An Intro To Writing Erotica
Writing erotica doesn’t have to be stressful. Actually, if you’re not having fun, I’m pretty sure you’re not doing it right. Hey there, this is Sadie Sins, writer, artist, and all around rabid smut enjoyer here to teach you how to improve your erotic stories. Whether it’s to help you make a dime selling your work or just to get you breaking through your hangups so you can get to thinking about writing a more intense, steamy, sexy story, I’ve got tips and in depth information to help you along. This will not just be about those sex scenes (although they are my favorite.) I’ll be going into writing in general, plots, summaries, maybe even cover design if I feel so compelled at some point. Suggestions are always welcome if you’re curious about anything.
I started writing erotica when I became disappointed with the quality of erotic reading material out there and found myself with a whole lot of free time. I was pleased that there were more fantasy based options, but once cracking them open, I found the plots interesting but lacking tension and the sex just, well, boring. Or the sex was intense but the plot didn’t exists. It was really easy for me as an avid reader to see where things were going wrong, the challenge coming later as a new writer to find ways to correct them. Hence this blog. I want to share what I’ve learned, and I have a feeling there are plenty of writers, either new to the game, or struggling for a while, that can find these tips helpful.
This blog is actually a two month long time coming. I wanted to make this back in January but found out the hard way how buying a domain with a company that you don’t want to host with (in my case godaddy) is a damn ass hassle requiring a 60 day wait to transfer a domain name. I am not a web genius by any means, but I do learn my lessons when they smack me off the head enough. Some of this stuff may already be dated if only because stories I reference two months back have been written and published already—Time flies.
The Chick Behind The Curtain
A condensed autobiography of Sadie Sins—A pen name, btw. First name is really Gabs/Gabby/Gabrielle. My picture is actually of me (with extra wings,) and if I ever get around to it I might get a proper headshot taken. I’m currently 33 until June, bisexual, and have very little interest in writing about female genitalia. Hence the m/m aspect of my writing.
Starting with the head…
Right, so even before I turned two, I had PTSD, aka posttraumatic stress disorder. Add in disassociation, manic depression, agitated depression, generalized anxiety, and some messed up mental baggage that comes alone with being in foster care for the first ten years of my life.
Moving to my body…
I have hypersexuality and a swinging thyroid that is likely the cause of the bouts of nymphomania and my manic depression. I also have this illness called adrenal insufficiency that was brought on by Lyme Disease which I’m currently dealing with.
Biological family beat me, foster care scared the fuck out of me, adopted. Good life in the suburbs as a middle class kid where I fell in love with the creative arts among my privileged peers that didn’t even know homeless people existed in their own town. My adoptive mother’s cancer came back when I started high school, and I spent half my day escaping to school, singing and in plays, and the other half helping her move around the house and using the bathroom. She died when I was 18, and I had no freakin clue what to do with myself, realizing that not only had my days revolved around her care, but that there was a huge crazy going on in my head I’d been ignoring to allow me to get through everything.
Started college majoring in liberal arts and my dad got dementia shortly after, forcing me to drop out and take care of him. I spent my days teaching myself digital painting and photorealism, cleaning up after him, dealing with the hoarder and socially fucked up adoptive brother that moved in, and making sure my dad didn’t drive drunk. He passed away when I was 26, leaving me with no life skills besides caring for the dying, and a now crippling array of mental illnesses still untreated. Homeless. Five day retreat in an institution where I started hearing terms like clinical depression for the first time. Fought tooth and nail to be ‘normal,’ got a job, got an apartment only to have my body keep breaking down until I went on disability and learned what PTSD was.
Things were seeming okay—boyfriend, cats, great job, perfect apartment—then I had another breakdown from working too much and ended up homeless. Got my shit together, again, then got Lyme disease right after. A year later I nearly died when my adrenals finally gave out during Christmas time. Adapted to sitting on my ass for months on end, started an intensive directed therapy to finally deal with the PTSD issue, and decided to start writing again in 2015 to keep from going insane with boredom. Then the Lyme disease came back a third time.
I know, it’s a bitch—Real life can be damn merciless verses being able to write a happy ending. I consider myself lucky still because I at least have the means to keep doing the things I love, even if I’m slowed down. The Lyme will go away eventually, and I’ll be back on my feet again.
Singing, painting, reading, theology and mythology, acting, musical theatre, piano, sewing, sculpting, dollmaking, crafting, framing (pictures), cuddling cats, video games (used to rpg hardcore but now I stick to short, mindless puzzles when I’m feeling lazy,) reading and making comic books and manga, love Impressionism btw, cooking edible ‘healthy’ paleo food (and very unhealthy delicious sugary deserts,) looking for solutions to specific mental illnesses and treatments for Lyme, and all around researching the life out of things with my neurotic, obsessive brain. Oh, and writing. Duh.
