February 20th, 2007

my fancy foot

The Tale of an Erotica Writer, Book Four

Book One.

Book Two.

Book Three.

Be Different. Be. Different.

I was talking about experimentation and difference in the last post. I think my attention to difference is one of the reasons I manage to sell stories so consistently. [Yes, I do sell stories consistently. I sell just about every erotica story I write, most of it after only submitting it once or twice. I might as well admit it. It's nothing to be ashamed of.]

Erotica stories, by their nature, are somewhat the same. The gender or sexuality of the participants, and the sexual acts involved, are barely an issue in the structure. I might as well break it down into an outline. Your mileage may vary.

Basic Structure of an Erotic Story

1. Introduction of the characters to the reader.
Are they an established couple? Have they known each other for a while, and this story shows a change in their relationship? Are they meeting for the first time?

2. Establishment of conflict.
Some stories skip this part; I call those "porn." This is, essentially, the plot's fuel. What does one character want, and how will he or she obtain it? Will it be obtained? What obstacle is in the way of either consummation of the relationship or pleasant consummation of the relationship? Etcetera.

3. Actual sex scene, which mirrors classic plot structure: rising action, climax, denouement.
Frequently, the denouement includes the possibility of the relationship continuing into the future.

Therefore, because the structure is very similar across the board, the differences--the more salable differences, that is--are other than plot.

Characterization is my favorite. Write about people with problems. They're more interesting, and more memorable.

The other choice, especially applicable to genre writers, is setting. Two people meet in a bar is a common plotline, but if the bar is in, say, a spaceship, or in Napoleonic France, it's automatically standing out from the crowd. This technique can be especially useful when submitting to themed anthologies, because standing out is more difficult when not only plot structures but themes are already set.

I'll natter a bit more on how I've worked on difference in the next installment.
my fancy foot


TCM Reviews Alleys and Doorways. This is the e-anthology from Torquere Press to which I sold "The Token." It's homoerotic urban fantasy.

"These stories are quirky, entertaining, and (in some cases) strangely believable. They are gay urban legends with a whiff of sulphur and a sprinkle of fairy-dust on them. Reading them is likely to give you a sense that you’ve heard them before -- once upon a time."