So let’s give some context to this essay: I wrote for audiences at sexstories.com hence the reference to the site and its stories, as well as a ‘comments section’. We cool? Cool. Gimme five.
If you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance you either want to write erotic stories or write them, as a hobby or a career. First of all, good for you. I’m glad you’re dedicating time to create, and to create what you enjoy. What’s more, you’re giving it to other people, for free, for their enjoyment. That’s very admirable. Secondly, I don’t need to tell you you’re in for a world of competition. The world of creating writing is either very sparse, desolate and lonely, or very cutthroat. Either you’re throwing a book out onto Amazon and getting maybe one review and feeling like you’re stuck in a desert with no water, or you’re posting somewhere like here and you were riding in at 93% in hour one of your story going live, only to sit at 87% and off the ‘top rated, last 30 days’ chart a couple hours later because other writers wanted their story at the top, and they very maturely think that burying everyone else’s story is a better strategy than borrowing their friend’s laptop and giving their story another anonymous vote (or better yet, writing better stories to begin with).
This place is very crowded, and very cutthroat. In order to survive, you can’t even let it be to allow your stories to speak and breathe for themselves. You can’t just pen erotica. You have to become an erotica writer, and be a name on this website yourself.
Perhaps that’s confusing in theory, but odds are if I said ‘Melanieatplay’ or ‘Squatting_Eagle’, then hold up my other hand and say ‘mypenname3000’ or ‘White_Walls’ you’d get where I’m coming from. You can easily compare and contrast these writers, and what’s more, if you’re familiar with any of these names, you associate them with something, more often than not their style or their most successful story. If you’re really obsessed with reading erotica, you might be able to answer a short list of attributes about them. Well, let’s replace that window with a mirror – let’s take a look at you today. You, the budding erotica writer or household name among this site’s community. Knowing what you write is very important – it helps you understand your priorities as a writer, and will help you get better as you learn your strengths and weaknesses. Get out a notepad and get ready to take notes on the most interesting character you’ve ever come up with – yourself.
Long or Short?
As sick as I am of hearing every story describe the male protagonist’s penis in vivid detail somewhere in the first three or so paragraphs, I have to concede that size matters. The size of one’s story is very telling about the writer.
I will say this gingerly and hesitantly – longer stories seem to do better on a whole. I can’t think of a single well-known writer on this site I’ve come across that had all of their stories be 3000 words or less. That doesn’t mean you can’t be the first, of course, but smaller stories demand precision writing. I’m not good at precision writing myself, so I write very long stories. Sometimes the sex scene itself can take several thousands of words, in a story only partially about sex. Do you write long or short stories? Why are they long or short?
If they’re short because you can’t commit to writing something too long, fair enough, but don’t expect to top the charts. If you write shorter stories because you wrote well and you don’t need to say any more, bravo. I hope what you wrote is good. If you write long stories because you have a lot to say or like to embellish, that’s a good strategy. People like to read longer things in general sometimes because finishing it is more of an accomplishment. This is true with movies, video games, books, etc. Longer stories have their own appeal even in the “Wow, I read all that?” appeal. That said, unnecessarily padding is going to bore readers. So again I ask, are your sex stories short or long?
Continuous or Standalone?
Is ‘long’ not good enough for you? You don’t care that you just wrote a 10,000 word story about Sydney the Serbian Slut, you want to make a Sydney the Serbian Slut Part 2. Well then, you would prefer continuous works to standalone pieces.
If you want a following, continuous works are the greatest way to go about it. There’s no better way to pull readers into your author page and have them hitting the refresh button every hour than making an unfinished series that people want to resolve. This is the same kind of thing that makes people like long stories – people like closure, to see things through to the end. If you wrote a compelling piece, but then released a Compelling Piece Part Two, a good number of readers will flock to it, even if it’s not as good as the first. The same can’t be said of a writer who writes Compelling Piece then two months later makes Unrelated Slightly Less Compelling Piece. Even if the piece is as ‘meh’ as Compelling Piece Part Two, people will always prefer the series.
However, there’s a catch to writing continuously – attention and commitment. Everyone likes to think they have unlimited amounts of both, but they don’t. I certainly don’t. I like writing short pieces a lot. They’re great to cleanse my writing palette, and I don’t feel trapped by having to write about the same characters fucking for the third month in a row.
Plus, a good standalone piece can go a long way in solidifying your writing chops, whereas continuous pieces will net you more viewers. Don’t believe me? Go look at the ‘Top Rated Stories’ and ‘Most Read Stories’ of this site. At the time of writing this essay, 9 out of 10 of the top rated stories on this site are standalone pieces, and 6 out of 10 of the most read stories in the history of the website are chapters or at least were at some point works in progress. It’s worth asking not only if you want your works to be standalones or continuous pieces, but also if you ever want to shake up the formula.