I’m actually an accomplished vocalist and visual artist who has never done anything more with my talents because of my crippling anxiety. I dropped out of college with two classes left for a degree, and when I tried to return, the anxiety again won. I’m just learning to not push myself so hard that I break—It’s a big deal for me because that’s been the only way I made it this far. Pure determination mixed with tunnel vision. I’ve taught myself everything from Photoshop, to genetic deficiencies, to growing a soul as I’ve moved through life getting my shit together trying to get over what the first few years of my existence did to my otherwise bitchin brain and psyche.
I genuinely like people, even the fucked up ones. Maybe especially—we have great conversations. I’m usually happy no matter my situation because I’ve spent a lifetime seeking out silver linings to keep me living through some really hellish years. I get exuberant at times, like an excited puppy. I also see the world through the eyes of an aggressive wounded animal because of my PTSD, hyper alert for threats and in constant fight or flight mode since a small child. Hello duality. I’m aware enough to choose to be happy and not stress the fuck over everything—Because seriously, after the shit I’ve seen, what’s the point of stressing over the small stuff?
Besides English courses that contained mostly argumentative essays and long-ass thesis papers, I have not taken any other writing classes. If you’re the type going ‘why the hell should I take writing advice from someone that didn’t even take a class in creative writing?’ I can assure you that even with my constant depression and anxiety, I was a straight A student. I believe real learning happens outside of school where you start to direct towards the goals you want, not the ones your teachers set out for you to follow blindly. I researched the techniques I use for my creative writing while referencing my handy grammar guides and making sure I sound as far from dull or academic as possible.
And seriously, I get shit done. You can have someone talk all they like about writing the perfect book and what to do to really succeed and all that crap, but if they’re spending all their time telling you what to do and not actually doing anything themselves, I’m less apt to listen to them. The end of the day it’s about what you do with what you have. If you haven’t, check out my growing list of Books. Not too shabby for a chick with Lyme.
My goal as a writer is to tell an immersive, entertaining, sexy story—and I will intentionally butcher the English language to do it if I think it will lead me to that goal. To a point—I will not text speak unless I have characters writing texts. Even then, I might not indulge in such a slaughter. I’m aware of my love of fragments as I emphasis certain points. Absolutely aware. Absolutely! (XD) I keep my punctuation as perfect as possible, probably overuse the ‘—’ but I love it so, do not italicize my internal dialogue because I find it jarring to read and I honestly feel a skilled writer should make that shit as seamless as possible, and I write about 8,000-10,000 words a day when not falling asleep from Lyme. I spent my childhood reading to distract from the messed up shit around me. Escapism, pure and simple. I want to escape into my writing, and I want to offer that to my readers. Probably why even if my stories get dark, the endings are happy.
I am not a man
I write about men fucking and I have absolutely no experience being a man. I write for women because I’m writing for myself, a woman. That doesn’t mean I don’t think men will enjoy my writing… I haven’t actually taken a poll or anything. I hope they like it, but we’re all individuals with our own personal tastes and I’m sure I’m getting some of the facts wrong from my outside perspective of man-ness, which could potentially upset anyone.
Kinks of choice
M/M, dubious consent aka dubcon (my fav,) bareback, using someone for sex, first time, straight to gay, alpha males with pretty twinks, master/slave, younger man/older man, animal characteristics, enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, young adult and new adult (because I don’t want to write about careers, bills and serious relationships, blah,) gangbang, bondage, exhibition/voyeurism, some humiliation depending on mood, paranormal and a whole lot of wet. Most of these are pretty constant in my stories, just in different levels of intensity. Some just pop up time to time if I’m feeling moody with other stuff, such as more hardcore bdsm and degradation. Some stuff I like to write but you probably won’t see because Amazon won’t allow it, including bestiality and incest. If I ever post on smashwords, it would probably be to indulge those themes. I do take suggestions for fics as long as you’re willing to understand I might need to change things around to make sure it’s sellable. And it’s got to be M/M.
So you might be looking at my books and then my history and drawing a few conclusions. Write what you know, right? I’m not going to be writing a lot of characters with perfect home lives angsting over the superficial as they end up on some predetermined path they had all picked out from the age of 12. I’m drawn to darker stories with complicated characters and, although probably not ideal in an erotic setting, (or is, who the fuck can really say?) my characters, background stories and plots are probably a bit different because of the stuff I relate to.
To be clear, I am not a zen kind of girl even though I have some new age roots as I strive to be some sort of ‘better’ person I’m probably never going to really reach. I’m going to swear a fucking lot. It’s who I am, I do it in my talking and my writing, and it’s just going to happen. I may come off as totally opinionated at times, but it doesn’t mean I think I’m a hundred percent right and everyone else is wrong. I just tend to write from a place of strength.
Part of why I push myself so hard with my writing is because I’m neurotic and want to be the best that I can be, but also because I plan to make a living doing what I love, and that requires more than a passing interest. And to be clear, I love writing. I do. It is the happiest I am besides spending a day with a friend having a total dorkfest of nerd fun. I may be stuck inside a lot, but I can write an amazing place to visit and see someone get laid at the same time.
