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'07 Authors Insider Tips

by Louisa Burton
Formatting Your Manuscript
Scams / Choosing an Agent
Pitching Your Novel...
From The Call to Published...

Hard Business
From Greg Herren
Who Is Telling This Story?
It’s Work, Not A Hobby
Where Ideas Come From

Sexy on the Page
With Shanna Germain
Plotting Erotic Fiction
Seducing Your Muse
Creating Characters...
Description, Action & Dialogue
Fucking on Paper
Ten No-Nos of Erotic Fiction
Climactic Moments: First Draft
Critique Groups
Revising Your Erotic Story
Finding the Perfect Markets...
Just Submit Already
Rejections and Acceptances

Two Girls Kissing
With Amie M. Evans
Verb Tense Confusion
Coming Up with Story Ideas
Attend a Writers’ Conference
The Fundamentals of POV
Should I Sign That?
Etiquette for Authors
Erotica is Serious Work
No Body Writes for Free...
Shameless Self Promotions
The Myth of Writer's Block

The Write Stuff
From Ashley Lister
The Time is Write
The Beautiful People
A Book by Any Other...
Synopsis: the Necessary Evil
Erotica or Porn?
Feedback Whine

2007 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
What's it like being a writer?
An Apology to Salespeople

Get All Worked Up
With J.T. Benjamin
About Secrets
The Perfect Fuck
About Choices
The Age of Consent
The Kingmaker
Kids and Sex
The Price of Beauty
The G.O.P.
All Worked Up About Hate
Real Men

Pondering Porn
With Ann Regentin
Good Sex: A Physics Lesson
Meet Frankenstein
Thoughts on the Orgasm Gap
The Very Bloody Marys
The Doomsday Erection
Online Threesome Porn

Sexy on the Page
by Shanna Germain

A Hands-On Guide to Writing and Publishing Your Erotic Story



Shanna GermainEvery morning, I sit down at my desk with a cup of coffee and start writing about sex. Sometimes I’m journaling, trying to come up with an idea for a new story. Other times I spend hours revising, proofing and submitting a finished story. And then there are those great mornings, the ones where I have the pleasure of reading an acceptance letter or signing a publishing contract.

Brainstorming, revising, proofing, are just a few important steps to writing great erotica, the kind that makes editors say yes and that makes readers…well, do what they do when the read great sexy stories. But the path from erotic idea to published story is never easy, no matter if you’re an established author or a virgin writer.

Sexy on the Page is a twelve-series column designed to lead you step-by-step along that erotic writing path. It starts with the more basic topics, such as discovering erotic ideas and creating real-life characters, and leads you all the way to writing query letters and—hooray!—signing contracts. Depending on where you are in your career, you might dip into just the columns that interest you, or read each column in order. Either way, I hope it offers the inspiration, encouragement and writing tips that lead you to your next published story.

Seducing Your Muse: Ways to Generate Erotic Story Ideas

The erotic muse, like all muses, is an elusive creature. She’s not shy by any means (at least mine isn’t), but she’s definitely coy. When I first started writing sexy stories, my muse only appeared when I wasn’t looking for her (like during a business lunch). She would flash a thigh from behind the chair, or drape herself across the table in nothing more than a towel. When I sat down to write, though, it seemed that no amount of coaxing would bring her from her hiding spot.

Over the years, I’ve gotten better at enticing my muse out from her hiding spots. Some mornings I’ll sit down to write, and there she is, perched on the edge of my desk in her girl-school uniform or her peek-a-boo bra, ready to inspire me. Of course, now the problem is that I’ll look over at her and think, "Damn, I’ve already done that story. What else have you got?"

Inspiration for great erotica story ideas is no easy task. I typically use half a dozen different techniques to coax my muse out of hiding or to convince her to try on a brand new erotic idea. If one doesn’t work, I switch to another. And I keep a running list of every sexy idea I’ve ever had. That way, if my fickle muse decides to go lie across someone else’s desk for the day, I can dip into my list and keep writing anyway.

Six Ways to Seduce the Muse

Dip into your desires - Every day, new things arouse and delight us. I’ve found the best way to capture these experiences is to keep my eyes open and carry a notebook. Whenever I fall in lust with my bike mechanic’s dark brown eyes, pine for a lacy black thong that will perfectly contrast my pale curves or watch my partner’s strong hands while he chops basil, I add it to my ongoing list of things I find sexy. I jot quick notes about what I saw, how I felt, and anything else that I might want to use later. I once saw a woman in a restaurant with the most realistic strawberry tattoo. It made me want to lick her skin, just to see if it tasted like fruit. From a two-sentence note in my idea list, a short story was born.

If you are uncertain about your own desires, try journaling. Ask yourself what turns you on, what turns you off, what are your sexual fantasies that you’ve never told anyone else. Fiction is a great place to put all of those desires that may or may not come true.

