How to write sex stories good by michael k. smith

by Michael K. Smith

It has been represented to me recently by at least
two readers that there must be "some secret" to writing
sex stories that work, some patented formula they might
apply, if only they knew what it was, which will turn
drab, coarse prose into sparkling erotica that would
leave even English teachers panting with arousal.
Well, no. There's no secret. But there's no
reason, theoretically, that anyone with a couple of
years of lit classes behind them, an established habit
of reading, and the willingness to work seriously at
developing their skills, couldn't improve the quality
of their writing many-fold. To that end, I shall try to
lay out the ingredients I believe must be considered in
writing erotica — which, it turns out, are almost
exactly the same in writing any sort of fiction. I
won't talk about gerunds and indefinite pronouns,
though; that's been done elsewhere much better than I
could do it.
Why me? What gives me the chutzpah to set myself
up as a writing consultant? Well, . . . (1) people have
been paying me to write a wide variety of things for
more than a decade, (2) I've been fixing other people's
writing for half again that long, (3) I've taught the
occasional writing workshop before, and (4) I'm
entirely lacking in false modesty.


Perhaps this is too obvious a point, but the first
necessity is to be able to think of a story. Small
children do this all the time, making up tales to tell
their teddy bears and concocting elaborate adventures
for their toy soldiers.
The question most writers dread being asked is,
"Where do you get your ideas?" (Harlan Ellison's reply
is "Schenectady.") But ideas pop up all around you. Do
you ride the bus to work? Good: You're trapped in a
miniature mobile community for the duration of the
trip. Look around at your fellow passengers; they're
the leading characters in the stories of their own
The proper-looking secretary trying to put on her
lipstick in the jouncing bus may be wearing a red thong
beneath her skirt. Maybe she's planning to seduce her
boss. Maybe her boss asked her to wear it. Maybe she's
blackmailing her boss and next week she'll be driving a
new Mustang to work. Maybe she lives with a man and a
woman and is intimate with both of them. Maybe she's
having to re-apply her lipstick because her husband got
horny and nailed her on the breakfast table just before
she left to catch the bus.
And I promise you, that paragraph was written off
the top of my head just now, spun out as I imagined
sitting on the bus. If you're a college student, you
also are a part of numerous communities filled with
potential characters for a story: Your classes, your
dorm, the MacDonald's across from campus, the parties
you go to, the library just before term papers are due.
. . .
Okay, try the library. Make that the front steps
of the library. Specifically, the girl sitting on the
second step from the top, shading her eyes as she peers
down the path, clutching her book-bag rather nervously.
She's waiting for someone, obviously. Maybe she fears
she's pregnant. Maybe she's been playing slave/master
games and The Man is late. Maybe she has a crush on
that other girl.
See? It's really not hard.

Characterization and Plot

Some writers are strong on devising a plot, some
are better at inventing characters and dialogue. But
you have to become at least competent at both. The