One World or Imagination Roulette?
Okay, so I made up a term for this one, you got me. With the first step being the length of an individual story, then the length of a series, the last step in the discussion of length becomes your continuity. Do you fancy yourself a Quentin Tarantino or a J.R.R. Tolkien? QED, do all of your stories take place in the same universe you made? Are your stories in actuality bits and pieces of a large story you’re telling over time?
I rag off on him possibly more than he deserves, but mypenname3000 is a notable example of an author who creates worlds, not just stories. Just like with continuous series, a One World is a great way to cultivate a dedicated and passionate audience, and a nice way to have dedicated readers be rewarded with recognizing characters, places and events from past works.
On the flip-side, making a One World sucks in one distinct way – limitations. If you establish a rule in a story, like for example that mind control exists and everyone knows about it, that means that will have to play some kind of role in all of your later stories, or at least you’ll have to take it into consideration. If you’re more of an author that writes whatever comes to you, playing Imagination Roulette is the more rewarding path. This basically means your stories have no world connection, and whatever your next story will be is not limited to the world you create, but rather what your twisted kinky little mind comes up with next.
I heartily recommend readers look up an underrated author on this site, PanTheWriter. Pandora has since moved on to selling their books, but their stories on this site are a great example of creating otherworldly stories (usually having something to do with mind control) that clearly have no connection to one another. That would be a fine example of an author playing Imagination Roulette.
Sex or Story?
This one may be an obvious one. A good 90% of you immediately will answer this one with “Sex,” and to that I say, fair enough. Most authors here want their readers to get hard or wet to their stories, and some are even fixated on showing off that they’re the king/queen of sexting in story format. Ego-driven motivations aside, most erotica authors are more interested in the erotic portions of their stories. Good news for those authors – 90% of viewers are here for the sex too, and usually skim through story sections to get to the sex. You’re not exactly short on your audience.
But you have to own the bad as well as the good on that front – if you’re trying to go for sex, that means you have to wrestle and battle with everyone else in that 90% that want to write sex. Sex may be high in demand, but it’s also high in supply, and you’ll be making an uphill battle for relevance. Not only are you battling for attention amongst everyone else writing about sex, but you’re also trying to win the attention away from past authors who already posted their works here eons ago and subsequently left, such as Rhiannon57.
If you’re anything like me (and I sincerely hope not), you started writing on this site because you wanted to write stories, and figured you could write stories with sex in them. This comes with owning the bad and the good as well – the bad of this is if you’re primarily making a story, and it happens to have sex in it, you’re going to get a niche appeal at best. Very few people come here with the intent of reading for over a few minutes to get to the sex. However, the good is an indescribable gift – the readers you do get will be the most dedicated and kind viewers you’ll ever see, and I have the privilege to speak from firsthand experience. Even with the sometimes questionable climate of this place, I can safely say that I downright love the community of my stories, and that has a lot less to with me and my writing than it does with passion and dedication in readers that want a story.
Essentially, if you have patience and are okay with less views but a more consistent and kind readerbase, writing stories may be for you. This of course also hinges on what you want to write. If you like writing the hottest scenes possible and can’t wait to get there, maybe writing stroke stories or sex-centric stories is more your speed. I can’t make that call for you, just as I can’t answer any of these sections on your behalf. My job here is only to get you thinking about what you are, and prompting an answer from you.
Showcase: Story, Kink or Character
Just like length, this section has a few layers to it. This is another layer to asking if you’re writing sex or a story, and focuses on what your story is about. Is your erotica about the story, the crazy adventure your protagonist goes on? Hell, even if it’s about the sex, is it about all the sex adventures they’re having?
Or perhaps it’s about the type of sex they’re having. Do you want to be known as ‘the mind control writer’ or ‘the guy that always writes those bestiality stories’ or ‘the girl who makes those ‘diary-style’ stories’? You might want to specialize in kink stories then.
Maybe you have a character you really want to showcase. Either because they make for a fascinating story, or because you want to see them splattered with semen, I don’t know. The more important thing is that you do. Odds are when these suggestions are laid out, an answer forms in your mind. And it doesn’t have to be a solid one-way answer. You could answer “Well, a bit of all three” and that’s fine, because look at that, you now know a little more about what kind of erotica writer you are.
