The definitive guide to writing steamy stories

... that leaves them begging for more. This is my how-to.

To start with
So, you want to write erotica. You want to put your creativity to use to delight a reader on a very personal level. Congratulations on your endeavor. Erotica is a beautiful, enticing and often disturbing genre in which to write. It is not for the faint of heart -for author or reader. An erotic author must let his or her creativity flow to paint a story in a way that takes a reader’s breath away, but so many times authors make fatal mistakes when writing in this genre. They assume that there are no rules and, as they say, sex sells. Well, that is very true, but just like very few people would get the same enjoyment out of watching a blooper reel as watching a well produced Hollywood movie, presentation is everything. Don't let your erotica be a blooper reel. Follow these simple steps to transform fantasies into reality and keep them begging for more.

The Inner Voice (POV)
Erotica is a highly intimate interchange between the reader and the author. One of the most important things to do when you sit down to write is to figure out which character's voice you will be using. This person is your Inner Voice or POV (Point of View) Character. Will this exchange of who knows what be seen from perspective of a man or a woman, a dominant or a submissive, etc.? Is this person shy, fearful, hesitant, eager, cruel? Write a character sketch. Yes, I said it. Just like you did in Creative Writing in High School. How detailed and elaborate you go with this depends on the length of the story. I would not recommend that you waste an hour trying to sketch out a character that is only going to exist for the length of a 6-page short story. Know who your character is before you get started, put yourself in his or her shoes and remember always to speak in his or her voice and not your own.
That serves two primary purposes:
1) You will able to write more powerfully because you feel what your inner voice character feels in many ways.
2) This intense emotion will transfer to the reader, and this, of course, is, ultimately, what we want. The reader must be able to feel who your character is.
So, can you have more than one POV? The answer is yes, but with caution. In a short story, I would not recommend it, at all. When done poorly, it is incredibly confusing to the reader, and they are jerked back and forth between being the giver and the receiver of various interactions between two or more individuals. It is very difficult for a reader to stay in the moment, through this "turmoil."
If you choose to work with more than one inner voice, be sure to follow these tips:
1) Make sure to do it in such a way that it is clear whose inner voice you are hearing.
2) Make sure that you use the inner voice for a block of time, like a scene, or at the minimum, several paragraphs.
3) Don't use more than one inner voice if you don't have to do so. There are just so many ways to do this wrong, so if you can pick a character and stick with him or her, do so.

Grammar and More
What? You thought that this was unimportant in erotica. People who read erotica aren't concerned with where you put commas or if you misspell various words or if there are dangling participles here and there. If you don't know what a dangling participle is, look it up. It is not the current term for male genitalia unless you are writing an erotic comedy about an English professor perhaps. If you thought that grammar and punctuation were unimportant, you could not be more wrong.
The purpose of grammar is not to drive you crazy when you face the dilemma of choosing "that" or "which". Grammar is our means of communication. Regardless of the language in which you at writing, you need to make sure that you are clearly communicating ideas by using grammar correctly. A misplaced comma can totally change the meaning of a sentence. Exchanging one word for another that sounds the same/similar can do the same thing, for example, "accept" means that you receive something, typically willingly, so it's a totally appropriate word for erotica, however, ''except" means that you are opposed to something or excluding something.
Think about how that oops could completely change a scene. There are much more like it. An overt error like this jars the reader out of the world in which you are immersing them, and it can cause a reader to give up on finishing the book, which means that he or she will not be sharing it with friends.
Use your spell/grammar checker, but beware that the at the time of my writing this tutorial and likely well into the future, word processors, like those within Word, Pages and even external sites that make big promises like Grammarly do not catch everything and they even suggest things that are just plain wrong. These tools only draw your attention to possible problems, but you should never just take their suggestions. You must look at what they are saying and decide for yourself. Yes, it was worth your while to pay attention in high school.
At this point technology is highly flawed when it comes to human language. These programs do not understand complex sentences or ideas. I even had such a program, that shall remain unnamed, but starts with a G and ends with a Y, tell me that "the band members were cueing up the instruments" should have been "the band members were coming up the instruments"... Ewwwww. Can you imagine if I had just thoughtlessly accepted this change in a clean and casual mystery novel I was writing at the time?
Having said all of this, let me put this car in reverse for you and say that grammar is not everything. Some people are grammar sticklers. They think there should be absolutely no grammar liberties taken ever in writing, but let me say that these individuals need to get a life and realize that real people do not talk like that. If you are writing from a casual conversation perspective, which is the most common writing style in erotica, then some grammar flaw is acceptable and even needed to sound real.
For example, if someone is indecisive he or she might stutter or start one thought and skip to another or not finish a thought or sentence. At a technical level, this is not correct, grammatically speaking. But this is how people talk and think, in reality. People do not always think or talk in complete sentences, especially when they are excited, so if you are going to write the perfect erotica, it is okay to use some sentence fragments and partial thoughts to capture the moment. Not only is the acceptable, but it also heightens the experience for the reader. Short, abrupt sentence fragments are a well-known literary device used in fight scenes, suspense scenes and, yes, sex scenes, to quicken the pace of a piece. Don't be afraid to do this, especially in dialogue, but be prepared for the critics who will say you don't understand how to use proper grammar. Those people, honestly, are idiots, who do not understand the many shades of gray in being a best-selling author. In case you missed it, that was a reference to a best-selling erotic novel. Many individual were critical of this author's poor use of grammar and casual tone. Those individuals only wish they were making the kind of money that this author continues to make. Pure jealousy. May you have the great privilege of incurring that kind of wrath.

