Writing Erotica for Women
by Barbie Scott
It may seem obvious but erotica needs to be erotic. It must be sensual, exciting, arousing. Be brave – write about what arouses you. After all, if something turns you on, it will turn others on as well.
Never forget that an erotic story is still a story. There must be characterisation and plot. There should be tension, build-up and denouement. Of course there’ll be sex – but there must be more than this. The depiction of cardboard cut-outs banging away is not erotica.
Erotica must entertain. It must be sexy and fun– but take note that’s ‘fun’ not ‘funny’. Amuse on the journey towards the act by all means but when your characters get down and dirty, focus on the serious business of sex. Make your reader smile, but not burst out laughing.
Let your reader enjoy the sexual exploits of a daring female protagonist. Your heroine should be sure of herself and know what she wants. She’ll be in full control of her desires and the satisfaction of them – even if she voluntarily relinquishes that control to her lover.
Write from a woman’s point of view. Though a male point of view is sometimes acceptable in women’s erotica, the focus should always be on the female – her desires and the satisfaction of them are foremost.
Read your target publications to find out what’s been done before and do something different. Some erotic scenarios have been overworked to the point of exhaustion – sex with the stranger who turns out not to be a stranger, sex with a ghost, art and theatre settings, the milkman, the postman, the meter-reader … the list goes on. Be fresh and lively and avoid the obvious.
Check your target publication to see what level of erotic language is acceptable. Most are happy with the use of four-letter words but some prefer a less direct approach. Avoid the overuse of Latin terminology. Erotica should sizzle but it doesn’t require repeated descriptions of bodily parts.
Bear in mind that the greatest female erogenous zone is the mind. Most women prefer to read about what is going on in the characters’ heads, or their emotional states, or their heightened physical arousal, rather than about the hydraulics of the act itself. So set the scene, let your words conjure up an image, an idea, a possibility. The depiction of the brute act of sex is far less erotic than the anticipation of it.
Be outrageous. Be transgressive. At one time erotica gave off a whiff of the taboo. Now – after Sex and the City and such like – it’s out and proud. Threesomes, group sex, gay experimentation, transvestism, transsexualism, S&M, bondage – these are now the stuff of soap opera and Sunday supplements. So let your imagination fly!
There are still some absolute no-nos, however. Scenarios involving children, animals, blood-letting, and serious harm or death, should be avoided. So make sure all your characters are consenting adult humans and are there because they want to be there. Consider featuring condoms and lubrication to promote safe sex.
So keep it upbeat, entertain and above all have fun writing it!
Condensed from Writing Short Erotica: Words with JAM Feb 2010
Barbara Scott-Emmett writes women’s erotica under the name of Barbie Scott.
Her work has appeared in For Women, Scarlet Magazine and Black Lace Wicked Women anthologies.
A collection of short pieces, The Stiletto Heel and Other Stories, is now available for Kindle.
Follow Barbie on Twitter: @TheStilettoHeel
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