I read a lot of erotica. Sometimes, it's wonderful. Occasionally, it's dull. And then there's the truly dreadful stuff. TDS makes me grumpy, and since I'm suffering through an anthology full of it, I'm going to vent.
People write erotica for many reasons. Many write their personal fantasies. Those stories have a sense of urgency and raw lust that I love. But if you're writing for publication, please follow a few simple rules.
1) Read a lot of erotica. That way, you'll be aware of the cliched plots. The one that's driving me nuts right now is the old "man/woman picks up a stranger for hot sex, but in the end, the stranger ends up being his/her wife/husband" plot. It's not a clever twist. It's stupid. Worse, it's unoriginal stupid.
2) Misogyny isn't sexy. That includes women writers hating on other women. Quit showing women as gossiping, jealous, hateful biddies. It does nothing for your story, and it doesn't make your character fascinating by comparison.
3) Dudes - women generally do not get turned on by feeling up their own breasts. Women do that in porn because their hands are standing in for the viewer's hands. In real life, women do not go around groping themselves. It's not the same feeling as stroking your cock.
4) About 50% of the population in erotica have flashing emerald eyes. In real life, no one does. Knock it the fuck off.
5) Have you ever worn stockings for a romantic evening out on the town? There's a reason pantyhose were invented. About the time the salad is served at that dimly lit romantic restaurant, the garter is digging into the back of your thigh. The reason you're squirming through the main course isn't because of your wet panties or his fascinating discussion. It's because you're trying to figure out how to move the garter without hiking up your skirt to your waist. After you go powder your nose, AKA go to the bathroom and move the damn garters (when you also realize that the bulk of the garter belt below your waist makes you look like you added ten pounds of belly weight), you realize that the pressure mark from the garter feels as if your skin has been sliced open. Then you go back to the table and sit down, which is like rubbing salt into that cut from the garter. Sexy? Not exactly. God help you if you're headed to the theater after dinner. No wonder women in stockings peel off their clothes so quickly.
6) If you're writing a fetish piece, then please, lovingly describe the piece of clothing that inspires the fetish, but spend more time talking about how the character reacts to it. Otherwise, the full back story about how she went shopping with her bff and bought the sexy little dress and push up bra that cost too much and really she shouldn't have, but she has no spine and her bff dared her to so she couldn't say no has no place in your story. So give us all a break and back off the fashion report. It's how your character feels that's important, not the color of the panties.
7) If you have to tell readers that your character is sexy, you haven't written a sexy character.
8) Does you character have amnesia? No? Then why the hell does she have to spend two paragraphs in front of a mirror describing what she sees to herself? Doesn't she know she has flashing emerald eyes? Does she need to remind herself? Does she need to verify it by looking in a mirror? "Why yes, I do indeed have flashing emerald eyes." No doubt she's going to spend a third paragraph describing that push up bra her bff made her buy. I'll be skimming by that point, as will many of your readers. Soon, I will fling the book.
9) No real live human being says, "I feel vulnerable." Few even think those words.
10) Anyone who lets a complete stranger tie them up without telling friends where they're going - at a minimum, a chaperon is better - is an idiot and deserves to be featured on the ten o'clock news after the police find the body.
I feel so much better having ranted. Now on to the second story...