Fifty Shades of Darker has recently hit the big screen to a mixed reception. Regardless of what film-goers may think, the books are an undeniable success story and have done much to popularize BDSM and normalize people’s sexual desires.
But let us not forget the humble roots of the original Fifty Shades book series. Typed out intermittently from the author’s Blackberry and published under the typically dramatic username ‘Snowqueen’s Ice Dragon’, Fifty Shades of Grey started its life as a humble piece of Twilight fan fiction—an erotic retreat for author E.L. James.
Writing A Succ-Sex-ful work of Erotic Fiction
At the time E.L. James could have never imagined where her story would take her—it was simply a piece of self-indulgent erotica put out into the world for the internet’s appraisal and a shared sense of sexual enjoyment. Indeed, there’s nothing that sets E.L. James apart from us, you, or anyone else in principle. The spark of her success came from a single decision—the decision to act on her desires.
Although we can’t guarantee that you’ll be a literary success, come the end of this article (if it were that easy then we’d all be as rich as Christian Grey), we do feel like anyone has the capacity to begin writing their own erotic fiction. And why not?
Erotic fiction isn’t just a great way to flex those literary muscles, it’s also a wonderful tool for communicating with your partner, a great way to explore what you like through a fantasy medium, and a self-arousing act in and of itself. There’s a reason why many erotic authors keep a sex toy handy in their workspace.
So allow this article to help you take the first solid steps into writing your own erotic pieces and see where the experience takes you.
Consider What You Want
Erotic Fiction comes in many shapes and sizes, quite literally. Word count isn’t something that may first come to mind when thinking of erotic stories but it can make a massive difference to the content of your story, the length of the sex scenes included, and the general structure of the work.
Are you planning to write a full-blown novel? If so then you’ll need to sit down in advance and plan out characters, setting, the main plot points, and the relationships that tie all of these things together. A full piece of erotic fiction can come in at over 40,000 words, so you’ll definitely need to put a game plan together if you’re aiming for the long haul.
To start with it might be better to write erotic short stories (spanning from 1,000 words to 10,000) and figuring out just what you want from your erotic writing. Many of these will be brief encounters and fleeting moments of eroticism and will be crucial for helping you find your style.
Sometimes less really can be more.
Bring Yourself Into The Story
No, not literally (unless that’s what you’re into).
If you’re toying with writing erotic fiction then chances are you’re doing it with your own enjoyment in mind, in addition to that of the reader. If not then you should be.
Writing is a profession of passion and if you don’t like what you’re writing then you’ll slowly but surely burn out. Unlike other genres erotica is unique in that it has the power to stimulate and engage us in ways that other genres might not (or may be restrained with) so don’t be afraid to explore your own pleasures through the power of the keyboard.
If you like BDSM then start by writing your ideal spanking scene or bondage session. Curious about pet play? Conjure up a pup and see where your story takes you. A toy fanatic? Take the time to really fan-gasm over your favorite brand by lovingly describing the toy that your character is enjoying. It’s all about you.
Many people try to write erotica to please others but truly great erotica comes from writing that pleases the author first and foremost. If you can indulge your own desires in your work then you’ll soon find a like-minded audience, and you’ll have a whole lot of fun doing it too.
Engage The Senses
Never underestimate the power of descriptive dialogue.
It’s all well and good to say that two people are attractive and that they’re enjoying each other’s company but how? What about them is so compelling?
Is it the richness of their fiery red hair?
The cute little freckles that decorate their nose?
Perhaps the fleeting aroma of their signature perfume, which teases the senses with glimpses of its presence?
Ah, yes—the senses—these are the invaluable tools of the erotic writer.
Adding details to your characters and their environment will help bring your erotica to life and enable you to achieve those truly immersive scenes.
Humans are sensuous creatures by nature and our body craves those engagements with the senses, so use that to your benefit.
If you’re ever struggling to imagine a particular sex scene then close your eyes and start to really focus on visualizing the actions that you wish to convey in your writing. Fill in any gaps that you can find in the scene—scent, smell, touch. Create as complete an image as you can in your mind and then focus on which ones are the most compelling or arousing to you. Then take those elements and bring them in to your writing.
This isn’t padding—it’s a crucial element of the erotic experience, so treat it with all the descriptive grace you can muster and have fun with it. After all, what’s sex without sensation?
Write Characters, Not Sex
This is one of the most important aspects of erotic writing, and yet it can be so easily overlooked.
Much as with the senses, people find themselves naturally drawn in by characters presented to them. It’s only when we care about a character in any form of media that we actually find ourselves invested in their actions, and erotic fiction is no difference.
Even if you don’t give your characters a name (to add to the mystery, of course) you must give them a character. Figure out their mannerisms, their likes and dislikes, and (of course) their sexual kinks and preferences. Think about how they would react in any given situation and don’t be afraid to let their emotions and point of view be known.
We’ve heard it said that the best erotic fiction is that which would be completely compelling even if no sex were involved. Shoot for this lofty aspiration as you weave your cast of eager kinksters. You may even find yourself gaining a soft spot for some of your recurring favorites.
And That’s All For Now!
Erotic writing is never easy, but it is often rewarding. If you follow the tips above we’re certain that you will find your own erotic writing skills grow over time, all the while enjoying every moment.
Move over E.L. James! Soon there’ll be some brand new erotic writers on the block!