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How to write an erotic story

10/21/2003

INTRODUCTION
<br>

Erotica of any sort is a very specialized art form, in fact,
craft
might be a better word for it. You are not creating art so
much as
supplying a need. It's like artwork made to order,
not meant for a museum
or the highbrows, but as something a person plans to hang
over their
couch. As with "couch art", this restricts
your creativity in several
respects.
<br>

Just as the primary purpose of a couch artwork is to be the
proper
size, configuration and subject matter, so your primary
purpose in the
writing of erotica is to give your readers fantasies sufficient
to permit
them to masturbate to orgasm. Do not flinch at that purpose,
dear student,
embrace it and aim for it. If your story doesn't cause
YOU to need to
masturbate, you're probably wasting your time. Throw
away the idea and
start over. More on this later.
<br>

THE BIG PICTURE
<br>

THEME--First rule of writing erotica is to ALWAYS give
your reader a
happy sex ending. Everyone in your story gets off, everyone
is smiling and
everyone wants to do it again as soon as they can, whatever
it was. So your
theme is always going to be pretty much the same-- sex makes
people happy,
they enjoy it, they benefit from it in all its forms.
<br>

PLOT--Plot, too, is pretty much fixed. Your hero (I dislike
the word
protagonist intensely, but let's not get into why)
is suffering from a lack
of sex or unfulfilled desire in some manner, as in he's
hot for a
particular stud, your hero finds sex/gets his man and is
happy. While we
can ring a hundred thousand variations on this, it is this
single theme and
single plot which we should stick to.
<br>

VOICE is also heavily limited in my opinion. You need to
stick to
either first-person ("I"), or to third person
solitary omniscient
("John/he"). A single viewpoint leaves no
doubt in the reader's mind who to
identify with, and they desperately need that. When the
hero reaches
climax, so will your reader. So leave no doubt about who
he should be
watching for!
<br>

CHARACTERIZATION--With the somewhat-possible-exception
of your hero,
you are also, obviously, limited to writing about handsome
men with high
sex drives and the morals of an alley cat. But more on this
later.
<br>

Feeling stifled already? Maybe, but let me emphasize that
in the rest
of your story, you DO have carte-blanche and can write whatever
you
wish. Look at my own works, they vary immensely in this regard,
from
science fiction to present-day mundane to historical
works, and the action
varies from and rough sex to tender love affairs. As
long as these are
kept subjugated to the prime purpose (that of getting your
reader to
successfully masturbate to your story), you are free to
range about.
<br>

THE CREATIVE PROCESS--GENERAL
<br>

Once we have accepted all these limitations, now it is time
to put the
creative process in gear.
<br>

First, you need a UNIVERSE. This is not a science-fiction
term, but
rather I am referring to the physical location of the sex
and the situation
surrounding it. For example--an Army barracks during
basic training. This
is the universe in which your character will operate. This
is also your
biggest opportunity for creativity. It was a hard, rainy
day and the guys
got so soaked that they got back to their barracks and just
all stripped
out of those muddy clothes and lay down on their bunks naked.
Too tired to
sleep, they look at one another and.... See what I mean?
<br>

Second you need the CHARACTERS with the HERO. You might
create the
hero first, but I strongly recommend against this for a
beginner. It is
easier to create a proper hero once you know what the universe
is going to
do to him. If you plan to have this Army barracks full of studs
gang-bang
one of their members (your hero most likely), then his character
is more
easily resolved than if you stuck your character fully
developed into the
barracks and then said, "Now what is he going to do?"
A truly
fully-developed hero may resist what you plan for him!
"Hey, you guys
aren't going to fuck my butt! Come on, put them up and
we'll fight!"
<br>

Third, you need to decide the ACTION. In the case of erotica,
we are
talking about sex, of course. Is our hero going to be the
aggressor or the
passive? Oddly enough, you're going to find it easier
to write about a
passive hero. This lets you get creative with the descriptions
of the men
who are his sex partner(s) and it may not be necessary to
physically
describe your hero at all, leaving him to your reader to
flesh out (with
themselves, of course).
<br>

