- Art of the Sentence
- Bookseller Spotlight
- Broadside Thirty
- Carte du Jour
- Comics Sans
- Correspondent's Course
- Flash Fidelity
- Flash Fridays
- Free Verse
- From the Magazine
- From The Vault
- Lost & Found
- Tin House Books
Sign Up for News, Sales
Tweets by @Tin_House
News & Events
How to Write Erotic Fiction
When it comes down to it, there are really only two facts to be known about Seth Fried: 1) I am a writer and 2) I am essentially an erotic person. That is why, with the sudden popularity of erotic fiction, it only makes sense that I should be the one to help explain how a person should go about writing it. Granted, I have never actually written anything that could be considered erotica proper, and my general lack of interest has prevented me from doing any research on the genre except for what I have managed to read over people’s shoulders on the N train. However, using common sense and my own charming grasp of the sex impulse, I have managed to cobble together the following guide:
-If your story has a moment of catharsis that provides the reader with insight about the human condition, take that part out and replace it with one character hitting another character on the butt with a hairbrush.
-Instead of someone in your story having an epiphany, he or she should have a sex slave named Epiphany.
-Do not make use of double entendres. Since your work is intended to be overtly erotic, you should only concern yourself with single entendres. If you happen to come across a double entrendre in one of your drafts, a handy trick is to divide it down the middle and move the second half to any section of your manuscript in which entendres may be lacking.
-No matter what the plot or setting, your protagonist should always be wearing a leather mask with a zipper over the mouth. The only permissible alternative is if you prefer a mask with a button fly.
-Readers who seek out erotica tend to be motivated more out of curiosity and boredom than actual lust. So the goal is not to be explicit in your depictions of sex. Rather, you should endeavor to make the sexuality in your fiction mysterious and surprising. Since even the most peculiar sex acts have already been well-documented at this point, the best way to keep readers guessing is to introduce them to new body parts. The simple addition of a prehensile lobe protruding from the nape of your heroine’s neck or an extra sinus cavity concealed coquettishly in her armpit is all you need to provide your readers with a much needed thrill.
-Do your best to avoid clichés. A scene in which a character is blindfolded and then has hot wax dripped onto his or her bare torso may be erotic, but it is also overwhelmingly familiar. It would be far more interesting to see what happens when the person wearing the blindfold starts dripping wax onto the person who can see. The chances of hot wax accidentally being poured into a character’s nostril are increased in this second scenario, making it scary and exciting.
-Refrain from using words that evoke unpleasant sensory experiences like “mushy” or “cramp.” Instead, try to use more titillating words like “naked” or “grab.”
-If you are having trouble getting your story started, you can shake things up a little by writing in your underwear. If that fails, try giving your word processor a long, sensual back massage and some wine.
-Sex is serious, and so everyone you depict must take themselves very seriously. You should never allow the sexual escapades of your characters to be unduly complicated by one of those characters having a personality. If anyone in your story is even remotely interesting, you run the risk of distracting from the whole point of erotic literature in the first place, which is to portray stock characters having as much sex with one another as your vocabulary can support.
There you are! If you are prepared to follow these simple eroti-principles, then I am already blushing at the very idea of the devilishly sexy fiction you are about to write. And while I will in all likelihood never read it, I assure you that all those who do will be in awe of your ability to breathe new life into this age-old art of describing a bodily function at length.