Apr 282014

By Jean Marie Stine

It cannot be emphasized enough. Your blog, your tweets, your photo-sharing, your Facebook page, and any and all of your other social media efforts aren’t just something to be reserved for your new book’s debut, or a contest, or an online or in-person appearance.

If you take that course, you will only be preaching to the converted—which is to say, you’ll only be reaching the people you have already reached.

Those readers are crucially important, but even they are not really your #1 target audience for social media. It’s time to re-conceive your presence on the world’s computer screens, phones and tablets from a whole new perspective: as a magnet designed to reach as widely and as frequently as possible beyond your normal circle of fans to bring in new potential readers for your books.

At the same time, you don’t want to take one more minute away from actually writing those books and stories than you have to.

It may not seem like it would be possible to maintain an active blog presence and still have all the time you need to do your core creative work.

But it can be!

Most social media mavens recommend that, at the very least, you put up some kind of blog entry every week, twice if possible. That may seem like a lot of work—and it would be, if you have to write all those blog entries yourself.

But you don’t!

Some writers (perhaps because they are writers) make the mistake of believing that blog posts invariably have to be lengthy, comprehensive, entirely original written pieces.

Instead, there is an easy way to let your own personal interests generate compelling blog entries for you—entries that will bring lots of visitor traffic, most of it new, to your blog. And it involves almost no writing on your own part. Using this technique, your entire contribution to each blog entry you create is a sentence or two to a paragraph at most.

There is no way an author can write a story without putting some of their own personal interests into it. That might be skiing, Europe, the town you live in, collecting stamps, the world of high fashion, the U.S. Civil War, rodeos, motorcycles, etc.—and chances are, if you are interested in something, other people are interested in it, too.

For instance, you might have visited Paris, or wanted to visit it, and thus your newest novel is set there.

Say you see a great picture of Paris on the internet, one that is beautiful, or touching, or shows some specific locale you used in your book. Insert or link to the picture on your blog. Write a sentence or paragraph about why you liked it—something like “I had to share this stunning picture of Paris at night from the top of the Eiffel Tower. I love both so much, I made Paris the scene of the second half of my book, For Love or Money.” Or, perhaps it is a photo of the Champs-Élysées. You could write: “I set the climactic chase scene from my romantic espionage novel, Secrets of the Heart, here.” You will be surprised, over the course of the next year, at how many new visitors have come to your site.

You might be an aficionado of the U.S. Civil War era. You might do research in old magazines and newspapers of the time, or read books reprinting material from them, and come upon an chapter or article that captures your interest. Perhaps an 1864 Harper’s Monthly contains a piece by a woman describing her feelings as she saw the Union Soldiers come running back in terrified, chaotic retreat from the battle of Bull Run. Since anything written in the U. S. before 1923 is out of copyright and in the Public Domain forever, you have every right to reprint that article for free (and there is a great deal of such material in text form free on the internet, at sites like Gutenberg.org and Archive.org). If printed materials are involved, consider purchasing a scanner. They can be very inexpensive, often below $100—and voila, you have a cheap and almost limitless source of blog entries. Again, all you have to write is a sentence or two, such as “I had to share this very moving eyewitness account of the Union rout at the first battle of the Civil War by a young Northern woman whose boyfriend was a soldier in that battle. I found it while researching my next novel, Troubled Allegiance.”

Or you may have written a romantic thriller set at a championship skiing event in the scenic Grandvalira region of Spain. On the web you can surely find photos or video of Grandvalira, as well as present or historic footage of ski meets there. Pick five that catch your eye, and turn them into a little series of posts—put a link to one each week with a few words about the region and your book. You now have five blog entries to draw people in, if they’re interested in the area and/or its skiing, and introduce them to your book—or to get people interested in your book if they’ve heard of you but not Grandvalira.

If your story was set at an oil camp in the 1920s, you can certainly find archival photos of the real thing all over the web.