Structure & Pace
No one wants to start reading erotica that starts in the middle of a sweaty, dirty, graphic exchange of fluids. And only a select few like to read stories that start with repetitive thrusting. Actually, there is a very scientific reason for this. Yes, there is some science behind erotica and to truly knock their socks off with your words, you need to understand the science.
Science has proven that when a person is excited, in one way or another, they lose the feeling of disgust. That is why in real life, sexual relations between humans, sometimes things just happen that the participants in the encounter may not want to think about, or discuss, when not in the heat of passion. That is because they are no longer excited (aroused). You need to keep this little bit of scientific information in the back of your mind as you write. Just like in a real life sexual encounter, sex needs to go through stages, to reach its full potential.
Let’s first talk about short stories. In a short story, there are four distinct parts of the structure. Those major parts are as follows:
1) Intro to the inner voice (POV) character.
2) Foreplay
3) Sex to the point of climax
4) The cooldown.
So, an erotica story is basically like a one night stand. You meet the girl or guy, you slowly make a move and hope you don't get rejected, and then it's all systems go. Finally, you try to catch your breath. Let's talk about each part, separately.

Intro to the Inner Voice
Who cares who this person is? We all know what we came here for, and it wasn't to exchange pleasantries. Yes, that is very true. Because of that, this section should be very brief in a short story, so that you do not lose the interest of the reader. But, at the same time, allowing your reader to get to know your character, concisely, helps him or her, relate to the character and slip into that character's head. That way, the reader can experience the story through the senses of the inner voice.
Here are few pointers for POV:
1) POV's do not describe themselves unless they are very narcissistic. So, if your POV is a "hot blond," he or she is not going to say that in his or her inner voice. My recommendation is that you do not describe the appearance of your POV at all so that the reader can become that person. If the appearance of your character truly adds to the story, then you can find creative ways to describe the POV, such as having another character mention physical characteristics in conversation, prior or during.
2) Find a way to show how this person is rather than describing this person as shy or outgoing, etc. Have a small pre-intimate encounter in which you can demonstrate what kind of person your POV is.
3) Keep it short. I will say this again. It is likely a couple of paragraphs in a very short story, or maybe a half page of dialogue, if you are going that route. It will obviously, be longer the more lengthy your story is.

Regardless of whether your reader is male or female, there still needs to be some build up in the story. It is the time when your reader truly begins to understand the POV's feelings and feel them as well. Foreplay can be anything, from erotic touching that gets progressively more intense to playful but sexual acts before intercourse, to manual, oral or object stimulation. Throughout this section, keep in mind that your goal is to arouse the reader slowly, so start slow and work up to more aggressive, involved or painful acts, depending on the type of erotica you are writing. Throughout this section, describe not only the acts themselves in great detail but also how they make the POV feel. Is he or she resistant or uncertain at first, and then increasingly becomes aroused? What is this person thinking as this is happening? This portion should be a progression of thoughts as the acts themselves increase in intensity.
Here are some common ways to play this and allow your reader to get the most out of foreplay:
1) Refusal and then acceptance, leading to participation;
2) Desire that something be done to the POV, longing, obsessing that it is not being done and then the relief when it is finally done;
3) Shame or inexperience. First-time scenarios, leading to increased confidence as you move into the next section.

Typically, in an erotica, actual traditional sex, hetero- homo- or other, will take place. If your stories do not include actual intercourse and are more focused on manual sex, oral sex, object insertion sex, bondage sex, etc. without intercourse then the same rules will apply. You enter this section of the structure at the point of heightened arousal of the POV regardless of what kind of acts you are describing. In this section it is very important to mix things up, but in a very fluid way. Describe the transitions between acts and positions and remember to always stay in the POVs head. What is the person thinking? What does he or she think is going to happen? Does he or she like or dislike it? Does it hurt? What does he or she want to happen? What is felt when it finally happens? The end of this section is very likely going to be a climax for the POV. Remember that a climax is not a single point in time, but it is like climbing a mountain where you know that you are almost to the top and you know how pleasurable it will be to get to the top, but you are not quite there and any moment now it will happen and you are waiting for it and thinking about it and trapped in the pleasure of the moment of knowing what is coming next and then …it happens. And then you can't breathe because it is so amazing, and you want it to last forever, and you can't even think anymore because the pleasure is so intense and real and, and, ... don't forget we are talking about climbing a mountain here. You get the idea.

