So let’s give some context to this essay: I wrote this back when I was on sexstories.com (a division of XNXX.com) hence the reference to the site and its stories. We cool? Cool. Gimme five.
If I can claim to specialize in any form of writing at all, it most certainly can not be in writing short pieces/stories (proof: I could have just written ‘I write short stuff’ instead). Stroke stories get the most attention on sites like these, but because of one reason or another, longform erotica is very popular in and of itself. Perhaps you wrote a solid story and your audience demanded a part two (don’t be flattered by this, 90% of stories here have at least one comment asking for a part 2). Perhaps you want to develop characters/plots. Perhaps you’re like me and want to blend erotica and ‘normal stories.’ Perhaps you’re comfortable with familiarity and like to just write about the same characters over and over instead of constantly making new ones and by extension, constantly making new reasons for characters to bang, which must get old quick.
At any rate, welcome to the world of longform erotica. It may sound bizarre, but longform erotica is entirely different from shortform erotica, and the rules of writing completely change. That’s why so many people comment on standalone stories asking for a ‘part two,’ and yet you rarely see a comment on a part two of said standalone saying ‘Wow, this turned out better than the original, I’m so glad I asked for this’. There are times longform is needed. There are times it is not. Do not be confused – no one form is superior to the other and it’s possible that as an erotica writer, longform is not for you. If so, this essay will be of little use to you. That said, while shortform erotica is the greatest way to get attention to start off your hobby/career, longform erotica is the best way to gain dedicated readers who will be eagerly awaiting every move you make, unless that move is, say, writing an essay on erotica writing that no one asked for. Random example.
A great way to find out which kind of writer you are is by asking yourself for what purpose you’re writing. If the purpose is to portray characters primarily, and have the sex be things that happen to these characters, not the main focus of the story, you may very well be a longform writer. If you’re writing only for the primal rush of sex, and love writing the kinkiest, most palpable sex scenes, you may be a shortform sex story writer. There are exceptions, like mypenname3000, who writes longform erotica clearly just for the sex, but as unpopular an opinion as it is, I don’t think he’s a very good writer at all. I often wonder if it’s truly a coincidence that longform erotica writers who clearly write just to showcase sex have stories that all sound the same. That’s a blanket statement, but speaking as someone who writes and critically looks at erotica, I can say this of 90% of longform erotica writers who write only to showcase sex. This is obviously one guy’s opinion, but especially if you’re starting out, your 30-chapter-long story that isn’t about character development, just sex, isn’t going to have to many dedicated readers sticking around for chapters ten and up.
Why is this? Hell, this is the case with longform erotica that focuses on character development too. Is longform erotica a game you’re destined to lose from the start? Not quite, but it’s less bent on instant gratification. A ‘part one’ or ‘chapter one’ of a story will get, in theory, as many readers as a standalone story. Now, let’s say we have two writers, Writer A and Writer B. Writer A felt comfortable leaving his story there and moved on to make a standalone story. Writer B writes her stories as a consistent chain of events and wrote a part two to her story. If we pretend quality and initial popularity isn’t a factor, Writer A’s second story will reach just as many people as his first because it’s another story and there are no prerequisites needed. However, Writer B has a unique advantage and disadvantage. Her story is more enticing to readers who read the first part, which means people who happened to enjoy Writer B’s first work, upon getting a second instalment, will graduate, from a reader whose allegiance lies with the highest bidder (the ‘highest bidder’ being the most interesting story they see in the archives) to a dedicated reader. This is huge. To have readers know your name and actively follow you not for *a* story, but for *your* story. With this, though, comes a disadvantage for Writer B. Virtually no new readers will check in at or after part/chapter two. Part/chapter one has the most viewers her story will get ,realistically. VERY few stories break this rule. So to help visualize it, Writer A has 100 people that happen to be crowded around him at the moment before moving on to the next neat story, whereas Writer B has 20 people that wait for updates from her story. As mentioned, though, this is assuming initial popularity and quality of stories are not factors.
