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'08 Authors Insider Tips

Everything About Epublishing
by Angela James
Epublishing: A Different Way
Choosing an Epublisher
Your Milage May Vary
Understand Your Contract!
Reasonable Expectations

by Louisa Burton
The Publishing Biz
Critiquing: To Give and ...
Commerical vs. Literary...
Antiformalism for Fun &...
So You Want to Write a Novel
The Story Idea
Planning Your Novel...

The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
5 Steps to Success
Opening Passages
Let's Get Critical
Writer's Block
Learning Lessons

Two Girls Kissing
by Amie M. Evans
Be a Finisher ...
Listen to Your Characters
Conferences: Act Now ...
Starting an Erotic Story
Exercises & Writing Prompts
Revising & Rewriting
Copy Editing
The Manuscript Critique
How to Submit Your Work
Reading as Craft

Guest Appearances

Adventures in e-Publishing
by Lisabet Sarai

For the Love of Man
by Laura Baumbach

How to...Influence Editors
by Alison Tyler

Marketing your e-Book
by Brenna Lyons

2008 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
Role Play
Busy Doing Nothing
Picture of a Fish & Chip...
What I Did With My Summer

Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Naughty Cookies...
Tie Me Up, Please …
The Smut-Writer’s Holiday
Never Trust the Narrator ...
Compare and Contrast
Following the Pen
Naked at the Farmers Market
I’m Easy, But I’m No Slut
Good Girl Gone Bad
Pleasures of the Dark Side
Slow, Spare and Sexy

Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
Raising Daughters
Jamie Lynn
The Good Old Days
Election '08
Traditional Marriage
Campaign 2008
Free Will

Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin
Masturbating on SSRIs
Sex and Disability
Besides Ourselves
Adjusting our Contrast

Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Sex Is All Metaphors
Turn-ons and Squicks
Sexual Truth
Fickle Muse
Porn, Erotica & Romance

Provocative Interviews

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
Alison Tyler
Ashley Lister
Debra Hyde
Donna George Storey
Jeremy Edwards
Kristina Wright
Rachel Kramer Bussel

Erotic Hot Spots
by William S. Dean
Interview with Tilly Greene
Interview with Devyn Quinn

Getting Graphic
with William S. Dean
New Times for Readers...
The Future in Words ...
Interview with Fantagraphics

On Writing Erotica

The Accidental Pornographer
by Lisabet Sarai

The End of Innocence
by Lisabet Sarai

Get Them Off in High Style
Helena Settimana

So, You Want To Write Erotica?
by Hanne Blank

Web Gems
Hot Movies For Her

The End of Innocence
by Lisabet Sarai

My first erotic stories were explicit fantasies written to please a lover. The characters were idealized versions of our selves. The only plot dynamic was the inexorable building of sexual tension leading to our mutual release. These tales had an intensity that still melts me to a puddle of lust whenever I reread them.

My first novel was a compendium of all my favorite BDSM fantasies. The heroine was younger, prettier, more athletic and more sexually adventurous than I was, but otherwise we had a lot in common. She had red hair, which I've always craved. She was a software engineer, like me. How many of those do you find in erotic novels, after all?

The exotic setting was assembled from my own experiences. The male protagonist was as tall and commanding as my own Master, but thinner, more mysterious and more extreme. The overarching theme was the main character's awakening to her submissive desires, mirroring (emotionally at least) my own personal awakening. The plot rushed forward at breakneck pace from one overwhelming sexual encounter to the next, and resolved itself by having the heroine choose a life of permanent submission—a concept that I've toyed with in imagination many times.

I suspect that many writers of erotica began, like me, by exposing and exploring their own favorite scenarios of desire. The resulting writing often is often searingly sexy. The author has poured his or her personal libidinous imaginings into the story, with all the accompanying emotions. Readers pick up on the emotional truth, and react to it.

There's a kind of innocence to this type of confessional erotica. The author is far more concerned with self-expression than with craft. Self-disclosive stories usually have little suspense, few complexities. The focus is on the fantasy. These stories are direct and intense. They hit you in the gut, or perhaps more appropriately, in the groin.