I also recommend against using more than two sexual partners
for your
hero at any one time. If you are going to set up an orgy sequence,
concentrate on the one viewpoint and his partner(s) and
let the others go
with a brief description. Otherwise, you are left with
something like, "Sam
sucked on Stanley while Steve fucked Cedric's butt
and Fred played with
Will's balls. Meanwhile Ted and Alex climbed on the
trapeze and...." You
get the idea. Too many characters to comprehend. My rule
of thumb--the
penis has only one eye. Don't confuse the poor thing!
<br>

THE CREATIVE PROCESS--PARTICULARS
<br>

A good erotic story is visited time and again by the eager
reader, who
knows the action to take place, but is counting on it working
again for
him. There are several ways to put your story into this beloved
arena.
<br>

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION--You can't describe the bodies
of your hero's
sexual partners well enough (though describing the hero
himself isn't that
necessary and could be distracting if carried to extremes).
But for the
lovers, every metaphor and image you can lay your pen on
is needed. I
flinch at a description tossed off in three words, and "a
swimmer's build"
is the worst offender of the group even if you're writing
about swimmers!
My suggestion is: Don't just give your hero a handsome
lover, give him a
UNIQUELY HANDSOME lover if you can. Cast your eyes on the
crowds around
your daily life, and try to find some cute man and emblazon
his unique
physical description on your own mind's eye. Then
describe him (with names
changed to protect the innocent) in all the detail you can
bring out. Try
to give AT LEAST three full sentences of the physical description
of each
of the lovers of your hero. Even three paragraphs is NOT
overdoing it
(though I suggest doing the paragraphs in separate locations
if you do. A
little description, a little action, a little more description!)
<br>

SENSORY DETAIL--Another place where the novice consistently
fails is
to put the reader deeply enough into the action. Try to touch
upon ALL the
senses. When a big, hunky man has you in his grip and is about
to fuck your
ass, you don't just have the view of his face filling
your entire sight as
his eyes look into yours, there's also the pressure
and location of his
weight distributed on your body, the way in which his massive
thighs are
pushing your legs apart as he wriggles into position; there's
the sweat
that drips from his eager brow onto your lips, his breath
hissing and
stroking your left shoulder, the rank musk of his armpits
as he reaches
around you and the heat of his body as he moves against you,
and you feel
the hot meat pressing against your tender nether regions
to...uh, pardon
me, you get the idea.
<br>

VOCABULARY--You can't avoid it, you're going
to need a good. long list
of terms for each of the major sex organs and sexual activities.
You can't
get by with just "penis" and "cock",
you also need "prong", "schlong",
"pud", "dick", "manmeat",
"rod", "pole", "shaft"
and so on. You need
"sperm", "come", "jism",
"jizz", "load", "wad",
"ejaculate", "seed" and its
ilk. Your characters have to "fuck", "thrust",
"pump", "pound", "hump"
and
so on and so on. [A quick side-note: If you plan to write a
lot of stories
of any sort, you also need a good "Baby Names"
book to supply names for
your characters. You can get one at the check-out stand
of any
supermarket. Best ninety-nine cents I ever spent! As for
last names, it's
obvious, a big city's telephone directory!] But go
easy on the really
exotic terms for sexual acts and organs, they can become
distracting as
well. Build a vocabulary, sit down and write them down if
you have to and
keep an eye out for new ones you can use. Then try to use them
each in the
proper location. That's where you're actually
going to be using your old
English training. While the action is still tentative
or when it is
happening to someone other than your hero, you should use
the less
emotionally charged words. "Bill's cock pumped
into my ass while Sam stood
nearby, fondling his penis and as I watched, he shot his
sperm all over
Bill. Bill's eyes grew wide as he felt the hot seed splatter
against his
body and he groaned and I felt his jism spray into my tender
butt." See
what I mean? The closer to the hero, the more visceral the
terminology
should be. Which brings me to the really good stuff....
<br>