Hopefully by this point you’ve gotten a sense of which type of erotica you want to pen. And don’t be fooled – longform erotica CAN just be about sex, and shortform erotica CAN focus primarily on characters, it’s just not that common. The best way to figure it out is to start writing and see what feels the most comfortable to you. Once you start, though, as mentioned previously, there are a few rules that need be followed.
The first rule is to have or at least develop a plot to the story. This seems more Herculean a task than in actuality – ‘girl has sex with boy 1 in chapter 1 and boy 2 in chapter two’ is technically a plot. Have some kind of plot though. Writing longform means you’re asking for dedication from your viewers, and the reason numbers decline from chapter to chapter is because that dedication becomes too much for some readers, who want a more instant gratification. What do you have that creates this dedication? Your plot will have a heavy hand in this. One of my readers told me he was unsure about Being More Social at first, and only kept reading because he “had to find out what happened in the student council election.” Thus, dedication was crafted. I managed, through plot, to make a reader stick around long enough to the point where he was invested in the story. Do not underestimate the value of plot in a story, even if it’s just about sex. It matters.
Let’s talk about the sex itself for a bit. In a longform story, the sex itself will most likely not be the entirety of the story. Unless you plan to make a 16-chapter story about one egregiously long boning session, there will be stuff other than sex in your story. How does it all balance out? Enter rule two of writing longform erotica: decide a balance. In my stories, I write primarily to showcase non-sexual events and the sexual events that take place are not ‘in the spotlight,’ so to speak, but they compliment the overall story nonetheless. The sex is the ‘frosting on the cake,’ so to speak, to the point where I’d say my stories are only 10% sex. This is by no means the rule (in fact from what I’ve seen my stories are the exception) and you should not feel obligated to have that little sex in your story. But know where you’re comfortable. If your story is 90% sex, there should be a purpose for that. If there’s so much sex going on, maybe there’s some kind of sci-fi element, like a spore released on a town that makes people bone non-stop while one immune boy desperately looks for the cure. Look at that, from one simple statistic I carved a plot and a plan for how much sex will go on in the story, as well as a justification why that much sex is happening. That part is severely important.
Okay, so you have your plot and your sex ratio, as it were. Now you’re getting a good idea where this story is going. The last rule deals with characters, and it’s a huge one: Don’t boil down your character’s role in the story to the role they play in sex. This rule can be broken in some circumstances (like in a mind-control story where your protagonist gets bored, takes control of some guy, then fucks him for a bit and throws him away like garbage), but it’s a good general rule to follow. In fact, even in the example cited, I had a clear reason *why* someone’s value in the story was reduced to sex: power fantasy, a common theme in stories. This said, understand a character’s motivations, how their manner of speaking makes them sound unique (e.g. are they condescendingly smart? Are they emotionally damaged and silent to everyone they don’t trust? Are they crazily outgoing and energetic? How might that sound through dialogue?) Also think about yourself. You may have come to this site to rub one out. Probably, right? But hey – what happens after you’re satisfied? Do you go back to work? Do you play video games? Browse Facebook for a bit, perhaps? Or do you have a job interview in a bit, maybe an appointment with an old friend? You’re a human. Humans aren’t just sex machines, we have lives outside of sex. Your characters should be no different. If you’re writing longform erotica, in terms of the characters, you’re selling relatability and aspiration. Some of my viewers look up to BMS’ anxious Adam, who learns how to look after himself in a troubling time. They look up to tough, bold, cheeky Nicole, who is a slut but doesn’t let that define her whole self. Both characters have lives outside of sex, and not only do their sex lives bleed into their personal lives, their personal lives bleed right back. They go through character arcs where they learn about others/themselves, they have epiphanies, they have sex cut off from them or have excessive sex at some parts, but they’re thinking learning growing humans, just like you are. Maybe you’re thinking, ‘Wow, Guy A gets to bone Girl B, I wish I were him.’ Congratulations, you just related yourself to a character. Maybe you see something someone does in a sex story and think, ’I would have made a different decision if I were in that decision.’ Congratulations, you just related yourself to a character. Plus, having more non-sexual scenes will make your readers crave sex scenes so much more. Why do you think teasing is such a common theme in sex? Anticipation is a powerful force. Use that to your advantage. It’s no fun if your leading character has every advantage in the world at the start of the story and has no challenge getting the partner(s) he wants, especially when the majority of the mannerisms of the partners are the exact same, ESPECIALLY especially if these characters submit to the main protagonist out of principle for no reason other than a weird power fantasy that has no real plot *cough mypenname3000 cough*.