You get the idea. Here are some more tips to letting your blog draw in new readers and keep existing ones happily following you—without spending valuable writing time and energy on it:

* Don’t overlook your own (digital or physical) filing cabinet! In it you may have all kinds of work you’ve already done but never introduced to a larger audience: articles, school papers, book reviews, interviews and so on. Depending on the subject, they are likely to be of interest to others, too. For example, I recently found an interview I conducted with science fiction great Frank Herbert for a Los Angles publication when the movie Dune came out. I suddenly realized it might be of interest to science fiction enthusiasts, and draw some to our science fiction blog. Not only did I publish it there, it was so lengthy I broke it into three entries. It brought in double the number of my most-read posts till then. I also found a paper I wrote for a university class on Mary Shelley and Frankenstein, arguing that she based much of the monster on herself and her own experiences. I plan to post it on the same blog soon; it should appeal to both aficionados of Shelley’s book and more widely to fans of horror fiction and films as well.

* Link to movie trailers. Somewhere on the web, you can find a trailer to almost any movie ever made. Find trailers for a favorite movie or one related to your latest book (or your writing in general), post a link to the trailer, and write a few words about it.

* You can do the same with full-length movies. There are quite a number of sites were you can watch recent or classic movies for free, like Crackle.com and Archive.org. Browse their stacks. Find a personal favorite or one related to your writings and post the link for it, inviting visitors to watch it too.

* If an article or chapter you want to reprint is lengthy, break it up into two or even three blog posts and serialize it.

* You can also include a scene from your book, its cover image (if one exists at that point), and several others books you have written on the same subject.

* Always attribute the source of any material you reprint:  ”From Harper’s Monthly June 1864, found at the Gutenberg Project.”

Using this easy approach, you can find material for hundreds of blog posts, and draw in new visitors, without going an inch out of your way. All you’re really doing is pursuing of your own interests and passions as you would anyway, and sharing these interests with readers.

Mar 182012

Images copywright by owner, NOT writesex

The biggest thing authors, both old and new, have to deal with is growing your audience.  If you’re old guard and established, take a look at your career level and ask yourself if you’re comfortable with where you’re at or if you’d like more growth.  By this I mean do you wish to expand your audience (and your royalty check) and make a bigger name for yourself?

If you’re just starting out, can you grow your audience quickly?

Well, yes and no.  The biggest challenge any author I know has is trying to figure out how to expand their readership without resorting to practically giving away the product.  I’ll never support the artist mentality of being poor, broke, starving, sober and happy.  It doesn’t pay the bills.  But what does?

We’ve covered enough plotting and scene structure of a story, plus a plethora of other things in this blog to date that should help the author write solid marketable stories.  Jean Marie has covered the factors that make an author successful from an erotic publisher’s standpoint and we’ve gone over other aspects of craft.  By now you can write a story, novella or novel that a publisher should consider buying.  But the biggest mistake most authors make in marketing their sold products is in how they go about marketing.

From a typical author’s standpoint, there are the following options:

  • Online chats
  • Facebook and Twitter
  • Blogging and Blog Tours
  • Business cards
  • Convention attendance

Online chats tend to be a waste of time, social media is a skill many do not possess, blogging and blog tours require tons of time spent writing posts that balance the close of a sale and the content management designed to keep readership up, BUT done successfully they work.

The last two require an outpouring of funds from the author, which is not always a smart move since it doesn’t make financial sense. If you’re talking about a low level convention such as last year’s Erotic Author’s Association Convention in Las Vegas, we’re talking air fare, hotel fare, convention fare (they stupidly didn’t wave fees for their speakers) and food.  If it’s a more upscale and established convention like RWA Nationals, we’re talking hundreds of dollars if not more for just air fare and hotel PLUS convention fees.  At least the folks at EAA kept the entrance fee fairly accessible.

