Guest author and blogger Anastasia Parkes has an MA in English Literature from Oxford and has lived in London and Cairo. She writes erotica under the pseudonym Primula Bond with books published by HarperCollins, and works as a book editor for erotic and romantic novelists. In this guest post, Anastasia shares tips on writing great erotica – and how to put together those steamy sex scenes. (And uh, yes: strong language lies ahead.)
Writing Erotica – What You Need To Know
The formula for writing great erotic fiction is a pretty simple one. Here it is, in full:
Write a great book
Include plenty of steamy, arousing sex
And that’s it. You’re done.
Structure Your Story
Now I’m not going to go into a ton of detail about how to write a great book. All I will say is that you do need to respect your basic story structure. The teasing quality of a suspense-driven story (Will the heroine succeed or not?) matches up perfectly with the will-they/won’t-they quality of the romantic/erotic dance.
That said, your story can be relatively simple – and relatively short. A 50,000 word story wouldn’t work so well as a crime-thriller, but it’s plenty long enough for erotica.
But if your story is simple, your characters shouldn’t be. The power of sexual tension (and release) is multiplied tenfold on the page if there is some conflict and resolution between the characters. That doesn’t have to mean the two people are always shouting at each other (though that could work.) It does mean that you have some kind of push-pull dynamic that will have to be resolved somehow … and often via them taking all their clothes off.
It also means that characters have to develop through the course of your story. The sex they have on first meeting won’t feel the same as the sex they have at the end of your book.
Show Don’t Tell
The last big tip I’d give in relation to writing erotica is that here, more than in any other literary art form, showing beats telling hands down, and a million times over. We read erotica to be part of the sex. That means you can’t merely report that character X had great sex with character Y. You have to let the action unfold, action-by-action, on the page. Keep plenty of dialogue there too. Remember that interesting character interplay = interesting sex.