There were more than a couple of hurdles to bulldoze my way through when I decided to publish my first book.
First, I resized the font so I could read what I’d typed on the screen. 12 point Times New Roman with Microsoft Word at 80% zoom – who has that as a default? – probably not someone over the age of 40 with aging eyesight! Grateful I wasn’t going blind I decided on a genre. It was always going to be erotica. I’d known that since I was a teenager. That’s the trouble with having a dirty mind – it has to go somewhere. (It’s OK I didn’t type that out loud.)
So, I’d resized the font to something legible, decided I had to write sex because, you know, reasons, and then remembered someone somewhere said “write what you know.”
Then I floundered…
Well, that’s it then.
What did I know?
I knew some things. None of them seemed to be worthy of sticking in a book. I decided that I didn’t need to add some weird erotic cook book or erotic piano tutorial into the mix. Yes, I can cook and I can play the piano, although generally not at the same time. The resulting Allegro Baked Keyboard with C# Sauce turned out very woody and was quickly a mess. Get it? So, what then? Erotic candle making? Yeah.. no.
It is at that point that I thankfully stopped over-thinking and started typing. A tall, handsome, dark haired man was in my future. He was really based on a short, weird woman with oddly coloured hair, but it didn’t matter. I knew I wouldn’t confuse the two – she was me. That tall man and I were separate entities. We had very different plumbing, I know, I’d recently checked. (It’s OK, I didn’t type that out loud either.) From the point where the character existed there really was no holding back. I introduced other characters. Some of them I let live. The annoying ones I slaughtered mercilessly. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed that. (It’s OK, I didn’t typ…never mind.)
Then we came to the sex. Feel free to spot the innuendo; there are a couple. I need to be semi-serious for bit. Just semi? Some of these tips I’ve learned from reading erotica, and some from the online advice of others who also write erotica. Some of it I’ve learnt from actual…um…hands on experience. I am not an expert, but I’m happy to inflict my opinion on others. And apparently you have nothing better to do with your time because you’re still reading this so here we go:
If he’s standing six feet away, I’m sorry, I don’t care how gifted he thinks he is, it’s not going to reach. I have read such feats of humongous extension in the past and unless you’re writing in the fantasy world where these things may take place: keep it real. Put your characters within touching distance. And take some care with body angles. I will admit that one passage, sorry, scene in a book annoyed me because I thought it was a physical impossibility. It was later proven to be possible, but I only found that out after watching porn. (I…hmmm…oh well.)
I dare you to Google how many slang words there are for penis and vagina. Congratulations, you can now put your bratwurst in the easy bake oven. (I’m so naïve I had no clue about that second one. Thank you Urban Dictionary.) Pick a couple of slang terms for the relevant body parts and stick with them. It’ll make the scene flow better if readers aren’t sniggering when you’re using your fifth different term that page for the word “erection.” Preferably avoid using the word “schlong” in anything other than humorous dialogue just because it makes me laugh. I am weird but not that unique, others will also smirk. Careful if you’re tempted to use the words penis and vagina because you may sound like you’re writing a biology text book. It may be accurate, but in the context of your story, is it erotic?
And finally I am very jealous of the woman who is capable of achieving an orgasm at the mere sight of man. I wish. Although I’ll admit having that particular ability would probably make me a character from The Fast Show. Generally people don’t just walk into a room and set a woman off-unless you’re writing a fantasy story where that kind of thing happens.
So you’ve got your characters and you’ve had copious amounts of sex and you’ve named some dangly bits. The area I’ve wasted the most time on is naming just about everything else. It’s so, so hard, er-difficult. I wrote one character years ago and was very pleased with the way the name sounded. It had a real ring to it. The next time I switched on the TV I realised it was the name of someone from a reality programme I didn’t watch, but I’d obviously heard somehow. I can’t begin to describe the face I pulled. I’d spent real time coming up with that name which turned out to be someone everyone (except me) would know as someone else.
I began naming people after places. I dropped the last “a” from Daytona and gave him the surname of Bracknell, an area in London. I naturally abbreviated his name to Day. I’m lazy; I prefer people to have one syllable names so I don’t have to type too much. I’d give them a single letter for a name if I could get away with it. In a desperate attempt to just get a name sorted I’ve even named something after my bra size at the time-there’s a number I aim to get back to. I’ve named killer viruses after me too. Those are potentially accurate; I’m pretty dangerous if left un-caffeinated.
The next phase in solving this naming hell was to take things I liked, rearrange the letters and create names from the resulting anagrams. Providing I haven’t missed letters there are quite a few things I’ve named that are anagrams of things I like. I’m not telling you all of them read Modified and work it out for yourself. I will give you one example. In recent years I read an article online where the author expressed an opinion that you shouldn’t use the word “moist” in erotica. It’s too amusing. Well, ever the rebel, I now have a very wet planet called Ostim in my next book. Sorry, but it had to be done. It’s very, very Ostim.
And now I feel the need to create an anagram out of the word schlong…argh. But first, coffee.
Author of “Modified: Lunar Medical: Book 1“