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Put simply, erotic writing is writing that has the potential to turn your reader on. That's a nice broad definition, limited only by the range of your potential readers' desires. Given this range, erotic writing can encompass any aspect of sensuality, from the sensual depiction of a hot bath to descriptions of an explicitly sexual act.
Erotic literature is a growing field and one that spans a multitude of genres, as well as being one unto itself. There is erotic horror, science fiction and fantasy erotica, literary erotica and erotic romance, just to name a few genres that are receptive to erotic writing. There are also sizable markets specifically for heterosexual, gay, and lesbian erotica, as well as a smaller number for bisexual and transgender erotica.
Saleability isn't the only reason to write erotica, however. Writing erotica can improve other types of writing that you do by honing your descriptive skills and your awareness of how your characters occupy physical space in your stories.
You're writing for impact so story line, characters and word choice have to work together even more closely than in many other types of fiction writing in order to be effective.
All of this will serve you well if you go on to write in other nonerotic genres. In order to have the most impact, your literary erotica needs to be more than just a long sex scene. For one thing, most editors and readers are going to want your story to have some sort of plot to make it more interesting.
For another, since you are somewhat limited by the human body, you're unlikely to come up with a sexual or sensual description so wildly original that no one has ever written anything like it before.
Make your story stand out with interesting characters and story lines instead. These should carry your story line forward, not the sexual situation alone. Below are some questions to ask yourself about your erotic writing.
If you can't answer these questions or the answer is no, it's time to go rewrite: Is there a story without the sexual angle?
It is erotica, after all, so you have to have erotic elements to your story but they shouldn't be standing alone. Do the erotic elements move the story forward? Finish your story, then take some time away from it. Then go back and reread it or better yet, have someone you trust read it.
Does it have an impact on them? Is it what you're striving for? Good word choices and descriptions are crucial for effective erotic writing. Adjectives and euphemisms for genitalia and sex acts are frequently used as building blocks for erotic fiction.
When handled appropriately, they can help give your story a romantic gloss that might otherwise be missing. More often than not, they're overused and will make your story appear downright silly. Prune your adjectives and read some erotic scenes and novels you like to get an idea of how other writers do it.
As a general rule, it's better to avoid euphemisms, especially when you are first starting out; a few well placed metaphors can be a lot more useful in conveying your images. Erotic fiction depends on the physical actions and sensations of your characters for impact.
Educate yourself about anatomy and any sexual activities you want to write about so you can write more effectively. Read your story out loud and check to see if something seems physically impossible or just plain uncomfortable.
If so, it's going to make your erotica less appealing to your potential readers. Remember that this is fiction, not thinly disguised memoir: Certainly, it can be inspirational but it shouldn't be where you get all your ideas.
That road can lead to law suits or reduced dating prospects at the very least. Should you use a pseudonym for your erotica? Some writers choose pseudonyms for this reason.
Others use them if they write in other genres such as children's books or if they are concerned that it may negatively impact their daily lives. On the other hand, if you want to make a career out of erotic fiction, using your own name can make marketing easier.
Ultimately, you're the only one who decides if erotic writing is for you so how or if you tell others is your personal decision.
Any professional editor interested in publishing your work will respect your choice either way. The majority of the literary erotica published in books, magazines and websites is in short story form. But don't despair if you want to write novels or plays or something else.Check out The Best Websites for Writers in The ProWritingAid blog is all about transforming good writing into great writing.
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