NARRATION, ILLUSTRATION, ART
(OR WHEN TO TELL, WHEN TO SHOW AND WHEN TO HIDE IT AWAY)
<br>

I usually summarize this by saying that a writer should
never tell me
when he can show me, and never show me when he can let me discover
it for
myself. This is not strictly true, you have to remember
your length and
dramatic requirements as well.
<br>

When should you use narration, when should you use an illustrative
scene or image, and when do you cover things with images
and metaphors to
the point the reader must discover for himself what is going
on? Here are
the rules to follow: [Note: I'm not claiming to stick
to this myself
without fail, mind you, but I have noticed that my stories
which do stick
to these rules are stronger, and weaker when they vary from
it.]
<br>

NARRATION--Use narration for two purposes only; first,
when presenting
facts. Example: "The house was white with a green
roof." This requires no
further explanation. Second, use narration to convey
secondary or
background information quickly for dramatic purposes.
Example: "The war
lasted for three years and the impact on the civilian population
was
horrible. Citizens had been reduced to catching and eating
the rats in the
street, yet Lord Lucid was hosting a banquet tonight in
open defiance of
the starvation in the streets before his mansion."
Like that. Keep the
length of narration to the bare minimum possible, but never
letting it fall
into objectivity. Keep the images bright and visceral.
<br>

ILLUSTRATION--Use illustration for action sequences
and to maximize a
story's impact on the reader by making them sense the
story in a very
physical way. I find this particularly useful in forcing
a reader to the
viewpoint I want to give him, sometimes by forcing "tunnel
vision" on my
reader by limiting the viewpoint sharply. Example: "Steve
turned to the
right just in time to see the second bruiser aim a fist at
him. Steve got
only a glimpse of the knuckles and first joints of the fingers,
with the
bulb of thumb riding alongside and just below the index
finger. Then the
fist impacted against his nose and Steve felt the sharp
agony of his nose
breaking, and the warmth of his blood spewing out of his
nostrils onto his
upper lip, saw the bright red beads flying through the air,
before his eyes
teared up and the world become a blur, a whirling blur as
he fell
backwards, only dimly feeling the heavy thud as he struck
the floor, one
ear catching a spitoon and being sliced open with a sharp
agony which
thankfully saved him from the oblivion that threatened
to cover him in
blackness. He rolled just in time to avoid the heavy boot
aimed at him and
made it to the haven beneath a big table, paused to heave
a quick breath."
<br>

Notice in the above how I touched upon the various senses,
not just
sight, and limited the view to that of Steve's own eyes
in a
moment-by-moment method. This forces the reader to join
Steve in his mind
and feel what he feels.
<br>

ART--Finally, we come to "Art". Not a good label,
but I can't think of
a better word to describe the way you write so that a reader
discovers
something not spelled out specifically in the writing.
This should be used
for emotions and emotional states. Never just say, "Steven
had fallen in
love with George". Let us discover the love through
his actions, and
through the images he sees and how he follows George. "Steve
watched as
George smiled, and saw George's hand move towards
him like a timid kitten,
to grasp his hand and embrace it. Steve felt a warm thrill
move up his arm
from that hand, from that touch, like an electric shock.
Dazed, he looked
into George's eyes, and his soul became lost in those
orbs of blue
fire. His mouth opened of its own accord and he heard himself
say, as if
from a distance, "So what'll it be tonight...your
place or mine?"
<br>

Notice that I never used the word "love" once,
nor even affiliated
words like "passion" or "desire."
But you got the message anyway!
<br>

For erotic fiction (no, I didn't forget!), narration
should be used to
fill in the background, how our hero got to his current situation,
and to
describe the surroundings and (with similes and metaphors
aplenty to give
it impact) the lovers. Illustration (with dialogue) should
be used for the
sections leading up to the sex, and for the sex. Art should
be placed
astutely to provide depth to the characters and situation,
in order to keep
this from being a mere fuckfest.
<br>

THE CREATIVE PROCESS--FINE-TUNING FOR MAJOR IMPACT
<br>

Now we'll discuss how to maximize the erotic impact
of your stories.
<br>

First, you should take into account the elements of the
attractive
lover. In this respect, you should never present anything
but desirable men
for your reader's viewing pleasure. While it is true
that the number of
cute hunks in this world are vastly outnumbered by the ordinary
men (and a
fair percentage of trolls!), none but gorgeous men should
meet your
reader's eye except in the briefest passing as tertiary
or non-sexual
characters.
<br>