If your royalties don’t justify going, then don’t.  MONEY FLOWS TO THE AUTHOR, NOT AWAY.  This is why I’m so against self publishing, because from a financial standpoint it makes NO sense.  Yes there are exceptions, but they’re rare. It may not be about who has the most money at the end of their career but how much does it suck to know that nice $500 royalty check you made last month got sucked in one fell swoop by a convention that historically proves a low return for authors?

So what IS the secret for growing your audience?

I hesitate to reveal it because it really is THAT simple.  Most people can’t grasp simple ideas, they seem “too easy.”

In an earlier post by Jean Marie Stine, she talked about reusing content across multiple sites and publishers, thus maximizing your income and keeping your time spent in proportion to monies earned.  Yes this isn’t so easy to do with novels and novellas but short stories are what attract the reader to you initially.  In the same vein, aren’t you writing short stories or taking your characters from the worlds you’ve created and writing short stories featuring them?  If so, the free erotic story markets are your friend.

Madison’s Cure and Other Erotica

Readers on sites like Literotica.com are voracious, many of them come back to the site to check it multiple times a day.  Their favorite author or authors may have thrown up a new story, a new chapter, a continuation of some sort or who knows!  The stats speak for themselves however.  In the first month I posted a short story from Madison’s Cure and Other Erotica: A Best Of and found myself with 23,000 hits on that story.  I followed up with a few more short stories and learned better the tricks for keywording a story to draw the attention of the reader.  This taught me how to write better promo blurbs for when I had later stories published.

The point is, using the simple tricks to avoid spending money while improving time spent will over the course of your career help grow your name.

Aug 112011

Recently, a woman whose erotic stories have been widely anthologized wrote to say her day job was killing her, she needed to quit and write books for a living, and could I tell her what sold best these days? With a few changes, the following what I replied:

Could there be a worse time to need to write for money? I might have advised (nonerotic)  scifi/fantasy or Harlequin a few years ago; they are the easiest sales to make to the big publishers and get nice advances, but the big publishers are all scrambling to catch up. Writing eBooks, certainly can earn some you money, but like all other publishing, the big sales are in categories, that’s because readers have their favorite categories and buy literally 90% of their books in that category or categories.

That said, grinding out category fiction can kill you.

And with any kind of books, it takes so long for royalties to mount up, because of systemic reporting problems. For example, we are too small to pay advances, and most distributors report sales to us at 30 days after the end of a month to 60 days to 120 days after. When we issue the Jan sales report in Feb, what it reflects, is not sales made in Jan, but sales we received reports of in Jan – which would be Nov., October, and even Sept sales. So when we pay royalties at the end of a quarter, they basically consist of 1/4 sales from the actual quarter, and 3/4 sales from the previous quarter.

Biggest sellers overall among ebooks: romance, erotica, success/self-help of all kinds.

Bestselling romance categories: erotic romance. Bestselling erotica categories: bondage and erotic romance. Bestselling subcategories: heterosexual erotic romance; male dom, female sub bondage from romance to pretty hard.

Then, to be one of the top sellers, it takes writing a lot of books and a very active and attractive website and/or blog with free stories, story samples, etc. (meaning contests, blog tours, and lots of other stuff). A good way to get an audience to your site/blog is post stories or hot scenes complete in themselves on Literotica.com, the free erotica website.

Our bestselling author, who writes strong bondage but often with romance, has written around 25 books over the last eight or so years, and currently earns about $28,000 through us. He works very hard to promote his books on the web.

Beyond this, everything is up in the air in publishing, sales and advances right now, with publishers in NY in a panic trying to figure out what the shape of publishing will be and what to sell. And a sinking economy. Of course, sex does sell, so there’s that.

Those are the basics, there are too many nuances to put in writing.

All the above notwithstanding, I always personally advise writers to write what they love.

Jun 232011

Last time I had the blog we talked about developing a creative personality for the mind in writing short stories

Publishing the hottest in classic and current erotica and erotic romance

The following is a high-octane problem-buster that will make child’s play of even the hardest brain-stumpers and grind down to a manageable size even the most insurmountable dilemmas. It is a development of ideas pioneered by Tony Hodgson, and others.

