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  1. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    writing erotica

    Discussion in 'Erotica' started by erebh, Sep 26, 2013.

    This stems from a recent post regarding someone who wrote 3 erotic books in 3 weeks and is apparently paying at least his/her utility bills through self-ePublishing.

    I looked up some publishers of such work and they don't take books of more than 100 pages and according to their sites it seems they'll take anything that contains graphic sex scenes so long as there is no violence, torture or rape included. They also prefer series with a 3 book minimum. Coincidentally one of them has an office not 20 minutes from me!

    I think I'd be quite good at this and would like to give it a go though I'm sure I wouldn't be churning out a book a week and I'd rather write an actual story with sensuality rather than a bad 70s porno about a lucky pizza delivery guy who stumbles upon apartment after apartment of horny, bored housewives throwing themselves at him. My problem is I've never read the genre so...

    My questions are:
    What is the formula for good erotica?
    For the bigger audience, I suspect women, who would make a good MC? M/F?
    What occupation would I get the best mileage from? Forbidden fruit such as a nun? Someone in power with the use of handcuffs and a barred cell such as a cop? A diary type series from a hooker? Maybe something fantastic like a bi-sexual vampire? Or a hypnotist? Something else perhaps?
    Are readers of erotica worried about clichéd characters? Are they just in it for a good old-fashioned fantasy? Or do they want something like a good story with a few graphic sex scenes sprinkled in rather than that 70's pizza guy who's sole story is a 12inch pepperoni?
    In a 100 page piece how many sex scenes should there be.
    Should sex always be bubbling with near misses, ie: should the reader always be excited?
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    See, this is why we need a sub-forum for this. Folks are looking at this thread like: :eek:

    But, let us be adults about, shall we?

    I have a lot to say on the subject, but you know what I write is B+B, not B+G, and it also tends to be B+B from another planet. ;) There are uncounted sub-genres with erotica. It's pretty much all the genres and sub-genres you know, but there's sex. Somewhere, right now, there's someone banging out (no pun intended) an alternate universe, steampunk, G+G+Vampire erotic mystery novel.

    There has to be a good story. It's not that unadulterated porn doesn't sell - it does - but we're talking about erotica here. The sex can be hardcore as all get out, it can be soft and loving, it can be many different things, but there has to be a real story with real characters who are actually fleshed out and do what they do for all the real reasons that would happen in any novel. You cannot get to the bow-chica-wow-wow via the lame stupidity of porno flicks. "I don't have enough money to pay you, pizza boy, but I do have these." *boobs erupt onto the scene* No. And you have to describe the sex well in terms that appeal to your intended audience. It has to be real and honest, you have to "deliver the goods" so speak without getting rude (unless you write fetish) and also without being so delicate the you turn it into a lame metaphor.


    There's a million other things I have to say, but I'll save them until the thread naturally meanders to boy love. ;)
     
  3. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    What demographic is the biggest peruser of erotica? Afforementioned bored housewives? Dirty old men in dodgy motel rooms who think they're above porno flix? Honest healthy people who want to introduce some of their readings into their own 'relations'?

    Let's not be untrue here, this for me is an experiment into a few quick and easy bucks and before anyone says there's no get-rich-quick, it's just an experiment and I'm not Chateau hunting in Monaco just yet.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Haha. That's the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread (that just goes to show you how unimaginative I am).

    I think the problem some people have with erotica is that they see it as a cheap thrill. To add to that, when you have writers churning out 3 books in 3 weeks, it makes you wonder how much time they spent on editing. Granted, this problem isn't only restricted to this genre, but a lot of the erotica writers on Amazon are publishing a book every few weeks or so, which seems to be the norm among popular erotica writers. For the folks who write erotica, what's your take on this?
     