You may decry this as unrealistic, and I have to agree, but
we are not
talking about real life, this is fantasy. Which brings
me to the other end
of the spectrum--how to know when to stretch the bounds
of fantasy and when
to stay well within the realm of the possible.
<br>

It is POSSIBLE (but unlikely) that all the men in that Army
barracks
are sexually desirable; however it is NOT POSSIBLE (bordering
on the
ridiculous) that all of these men, who have known each other
for a matter
of days or weeks, have turned their barracks into an orgy
room! For the
writer to claim that they have and are having all-night
orgies spoils the
fun of an otherwise really nice and believable scenario.
I mention this
because it is another common fault of the beginning writer;
overdoing his
scenario. Having chosen to tell an erotic story about men
in a barracks, he
then fills his story with freely consenting and uninhibited
men, and then
wonders why his story does not ring as true as one which only
has two men
finding each other in this situation and enjoying each
other. It is because
he overstretched the situation.
<br>

When CAN you stretch and when must you obey the rules of regular
life
in writing erotic fantasy? It is really quite simple.
<br>

A. You can, and must, stretch the points of physical appearance
and of
libido to the limits of credulity in order to make it an erotic
story.
<br>

B. You cannot, therefore, stretch the rest of the story!
<br>

Having accepted this additional stricture on our creative
processes,
let's get into the parts which you can stretch, and
how.
<br>

Physical appearances of your characters are perhaps the
most important
item in which to give free reign to the hard-to-believe.
The men in your
story must fit the typical social standard of a handsome
hunk.
<br>

But I LIKE chubby men! you may groan. I don't want to
write about
slim-waisted, muscle-bound doofuses with the IQ of a turnip!
Fine, if you
don't mind restricting your audience to those who
share your interest!
Write it, carefully labeling it as such, and hope you can
find a kindred
spirit when it comes time to sell or publish your story.
I'm writing about
how to appeal to the vast majority of men, who DO love these
big oafs.
<br>

So, you must give the reader a good-looking man. That isn't
so tough,
there are many different ways for a man to be attractive.
If you want to be
a bit original here, why not keep an eye out for a man who's
attractive in
an unexpected way and use his physical description freely
in your
story. I'm still looking for the perfect place to stick
a description of a
Latino guy I saw on the bus. He was incredibly handsome,
but his dark heavy
eyebrows and inset eyes gave him a scowling look. He would
have looked
angry but for those eyes themselves, big, wide, beautiful
eyes full of
gentleness, they saved him from an angry appearance. Haven't
used it yet,
but I will, I will.
<br>

It also goes without saying that all your men are going to
be
exceptionally well-endowed! A look through any series
of erotic stories
will convince you that the average man in an erotic story
must have trouble
dragging that thing around all the time. As a writer, consider
seven inches
in length to be your minimum and go up to about ten to twelve.
For those of
you in the rest of the world with your measuring system which
has the
un-American flaw of actually making SENSE, that's
18cm to 25-30cm in
length.
<br>

The other area of exaggeration in your stories should be
in your
characters' sexual prowess and power of recovery.
They also should never
suffer the least difficulties with such horrible problems
as premature
ejaculation, impotence or difficulty achieving orgasm.
God forbid!
<br>

As I said, these two areas are enough of a stretch for the
imagination--that your hero would even encounter such
a man or men with
such talents, so why force them to greater lengths? Not
that humor doesn't
have its place in erotica! Well written, your readers laugh
with you, not
at you. "Roustabout Way" contains a good example
of how to handle the
ludicrous aspects of the erotic story. [You can find "The
Roustabout Way"
in Nifty's Archives, under Gay Male in the Adult/Youth
section.]
<br>

You may incorporate an erotic story into the well-known
genres such as
Westerns, spy stories, science fiction, fantasy, and
even horror. Just
remember to obey the rules of those genres in addition to
the ones I have
outlined here. Keep the history of your Westerns correct,
and obey the laws
of physics in your sci-fi.
<br>