It’s based on the well-established finding from psychological research that the more different perspectives we bring to a problem, the more ideas we are likely to generate and the more complete our perceptions of it.

You’ve heard of seeing the world through ‘rose-colored glasses’, which cause one to see only the sunny side of things.

Imagine the effect of seeing the world through ten different pairs of colored glasses — one for each hue in the rainbow (and each different spectrum of our mental processes).

Regardless of how difficult the dilemma, you’ll have found the answer long before you’ve tried on the tenth pair. By examining a challenging circumstance through each set of ‘colored glasses’ (each different mental perspective), we achieve a complete, rather than a partial, view, and engage our minds to consider it far more deeply.



Here are the TEN COLORS

*White – cognitive, the way our mind functions when we are learning, thinking, increasing knowledge or understanding.

* Grey – factual, the way our mind functions when we are absorbing information, scanning for important and critical data.

* Yellow – opportunistic, the way our mind works when we view possibilities from a sunny cheerful, optimistic, positive point of view, and see how we can capitalize on and make the best of events and situations around us.

* Black – critical, the way our mind functions when we are serious, skeptical, analytic, seeing the potential problems on the road ahead.

* Green – creative, the way our mind functions when it sends up the shoots of fresh, new imaginative, creative, innovative new ideas.

* Brown – practical, the way our mind things when we are being down to earth, thinking things through logically, incrementally, objectively, within existing systems and assumptions.

* Blue – holistic, the way our minds work when we are looking at the big picture and engaged in strategic planning.

* Orange -molecular, the way our mind works when we are attempting to throw light on the individual parts of something, either to identify or place them.

* Violet – directive, the way our mind works when we are thinking about crucial aims, objectives, decisions, when we have arrived at a turning point or crossroads, and have to make a gut-level choice about what it is we truly want.

* Red – Opinionated, the way our mind works when we are offering our own view or seeking the views of others, and either arguing our position, debating another, or melding the two together to achieve a greater understanding or consensus.

Next time we’ll cover the last lesson from me on Developing your Creativity

May 052011

Clearly, if you are reading this and interested in writing erotica (or just writing) and have ideas about things you would like to write about, you have a creative personality.

Science has discovered everyone and anyone can be creative. Creativity has nothing to do with IQ. We all have creative elements in our personality.

Psychology has delineated eight characteristics shared by most creative, problem-solving people. Amazingly enough, all these personality traits are cultivable skills anyone can develop.

According to creativity maven Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, former Chair of the University Of Chicago Psychology Department, his research revealed that creative people possess the following paradoxical matchings of traits. They are:

1.      Smart yet naive

2.      Playful yet disciplined

3.      Imaginative yet realistic

4.      Extroverted yet introverted

5.      Humble yet proud

6.      Passionate yet objective

7.      Iconoclastic yet traditional

8.      Experiencers of both intense pleasure and intense pain

9.      In touch with their female side and their male side

These nine characteristics are the key personality components that engender creativity. As a writer you likely recognize a majority of these in your own personality.

Csikszentmihalyi’s research also suggested it is possible for people with creative personalities to increase these elements, and hence increase their own native creativity,

If there are times when you are stuck on plot, scenes or character actions and reactions, if there are times when you run out of ideas, or have ideas you can’t seem to make gel, you might give the three exercises that follow a try. These exercises can help you develop the nine qualities listed above and make you a more creative person than you may have dreamed you could be. They will not only help you solve problems with plot, structure, and characters but will enhance the creative side of your personality.



People often say, it’s a hopeless. My mind has gone completely blank. I can’t think of a thing. They want to know how to get their brain in gear, when it is worn-out, clouded, or simply won’t start.

The following three step strategy was developed for my workshops. No matter how blank your mind feels, it is guaranteed to catapult your brain from Zero to Sixty in half-a minute or less.