After a while, though, those of us who keep writing come to realize that sophisticated readers of erotica (whatever that means) want more. More than just the same fantasies, however exciting, recycled over and over. More varied characters, beyond the embellished images of the writer and his or her real or ideal lovers. More varied and ambitious plots, with the sort of obstacles and conflicts that build narrative (as opposed to sexual) tension.

If we're concerned with satisfying this kind of reader (and some writers are not), we try to take more conscious control of the writing process. We push the id into the back seat. We read how-to books on plot and characterization and self-editing. We join workshops and take writing classes.

The result is often a far more skillful and elegant story: more challenging, more suspenseful, more complex. All too often, though, these new stories are less arousing than our original naive fantasies. Somehow, we've lost the spark.

How can we move beyond our own personal turn-ons and still write erotica that makes our readers hot and bothered? This is a question I've been wrestling with myself for the last few years.  I've come to believe that to write convincing and exciting erotica, I somehow still have to tap into my personal fetishes and fantasies. At the same time I have to twist or transform them enough that that I am not writing the same story over and over again.

One trick that I've used is to swap the point of view.  If most of your stories are from the perspective of the man in a heterosexual duo, try viewing your story through the woman's eyes.  If you're personally turned on by the notion of a man going down on you, imagine, and describe, what his thoughts, feelings and sensations might be. Write his experiences, as you imagine them. If, like me, your core fantasies revolve around submission, consider writing the dominant role. The emotional dynamics and the physical activities are still there to excite you, but the revised point of view can result in surprising and arousing situations and reactions. For example, when working on my story "Incurable Romantic" (in Confessions: Admissions of Sexual Guilt), I realized suddenly that a dom could be as frightened by the total devotion and trust of his slave as he was aroused.

A second strategy I can suggest: extract the emotional essence of your fantasy, and transfer it to a different environment or scenario. What do I mean by this? The arousal that comes from a fantasy may be a physical reaction, but it derives from the emotions that your fantasy evokes. Why is notion of anal sex exciting? For me, there are two arousing elements: the violation of taboos, and the perfection of trust in allowing penetration in such a delicate region. So, to avoid boring my readers with yet another surrender of anal virginity to a dominant but caring master, I'll try to take those emotional components and work them into another story, with different physical activities but the same emotional dynamics. As a reviewer recently commented, my story "Perception" (in Hot Women's Erotica) incorporates the essential emotions of a BDSM scene (fear, trust, and surrender) without including a single whip, handcuff, or groveling honorific.

My third strategy is to use analogy. Think about some fetish article or activity that excites you. Imagine how you react to the presence of that item or exposure to that activity. Then try and transfer those emotions to a completely different item or scenario. In "Fire" (from the collection Fire), I tried to describe the guilty pleasure, the compulsion for secrecy, and the obsessive need for escalating intensity that I experience, but transferred to a character whose fetish is burning buildings.

These strategies are successful in varying degrees. Sometimes, I try too hard. I think too hard, instead of letting my subconscious speak its truths. My first novel, burning with my personal lusts, is still my most popular, even though when I read it now, I cringe at the clichés.

I suspect that the most skilled writers of erotica are those who can arouse themselves by imagining by a wild variety of circumstances and activities. The more broad our sexual imagination, the more convincing our erotic writing will be.

Last month, I wrote a fantasy story as a gift for my Master's birthday.  It included the standard elements that turn me (and I hope, him) on: the charismatic, insightful, sexually outrageous dom; the reluctant, fascinated sub with the plump nipples; the sub's gradual realization that submission to the dom is her true path to pleasure and even enlightenment. It used newly extreme toys and implements that I'd never attempted to write about before. It included (I'm embarrassed to say!) actual quotes from our past interactions. It was, in some sense, pure pulp, intended to arouse.

At the same time, the story was more than just a sex scene. It had a plot, a timeline, major and minor characters. It even included literary allusions to amplify the theme.

Once you've lost your innocence as a writer, you can never go back.

