Friday, December 5, 2014

Arousing Your Reader In Erotic Fiction

The best way to become a better writer is to read what's out there, find out what your competition is, and discover what's lacking in your own work. This is the true for any genre. As a writer and regular reader of erotic fiction, I've noticed that a lot of erotica is missing key elements. Things I've been reading lately should have been deliciously spicy, but ultimately flopped for me as the reader.

By definition, "erotic" means to sexually arouse. How can an author cause sexual arousal in their reader? In my humble opinion, it requires the following steps:

Step ONE: Get Your Reader's Attention

Make your characters believable: Regardless of who your characters are (werewolves, aliens, fluffy pink unicorns, normal people), the reactions they have to their environment and situations need to be relatable. If you're writing monster erotica and have otherworldly and hard to understand genitalia... yeah. That won't make my panties wet. A write should be creative, but keep it on the level.

Give your characters an emotional motive: Without a why to what a character does or feels makes connecting to them more difficult. Don't put two virgins in a pool about to screw without telling me why they've chosen the pool or each other. Erotica without a purpose is just porn.

Step TWO: Don't Forget The Big 5


Sex is a physical thing. To be physically aroused in the bedroom requires your body to take in signals in any way that it can. The same things transfers onto paper. Put your scene under a microscope describing everything in detail so that your reader can properly visualize. Too much of what I've read lately has focused mostly on sight and taste, completely abandoning the other 3 senses. If you tell me your character is giving oral sex, don't just tell me that the skin is warm and the genitals are big... Tell me how it feels inside the mouth, how it tastes and smells, and what shape it is. Also combine the senses with Step ONE, and tell me how each character feels about what's going on. The more specific the details, the more real it becomes inside your reader's head.

Step THREE: Language

Think River: The way something is spoken or described can make all the difference. Make your language flow. One sentence needs to meet the next like poetry, not stop abruptly. Sentence variety works well. If I begin reading something that is nothing but sentence fragments or short and choppy, I stop reading.

Euphemisms & Vulgarity: Alternative words for penis and vagina are great, but get creative with your descriptions. I've read enough "juicy cock" and "tight pussy" to go blind. Make your work stand out by finding another way to say things. Also, think about why you're using one word over another. "Cock" and "pussy" are both legit words, but they can ultimately turn some readers off. Stories with a romantic subtext will have readers with a more sensitive taste, where readers who want to read harder, more explicit sex scenes might not be bothered. Match your language to your story and make sure you remain consistent.

If you combine all three steps and everything they include, you can slip your reader into the story and have them visualize your words successfully. Visualization and connection to emotion which is detailed and well said, can and will arouse your target audience.  If you're turned on while writing, becoming hot and bothered yourself, that never hurts either :)

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