tagReviews & EssaysWhat Does Descriptive Writing Mean?

What Does Descriptive Writing Mean?


Many authors here at Literotica, know the site hosts a year-long contest called Survivor. The goal of this contest is to write as many stories in as many different categories that Lit., offers. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Well, not for everyone and certainly not for me.

I've competed in the Contest a couple of times; this year will mark my third attempt. The first time was in 2006 and I placed 4th. In 2008 I placed very low, but my heart wasn't in it. I had too much going on and was not truly able to focus on the muse. This year, I have returned to Lit., and my passion for writing has again reared its prolific head.

I probably won't write in every category, but I will do my best to write well thought out pieces, even if some are short and simply there for the stroke effect. Sometimes it's nice to give your mind a break and just write a – I need to get off – piece.

One category in particular that is stretching my imagination is the Review/Essay category. I've written two this year. One, an essay that covered my growth as an individual via online interaction and writing, the other, a self-review on my lowest scoring stories on Literotica. This particular essay you're reading now is just my opinion on what I feel defines descriptive writing in regards to erotica. I'm sure though that it can apply to all aspects of writing.

When someone asks me, what do you mean by descriptive writing? I explain it as if I was a painter and I am only allowed two colors: black and white. The white, is of course, the paper (or computer screen) and the black, is the ink (font).

Somehow I have to take those two colors and paint every color in the spectrum. I have to show you every temperature on a thermostat. You have to read flat print and the scenes have to jump out at you so you can taste, feel, breathe them in. That is descriptive writing.

I know some readers enjoy the less is more concept and I agree with them, that sometimes that is the best way to read some works. For me though, I prefer that concept in reading poetry, not in perusing a good story. I need the sensory details, the words that are going to physical cause a reaction from me.

I need to see the story unfold, the colors splash across the screen, and if the writer makes me literately gasp, moan, or chuckle that means they were truly right there with me. They provided me with the imagery needed to bring me into the story.

By being descriptive in the details of a setting you can place your reader there. They can see the color of the carpet; feel the texture as it presses into their skin as their lover lays them down in front of a roaring fire. They can feel that knowing heat from the flames as their bodies merge as one and a heat, just as blinding and just as hungry, begins to consume their souls.

I'm hoping to make, for the reader, a connection - whether it is emotional or physical. I just want them to feel what is happening. With erotica you have to consider your audience, but to do that you have to consider the genre you're writing in.

I prefer romance. I think that is my strongest category, but it is also usually my most flowery. I tend to be very lovey-dovey, but that's what romance is about – right? I also am drawn to Erotic Couplings, because that too can be romantic, but it doesn't have to be all about the love. It can be more lustful and heady. With these two categories I definitely spend more time on descriptions, hoping to engage the reader on all levels – emotional, physical and intellectual.

Descriptive writing pulls not only from the writer's personal experiences, but also from their imagination. I have never been bitten by a vampire, but I've written about vampires. I've never had anal sex, but I've written about it. I've never had two men at the same time, nor have I ever been forced into prostitution – yet I have allowed my imagination to take me to these places.

Through descriptive words I am able to see the blood being drawn from a victim as a vampire claims their life. I've seen the spaceships landing and docking on cold planets in my Sci-Fi submissions. I've also tasted the salty flavor of a lover's seed as it glides down my throat and warms my belly. Words carry me there, just as I hope they carry my readers.

When writing something for another person, I have to step out of the scene and look at it from their eyes. I have to focus on where the hands are going, what the fingers are doing, how the skin is reacting. Does the position make sense? Could this or that really happen? And what of the sounds that are invading the room? Is there a fish tank gurgling in the background, a car alarm going off? Or is this just a perfect setting and there is nothing/no one around that will interrupt my characters?

With all of the above said I find myself sometimes struggling for new words, new ways to describe something without it being repetitive. I don't want to use the word cock five times in the same paragraph. So I will come up with different words: shaft, rod, tool, member, and dick. I am aware that some people just want you to call it what it is and leave it alone, but again the imagery is in the words.

The same applies with pussy. Yes, that word too can be colorful and changed up in a descriptive story. Some words are crass like cunt, but if the word fits, I'll use it and not be ashamed either. Vagina, though technical, can still be used erotically in a story, as can silly words like honey-pot (though that one really needs its own special place – maybe in a Goldilocks and The Three Bears erotic twist scenario – coming soon). The point I'm trying to make is that no matter the situation, descriptiveness is going to reward the reader with the colors, tastes, and sounds of the piece.

I've been asked my opinion on stories and I cringe because I don't want to ever come across as I know everything there is about writing erotica, because I don't. I'm simply a stay-at-home mom that has a lot of time to kill once the house is in order, and the family is taken care of. I am by no means a professional and I don't ever claim to be, but I do find most new writers lack the vocabulary to capture their readers. I'm sure I did in the beginning as well.

Practice descriptive writing. Take it one line, one paragraph, one story at a time and weave a tale that you can see in every color of the rainbow, though you only have two at your disposal. Don't shy away from something that really appeals to you, embrace it and open your eyes up to what can be a very fun and enjoyable experience.

Remember writing descriptively means you are appealing to every aspect of your reader, not just their sexual wants or desires, but their emotional, physical and intellectual. To me descriptive writing does just that, it touches every part of me and leaves me breathless and hungry for more. :-)

~ Red

(- and yes that smile was intentional)

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