My Master loved it.

Lisabet Sarai

"The End of Innocence" © Lisabet Sarai. All rights reserved.

About the Author: 
Lisabet Sarai has been writing ever since she learned how to hold a pencil. She is the author of three erotic novels, Raw Silk, Incognito, and Ruby's Rules, and the co-editor, with S.F. Mayfair, of the anthology Sacred Exchange (Blue Moon), which explores the spiritual aspects of BDSM relationships. Read Lisabet Sarai's entire bio on the Erotica Readers & Writers Association.

Visit her website, Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory for more information and samples of her writing.

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'08 Movie Reviews

Almost Perfect
Review by Oranje

The Fold
Review by Ashley Lister

Review by Spooky

Review by Spooky

'08 Book Reviews


Best Bisexual Women's Erotica
Review by Ashley Lister

Best Fantastic Erotica
Review by Ashley Lister

Best Women's Erotica '08
Review by Ashley Lister

Bound Brits (ebook)
Review by Ashley Lister

Deep Inside: Extreme ...
Review by Cervo

Dirty Girls
Review by Rose B. Thorny

Hide and Seek
Review by Ashley Lister

Hurts So Good
Review by Ashley Lister

J is for Jealousy
Review by Ashley Lister

K is for Kink
Review by Ashley Lister

Lust Bites
Review by Ashley Lister

Open for Business
Review by Rose B. Thorny

Review by Lisabet Sarai

Rubber Sex
Review by Ashley Lister

Rubber Sex
Review by Victoria Blisse

Seriously Sexy
Review by Ashley Lister

Sex & Candy
Review by Ashley Lister

The Shadow of a... (poetry)
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Review by Victoria Blisse

Tasting Her
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Tasting Him
Review by Ashley Lister

Tasting Him
Review by Kathleen Bradean

White Flames
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Yes, Ma'am: Male Submission
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Yes, Sir: Female Submission
Review by Angelika Devlyn


The Art of Melinoe
Review by Ashley Lister

Demon by Day
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Gemini Heat
Review by Ashley Lister

Gothic Heat
Review by Ashley Lister

The Hidden Grotto Series
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The House of Blood
Review by Lisabet Sarai

In Too Deep
Review by Ashley Lister

In Too Deep
Review by Victoria Blisse

Review by Donna George Storey

Review by Victoria Blisse

One Breath at a Time
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Out of the Shadows (ebook)
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Review by Ashley Lister

Review by Rose B. Thorny

Seduce Me
Review by Ashley Lister

Seduced by the Storm
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Serve the People!
Review by Donna G. Storey

Signed, Sealed and Delivered
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Sunfire (eBook)
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Templar Prize
Review by Angelika Devlyn

The Wicked Sex
Review by Ashley Lister

Wild Kingdom
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Gay Erotica

Review by Vincent Diamond

Best Gay Romance '08
Review by Vincent Diamond

Hard Hats
Review by Vincent Diamond

Review by Kathleen Bradean

Lesbian Erotica

Best Lesbian Erotica '08
Review by Donna George Storey

Best Lesbian Erotica '08
Review by Ashley Lister

The Night Watch
Review by Lisabet Sarai


America Unzipped
Review by Rob Hardy

Best Sex Writing '08
Review by Rob Hardy

Bonk: The Curious Coupling
Review by Rob Hardy

The Book of Love
Review by Rob Hardy

Casanova: Actor Lover ...
Review by Rob Hardy

Dishonorable Passions
Review by Rob Hardy

Flagrante Delicto (photos)
Review by Jack Gilbert

The Flesh Press
Review by Rob Hardy

Geisha, Harlot, Strangler, Star
Review by Donna G. Storey

The Humble Little Condom
Review by Rob Hardy

Instant Orgasm (sex guide)
Review by Ashley Lister

Man O Man! Writing M/M...
Review by Vincent Diamond

The Not So Invisible Woman
Review by Ashley Lister

Swingers: Female...
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Who's Been Sleeping in...
Review by Rob Hardy