Step 1: Eliminate mental static.

Step 2: Focus on the problem.

Step 3: Ask yourself the following pairs of questions:

1.      Ask yourself, what are the key issues?

2.      Ask yourself, what seems most trivial?

3.      Ask yourself, what aspects of it you feel positive about?

4.      Ask yourself, what aspects of it you feel negative about?

5.      Ask yourself, what seems to be the biggest obstacle?

6.      Ask yourself, what seems to be the smallest obstacle?

7.      Ask yourself, what aspects seem most confusing?

8.      Ask yourself, what seems clearest?

9.      Ask yourself, if there is any important fact you have a nagging question about?

10.  Ask yourself, what facts you are most certain of?

11.  Ask yourself, what’s the best result you can imagine?

12.  Ask yourself, what’s the worst?

By the time most people are even part way down this list, their minds have caught fire and they are already generating ideas, possibilities, and solutions.  When it’s my turn again to share the blog we’ll begin to delve deeper into the mindset and examine color schemes of creativity and how child’s play can really bring out the creative person in you.

Jan 282011


When Bjo Trimble (justly famed as the “woman who saved Star Trek”) advised author and editor Ted White that she was thinking of using a pseudonym on a science fiction novel she was writing, told her bluntly, “Don’t. An author’s name is his or her stock in trade. It is what you want readers to be thinking of when they are at a bookstore looking for a book to read. The easier you make it for them to associate the name with a real person, the easier you make it for them to remember the name in the future.”

Ted White, then, was all for a writer using their real name rather than a pen name that would conceal their identity. It seems to work. When I go to the bookstore these days I am looking for Cathy Reichs, James Lee Burke, or the new Peter Robinson. All are real people with real names.

There are notable exceptions to this rule. Mark Twain, for instance. But there is not much confusion. Mark Twain lived so much of his life openly as Twain, that I would not be surprise if you, too, didn’t think of him first as Twain and then as Clements.

Clearly, this is not an absolute rule. None is. There exceptions. But consider carefully before deciding to make exceptions. Nothing less than your future writing career is at stake.

Consider: Suppose you create a pseudonym and then after writing several books change your mind and decide to come out as yourself and start writing books under your own name. Unless you are writing a completely different type of book now and will not be appealing to your former readers, you will lose some large percentage of your original audience, the one you developed for your pseudonym, and never gain it back. Changing horses in midstream like this is counterindicated.


There are three major justifications for using a pseudonym, when it may be and probably is to your advantage to hide your identity behind a made up name.

The first is that using your real name on something tgat could cost your job or customers – in short income. You could be writing a series of thinly disguised books about real people you know or work with, who would fire you or stop patronizing your business if you published it under your own name. Or, it might be works that exposed secrets of, or made fun of, your industry, job, or profession, where the results would be the same. For that matter, if you are in a profession that takes it self seriously, like banking or academe, and you seem to be writing what your bosses and colleagues consider frivolous, like pulpish mystery thrillers, it could be seen as lowering your gravitas, and you might find yourself eased out the door. Or some other variant where putting your name on the book would place you in serious jeopardy of serious financial loss.

The second major justification for employing a pseudonym rather than your actual moniker is that it would cost you friends or loved ones. This is almost always a case where you are writing about friends, family and acquaintances, and presenting things they have said and done that are embarrassing, unattractive, or that even show them in a very bad light. Things that if written under your own name, and read by mutual acquaintances, would very likely lead to the person you were describing being recognized by everyone, causing the subject of the piece humiliation and likely generate furious anger at you as well.

The third is that you are writing something so inflammatory that that it might put you in danger of losing both job/income and your family/friends. These days that often comes down to erotica. Writers living in small towns, or whose friends, families and associates are conservative in bent, are making s sensible choice when they put a pseudonym on their works. Of course, in a sophisticated city like San Francisco or New York, the effect might be the reverse, and being known as someone who writes erotica may enhance the luster of one’s reputation. Whatever the reason, today, unlike the 1960s and 1970s, many authors proudly put their own names on their erotica.

