My words!

For research, I have been reading rather a lot of erotica. For research purposes. I don’t do it to enjoy myself.

Here’s my take on a good erotic short:

1. Reasonably credible plot and characters. The characters have to have reasons to do what they do. In my experience people don’t launch into sexual encounters without some context and preliminaries. Not unless they are paying for it or are pretty drunk. Yes, maybe the hunky plumber and the lustful housewife have immediate and fantastic sex in every room in the house and never see each other again, but for me at least that sort of carryon is points off.

2. Reasonably well-written English. Maybe others get turned on by the bland description of what bits are going where, but for me I like to not be distracted by spelling errors and typos and names that change from one page to the other. I read one story that may have been fantastic in its original German, but trust me, running it through Google Translate into English doesn’t make it flow. A lot of stuff I read – once and never came back for more – is clearly in its original English but much much worse. Who gets turned on by someone with the grammar and spelling of an eight year old describing sex acts?

3. Some teasing and tension-building. Starting with the good stuff is a bad mistake. Firstly, the reader then has no interest in reading any more, but mostly because the sex scene works best if the reader is wanting it to happen and has been on the edge of their seat, frantically turning pages to see if this is where they start doing it, or if it is yet another false start. I mean, there’s such a thing as too much foreplay and if it’s all teasing and tension, the reader is going to hurl the book or reader across the room in frustration, but a writer is telling a story, and that means going through the steps, being mindful of pacing, and giving the reader the best possible experience.

4. Some good solid sex. Maybe two scenes, but there has to be at least one, and it needs to be a minimum length. Not to be too crude, but for one-handed reading, you’re looking at five minutes of good bits minimum, unless the teasing and build-up has done its work extra well. And you can’t really depend on that, because keen readers will skip over all the careful preliminaries looking for the unclad bits. So something like 2 000 words of good sex is the pay-off for the reader. That’s why they are laying down their money, after all.

That’s my framework. That’s something to aim at, something to build on.

Britni

Photo by Burak K from Pexels

Written by Britni Pepper

Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures. Her schoolmates loved listening to her stories about princesses and pirates and dragons, and once she looked up to find the principal looking on. "No, no, don't stop, Britni," he said. "I want to hear what happens next!" What happened next was university, a job in the travel industry, and a career of travelling the world meeting the most fascinating people. Britni has travelled to thirty of the world's nations and loves making up stories about fascinating people doing interesting things in exotic places. No longer tales about princes and wizards, but her stories are just as much fantasy as ever.

5 comments

  1. Very well stated, Britni! I believe character development is also one of the most crucial elements of any story, be it a short story or novel. The reader needs to have some empathy, or even antipathy, toward the characters to want to keep reading. And yes, proper spelling, grammar and the ability to give a piece proper flow and readability are a given.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Couldn’t agree more, Britni. For me, erotica has to balance a half-decent plot and credible characters with well-worked erotic scenes. Personally, I don’t enjoy stories that make no attempt to lead the reader so they are invested in the outcome. Equally, I’m not interested in short stories that hit you page after page with the “good stuff”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah! I know how the bits work. Gigantic shafts sinking into gushing love tunnels and barrowloads of hot cum for a high climax per page ratio. There’s only so much I can swallow before I figure the writer is full of themselves.

      But with me, a little teasing, a little doubt, a little romance before the Tab A and Slot B stuff begins, I’m all over that stuff!

      Like

  3. Excellent points, Britni! Thanks for sharing your research. I have been challenged with finding the right balance of character development, building tension, and steamy sex scenes. Sometimes I’m way too involved in the characters’ back stories. I try to just right it out first, then work on refining the balance in the edits. I think you’ve nailed down a good formula.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s nailing down a formula, and there’s writing with a genuine passionate voice. You’ve nailed that part, Patty!

      Not every bit of erotica has to follow the same formula and model, either. Sometimes things get hot and fabulous in a page. Other times I sigh at the end and wish for another few thousand words of a long meaty tale.

      Like sentence length, needs mixing up.

      Liked by 1 person

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