THE SECRETS OF GREAT EROTICA REVEALED
<br>

SECRET #1--WHERE TO GET IDEAS
<br>

With all the restrictions I have placed on your imagination
in these
paragraphs, you may rightfully wail that where in the hell
I expect you to
GET ideas for acceptable stories. Well, most writers tell
you that you can
get ideas anywhere and then leave you hanging, but not me!
No, I'm going to
tell you exactly how to keep brim-full of erotic story ideas.
It's simply a
matter of learning to think like a sexual predator. You
see a cute guy some
place, stop mentally and figure out how to get him. And if
you can't, then
who could?
<br>

Let's take an example I encountered just today (9/10/9--two
sexy
young men were skateboarding near where I work. What would
have to happen
for me to get one or both of these studs in my bed? No chance
in hell!
Well, if I can't have them, then who could?
<br>

Each other, that's an easy one. But I was thinking more
of a three-way
in this case. Who could come along and obtain their willing
or
not-so-willing bodies? This required me to think about
them and extrapolate
their lives--mentally following them like a sexual predator.
Who's most
likely to land these rad dudes and have his way with, or be
had by, their
lithe young bodies? (pant, pant, pant!) No, I've never
actually followed
such a guy, but at times, like on the bus, I WILL strike up
a conversation
with them to get a feel for their personality, or I'll
listen carefully to
their conversation, eavesdropping for color's sake.
<br>

Let's see--they could run afoul of the law or an irate
landowner, the
way they scrape the concrete bare of its paint. Or they could
encounter a
tourist or someone who could flatter them in their art.
How about a third
guy, just learning how to use a skateboard? The answer to
this story (and
I'll write it soon) came to me on the bus-ride home the
same day, an
in-line skater in another location doing all the skateboard-type
tricks. They could have a contest of sorts, or a challenge.
<br>

We now have our universe, the two guys on their skateboards
and our
as-yet-uncreated personality of our hero. What sort of
guy does he need to
be?
<br>

Well, I said he would need to be the passive. So if he's
going to
challenge a skateboarder to a contest of skill, he's
got to be the loser,
doesn't he? Hmmm.... Good so far, but it needs something
more. Which brings
me to...
<br>

SECRET #2--HOW TO MAKE THE GOOD IDEA GREAT
<br>

Now we come to my second great secret--give the reader a
little
something extra. That's pretty hard to define, but
I'll try. Take as an
example, my story "Freefall." [This story
is in Nifty under Gay Male in the
"Science Fiction or Fantasy" section.] The
universe is of a space shuttle
trip in the near future. I have my two hunky astronauts get
it on in free
fall. Good sex story idea. But the capper is that I make one
of them an
Englishman with all the English-isms I could dredge up
from reading and
from watching PBS series. That's the extra, though
doing it in free-fall is
a pretty good extra all by itself!
<br>

Usually, giving the something extra involves research.
Either base the
extra on something you know, or get the Worldwide Web to
work for you. In
doing my "Last Defenders" series' first
chapter, I had to spend six hours
just browsing for information on such widely diverse (deliberately
diverse)
topics as Middle Ages Europe, Imperial China and the last
days of the Roman
Empire, as well as my own knowledge of the magical principle
of "mana",
which I have revamped into my own unique creation for this
story. [Sorry, I
have not archived this series at Nifty. You can find it on
my own webpage
through Nifty's "Links" section listing
for "Tommyhawk's Fantasy World."]
But the story MUST have this extra, and it's hard for
me to define, I
repeat. Take heart in that you only need to avoid egregious
flaws, not be
an expert on all subjects.
<br>

You may say that since this is just an erotic story, you shouldn't
do
all that work. First, it's good practice for your more
serious
efforts. Second, I disagree, in that when I spot such a flaw
in my own
reading, it distracts and annoys me. Third, a person tends
to read stories
aimed at their own particular lives. For example, I work
for an attorney,
so I tend to reach quicker for stories with/about attorneys.
And when I
find the writer doesn't know diddley on the subject,
it bothers me. For the
same reason, I have problems with the sci-fi story with
poor science in it.
<br>

