Writing is a popular and fulfilling activity- whether you do it for a living or you're just looking for a new venture to pass your spare time. Writing, like most other forms of art, is all about you- your ideas, your feelings, your attitudes. Your story is your chance to make your own world- one not necessarily bound by the rules and conventions of the on in which you live. It's a chance to break free for a while, so to speak.
Your readers want the same thing- a chance to leave behind Mc Cafés, fax machines, and yield on green signs and enter a world in which they exist only to enjoy a tale of another's existence.
Perhaps this is why they take such offense when a story is unreadable for any reason.
When people read your story, they expect you to do the majority of the work. They don't want to have to think too hard to understand the words in front of their faces. If the words in front of them are unsatisfactory, they will walk away from them, perhaps muttering a small curse, and then banishing your work to the recesses of their minds.
You want your work to be remembered, and you don't have to be Charles Dickens to achieve that. There are a few simple rules that you can follow to avoid the dreaded unmarked grave of obscurity, and they begin with the first words readers see.
The title of your entry is the single most important part of your entry- it is the primary tool readers use to decide whether they will bother reading it. It would seem that coming up with a title would be a fairly simple task, but titling erotic fiction can be especially tricky, and there are a few serious no-no's that you need to be aware of before you submit.
Your title is not a description.
Don't write the synopsis of your story as the title. Your title should be as tastefully brief, catchy, and memorable as possible, and titles that are too descriptive of the stories they label won't be taken seriously. An example of some title don'ts:
Two Gay Guys Fuck in an Elevator
Jennifer Sucks John's Meaty Cock
My Wife Gave Me an Unexpected Blowjob
…and so on, you get the idea. Fairly straightforward.
Try not to over sex your title.
There's nothing funnier, or more amateur, than a title that is ridiculously lewd. While it might seem like a good idea to advertise the incredible sexual prowess your story displays by putting it out front, its not. For instance:
Juan's Rock Hard Fuckstick Plows Angie's Sopping Pussy
Creaming My Pussy Juice Soaked Panties
Fucking a Virgin Slut Deep in Her Ass
By simply following the first rule, you can significantly reduce your incidence of oversexed titles. With only a limited number of words to work with, it is nearly impossible to break this rule. You want your title to pique the reader's interest, not make them spew their milk onto their keyboard.
Steer Clear of Clichés and Sayings
The primary problem you'll face with clichéd titles is redundancy. Most of us here speak English, and this language only has so many clichés. Whichever one you're planning on using has undoubtedly been used already, and if it hasn't, it will be after you use it. Examples:
A Chance Encounter
You're all well aware of how many of these there are.
Once in a Lifetime
Again, not so original.
Not so much.
The key to successfully using plays on words is making them up yourself. If you find yourself having difficulty, choose and existing play on words applicable to your story, and change the examples, the words, or their order to fit your story specifically. If your story is about a chance encounter, focus on other aspects of the tale than just the fact that the encounter happened by chance. Focus on the place, the time, or some other detail that is important to the story and will set your tale apart, in a good way.
Avoid Boring or Extremely Common Titles
This is another redundancy snag. Even more common than a cliché is an everyday utterance. Example:
Back to School
There will be many stories with these titles across all genres, and using them will probably render your story a forgotten memory once it leaves the New Submissions page. Don't let it happen to you.
Spell all the words in your title correctly.
Misspelling words in your title is like Pride to Dante- the biggest cardinal sin you can commit, from which all others arise. No number of 'Hail Mary's will save you after a blunder like this.
When entering a theme contest, the theme should never appear in your title.
If you are entering the Halloween story contest, the word Halloween should never be caught dead in your title. The same goes for Earth Day, Valentine's Day, and Christmas. The place to let the reader know that you are entering the contest is in a short note at the beginning of your story, not here.
Finding a catchy title is all about creativity. Draw inspiration from all aspects of your story, not just the erotic parts. All stories are original, with details and tidbits that are unique to each one. Don't settle for a tired cliché or a painfully overt sentence- find a special something in your anecdote and capitalize on it. The best titles are the ones that convey the most meaning with the least effort.
