Forums » General Writing Discussions

Erotica, and its place in writing.

    • 1 posts
    September 13, 2014 9:17 PM EDT
    In writing, there is most definitely three camps for certain types of writing. Those who enjoy reading and writing that genre, those who don't read or write that genre, and those who write OR read but don't do both. With certain series being put in the limelight, I figured it would open a good dialogue between authors for people wondering where to start, in regards to the romance/erotic style of writing.

    Sex done well should be something that adds to the story, something that feels like an inevitable conclusion. If you have two characters that have chemistry and pit them against each other time and time again, readers will be salivating to see the fireworks behind closed doors. If they don't get to see that, a lot of the times readers will end up disappointed, and their later recollection of the book isn't favorable.

    However, throwing sexual scenes in where they aren't needed, or where it feels forced can kill a book just as much, if not more. Readers want to care, they want to be invested in the relationship. Far too often I hear people complaining that they don't know why this author wrote a scene in the way they did, because it just wasn't needed or really messed things up for the characters.

    So. My thoughts. :)

    I love love love writing sexual scenes when there is chemistry and sparks are flying. I love reading well written scenes in my books, and in fact, my favorite series is one that blisters the pages with its erotic content. Sex is natural, thrilling, and beautiful and I simply love exploring it. But when I write or read, I always analyze it. Some thoughts that go through my head in either scenario-

    1- Is this something that has been built up enough to make it warranted?
    2- Has it been built up almost too much, so anything sexual would be a let down or disappoint people?
    3- How much is too much? Who am I writing for, what would push boundaries just enough to be titillating, but not perverse? Or, did this author keep things hot but not to the "ick" point?
    4- How will it change the characters? Their interactions? Their relationships?
    5- Of the changes, are they needed for character growth? Will it propel the characters and the plot forward or leave you stranded?
    6- Is it believable?

    The last one is honestly a huge sticking point for me. In sexual scenes, yes, it's a romanticized version of reality. But certain things just don't read well if they aren't treated as realistically as possible. (Different sexual positions, foreplay, different types of intercourse, etc.) Now obviously, bogging things down with too many details can make it read like a Sex Ed reference book, but I get really turned off when, for example, there is zero foreplay. I'm female, and I'm telling you, things aren't going to be enjoyable in that scenario and I will not end up glowing and happy. There should be a balance. Go through your head of an encounter of your own, what was important, what stood out. Use that, and just blur the lines slightly. Make it a fantasy version of reality, but don't go running to Narnia, pretty much. :)

    So, what about all of you? Do you read/write erotica? Read it but don't write it? Neither? What do you think about books where sexual scenes are included? Do you have your own checklist while reading or writing? Feel free to share it! Knowing what both authors and readers think or look for can help all of us, especially newer writers who are thinking about branching into the genre eventually.
    • 10 posts
    September 14, 2014 6:12 AM EDT
    I don't write it, yet. From the viewpoint of an extremely shy person, it's hard to explore it tbh but it's an area that I want to explore in my writing. I've read some, yeah but most of the horror novels don't go there so it's not something I come upon much in the sort of books I tend to read.

    This thread is helpful as my book The Key did have some sexual parts, that my daughter edited out during her editing session, but it really needs them back due to the nature of the scenes. Which brings to point, family. http://literarysocial.com/video/18/elmore-leonard-on-the-writer/ Elmore Leonard mentioned that he used to be embarrassed to write some scenes or bad words due to what his grandmother might think of him. He got beyond that and went on to be a well known and published author. My issue is the same. My daughter won't like the f-bombs or the sex scenes when she edits the book so I need to get beyond what she will think of me for writing them and just get the characters on paper.

    How do you, and everyone else, deal with "the family" factor? Or even "the friend or colleague" factors?
    • 1 posts
    September 15, 2014 3:37 PM EDT
    Well, to be fair, my family is more like The Osbournes in that nothing is truly taboo. It's... an odd house to live in :)

    However, my mom won't read any of my erotic writing. She says that while she knows what goes on in my life in general, she doesn't want to read the fantasized version of it. So she reads everything but the sexual scenes. My aunt was the one that volunteered to read and edit the first set of 26 short stories. And the first one of my family to give me actual, usable, honest feedback. I think it depends in a large part on the type of relationships you have. Family and friends are the normal "go to" for creative projects because they're honest and they know you well enough to be able to help with sticking points and things that just aren't you. Some don't have those types of relationships where things are open like that.