But to get back to the "extras" I was talking
about. Take "The
Roustabout Way", one of my recent writings. The universe
was my seeing a
back-lot carnival being set up, with the living- quarters
tents. Good
situation. From there I had to think of a hero (a young man
visiting his
father who works for one) and the sex (with the carnival
owner and resident
hunk). But that wasn't enough, it also needed the extra.
The extra in
"Roustabout Way" is that the young man is fucked
by the owner in full sight
of his uncomprehending father. That was enough to give
me the evil giggles,
which I think is the hallmark of "I got all I need to
do this story now."
<br>

I'm not ready to write the skateboarders-skater story
yet. I still
need that extra. When I find it, I'll write it. Until
then, it goes into my
"idea" page. I keep a page on my word processor
called "Ideas" and it is
just a list of concepts like this one which hasn't yet
come to fruition. In
addition, when I have an approach but not quite all the scene,
I'll do the
first few paragraphs, up to a page or so, of the story. Setting
up without
initiating the action. Sometimes that will give me the
extra all by itself
for the writer's mind does become trained to give you
those wonderful
things all by itself, from completely out of the blue. Patience,
Grasshopper, it will come to you too.
<br>

SECRET #3--HOW TO SET UP THE SEX SCENARIO
<br>

This one is pretty obvious, but I run into so many bad stories
in my
own browsing that I wonder just how many people know it.
You have to give
your reader a good universe in which to base his fantasy.
<br>

I am personally TOTALLY bored with the bath-house, locker-room,
public-toilet or public-shower stories. They're
obvious, overdone, and
usually not done well at all. I concede it's a good place
to get guys naked
and somewhat more vulnerable and willing in their actions
(a naked guy is a
vulnerable guy by definition) but all by itself, it doesn't
make a good
story. You HAVE to give it more. I saw one good idea badly
done in a porno
video, the guy who lost the baseball game for his team encountering
an
irate teammate. Haven't done a story on it yet, but
it has the potential
you need for that situation. But find the extra BEFORE you
write it!
<br>

To get a sexual situation started, you need to find (a) a
ready source
of hunky men and preferably (b) a place in which men are more
open and
accepting in their attitudes. This doesn't require
that they be
naked. Usually finding one will give you the other.
<br>

Men are typically isolated from women (which makes us more
emotionally
open and receptive to such things, for the record, ladies!)
in the
following situations: (a) the armed services, (b) work
environments,
especially physically arduous work environments such
as logging or oil
fields, and (c) sports events, including such things as
fishing trips and
individual sports like tennis. All three of these three
main categories
bear a hundred variations for the erotic writer to exploit.
<br>

A way to identify the lesser-known of these three environments
is to
look for the male-only uniforms involved. By this I don't
just mean the
military or sports uniforms (though they are wonderful,
aren't they?
Drool!), I mean the unique dress men use in the situations
such as
construction or office work, sporting events, and the
ilk.
<br>

There are more situations than fall in those three categories,
there
are also a hundred individual situations where the man
becomes isolated
from women (emotionally or physically) and therefore
more vulnerable and/or
willing to engage in gay sex. It's kind of hard for me
to come up with more
specific examples, because if I do, I usually have already
done a story on
it! They can range from kidnaping or other forced sex, to
unusual
situations where your hero sort of says, "What the
heck!" and goes for
it. About to die in the morning? Why not suck cock the night
before? That
sort of thing.
<br>

SECRET #4--HOW TO GET THE CHARACTERS HUMPING
<br>

This one also isn't so much a secret as a case of advising
you how to
avoid bad writing. You have your universe and your characters.
You have to
get the characters from the initial set- up to the point
of sexual
contact. Many a bad writer engages in what I call the "whoop
of joy"
situation. He writes a good set-up, sometimes a wonderful
set-up, then he
has the characters engage in inanities for what may be pages.
Then,
apparently he's tired of writing and gives up, and
one of his character
sort of grabs the other and they get started in a whoop of
joy. I'm
thinking of a particular story of two men trapped in an elevator
(great
situation of that fourth kind I mentioned) for an entire
night. They COULD
have engaged in increasingly intimate behavior and worked
up to the sex;
instead, the writer had one grab the other's crotch
and say, "I want to
suck it!" to which the other responds, "All
right!" (see what I mean about
the whoop?)
<br>