On that extremely petty note, a short note on advancement – plot is important, but while your readers may be excitable, they’re not stupid. So many longform erotica stories have fallen into the unfortunate trap of thinking that adding more girls for the male protagonist to sleep with is ‘advancement.’ On it’s own, no, it’s not. I know it’s the most tempting thing to just add an ever-increasing variety of conquests but not only does this devalue people and reduce them to their sexual value, as previously mentioned, it really does nothing but pad out the story. I’m not alone when saying I as a reader stop reading a story when it’s clear the story has stopped being about anything other than ‘who’s next.’ This is especially painful when all of the characters act the same – usually a submissive girl with daddy issues who loves sex and has a weird attachment to the male protagonist with some lame excuse involving ‘the alpha male.’ Congratulations, you’ve just put up a neon sign declaring, “I have no clue how to write good characters.” This applies to most of mypenname3000’s stories (I imagine due to demand, not lack of talent – the author has written good things before, just every story made recently has been pretty well the exact same with all of his girl characters tweaked slightly differently, like she’s more immature or she’s got a bratty side or she took a whole extra chapter to seduce because she’s a prude or something, even though they’re all basically the same character) but this problem is not limited to one author. It’s so very tempting to just add characters and assume that raises the stakes in a long-term story. After all, more characters are having sex. That means advancement, right? No. It does not. It means you’re seeing the quantity of people as an advancement. Giving them unique kinks doesn’t help this, either. More people does not always mean a better story. I would rather read a story about Larry getting together with Monica after years spent apart, only to realize that Monica refuses to date because she secretly had a crush on him, and Larry tries to hint he likes her too without explicitly saying it due to his shyness, rather than a story about Larry getting with Monica in chapter 1, then Monica brings in her sister for some fun in chapter 2, then the neighbor Sarah with a foot fetish comes over in chapter 3, then Jessica from the next town with E cups joins in randomly in chapter 4, then Cleopatra comes thanks to a time machine and she’s really into public sex in chapter 5. At some point all of these characters blend together in one boring mess, and they usually all sound alike (usually because not knowing how to write many voices and writing too many characters are both amateur mistakes). Advancement is more than just ‘more ______.’ It doesn’t mean ‘more,’ it means ‘better.’
Longform erotica is not for the guy who has a passing interest in writing erotica. It’s a long-term dedication and has very little payoff in the beginning. As well, maybe your first story will be a flop. Hey, it happens. That said, three basic rules of writing erotica (make a plot, decide a ratio of sex scenes to other scenes, and don’t limit characters to sex machines) will give you your greatest opportunity to making something good of your sex story when you first create it. Feel free to use any of the scenarios I made up above if it inspires you – in fact, let me know in the comments if you ever write anything based on them, because I’d love to see what you could come up with. Just make sure that your viewers are both hooked and given a reason to continue. You don’t want viewers not coming to your first chapter since that’ll spell doom for your story, and you don’t want readers dropping like flies. Remember that everyone’s erotica can always be improved, so keep an open eye to what works and what makes for a good story. Keep on writing, I believe in you.
2 thoughts on “Three Rules When Writing Longform Erotica”
There is the rare case where the sequel of a standalone story is by many considered better: “New Kahala” after “What are the odds?” by Rollinbones on Literotica. Personally my favourite which I have reread few times.
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Not sure if I have missed it or not. But it seems to me you have omitted in your essays to mention strengths, weaknesses and various other aspects of different POVs of story narration. It is not anything specific to erotic stories, but as a general writing skill, it is closely related to how the story is perceived by readers.
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