  5. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    mmmm, people making money on por--I mean erotica :)
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think the demographic is all over the place. I know tons of gals who go weak in the knees for gay erotica. Thought it was just dudes who dig girl on girl action and the reverse wasn't true? Wrong. In the world of manga there are even two separate genres of gay stories. One written for girls called yaoi and one written for boys called bara. Unfortunately, the term yaoi gets used in the U.S. as a blanket term for everything, thus causing confusion. The point to that is that you'd be surprised as to who wants to read what. I honestly don't know much outside the world of gay erotica. I will have to defer to others there. :oops:
     
  7. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is a cheap thrill the problem or the whole point of erotica? Isn't that what readers want, a stir in their groins? I would suggest a lot of people dismiss it because they think they're above it, literary snobbery.

    @Wreybies keep pushing from your side. You're our inside man for our own section!
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Even amongst those who write it there are a lot of arbitrary lines as to what is erotica and what is just plain porn. If the story is great and the writing superb but the sex is wickedly graphic, many will say that's not erotica anymore. Most writers of erotica don't want to be seen as writers of porn, thus there can be prickly attitudes. Frankly, I think well written porn has a place in the world and it does turn a buck.
     
  9. Rafiki
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    Rafiki Active Member

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    My old roommate is the demographic responsible for the majority of erotica consumption.

    In all seriousness though, a lot of people read erotica. Hell, I'll even admit to reading it on occasion. It allows me to scratch itches that would otherwise be impractical or flat out impossible. With erotica you can cut out the botox stretch marks, the (frequent) dude butt shots, or the actresses' bored face and fake moans. All those things that act as a killer and cause you to flip from one video to another are cut out and replaced with your perfect fantasy.

    Is there terrible erotica? Of course. High school level writing abounds, and it can be a chore shifting through the crap to find something good. There are few things worse than a wank spent correcting someone's writing. I've got a couple authors I follow, people with strong writing skills who share my fetishes. Sometimes I'll get bored, though, and then I'll go perusing for someone new. If I find someone good they'll get added to the reading list and I'll usually work through their backlog.

    I've never paid for it, though. I prefer erotica as an informal exchange, a silent nod in the empathetic void that is the internet.
     
  10. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I'll hop in for a female opinion, lol. The current trends for romance/erotica (according to the stuff popping up on my FB feed) would be rock stars, construction workers, online romances, office romances, etc. If you can think of it, it will work for someone. I've seen the cheap thrill, and I've seen the real stories that just have a lot of grit. Again, nearly everything works for someone (except for those people who can not spell their way out of a bag and use a lot of needless vulgarity for shock factor. Those don't do well, lol). Vampires (dear lord why are they still in?), shape-shifters, aliens (creeps me out but hey, whatever), werewolves, single dads, best friends husband, best friends father (sorry but gag), I mean seriously - anything. It'll hit the right chord for someone.

    Whether you call it porn, erotica, whatever, I think that women make up the largest part of the demographic, but you might be surprised at how many straight men will lap it up. Especially if it's written in 1st present from a female pov. I've written it, I've read it, it's not a big deal. Don't think of it as a cliche, instead think of a night with your woman, the best you can imagine, and write it down. Then fill in. The thing is, the more honest it is the better it usually sells. People ARE looking for a fantasy, but for a lot of them the fantasy is just something different. It doesn't have to be an alien or an angel or a ghost. If you're writing for a woman, make the connection in lust or love - if you're writing for a man, make it as visual as you can - if you combine both techniques you'll get (and hold) a lot of both ;) Hope that helps :)
     
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  11. Rafiki
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    Rafiki Active Member

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    Was with a girl who had a thing for vampires, it mostly involved a bunch of biting. I don't really get the draw.
     
  12. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I've read some, written none. I classify the difference between porn and erotica as this: If it reads like something from Penthouse Letters, it's porn. If it reads like an actual story, with characters, location, thoughts and feelings beyond the mere physical exchange of bodily fluids, it's erotica.
     
  13. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Someone once told me it's a psychological thing where women wish to be bled dry by their lovers, that it meant that the woman had been SO irresistible he couldn't get enough. So - they would take the death as the ultimate compliment. I can't argue the logic, considering the way so many women respond to the thought, so I'm pretty sure he's on to something. But I still don't really get it, lol.
     
