptions seem plausible and the readers can truly imagine themselves doing the things that you describe, then the experiences of your characters will seem real and believable to them.
Finally, keep in mind that these five crucial tips to consider when writing erotica are just the beginning. Becoming an avid reader of the most popular books in this genre will help you to understand these five points better. In those books, you can find examples of each tip and more components that you can compare to your own writing.
Erotica is a fun outlet. Learning to write good erotica can enhance your creative writing and provide you with skills that are easily transferable to other genres.
Who is Cassidy London and why does she write and read erotica?
“Cassidy London has been in love with books ever since she can remember, particularly, scandalous steamy romances. However, she’s discovered that the best scandals are found in places where truth inspires fiction.
“When she’s not writing or reading ‘dirty’ books, Cassidy can also be found masquerading as a coffee- (and wine-!) drinking suburban mom in Montreal, Canada.”
She wrote, on her website (link is below): “Having read every classic and best-seller out there, I finally found my way back home and back to my first love. To the trashy, sexy, fun-filled fantasy world that is erotic romance. I read and I remembered. I remembered how those books of my youth transported me to another world. It was like rekindling a long lost love affair, except this time I knew it would end with my very own happily ever after.
“To all the authors whose works I have read and been inspired by. Thank you for being my first true love.”
[NOTICE: these sites and book covers/subtitles are rated R and higher!]
FB: https://www.facebook.com/CLondonAuthor/?ref=bookmarks (Cassidy London Author)
IG: https://www.instagram.com/cassidy_london_books/ (cassidy_london_books)
Cassidy’s books (to date):
We all have a steamy truth hiding somewhere deep inside us…that one crazy night, that time in college, that hidden desire we’ve never expressed.
The SUBURBAN SECRETS series is based on just that. Steamy, scandalous and very private moments that have burst through the often conservative confines of suburbia.
COUPLES NIGHT OUT – SUBURBAN SECRETS, BOOK 1
Sometimes breaking all the rules is the only way to keep them.
Couples Night Out is Book 1 in the steamy SUBURBAN SECRETS series. Book 1 introduces you to Ella and Jak, a young couple trying to save their marriage from disaster after their mutual indiscretions threaten to ruin them.
WEEKEND GETAWAY –SUBURBAN SECRETS, BOOK 2
Pandora’s Box has got nothing on the quiet communities of suburbia.
Weekend Getaway is Book 2 in the steamy SUBURBAN SECRETS series. Here we find out if Ella and Jak’s love can make it through the drama that comes with navigating their new alternative lifestyle. Letting go has brought them together, but letting each other go too far could ruin it all.
ISLAND GETAWAY –SUBURBAN SECRETS, BOOK 3
Coming Soon! [More than one kind of tropical heat…]