I can safely say that in terms of the stories I write on this site, I specialize in story showcasing. However, I also focus a fair bit on characters, so the answer to this one can be very fluid. Decide for yourself – in your stories, what matters most to you/your audience you’ve made?
Panderer or Niche?
Yup, that’s correct, your audience matters too. Especially if you’ve built one up already, the old adage of “I only write for me” is kind of silly. If you truly only wrote for yourself, you wouldn’t post these online. Some people do it purely because they like the attention and the spotlight on themselves, which is fine, I guess. Whether you want a spotlight or you want to reach as many people as possible, you need to think about how much of a panderer you are.
This ties into the previous topic – by showcasing a kink, your main appeal will be to people who enjoy that kink. When you focus on the story, you appeal mainly to people who enjoy either a big story or a lot of sex, depending on what you write, etc, etc. Arguably, focusing on a kink not many focus on, such as leather for example, would be a niche story.
You can also use the overall tone or situation of your story (where it takes place and what takes place) to make it niche. My recent story Panopticon is very niche. A strange narrator makes a sex story based on the concept of the surveillance state. Not exactly the porn most people reach for. My niche audience were people looking for something new, which is a very valid approach. Equally valid are approaches towards a style that has been proven to work. There’s nothing I see more on this site than brother/sister and mother/son stories. Without fail, they always dominate the ‘Last 30 Days’ section. If you want to pander to a bigger audience, as disgusting as I personally find it, it’s your best bet. That said, my advice from earlier still stands – you’ll be fighting with every other author who tries to write in the most popular genres for the top space. The beauty of niche is exactly as it sounds – it’s niche, so if you write well, you won’t need too much luck on your side.
But then again, what even is writing well? I’m sure most of you have realized by this point that all of these factors play into each other. Not only is story length going to impact whether you do a continuous piece or a standalone, but it’ll also affect your appeal and whether your story will be mainstream or niche in its own way. All of these factors are not a checklist – they’re a spider web of criteria.
Each answer you give to this list of criteria that, let’s face it, I arbitrarily made up, will cement what kind of stories you write and in turn, what kind of writer you are. From this, you will start to write in a certain way and from that, a voice is born. Voice can change depending on the story, and almost every writer shows evidence of this. As minute as the differences are if you choose to be boring and boil a story down to its base components, your voice is not the voice of a single story but rather the amalgamation of your stories and all of their voices. White Walls’ Queen Yavara and Well, That Backfired ultimately have different voices, even with both using a dry and sarcastic tone to deliver sex with its own dash of humor. Mypenname3000 goes from pandering to the masses with a story about college incest to going for the most niche audiences ever by having a futanari run for president and make a few nuanced political jokes. My stories Amy’s Fantasy and Panopticon are completely different from one another, and both were born out of me wanting to try new things.
Your style isn’t a static force with which to project your voice. Your style is a constantly evolving organism that carries your voice. Each one of these criteria I listed play into your style, and each will change, even if only slightly, from story to story. Perhaps even from chapter to chapter. Ultimately, that’s a revelation you’ve either already seen in action, or are (hopefully) going to discover soon.
Why You Write
It’s super important that you think about these things. Not only are you more able to write according to your passions and understanding who your demographics are, it also helps authors to answer why they write. It’s a very vague question, and it’s vague for a question. Why do you write? Is it for fame? Recognition? Practice? Do you want to make people cum? Do you want to make people read stories under the guise of a quick jack-off session? If you’re thinking of writing, understanding why will keep you motivated and happy. If you’re writing now, understanding why will help clear your mind and remind you why you wake up in the morning and tell stories for people.
With that in mind, I have a little homework in this essay. If you’re currently a writer here and don’t have any other comment popping into your head, tell me why you write. Tell me your motivations, your goals, the stories in your head. I like to know about people, it’s a big reason why I write. I feel like writing brings me closer to people and their emotions, even if half the time they’re people I just made up. And sex is very similar, an intimate act that brings people closer together and inspires love, hate, and life.
Plus, if you comment telling myself and other commenters why you write, that means we can click your name at the top of the comment and see how that passion translates into your stories. I for one would love to see passionate writers from this website telling me why they love to write, and right after I’m done reading their personal view of writing, I can jump right into reading their work.
I genuinely love when people have passion for their craft and erotica is no exception, and I can see a lot of passionate people working away just by looking around here. I hope this essay will only contribute in positive ways towards the passion and overall community of this website. Feel free to disagree with my opinions all you want of course – the main purpose of this essay, as with every essay I do, is to make you think and start a conversation. So, now that you know at least a little more about yourself as an erotica writer, hop to it and keep writing. I know I and many others will be looking forward to your future stories.