  14. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Some of those Penthouse Letters had a story! You even had to wait a whole paragraph before they got into it sometimes, lol. I'm being sarcastic of course, but there are a lot out there that aren't quite so easily defined. And really, I've found you can define them all day, but people have their preferences and those preferences usually dictate how the work is viewed.

    @erebh One more thing - if you're writing for women, try really hard not to fall into the trap of body description. If you say the woman is supermodel thin, a lot of women will be turned off. If you say she's heavy - a lot of women will be turned off. The goal is to talk about her the way you see her in your head, use words like supple, full, smooth, soft, etc. instead of things like skinny, tiny, big, small, etc. The more you can make it grab-a-fire-extinguisher-then-dunk-me-in-a-pool hot, while still allowing anyone to insert themselves into it, the better off you'll be :)

    Hope that makes sense and helps.
     
  15. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think this is an excellent point, but I think it applies even more universally. No doubt, men are more visually cued, but the same pitfall happens a lot in gayrotica (yes, that's what I'm calling it herein after). Over idealized guys with thinly written reasons for being an account clerk with a body like a Greek god. It leaves little in the way of connection with the story. I've made that mistake myself.
     
  16. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to say it is hard determining a successful formula from all of the above replies. Things to avoid sure but what to aim at?

    I think we've established for heterotica (@Wreybies yes, that's what I'm calling it herein after ;)) that women are the main buyers of such. Should I try writing from the POV of a woman? Am I being too ambitious?

    @Trish so avoid his/her looks and concentrate on his/her beauty, curves, eyes, (dirty) smile? So much so as to describe someone as not-so-much supermodel thin neither bbw but smouldering in nothing but a long coat standing at the bar taking long sensuous drags from a cigarettes?
     
  17. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    And that's a good point too, lol. I think you have to learn to be visual, while still leaving a lot open to the readers own discretion. It's a line that's hard to follow at first, I know that well.
     
  18. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is a point that has been made about the infamous FSOG -- we don't really know that much about the female MC, and what we know of her, she's complaining about bad hair, etc. Folks claim that allows the mostly female readers to insert themselves into that POV. The male MC is described in much more detail (and is a much more compelling character).
     
  19. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    So make her real? Not happy with her body shape even if the rest of the world thinks she looks amazing? Or should she be positive and confident in her skin regardless? Do women want to read about other women just like tem or do they want to be off in a fantasy, seeing themselves as that supermodel who can pick and choose from the gallery of would-be suitors?

    I read somewhere the reason that a lot male porn stars are fat, ugly, not exactly well-endowed etc is so the guy watching at home thinks "Wow, I look just like him, maybe I have a chance at that drop dead gorgeous bi-girl too!"
     
  20. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    @erebh (won't let me quote, dammit.)

    Keep losing my post! Damned errors! lol

    No, you're not being too ambitious if you think you can handle it. You could write from the male, but put a lot of focus on the female. What she makes the male feel, think, etc.

    LMAO! Yeah, at least til the coat. Let the coat (if there really must be one) hug the curves instead of describing the curves in detail. Instead of saying she's a 36DD, talk about how they feel in his hands (though it's up to you if they're still standing at the bar or not, lol). Describe the way her thighs feel wrapped around him, instead of how well his hands may or may not fit around them. Describe her smile, sure, but when you describe her lips - go for softness and warmth and taste vs. bow-shaped, full, thin, etc. Know what I mean? Instead of saying she's blond (or whatever), mention how her hair flows over her shoulders and the way it smells when he pulls her close.....

