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This week’s topic definitely falls outside my normal comfort zone, but with the genre becoming ever more popular, I feel it’s time to give you some hard facts (tehe!) on writing erotica. With the rise of 50 Shades of Grey, I’ve noticed an explosion of people who are desperate to write the next best-seller in the genre and, I’m sorry to tell you, I’ve heard more than one person utter the dreaded words “how hard can it be?”. If there’s one thing you need to take away from this article, it’s that good erotica is deceptively difficult to write. You’ll find challenges that rarely appear in any other genre so if you go into it without changing your approach, it’s going to turn out more like a spoof.

A penis by any other name…

If your erotica doesn’t contain a great deal of explicit sex, you may want to consider changing genres. In a manuscript like this, you are going to end up typing ‘boobs’ so many times that the word loses all meaning and this is where your first problem arises. With such a consistent theme, you need to be careful that you aren’t repeating the same word five times a paragraph. That can be pretty difficult without going for synonyms that just sound ridiculous. Like ‘love stick’ or ‘baps’. That’ll make your audience laugh, but it will be just as distracting as repeating yourself.

Luckily, there are some resources out there to help you with this issue. Have a quick search online and you’ll find thesauruses specifically designed to help erotica writers come up with some sensible alternatives for frequently used words. You can even buy a paper copy, if you don’t mind explaining it to your dinner guests when they catch a glimpse of your book shelf.

His left hand hooked around the near side of her right ear…

You’ve probably guessed by now that erotica needs to be very physical and action-based. This poses an issue for a medium that gives the audience no visual reference at all. In most genres, you can get around the confusion of physical movement by being concise and describing only the movements that the audience needs to know about instead of overloading them with information. That’s not going to work here. Usually, readers need to have a clear picture in their minds of the exact physical positions that the characters find themselves in.

The first challenge is clarity. You need to describe movement and position in a way that the reader can easily visualise, without going over the sentence two or three times to get their head around it. A good rule to help you with this is; the faster-paced the scene, the more simplistic the action needs to be. In a relaxed, slow-paced scene, you can take your time in describing the detail of the characters’ actions, but if something needs to happen quickly, you are safer with fewer, bold movements.

The second thing to think about is continuity. If you’ve set your characters in an insanely complex position, with their limbs tied together in knots, you are going to need to put extra focus into making sure their movements stay consistent. Otherwise, your readers will be too busy thinking “wait, wasn’t his pinkie finger stuck up her nose in the last sentence?” to actually pay attention to the plot.

She stared at his you-know-what…

The final element that could hold you back in this genre is your own personal comfort with the subject. If you are squeamish even a little bit about the topic of sex, your erotica will be no good. And I’m afraid that this is something I can’t help you with. You need to make the decision yourself on whether this is a genre that you can stomach.

I hope that gets you started on the right track. If you enjoyed this article, please click like and follow, and join me again next week when I will be talking about prose vs plot.

And now, I’ll leave you with these immortal words…

Then he put his thingy in my you-know-what and we totally did it.