The Do’s And Dont’s Of Writing Erotic Fiction
Excerpts from Elissa Wald’s column in LitReactor.
Sex is at the heart of what it means to be human. It’s vitally important to nearly all of us. It’s a driving force in our daily lives (even when we’re celibate), and its mysteries are infinite. So it bewilders me that — as a rule — erotica is seldom taken seriously, either by writers or readers. Intelligent, well-written erotica is a rare, rare thing (and I’ve been looking for it all of my life).
I believe that in order to write well about sex, we have to resist the version of sexuality that’s brandished at us every day by the advertising and fashion industry: most especially the idea that we can only be aroused by superficiality and perfection. How can we make sex — on the page as well as in life — less a performance and more a source of communion? How can we go deeper?
The following are some of my own tips for writing erotic fiction:
1. Respect The Genre. Respect The Reader
Bring the same attention and regard to writing about sex as you would to anything else you’d write. Assume the reader wants — and is capable of appreciating — something beyond a jerk-off vehicle. There’s nothing wrong with getting off — I always hope my readers are getting off on what I write! — but I want to affect people between the ears as much as between the legs.
2. Spare The Rod
The throbbing rod, that is, and all other coy euphemisms for body parts. Please don’t tell me about our hero’s member, or manhood, or hard hot tool or battering ram. Likewise, don’t refer to our heroine’s mound or tunnel or the center of her womanhood.
3. Dispense With Cliches
Don’t say that he pounded her like a jackhammer, or that she lay back, spent. Tell me something I haven’t heard before. Make me think about something that wouldn’t occur to me otherwise.
4. Less Is More
Stay away from blow-by-blow descriptions of sex acts. The mechanics aren’t what’s intriguing. The emotional dynamics between people are intriguing.
‘All the Sex I’ve Ever Had’ will be presented along with attendee readings and featured presenter. Details and cover story on reality theater piece are in earlier posting.