    EDIT: wrong word, lol
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
  21. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Margaret Cho says that the guys in str8 porn are unpretty so as to avoid the "homo-moment" of realizing that the object of desire has unintentionally shifted. ;)
     
  22. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    You can make her insecure if you want, though that probably won't appeal to as many men. I wouldn't make her too bitchy - that, personally, makes me want to slap her, lol, and then I'm done. Though there are always the lion tamers of the world that would be all over that. I'm trying to help you appeal to the masses, because I think that's what you were asking for (if it's not I'll change course, lol). Make her want him, she can be that chick that can't control herself because of the way his eyes twinkle when he smiles, the sound of his voice, the way he smiles. Whatever. She doesn't need to BE everywoman, she just needs to be the woman that everywoman is hiding inside (whether they admit it or not, lol).
     
  23. Roxie
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    Roxie Active Member

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    Without reading the previous posts I'll just go through your questions one at a time:

    1. What is the formula for good erotica? --- there is no formula it's all about the story

    2. For the bigger audience, I suspect women, who would make a good MC? M/F? --- too many sub-genre to put all your eggs in that one basket, need to explore each vein and find where your voice is the strongest.

    3. What occupation would I get the best mileage from? Forbidden fruit such as a nun? Someone in power with the use of handcuffs and a barred cell such as a cop? A diary type series from a hooker? Maybe something fantastic like a bi-sexual vampire? Or a hypnotist? Something else perhaps? All of the above all rolled into one and more - everything goes as long as you have the story to go with it and the voice to pull it off. In the end it still got to be beleivable.

    4. Are readers of erotica worried about clichéd characters? YES. Are they just in it for a good old-fashioned fantasy? Sometimes - again anything goes as long as your story line supports your characters and their actions. Or do they want something like a good story with a few graphic sex scenes sprinkled in rather than that 70's pizza guy who's sole story is a 12inch pepperoni? --- spare me the pepperoni and give a good sexy story.

    5. In a 100 page piece how many sex scenes should there be. --- as many or little as you want there to be. Erotica Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel once said that some of her favorite erotica stories had no sex at all - it was all about the sexual tension. This is very true everything goes back to the sotry.

    6. Should sex always be bubbling with near misses, ie: should the reader always be excited? --- all form of sexual tension fast/hard, slow/sweet, frantic/wild to languid/amorous will rock if the story fits.

    As an erotic romance / erotica author, I can say that yes, the market is tired (oversaturated) with 'bad' erotica that focuses on sex between the MC's without rhyme or reason that reads like a low budget porno. This genre is much more then that and I beleive that's why editors and publishers alike are looking for good strong writing skills with amazing plot lines and heated scenes. A couple of presses you can check out Cleiss Press, Samhain Publishing, Cobblestonr Press, Bella Books, Ellora's Cave. Cleiss publishes many of the Best of Erotic Anthologies ex: Best Bondage Erotica (which my short story Belted In will be included in the 2014 editon), Fast Girls, Anything for you - Erotica for Kinky Couples, Short Short BDSM Erotica (which my story Mine will be included in the 2014 edition) and many others that could be fun for you to check out. Hope this helps and if I repeated advice previously provided I apologize. Best of luck.

    p.s. if you want to chat more on the subject feel free to PM me
     
  24. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't change course :)

    I still have no idea as to my MC :( not that I expect to after an hour. I'm thinking of a hooker friend who has issues with finding a real life boyfriend but fulfils the fantasies of all her clients but I'm drawn to the nun who joined the convent too young and spends her nights dreaming - who am I kidding? Pfffft! I also like the policewoman, belittled in a man's world who arrests men and women for their possibilities and throws them in the slammer, sometimes in cuffs, sometimes in nothing but a smile... hmmm not as easy as I thought :) A masseuse possibly? hmmm how to avoid a cliché...
     
  25. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    :)


    How to avoid it? Let go of the gimmick. Make her the barista and him the wall street guy, or the flustered construction foreman. Let her work in a toll booth, train dogs, be a gymnast, a dancer, a singer, a writer, the quiet lady on the corner that only comes out to get her mail. Let her be the girl on the subway that smiles instead of avoiding contact, the hippie chick that has that something about her. The woman that passed him in the hallway when he was visiting someone in the hospital that he can't get off his mind. It's not at all about how they make a living - it's about who they are and how they come together. It's about the heat.
     

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