Thursday, March 22, 2007

Writing S3X

Following the earlier thread about sex in books, here is an interesting take on the topic, Things your mother never told you about sex – now you’re writing sex: Also there, you can find:

  • Interview with Jennifer Mueller

  • Reader expectations

  • New Release from Ann Patrick and Anna Campbell

For a sample of how I personally handle the topic, have a look at my "Small Price to Pay",

And this is what I had to say in an Erotica Workshop For Writers, held in Auckland over Easter 2003:


It is extremely difficult to define what constitutes erotic writing. It's often said that one person's porn is another person's erotica. I disagree. Although it's true that different people get aroused by a different amount of explicit detail, the difference between porn and erotica is equivalent to that between Botticelli's Venus and Playboy Centrefolds, or Playboy Centrefolds and close-up photos of genitals.

What is a pornographic story?

· Gratuitous dirty talk

· Immediate and usually continuous action, with little introduction - if any - to the characters or their motivation

What is not erotica?

· A pornographic story

· An ordinary story with a sex scene

· A sex story with no other point to make

What elements should an erotic story contain?

· Characterisation

· Scene setting

· Suspense

· Gradual progression from stage to stage, build-up

· Mystery


Just as romance writing can be divided into categories like "sweet dreams" or "dark passion" or "chick lit", so can erotica writing be sweet or peppery, depending on your market.

Descriptions are crucial, but whether you call a spade a spade or "his bronze manhood", concentrate on the context - not on the action. Don't give a sports commentary (after all, we do know which bit goes into where). Show us the participants' emotional responses instead.

Alliterations may work for you: sizzling sex, luscious lips, dangerous derriere… whatever the type of story you're writing.

Use sexy language: sweltering, luxurious, succulent, creamy, silk, full.

Don't say what you mean. Implication is sexier than revelation.

Having said that, there is a time and a place for straightforward dirty talk (e.g., from the mouth of a very prim protagonist who's driven wild with desire).


veinglory said...

I guess I write pornography then (not having much of point to make)

Yvonne Eve Walus said...

Why do you say that, Emily? Which work do you mean?