I originally wrote this whole blog post about one particular author, then scrapped it. It kind of felt like I was needlessly taking a shot at someone else instead of speaking about erotica as a whole, and I’m not sure if I can preach about always becoming a better person if I’m needlessly railing people online. There’s a big difference between criticism and needlessly being mean. I’m cool with tearing a story to shreds, but just writing a big blog post about why I dislike someone makes me seem more like a teenager than I probably already seem.
I like stories. I think a good number of us like stories. You know what makes stories good? Conflict. I think I can safely say I’m not alone in recalling authors on sex story sites that boast an incredible amount of… pieces. Not quite stories. Authors like blueheatt and fbailey and mypenname3000 that have an amazing amount of stories and clearly an amazing work ethic, but no real stories. This is Story Writing 101 from English class in grade 3 – what do stories need? Sure, a character, setting, what-have-you… but the main thing that a story needs is a problem.
I don’t think anything else is purely necessary. You can technically write a story without characters, or setting, but usually those are avant garde kinds of stories. At any rate, most first-time authors don’t really have a problem with this. What’s your character? “I dunno. Dave.” Cool. What is Dave like? “I dunno.” Well, okay… I guess technically you still have a character. Likewise, if the whole story is Dave walking, you technically have a setting. A place you can walk. Dave’s not in the ocean, or in space. Again, it’s super easy for even first-time writers to create characters and settings. They may not be good, but they’re there.
This situation is easy for sex stories. Don’t have any original ideas? Set your characters in a high school, or a college if you’re afraid of being kept down by the man and need to make your characters 18+ when we all know you wanted to make Cynthia 12, you pervert. Don’t have any original ideas for characters? You got Dave. Boom, technically you have a character. If you’re making a sex story, you’d be hard pressed not to create characters. You know what sex needs in order to exist? Humans. Having it.
This is where the difficulty starts. The difference between what you need for a story and what you need for sex is one thing. For sex, you need people, AKA characters, and a place where they’re doing it. For a story, you need characters, a setting, and a problem or conflict. If you’re not an edgelord like myself, maybe you could even look into solving those problems by the end, give the characters some development.
A lot of first time writers don’t really know that conflict is important to even a sex story. If you give an account of you banging Suzie in a bed, and that’s the whole written piece, you’ve only written a story in the same sense that a boot contains cowhide, so technically there’s protein in it and you should eat it. It still makes more sense to eat a steak to get that protein. It’s more digestible. As is a story as opposed to an account.
Conflict is not inherent like characters and setting are. You need to purposefully write it in. You need to have a question and a resolution to that question. Sometimes this is achieved with sexual tension (Q: John and Sam have been going out for a few dates, will they bang soon? A: On the fourth date, they eventually bang) or sometimes the sex is complimentary to the plot (Q: John’s car broke down near a cabin in the woods, will he be okay? A: Sam lives in that cabin and let him stay over and let him use her phone to call for help, also they banged). Sometimes the sex is the plot (Q: John a sex addict and every time he bangs Sam he feels guilty because she wants a relationship and he’s using her, can they ever reconcile? A: Sam realizes what he’s doing and leaves town. John cries, and Bashful Scribe is still an edgelord).
In pieces without this conflict, I often find myself wondering when the story will get to the point. Hey look, a teacher banged her student. There could have been a thing about “hey, we have to keep this secret,” because then the question becomes, “Will they successfully keep it a secret?” But no it’s fine, the principal saw and now she bangs the student too. No stakes, no conflict, no real plot, cool. The student goes on to bang another teacher and a classmate at once? Okay. He goes on to bang his own sister? Why not. The secretary? Okay. The superintendent? Okay. Obama? Okay.
There should be an overall question to your story. I try to ask myself this every time. The question for BMS seemed to fluctuate all over the place, but usually it was, “Will Adam end up with <whichever of the three girls you liked the most>?” Kinda misogynistic, but hopefully the context makes it better. Note: You don’t have to ask this question. It’s just important that you are able to ask one. Mypenname3000 attempts this with a lot of flimsy pretenses, like having a teacher tell you she already gambled her money away and then her getting the bright idea to sell her daughter for sex. That said, it’s told in a way where that’s not really the main point, and the author kind of shoves the sex in the reader’s face and makes it all about all of the different partners the daughter ends up having. The question is asked quietly, from the back of the room, while an orgy happens in front of your face. Virtually no one reading that story cared about the question, they just wanted to see people fuck. Which is fine as a sex piece, but the author clearly says he enjoys writing sexy stories. I imagine you do, friend, it’s just a shame you’ve barely written any. (To be fair, he does write stories with plot, they’re just based in Tolkien-esque fantasy and thus way less read).
If you’re a writer, read over your stories and ensure a question can be asked that people will actually want to see answered. Make people care. If you’re a reader, see if you can identify when you’re asking those questions. That’s what separates the talent-soaked stories from the yawn-inducing ones. I’ll talk to you all next week.