New Release Titles

New Release Titles
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Monday, February 18, 2013

For Writers, By Writers | Erotica for Dummies

Now, I know none of you are dummies. Erotica for Dummies just tickled me as a title.

Let's talk about it.
 As I was thinking of a topic for this Monday's entry, it hit me just how many ways there are to describe erotica in a story.

  • Erotica
  • Erotic Romance
  • Romantica
  • Fiction with strong romantic and erotic elements
  • 18+, Meant for mature audiences only 
There are plenty of other places that define these categories, like this article over at Library Journal about Full-Frontal Shelving. Good reading. And everyone here already knows that erotica is not porn. Smart Bitch Sarah over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books said it best. No need to rehash.

The thing about erotica is that the focus of the story is the sex, right?

Well, kinda.

If that's all it was, then we'd be writing and reading porn, right? But we say erotica isn't porn. So then, why is it erotica?

It's erotica because the story takes us there the same way good foreplay does. 

I think everyone who writes romance should read Intimate Behavior: A Zoologist's Classic Study of Human Intimacy by Desmond Morris. It's an oldie but goldie. It discusses the stages of intimacy and the patterns of human behavior learned from infancy. The potential for depth in a relationship fording the uncharted waters of intimacy and sexuality in each interaction is phenomenal for a writer who understands how it all works at such a subconscious level.

Would this level of intimacy be hotter if you knew they just met?
Sex and physical intimacy go way beyond sex. By the time Tab A fits into Slot B, the couple (or threesome, or more, ha!) have covered astonishing ground.

One of the stages of intimacy that always strikes me so powerfully is the 8th stage: Hand to Head. By the time a couple has reached this stage of physical intimacy, they have conquered other tense challenges such as Arm to Shoulder, and Arm to Waist. Oftentimes, they reach the 7th's stage --Mouth to Mouth-- at the same time they reach the 8th stage.

Why is this so important?

Imagine this:
He stepped closer, his features half-hidden in the firelight. The deep russet of his silk waistcoat seemed the color of dried blood in the flickering light. She swallowed hard, trying to still her breathing.

Her heart pounded beneath her breast, and she knew her cheeks must be glowing pink. It seemed she was alight from head to toe. "Y-Your reputation precedes you, Master Kensington." She caught herself twisting her apron into knots and smoothed it down with sweaty palms.

 He laughed, a deep rumble that made her insides quiver. "You think you cannot trust me?" Ethan reached out and tucked a stray bit of hair behind her ear. The back of his knuckles traced down the line of her jaw, then tipped her chin up to look at him. 

Her stomach was twisting in upon itself, and her knees shook. She backed away a step, out of his reach. "I know I cannot trust you."

Okay, so this is an exaggerated example, but you get the idea. Putting hands to another person's head is a considerable leap in personal space. The head houses the brain. One hard blow can incapacitate and even kill someone. Most people duck their heads when they flinch. It's instinctive. Most of our senses --taste, sight, sound, smell-- are done with organs located in the head.

To allow someone to go there is quite a statement of trust with their physical safety.

As an erotic romance author, I try to give plenty of significance to the levels of intimacy that my characters would find particularly significant, given their individual backgrounds and personal space. A finger traced down the side of a cheek, in the right context, can be more erotic than the moment before a climax involving three penises, one female mouth, seven groping hands, and a rubber chicken.

Not that I have anything against the chicken.

It's all fun and games 'till someone kicks a chicken.


Writing is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. That inspiration can carry you through the 90%, but only by understanding the tools at your disposal. Delena knows a thing or two about writing tools and how to make the most of your writing. Want her to prove it? Visit her blog The Printed Fox and check out her series For Writers, By Writers. Delena Silverfox is a historical erotic romance author with Naughty Nights Press.

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