So You’re Shy About Writing That Erotic Scene?

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By R.D. Wylder

That’s totally understandable. Just because you may be indulging in it yourself doesn’t mean that you’re comfortable writing about it. Most people aren’t, and it’s a problem that even long established writers sometimes have to contend with. It’s difficult to make public something that you believe should remain private, but there’s no reason to be afraid of writing erotic content. It is possible to stay within your own comfort zone and still create a memorable scene. If you’re looking for advice on creating pornographic material, then this article is not for you, as such work is often not burdened by the intricacies of an elaborate plot or a need for character development.

The first thing you need to take into consideration when writing erotic content is whether or not it’s actually necessary to your storyline. Many successful titles have practically no erotic content whatsoever, while others stop just shy of showing their characters in a sexual light. However, depending on the type of story you’re working on, your readers might expect at least one erotic scene and be quite disappointed should it not be there. A breezy romance can get away with being PG-13, but no one’s going to believe in a femme fatale who doesn’t seduce anyone.

At the same time, it’s important to not just throw something in there out of the blue. You may end up subjecting your readers to their own form of creative whiplash, and you won’t be marketing your ability to come up with a cohesive storyline very well either. Once you make the decision to include erotic content in your work, you have to commit to making it believable. That’s what will draw readers in and allow them to experience it along with your characters. You need to have a proper build up based on some degree of sexual tension and attraction.

Alright, so you’ve made it clear that your characters are attracted to each other and now it’s time for the main event. How far do you go? That’s up to how far you’re willing to potentially extend yourself out of your comfort zone, but it’s important not to leave anything half done. Your readers may end up feeling cheated if they’ve psyched themselves up that this is finally going to happen. You have a chance to make your characters real as a sexual encounter is perfect for bringing out vulnerabilities and emotions. Draw from your personal experiences. What do you think is tasteful? What would you like to read? You’ve created the characters. You’re in the best position to determine how they would do whatever they’re doing.

Be careful though. If you’re writing for an adult magazine then you can be as graphic as you’d like. If not, then try to avoid words and phrases that are likely to leave the majority of your readers feeling squeamish. As far as possible, use the appropriate names for body parts etc. as some alternatives can run the risk of being offensive. You may not think it but an extensive vocabulary is actually a plus when it comes to writing erotic content. It can be crucial in steering you away from the ‘over used cliches’ pitfall that plagues many a romance writer. For example, unless they’re planning on tossing a piano through the window, there shouldn’t be any talk of anything ‘heaving’.

Remember, once you’ve thrown a sexual light on your characters, you can’t undo it. In order to keep that sense of reality, your characters will have to deal with the consequences of their actions. So what are the key points of writing erotic content?

Decide if it’s necessary.

Make sure you have a proper build up.

Pay attention to the scenery, but don’t spend pages and pages describing it.

Don’t spend pages and pages on the scene either or your readers will be bored, not excited.

Keep your characters in character.

Write what you know (or else do a ton of research)

Tasteful is always better than down and dirty (unless that’s what you’re going for)

Stay away from cliches like ‘heaving bosoms’.

Tidy up any loose ends.

Have fun.

That’s right, have fun with it. You’re writing about something that should be pleasurable. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy it too. No one’s saying that you need to go beyond what you’re comfortable with, but there’s no reason to let your shyness hold you back either. Take a look at some of the works by your favourite authors and see how they went about creating their erotic content. That can be a great starting point for you to come up with your own scenes.

R.D.Wylder is a part time freelancer and amateur author. In her spare time, she writes poetry and short stories. She also runs her personal site dedicated to original lesbian fiction.

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