And that’s enough about me.
So why am I telling you all this? Because you’re a unique individual looking to explore your sexual side through writing, and if you can’t see that I’m a living, breathing, extremely flawed human being that can still put all that aside to tap into the sexual wellspring of creativity, how are you going to know you can do it too? It’s very easy to see the perfect ideal characters that can twist themselves into a pretzel, fuck twenty times in an hour while not even breaking a sweat, and forget that a very real human-being wrote that fantasy.
There’s a certain vulnerability that’s required to writing really good sex, and well, it’s required to have really good sex. You need to be open to the experience. That openness is going to do much more for you than the specifics of the experience. More importantly, if you can’t be open to the experience, you can’t portray that full experience on paper. I think that goes for everything in life.
By being vulnerable with you as I embrace the very raw facts of my life and situation, I’m hoping I can inspire you to be vulnerable in your writing. It will make it better. Emotions make any story so much better, even the emotions that make us cringe, like jealousy and rage and that gut clenching anxiety right before something terrible is going to happen.
Have you ever watched a drunken train wreck on paper and had one eye closed, knowing the person is going to fuck up their life and hating them for it, while secretly hoping that if they do go down, they better burn every damn bridge with them? Drama fuels great stories. You might not want it in your real life, but a lot of people feed off it still even in written format. Being able to fuel your erotic writing with your raw emotions is going to help your reader connect with you—Without actually having to be nude and exposed to do it, even if you might feel it for having given your secret fantasies away.
Honestly, I don’t really think there is a ‘wrong’ when it comes to writing your sexual fantasies. By god though, I’m going to point out every pet peeve I have that I’ve read that has turned me off or freaked me out, and help new writers learn to avoid those pitfalls when they want to share their fantasies on a large scale. Writing erotica is a personal journey but when you start selling it, you have different responsibilities (like grammar, and spelling, and not being confusing.)
That’s a big thing, btw. Not just getting in touch with that steamy hot crazy inside after avoiding all the insecurities and whatever shame your upbringing and religion may have put on you. Not just getting to the point of fleshing out that fantasy on paper while peeking over your shoulder to make sure no one is watching. But then taking the next step and sharing that work with others. It can be huge. Painful—even before you ever let another soul see it.
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to put a story or a drawing you spent hours on out into the world, your stomach tied in knots as you wait for the hordes of apathetic strangers to feel the need to put their sarcastic two cents in from the safety of their computer screen when they’ve never bothered to create and put something out themselves. Try doing that for your own personal sexual fantasies—I know, I cringe just thinking about it. I get it, I really, really honestly do. I feel for every brave soul that got to that point and put themselves out there. And I will still point out the fact that I can’t read half the stuff I come across because of just how poorly it’s written, turns me off because of word and imagery choice, triggers my PTSD because of the insistence of using sex as a form of comfort for rape, or is just a total fucking yawn fest either because the sex is too detached, or the plot completely lacking.
Hypocritical? Maybe. Honest? You bet. Helpful? I really fucking hope so.
Writing erotica isn’t always easy. Usually the problems come from within. I’ve spent the majority of my life being an artist while also struggling with an anxiety disorder. I have this terrible habit of placing my actual self worth into my creative works, and if someone tells me they don’t like what I make, I think they don’t like me. A lot of creative people are like this. It’s why many an artist comes off as snotty, cold, or superficial—They’re defensive and that’s their protective coating to keep the world from breaking them. (They could also just be bitches, but it’s a person to person thing.)
We are pulling words and experiences from our own flesh and putting it out into the world after breathing life into it. It can fucking hurt to be told it’s no good. That said, I never would have gotten better if I hadn’t been critical enough to see my failings in the creative process, put my ego aside, and kicked some ass as I strove to be better. (I’m not talking about the haters that just want to hurt you for whatever, like you’re supposed to answer to their superiority complex and bend to fit into their view of how the world should be. Fuck them. I’m talking about actual constructive criticism, usually asked for at the time in a forum or email.) And when I say kicking ass, it’s usually my own first. Still.
I don’t think it will ever not hurt to hear that someone doesn’t like something I draw or write—and considering I write gay porn, there are going to be a lot of people that don’t like it if just for the fact that it’s two guys going at it. Hopefully as you go along your journey you’re going to find your place of confidence, and the tricks and tools you need to help you stay strong when you feel that pain. Just don’t give up.
When writing erotica even if you never want to reach a level that you feel is worth sharing with the world, at least remember why you chose to write out your fantasies to begin with. It served a purpose, helped you reach a new understanding of yourself and maybe the world around you. Or it just got you off. It might not have been a perfect presentation or sparkled with amazing prose and vivid imagery, but it still has value, and so do you.
Alright, so enough of the hugs and tears in the face of the beauty of humanity. Let’s start writing some dirty, nasty sex.