Borrow other’s fantasies - Other people’s fantasies are a great place for story ideas. Depending on where you live and how open your friends are, you might give them a couple glasses of wine and get them talking about their sexual desires and fantasies. If this isn’t an option for you, sexual fantasies are the topic of numerous chat rooms, websites, Penthouse letters and Cosmo articles. A few years ago, a friend told me that he’d gotten his nipples pierced for his girlfriend. I ran with the idea, turned the narrator into a woman who wanted her nipples pierced but was afraid, and the sexy way her partner helped her through it.

One word of caution, however: remember, you’re writing fiction here. It’s fine to take the seed of someone else’s idea and turn it into your own story. It is never okay to take the blow-by-blow of their story and write it up.

Travel Around - Most people think of travel as going to some exotic place, but I mean travel as going somewhere—anywhere—and paying attention. Walk to a nearby coffee shop and listen to the people around you. Watch how people choose fruits in the grocery store. Drive to somewhere you’ve never been: the next town, a local park, a sex store. I have written a few stories based on travel to more exotic locales such as Amsterdam and Costa Rica, but more of my stories have come from travels to places like the local farmers market, the pet store and business conventions.

Explore the Things Around You - Objects of all shapes and sizes are sexy. Some of them, like sex toys and lingerie, are sexy by nature, while others—cars, belts, pool tables—have become associated with sex through the media. And then there are the objects that you can make your own, things that are not traditionally sexy. If I’m stuck for an idea, I’ll walk around my house or a nearby store, touching things, imagining how a character might use them in a sexual sense. A tiramisu recipe, a watering can and a canoe oar have provided the starter seed for stories.

In line with objects, images are another great idea tool. Tell the story of the orgasm that caused Mona Lisa’s famous smile, cut out magazine photos that you find sexy, or stop a porn film in the middle and create a story from what you see on the screen.

Play with language - Clichés, idioms, bumper stickers, campaign slogans and lists are great treasure troves in which to find erotic ideas. The saying, "One in the hand is better than two in the bush," turned into a kinky tale of two women on a hunting trip, and I know of many erotic writers who turn song titles into story titles and then go from there.

Find Calls for Submission - On my computer, I have a number of sites bookmarked that list calls for submission, and I check them regularly. If I find one that interests me, I add it to my list. In the past few months, I’ve added calls for sexy stories about latex, coffee, men in jail and birthday wishes. Once I pick one, say latex, I’ll journal on everything I know about latex until I find something that catches my interest. Often, these ideas will morph into something else, or I won’t finish the story by the deadline, but the guidelines get me writing, and that’s the most important part.

Your erotic muse may be fickle and coy, but once you know how to seduce her, you’ll have more story ideas than you’ll be able to use. In the next column, we’ll look at the how to turn the best of your erotic ideas into sexy plot lines.

Other Places to Find your Muse:

Don't miss my next column, "Then She Kissed Me: Creating a Plot Line"

Shanna Germain
November 2006

  Get Sexy on the Page with Shanna Germain in ERWA 2007 Archive.

"Sexy on the Page" © 2006 Shanna Germain. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Shanna Germain’s erotic stories have appeared or are scheduled to appear in dozens of publications and anthologies, including Absinthe Literary Review, Aqua Erotica 2, Best American Erotica, Best Bondage Erotica, Heat Wave and She is a fiction editor for Clean Sheets and a poetry editor for the American Journal of Nursing. You can see more of her work, erotic and otherwise, on her website,

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'07 Book Reviews


A for Amour / B for Bondage
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Best Women's Erotica '07
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The Butcher, The Baker...
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C is for Coeds
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Cream: The Best of ERWA
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Cream: The Best of ERWA
Perceptions by Cervo

Coming Together for the Cure
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F is for Fetish
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Got a Minute?
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He's on Top
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Love on the Dark Side
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Lust: ...Fantasies for Women
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The Mammoth Book Vol 6
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Naughty Spanking Stories
Review by Ashley Lister

Quickies 1
Review by Angelika Devlyn

She's on Top
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Sixteen of the Best
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Amorous Woman
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Boss
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Burning Bright
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Call Me By Your Name
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Dark Designs
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Equal Opportunities
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Gothic Blue
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Review by Ashley Liste

The Lords of Satyr: Nicholas
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Love Song of the Dominatrix
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Riding the Storm
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The Silver Collar
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Suite Seventeen
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Sweet as Sin
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Tiffany Twisted
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Top of Her Game
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Whalebone Strict
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Wife Swap
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Wings of Madness
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Gay Erotica

Historical Obsessions
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Homosex: 60 Years of Gay...
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Mammoth Book of New Gay...
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Iridescence:...Lesbian Erotica
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Secrets of Porn Star Sex
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Touch Me There
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Concertina: An Erotic Memoir...
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Daddy's Girl
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Dirt for Art's Sake
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Entangled Lives
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Impotence: A Cultural History
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In Praise of the Whip
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Insatiable: ...Porn Star
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Letters of a Portuguese Nun
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