I want to take these writers and yell at them, "Aw,
come on! You can
do better than that! Can't you?" This takes,
I admit, a willingness to pour
forth your inner self into your story. You have to be willing
to be
emotionally vulnerable to evoke these emotions in your
characters, at least
second-hand emotionally vulnerable.
<br>

Take your characters through the process step-by-step.
It adds
paragraphs to your story, maybe even pages. Let it! As long
as your story
moves along reasonably well, the reader will accept this,
even love it and
use it for the preparatory period while he strokes his pud.
Take
"Roustabout Way" again as an example. I had
the hero first shake hands with
his to-be-lover Rutherford, and forget to let go. That's
a good start. Then
I had him watching as Rutherford stripped to take a shower.
Then I had
Rutherford touching him first for a massage (but also notice
that I made it
quickly clear that Rutherford had ulterior motives in
volunteering to do
the massage, and that I set up the need for the massage ahead
of time--no
quick out-of-the-blue on this point). All of this, about
three pages or
more, took place before Rutherford finally stuffed our
hero's butt while
Dad looked on from a distance and waved happily. Good stuff;
I wish I could
do that more often! Which brings me to my next secret.
<br>

SECRET #5--WHAT TO DO WITH THE IDEA GOING WRONG
<br>

Sometimes, a story just won't come off the way you planned
it. It's a
curse you will face in your writing in any genre. A story
meant to be
humorous comes off as stupid, a story meant to be adventurous
comes off as
ludicrous. But when a story which is meant to erotic fails,
it fails to be
erotic! You either get a stiffie from the reading or you
don't, there's no
middle ground.
<br>

The solution is no fun at all; you have to learn to have distance
from
your writing efforts, even when writing erotica. As Larry
Niven said in one
of his books when talking about writing. "First you
have to learn how to
throw out the bad stuff. Then you have to learn how to throw
out the good
stuff." Very cogent advice, take it and memorize
it.
<br>

If an idea detracts from your primary story purpose (which
in erotica
you must remember, is to make your reader shoot his wad,
hopefully not all
over the computer screen) then it has to go! Sometimes that
means the
entire story has to be shelved. Hold it and try for that "extra"
I
mentioned, which is probably all it needs.
<br>

But don't shove it in the trash or press the "Delete"
key! You'd be
surprised what a clean break away from a story idea can let
you do to it
later. I sold at 30 an article idea I had when I was 16. Vastly
changed,
incredibly improved, the final result bore little resemblance
to its birth
and people remember that article years after having read
it.
<br>

I recommend a "Treasure" file folder on your
word processor for the
scenes and stories you have to cut like that. For the record,
my own
Treasure folder currently contains (pause while I look)
twenty-seven
stories or pieces of stories which I have had to cut or put
on the spike. I
will salvage all or part of them one day, I hope. Until then,
they stay
there, safe and sound against the day when I can finally
breathe life into
them or gut them to feed their healthier brothers!
<br>

SECRET #6--HOOKING YOUR READER ON THE STORY
<br>

You need to start your action in an erotic story as quickly
as you can
without making it a pure-sex scene. So you are forced into
narration by
this, but avoid beginning your story with too much narration.
Try to use
instead an exemplar scene which will let you feed your reader
the
background without too much lecturing. "Roustabout
Way" does this, but
perhaps not enough. I could have put in a longer conversation
of the hero
with his mother to good effect, but that would have also
added a good deal
of length to a story which was already getting a slow start.
I wrote it,
and then cut it out and put in straight narration. It's
a judgment call and
needs a sense of balance.
<br>

This is a particularly hard problem in a genre story like
sci-fi,
because you're combining the needs of two genres.
Take sci-fi. You can't
just introduce and explain your characters, you have to
introduce/explain
your entire universe, while also getting the sex moving.
This can be
tricky, and always requires extra space in your story.
<br>