    If not family, I've found we always have that one friend who reads the same things we do, who knows us inside and out and is more than willing to prod at us when we're doing something wrong. Those friends are almost always ready and able to help, and since they know you well anyways, they don't bat an eye at whatever you've written. You'd be surprised, many will tell you why some things don't work and suggest ways to help make things flow better.

    It's embarrassing at first. But it does get easier :) Part of what writers need to remember is that we aren't our characters. It is fiction. And our friends and family members can separate that and view it as creative writing without thinking we want to experience or have experienced these things. One thing that I was told that has always stuck with me as much as it makes me sort of gag a little... "If your grandmother wasn't having sex too, you wouldn't be here." We have to realize that yes, every human on this earth has had sex, has thought about having sex, or isn't of age to read your book in the first place. It's not taboo, it's not perverse, it's a natural thing that everyone has done.

    I think the terrifying part is simply letting other people know you do think of these things. But.... we gotta realize, everyone already knows. :) And sites like this are great as well, because if we DON'T have a friend or a family member we can trust or feel comfortable enough with, sites like Literary Social can bring together potential readers and editors with people who need honest feedback.
  • September 21, 2014 3:26 AM EDT
    I read erotica and I'm slowly edging my way into writing erotica. Sometimes love scenes in some romance books I read can be a little too flowery for me, which is kind of ironic because, well... I'm a virgin actually and I'm blushing like a total fool for admitting that. So I don't generally tell family that I like to read erotica. My family views it as taboo anyway and if they knew some romances contained oral sex, they'd think I was nuts for even reading it because they think it's wrong. I also think they'd ask if I don't know what it's like, how can I write it? I sometimes wonder myself should I really be writing it when I've never experienced it. So I think that can sometimes hinder what I write and then the sex scenes might seem rushed or I'll have a hard time writing it because I'm always wondering if it even sounds realistic.

    The only ones I've ever trusted with my writing is people I've met in role play and the people I'm meeting here since we all have a common interest, which is writing. I have a friend who read the first two chapters of the story I want to write and she said it was good. Hopefully it was an honest answer and I figure if she thinks I'm good, then maybe I have a chance at finishing my book.
    • 10 posts
    September 21, 2014 6:29 AM EDT

    [blockquote]Adrienne Lewis said:


    I read erotica and I'm slowly edging my way into writing erotica. Sometimes love scenes in some romance books I read can be a little too flowery for me, which is kind of ironic because, well... I'm a virgin actually and I'm blushing like a total fool for admitting that. So I don't generally tell family that I like to read erotica. My family views it as taboo anyway and if they knew some romances contained oral sex, they'd think I was nuts for even reading it because they think it's wrong. I also think they'd ask if I don't know what it's like, how can I write it? I sometimes wonder myself should I really be writing it when I've never experienced it. So I think that can sometimes hinder what I write and then the sex scenes might seem rushed or I'll have a hard time writing it because I'm always wondering if it even sounds realistic.

    The only ones I've ever trusted with my writing is people I've met in role play and the people I'm meeting here since we all have a common interest, which is writing. I have a friend who read the first two chapters of the story I want to write and she said it was good. Hopefully it was an honest answer and I figure if she thinks I'm good, then maybe I have a chance at finishing my book.

    [/blockquote]



    Feel free to post it in the stories and ask for a critique in our forum section for that if you would like. :) Make sure to ask for honest critiques so people know you don't want the sugar coated version.
    • 1 posts
    September 21, 2014 1:34 PM EDT
    Adrienne, don't ever let that stop you! Even if someone has never experienced it, they've read about it. They've learned about it from others. They've seen it on TV. Heard it on songs. Being a virgin does not hinder you in any way, shape, or form. One of my friends writes sexual encounters well, even though she's never been with anyone. We know our bodies and what we like. That's your jumping off point! :)