Cool Down
After all is said and done, it is time to cool down. This is a very short section of a short story that just gives your story an ending so that it was not 100% sex fest with no plot. This could be as simple as cuddling in bed or kicking someone out. It all depends on which way you want to take your story and what you think your reader will like.

Adapting this Structure to Longer Work
If you are writing a novel, then you would spend more time on your intro because the reader who is reading a book wants to fall in love with your character and live through him or her for a day or more as they travel together on a sexual journey that unfolds throughout the book. You need to put more thought into your story, and then intertwine the above structure into the overall storyline again and again, but keep in mind that in a longer work it is okay to break the structure a little for the sake of the story. Your story may involve a 10-minute quickie in the kitchen between two people who are already involved and there is no need to try to confine yourself to a structure. It would become very hindering to your work if you tried. Just pay attention to the overall flow of the story and always re-read your work and work on transition and flow and you’ll get it right.

Writing for the Reader
Throughout this tutorial, you have heard me, again and again, ask you to think of what the reader wants. It is because, as writers, we can often be very pensive and even self-absorbed. It's nothing to make you ashamed. It's what makes us such good creators. But every creation must have an audience, or it literally has no point. So, this is where we get into the reasons that you want to write erotica. Are you writing it for you or the reader? If you are writing for you, according to what you like and what you fantasize about, then, your stories will likely never get any recognition. You will be one of the many starving artists of the world. These are the people who want to create what they want to create, and expect their reader to appreciate it, regardless, as if the reader owes them something. These people very rarely achieve anything. But if you are thinking of your reader first and considering how you can carry him or her with you through the story, then you have an opportunity to develop a following and reach lots of people and make lots of money in the process. What this means is that regardless of what genre you write in, you need to figure out what your readers want.
Think about what is popular in erotica right now, and write it, but don't take too long because trends change. Consider how your writing makes your reader feel? Are you jerking the reader through moments in time or taking him or her on a smooth and enjoyable journey?
Please don't get me wrong. You should never try to write something that does not interest you. Readers can tell if you are faking it. If you do not enjoy your own writing, then it will seem dry and uninteresting. This idea applies to everything from writing erotica to writing a textbook. All people should love and be proud of their work, but it is especially true with creative people. It is the foundation of our creativity. When you can find that place where your interests and the interests of readers align, that is where the magic happens, and you can become the respected author you aspire to be.

Finding the Right Words
If you are a writer, then you likely have a vast vocabulary at your disposal. Writers understand the power of words. They understand how to change minds, call people to take an action or simply provide a rollercoaster or pure enjoyment. Writers can do all of this just by the way they use words. This is the ultimate goal of a writer, and we must never forget it. So, if you are going to write erotica, it is great to be creative but you need to also understand how to say things in an industry appropriate way. Jumping right into a story with "Wow, Man. Look at those Titties….Great Ass, Sugar," is usually not the best way to bring a reader into your book. It is important that you read the genre that you are writing, so read several popular erotic books and make note of what words they use.
Erotica, in most of its forms, is not just sexual but also highly sensual. It is the genre in which you most involve your reader in the story, allowing the reader to become a part of what you have written. An erotica writer shares a very intimate relationship with his or her readers and the readers expect you to deliver them what you promise. Simply saying, "Cock and Ass" over and over is not sensual; nor does it make for a very interesting read. See how legitimate writers are doing it and try to adapt it to your own style without copying. One method I recommend is starting your story with less impactful words or metaphors for body parts and acts and then as the pace quickens, shift into more direct words and yes, the word, "cock" is acceptable as long as you are mixing it up a little. This works perfectly to keep the appropriate pace for your work. At the beginning of a book or story, the reader does not mind trying to decipher a clever metaphor, but in the heat of the action, the reader does not want to have to think too much about what is being described, so you should just directly say what you are talking about. This transitions us well into the next point.

Don't be Shy
If you were a little embarrassed when I said "cock" and "titties" in the last section, then erotica may not be your strongest genre. It's okay. Sex is very private to a lot of people and over-sexualizing people and objects is not for everyone. You will want to consider your real feelings about sex if this is a path you wish to take. Can you describe acts in great detail, oozing fluids and all, or are you squeamish when you think about the creative and sometimes disgusting things that people do during sex. No one wants to read a story about a sweet couple having missionary sex in 3000 words. So, unless you understand the many ways that people enjoy this recreational activity, either by reading, watching pornos or being highly sexual yourself, so that you can explicitly describe it, you may want to steer clear of this one and find another genre.
Erotica can be very rewarding for both the writer and the reader, but only the brave need apply. Erotica can be beautiful and sensual, dirty and painful, or any combination that you can imagine, but ultimately it is for the pleasure of a reader, and as long as you are keeping your reader in mind you can write stories that leave them begging for more.

(Posted Jan 08, 2016)