For adept handling of this problem, I can't think of
a better story to
study than Larry Niven's collection of short stories
about "Gil the Arm"
Hamilton. You can find all of them in a book called "Flatlander."
In these
stories, Larry Niven is writing combination sci-fi and
detective fiction,
so he is combating the double-problem you will face with
your sci-
fi/erotic story. He doesn't start with a lecture,
he picks a scene and then
goes back here and there with an "oh, by the way"
paragraph or two. That's
the very thing you need to be doing. I have one attempt at
a
sci-fi/detective/erotic story in my treasure box and
it has real
potential. I hope to do that story one day, but it would require
more
patience than the average reader probably has.
<br>

SECRET #7--BEWARE, IT'S MY FAVORITE SEXUAL POSITION
<br>

Another place where a writer has to be careful is, oddly
enough, when
writing about his/her favorite sexual activity. In doing
so, the writer's
own libido interferes. You have to remember that the reader
can't see
what's going on in your own mind; you have to transcribe
enough of it onto
the page to let him share it with you. I have no good answer
for this
because I suffer the same problem. Get ready to blush, because
I'm about to
get very personal in an effort to help you out.
<br>

My favorite sexual activity with another man is mutual
masturbation. To be specific, giving each other hand-jobs.
I like it for
the simple and adequate reason that it is safe, non- intrusive,
it lets you
avoid the entire dominance/submission question, making
sex something done
between two good friends, and also permits you to engage
in such wonderful
things as kissing and talking and stroking the other person's
body with
your free hand. Yet I find when I try to write this sort of
scene myself, I
tend to short-change the description heavily. I think
I have communicated
it well enough, yet on looking back on old stories with that
sort of sex, I
find that I usually have put in only a couple of sentences.
Heavens! I
confess that I do better on my anal stories, my least favorite,
than I do
with my mutual masturbation scenes!
<br>

The converse of this is the writer who goes overboard communicating
his fetish. Fine, if it has been pre-labeled as the fetish
and I am
expecting it. I got a real kick out of a spanking story where
Father
Cleaver spanks Wally and the Beaver. No other sex involved,
other than the
boys watching secretly each other getting spanked and
masturbating. But I
read that story expecting it. It's a problem when the
reader does not know
that you really LOVE (for example) feet and is then hit with
pages of
descriptions of the foot in loving detail. So unless you're
writing for the
specific audience, you have to steel yourself to cut your
favorite scenes
down to something manageable. Or in the first situation,
you need the
presence of mind to say, "Hey, I didn't cover
this well enough, I have to
add more detail." This takes practice, and editorial
perspective that
another writer may provide you (though I have been very
disappointed in my
own attempts to find "beta readers"). This
forced me to my final secret.
<br>

SECRET #8--GAINING THE PERSPECTIVE FOR PROPER EDITING
<br>

Time and practice will cut down this particular bit of self-discipline
you need. I find that I can do a pretty fair job with a single,
immediate
re-reading of my stories, but I also have been writing and
selling for
nearly twenty-five years now. My method for the first sales,
which I
commend to you, the novice, is as follows:
<br>

1. Write your story down in rough draft, doing as well as
you can but
making it all in a single sweep.
<br>

2. Then set the story aside for at least a week while you work
on
something else entirely. Try to avoid even thinking about
the story.
<br>

3. Then go back to the story, but read it the second time with
an
editor's eye, like someone else wrote this tripe (yes,
you need that much
of a detached viewpoint, aim for it!) and you were called
in to salvage it.
<br>

This has worked for me consistently over the years; I sold
my first
story at age eighteen and can sell again whenever I wish
(but I'm having
too much fun with the Worldwide Web, being my own boss).
So try it.
<br>

CONCLUSION
<br>

There may be more I should mention, and feedback on this
point is
welcome. Feel free to e-mail me and tell me if I left something
out. I
don't exactly have an editor to do that for me, but I
DID give this story
the treatment of Secret #8, so I hope I've covered it
all.

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