In order to write high-quality erotic fiction an author must first possess boundless imagination coupled with a great deal of sensual inventiveness. It’s certainly not an area of writing that appeals to everyone, but is one that can be very lucrative and creatively fulfilling for the right author. And while it may seem like a formless genre, unhindered by the structural rules that govern other types of writing, there are a few simple guidelines that will help any novice transform their stories into first-rate pieces of erotic art…
1. Short Story
Firstly, erotic fiction is dominated by the short story, and there’s a reason for this. The majority of your target audience are not going to read this genre the same way they would, say, a novel. It may be surprising but many readers will stay focused on a piece of erotica for only about 15 minutes or less, regardless of how long the story may be. For this reason it’s often wise for new writers to stay focused on the short story form, as it will not only help you to shape your craft but will also make you more marketable as an author.
2. Character based
“Short story,” however, may have a slightly different meaning when referring to erotica than many writers are used to. The genre offers an extremely wide range of acceptable temporal and character-based construction. In this way a normal erotic story could contain only one isolated act or take place over many hours, days, or even years. It could have one character or involve an entire town. While the possibilities are endless a story will often be more fluid and natural if the writer decides on these structural points (e.g. number of characters, timeline) before they start writing. Because erotica tends to be so character based it puts a lot of pressure on the author to have a strong structural foundation.
Speaking of structure…this is often the most overlooked part of the genre. Like in any piece of good writing, content is undoubtedly important but form is equally so. In erotic fiction choices like whether to write in first, second, or third person have an enormous effect on the overall feel of the story. Once again it’s important to decide upon major structural points before you start writing and to stick to them throughout the entire process. Then don’t forget to edit and to always hold your erotica to the same standards of syntax and grammar that you would any other type of writing.
Now for the fun part: content. The cardinal rule of fiction, “write what you know,” holds true for erotica as well. This, of course, doesn’t mean that you must have experienced every act or lived out every fantasy that your story contains. It merely suggests that you should write, first and foremost, about erotic areas that you’re comfortable with or have thought about in the past. Not only will your story’s content be much richer if it shares a personal connection with the author, but you, as the author, will also have so much more to draw on from your creative cache.
So, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and let your mind run wild.