Sometimes writers producing stories and books on more than one genre will use their true names for books in one genre and a pseudonym on books intended for a different genre. At one time it was considered that if a person was going to write mysteries, and say westerns, that mystery readers would avoid books by someone who also wrote westerns because they would think the author was not really serious about mysteries. And that readers of westerns would disdain anyone who wrote contemporary mysteries with urban settings because they would feel that a writer who could do that well could not possibly capture the authentic feel of the old west. Today, however, that seems to be changing. Increasingly, readers seem willing to accept what are called crossgenre writers, who excel at producing stories of more than one type. Elmo Leonard is accepted as both a western writer and a mystery novelist, while a number of major fantasy novelists are also accepted as authors of credible, realistic mysteries.

I will have a few words to say about choosing pseudonyms in my next post.

Jul 162010

Sometimes you sit down to write, and you can’t think of a thing. Or what you do think of is so obviously poor it isn’t worth pursuing. If you have a deadline, or even if you are just wanting to write something for your own amusement, this can be panic inducing. In the first case because you need the money, and in the second because being a writer (someone who is able to write) is part of your self definition. If you can’t write, you may wonder, how can you think of yourself as a writer?

The not-so technical term for this is, of course, writer’s block.

This is a phenomenon that seem to affect authors primarily, although it can also be a problem for artists of other types, particularly commercial artists working against deadlines.

It doesn’t seem to be a concern for members of the general population at all. After all, you never heard of “plumber’s block” or “soccer block” or “grocery shopping block” or even “management block”, did you?

Even the most productive writers are not immune. One of the jokes among science fiction writers in the late 1950s involved Robert Silverberg, author of mysteries, science fiction, non-fiction, erotica and much much more.  He could turn out a novel in three days and a short story in an afternoon, and turned out such a flood of copy that for a while he was more productive than Georges Simone or Isaac Asimov (look them up if you don’t know).

At one convention I overheard authors discussing his productivity (and income) enviously, particularly several suffering from writer’s block. “It’s not all fun and games for Bob,” one wit interjected. “He had writer’s block, too!” the man paused for effect. “Last Tuesday from 11 a.m. till noon!” We groaned.

Although that was a joke, Bob did suffer from writer’s block much later in his career, feeling written out. But, predictably, he recovered and turned out several dozen more books. (Worse, not only was he prodigal, he was good, winning many awards.)

I am not going to discuss here the causes of writer’s block. It has been written about  extensively by authors and by psychologists.

What I propose to offer are some suggestions for getting the words and ideas flowing again when you are all dried up creatively from writer’s block. In short, you don’t have to wait until your block mystically lifts to begin writing again. You can put an end to it yourself  and get back in the writing/word/thought-generating groove in a reasonably short time.

1) Do some routine housework, paperwork, or physical labor. Sometimes you can be trying to think of what to write so hard consciously that it blocks the words you are seeking from trying to emerge on their own from the unconscious. Doing routine tasks, even walking, that require you to put your focus on your body and something other than yourself, can clear the consicous of interfering concerns about writing, and allow the sentences and ideas you are seeking to enter your mind on their own.

2) Play music that stirs your emotions. Whether its rap, r&r, classical, show tunes, or whatever, listening to music that jazzes you helps to get your feelings flowing, and these feelings often begin to carry writing-type thoughts along with them. Such music stirrs the unconscious, the sea out of which creativity flows. It’s a right brain kind of thing.

3) Find an image, maybe a photograph in an adult magazine, that has turned you on sexually before;. Sit down at your keyboard and begin to describe the specific element that turn you on the most.  Before you are through, you will likely find that the ideas you needed for your own project are beginning to run through your head. (Hint, there are strong links in the brain between seeing and thinking.)

