By ALISON DOBELLE
So, you think you can write an erotic fiction book…? Well, you probably can!
If you’re reading this, you might already have a kernel of an idea. Maybe even two main characters (whichever combination of genders float your boat) and a bit of a clue as to where your story is headed and what could happen to those characters of yours along the way.
Now comes the hard bit. How to turn that basic idea into a novel of at least 55,000 words. How do you get from writing The Start, to those much more difficult words – The End? There’s no denying it’s a tough road and that, at times, even folding the laundry will look like a preferable task to sitting down and writing. However, hopefully the following ten tips will help you along your way:
1. Let’s start by working up your basic pitch. One of the simplest ways to do this is to ask yourself the following questions about your story: who, what, when, where and why. Can you answer all of these questions about your story? If not, you may need a little more time developing your idea before moving on to step 2.
2. Ask yourself the following question: ‘What’s my story about?’. But, wait. Before you answer, what’s it really about? On the surface, your story might be about a female lifesaver’s sexual conquests at a new lifesaving club. But, underneath her sensual romp, your story’s really about female equality and your character’s struggle to work out her true place in a predominantly male environment.
3. Consider the conflict at the heart of your story. What is keeping your main characters apart, or at odds with each other? What will they learn about each other, and themselves, by the end of your story?
4. Now that you have a firmer grasp on your characters and your story, it’s time to outline a basic structure. There are many arguments in the writing community about outlining versus not outlining, but the fact is it’s best to at least learn the outlining method before you write it off.
Begin by cutting some pieces of A4 paper into quarters. On each quarter, write down a scene you know will slot into your story at some point (for example, your heroine first arrives at the surf lifesaving club, she has her first sexual encounter at the club etc.).
Hopefully, you’ll come up with quite a few scenes, which you can then organise into Beginning, Middle and End sections. When you’ve done this, it should be quite clear where you have large gaps to fill in with further scenes before you begin writing. You can also move your scenes around to see if they fit better in other sections.
5. Before you get cracking, consider the sex thing. One thing that characterises erotica is the, well, erotic stuff. And writing sex scenes is an art in itself. The first thing to do is to stop thinking about ‘members’ and ‘waves crashing on the beach’ or rising up or doing whatever it is that waves do. When you start writing, begin by using the words ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ at first. You can always go back and change them for less straightforward versions if you need to later on – but there’s a definite trend in erotica (from steamy romance upwards) to have less of the ‘purple-headed warrior’ and more of the ‘penis’ as far as language goes.