Friday, April 4, 2014

How to tell if you’re writing terrible erotica

Erotica has more clichés than any other form of writing. Be sure to avoid all of these. A competent writer can probably get away with using one, maybe two, of these in a story, but any more and you’re sure to be writing shit no one should have to read.

Caveat! I’m sure I’m guilty of at least one or two of these, hopefully never more than one in a single story.

  1. Don’t write in first person perspective. It makes the story sound like a Letter to Penthouse Magazine. From the 1980s.
  2. Don’t make all of the characters incredibly beautiful and/or handsome. Mix it up a little. Give them interesting faces and bodies. Even cheapo porn flicks explore body types.
  3. Don’t have every male character sport huge cocks. Don’t have every female character display gigantic tits. It’s boring.
  4. Avoid precise measurements cocks. Again, it’ll make the story sound like a Letter to Penthouse Magazine. Same goes for bra sizes. Instead use: huge, bulging, large, impressive, ample, or any other synonym from a thesaurus.
  5. Don’t make the main character a complete ingénue who is caught up in circumstances but does along too willingly with sexual hijinks. It’s been done too many times. Have a character who actually likes and pursues kinky sex.
  6. Do not use the word “hot” as an adjective for sexual desirability.
  7. Don’t have characters visit a strip club to find an anonymous and willing sex partner. Strippers are rarely prostitutes and it rings of a desperate plot device.
  8. No yowling. No one screams, “AAARrrrrgggghhhh!” during sex and it looks stupid on the page.
  9. Avoid too many references to drugs and alcohol. They are too easy to use as a crutch to explain away a characters sudden deviant sexual practices.
  10. Avoid using too many cute euphemisms for sex and sexual organs. Good: cock, pussy, dick, cunt. Bad: his tower of strength, his rod, his gun, her honey-hole, her fuck-hole.
  11. Don’t write a story as an attempt to re-write or correct your sexual history. Or to make up for your sexual failures. Your life isn’t that interesting. Probably.
  12. Avoid making references to pornographic movie actors. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a pornographic movie actor, but written erotica (which is fantasy) intersecting filmed pornography (also fantasy) don’t mix well. It’s fantasy squared and that’s just awful.
  13. Avoid bad grammar, avoid misspelling, and watch out for commonly confused words (especially waist and waste). You should probably graduate from high school before attempting to publish your little bits of erotica. Even better, you might want to take a creative writing class at the local community college first.
  14. Follow standard written English. You aren’t a literary giant. James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner were literary giants but it took them time to get there and they were writing about the heaviness of the human condition. You’re writing stories to get people off. Don’t make reading a simple bit of erotica a burden on the writer.

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