3b) Conversely, if you are stuck on a specific sex scene, pick an image of what people would be doing in that scene. Often, looking at a picture of people engaged in the sex act you are trying to describe will start you thinking about differences and similarities between the image and what your characters would be doing. Soon the scene will be writing itself in your head.

4) Find and read an erotic passage in a book or story that you remember as really turning you on when you read it before. Reading it can also start you thinking about similarities and differences; in this case about what you are reading versus how or what you would write. Also, reading a passage you find sexy will likely get you aroused and when one is aroused the chemicals that are released into the blood stream trigger the brain to start fantasizing about sex. All you have to do is write those fantasies down.

5) If you are having troble beginning a sentence, paragraph or scene, take a different approach, begin somewhere you would not normally begin. If you are describing a man and a woman making love. Rather than opening with a description of the couple, or a specific sex act, try thinking outside the box. Begin with a description of the sheen of her stockings, or the dimple on his butt cheeks. Ask yourself what you wouldn’t normally do, stand things on their head. That makes writing interesting again, and your brain can’t help dreaming up a few lines to go with the idea and soon you are writing easily again.

I will offer more suggestions for overcoming writers block in my next entry.

Jan 072010

My name is Sascha Illyvich and with the help of M Christian, Oceania, Jean Marie Stine, Dr. Nicole Peeler and Thomas Roche, we’re going to explore the daunting aspects of erotica in all its forms. This blog will discuss every aspect of writing sexy fiction from what makes a story erotic even if there is little to no sex involved. Writers will come away with writing tips that will benefit their careers. We’ll cover author marketing, what defines a story as erotic, things new writers need to consider and the business angle of writing erotica.

I’ve been writing for almost ten years, starting out with erotica before I made the transition to erotic romance. I’ve written everything from the 100 flasher to the 100,000 word novel and am with two very successful publishers. I have a few stories with other publishers; teach courses on BDSM to romance writers as well as my famous Writing from the Male POV course which has been a success with local RWA chapters. I write full time and host the UnNamed Romance Show on Radio Dentata Mondays at 1 PM PST.

Every week we’ll focus on a different aspect of writing erotica. Our other authors will do own introductions. Some of them have a rather unique way of letting you know who they are! I’ll be covering writing style in general for starters.

Beginning with technique, I’m going to break down what makes a story erotic and how we craft those scenes that leave us squirming in our chairs. Let’s start with the story idea.

We have basic components to every story.

Characters – Who the story is about
Plot – which happens TO the characters
Setting – Where this all takes place
Conflict – Part of the plot that makes the story interesting. This is really the driving force behind the plot.

In ANY given setting we can add erotic elements. Let’s define what makes an element erotic.

Word Web defines erotica as Creative activity (writing or pictures or films etc.) of no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire.

This definition is a little harsh. Let’s pair it down a bit.

Erotic: the act of being stimulated sexually through the senses of taste, touch, sight, smell and audio.

With this broader definition, we can now begin to understand that our brain is our largest sex organ truly as what arouses me will differ from what arouses you, but our bodies respond to the stimulation the mind finds erotic.

In a scene, we have setting. With characters, we have actions. With plot, that’s a little more complex.

With the scene, we can utilize descriptions by just giving enough detail to create a picture in the mind of the reader while giving them license to view it their way. Since our stories in any genre don’t rely precisely on location in most cases, then we want to limit our scene descriptions. The mind focuses on what’s right in front of it anyway.

Meaning, the mind focuses on the characters and their interactions. Tell me, do you pay attention to the breeze in summertime OR do you pay attention to the cologne/perfume wafting towards you from the attractive person that caught your eye?

The day may play back in your memory later on when you’re telling your friends but the real question is going to be about the person, not the scene.

Next time we talk, we’ll go into the characterization part. There is a lot to be said about characterization so that will take up a few parts. I leave you waiting for next week’s installment with our next fabulous author!