Within the Pages
Don't confuse characters.
Keep track of who the people are in your story. Don't mix up names. As someone who is guilty of this unforgivable crime, I can tell you that readers don't respond kindly to six different names for the same character. Its exhausting to try and riddle out who's who in a story where nobody knows who they are. Make sure you keep track of the players on your board.
Vary Your Sentence Structure.
Don't use the same simple sentence for every thought in your story. There are four basic types of sentences in the English language, and here they are:
Simple Sentence: One independent clause, with no dependent clauses. In short, just a straightforward statement.
I went to the store.
She loved your new hat.
My dog likes to run fast.
Compound Sentence: Multiple independent clauses, but no dependent clause. A joining of two freestanding ideas.
I ran down the hall and I tripped over a rug.
She jumped off of the roof and she broke her arm.
Henry got into his car and he drove to the store.
Complex Sentence: One independent clause and at least one dependent clause. Usually begin with a subordinator (because, if, when, etc.).
Because she lost her homework, Anna skipped her morning class.
Since I went to Disneyland, the local water park has lost its appeal.
Although I like geography, math is my favorite subject.
Compound-Complex Sentence: Multiple independent clauses and at least one dependent clause. Most complicated sentence structure.
Without editor Lara's unending support, Eric's novel would have been unreadable; his writing skills were mediocre and his ideas were bland.
Andy's dog could perform a wide array of tricks, and after he attended a special training school where he learned to recognize more words, his tricks became even more entertaining.
The best way to make use of these types is not to pick just one, but to alternate between them. No one type is superior to another, and each has its own advantages in different situations.
Vary your words.
Word variation is just as important as sentence variation. In erotic fiction especially, many writers have the tendency to use the same word to describe the same things (read: sex) repeatedly throughout the work. You want the reader to be heavily involved in the actions of the characters, and using the same words to describe their actions over and over will bore the reader, giving the piece a repetitive feel.
When describing sex, you shouldn't use the words 'dick' and 'pussy' over and over again. Find new words to put in their places. Example:
This doesn't just apply to these two words- anything you mention more than once in your story can benefit from a little variety.
Just as there are good replacements for explicit words, there are bad ones. Never use these.
Pecker (my personal favorite)
Wee-wee (yes, I've seen it happen)
The tunnel of love
You might be surprised at what a difference a little word choice makes- it can have a profound effect on the quality of you piece. Consider this when editing your piece for final submission.
When it comes to sex scenes, description, not vulgarity, is key.
When writing a love scene, be as specific as possible about what's happening. The clearer the picture in the reader's mind of what's taking place, the more aroused they are likely to become. Details make the story, the situation, and the characters more believable. The more believable the elements, the hotter the story; the hotter the story, the higher the ratings and readership. Example:
Rick took his long, thick, uncut fuckstick and shoved it deep in Miranda's waiting cunt, thrusting as hard as he could.
Unable to resist any longer, he thrust up into her, forcing her entire body upward into the waterfall. He watched in amazement as the water pored over her shoulders and trickled down her chest, dripping off of the tips of her nipples. He began to fuck her as hard as he was able then, reveling in the warmth and tightness of her pussy as it gripped him fiercely, threatening to suck his seed from him before he was ready. He breasts bounced wildly in front of him, the drops of water that had previously dripped from her nipples now landing on his face with every thrust. He felt her begin to spasm around him, and he held on with all that was in him to avoid coming before she finished.
While the first entry is certainly erotic and straightforward, the descriptiveness of the second verse gives the reader a clearer picture of what's happening. Men, who make up a substantial number of readers on this site, are very visual, and the more clearly they can see the picture in their minds, the more aroused they are likely to become. It's like high-definition TV.
Story writing is about more than the rules explained above- the heart of your story is essential to its success. But once you have your ideas on paper, looking over it and making these small adjustments can keep your story from slipping into the realm of things forgotten.