writing erotica

On Writing by Larry Archer

With apologies to Stephen King, I would like to outline the basic process I use to create a story suitable for publishing on Amazon or SmashWords. I don’t want to teach you how to write as there are far more qualified authors to do that. I am a lowly engineer and fully appreciate my lack of talents with the English word. But I think what I can help you with is the mechanics of compiling your story and make it ready for publication in the most efficient and time-saving method.

First, my bona fides as it were. I have been writing smut, basically stroke stories for almost seven years now. I’ve published over twenty-five stories, most over 30,000 words and several close to 100,000 words.

I’ve focused the majority of my publishing efforts to Amazon and SmashWords along with several other websites but I write primarily for the two major publishes of Indie writers.

When you publish at SmashWords, and the story is accepted into their Premium Status, SmashWords will automatically send your story to Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others. So publishing at SmashWords will get you into Apple without any additional work. So it’s like repeating the publishing process multiple times.

For me, a great deal of my sales comes from Apple iBooks, and I’ve done nothing besides send the story to SmashWords. Now certainly, when you write erotica, certain topics will get you excluded from Apple and others. This topic is a blog post all on its own, and I’ll tackle that later.

My thought is to create a special section on my blog, LarryArcher.blog, and place all of these posts in one place for easy reference.

First, let’s talk about what makes up a story that will be accepted into SmashWords Premium Status for wide distribution. If you follow the steps I’ve outlined below, your story will be accepted at both Amazon and SmashWords with a minimum of rework.

This is the system I’m currently using, and while I’m working on version 2.0, it does work pretty well for me. If you have your own method and it’s working okay then don’t change a thing.

The parts of my story are as follows:

  • Cover Image, 300 dpi, 1600×2400 pixels
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Table of Contents (TOC)
  • Body (the actual story itself)
  • Back Matter (advertising, other stories, etc)
  • About the Author

Now a little bit about storing files.

  • Draft – Folder for stories I’m working on
  • Cover – Cover images
  • Front Matter – Amazon (Title and Copyright for Amazon)
  • Front Matter – SmashWords (Title and Copyright for SW)
  • Table of Contents
  • Body (actual story by itself)
  • Back Matter – Amazon (Ads, etc. for Amazon)
  • Back Matter – SmashWords (Ads, etc. for SmashWords)
  • Full – Amazon (Final full copy for Amazon)
  • Full – SmashWords (Final full copy for SmashWords)

Once I’ve written the story and moved it from Draft to Body, I assemble the finished product as follows.

  1. Let’s assume I’ve written a story called MyStory and storied it in Body after proofreading it. I recommend that you write in Word 2003 DOC format and not DOCX as some publishers do not accept DOCX.
  2. Open MyStory in the Body folder. Let’s assume this is for Amazon.
  3. Immediately do a Save As “MyStory – Full – Amazon.doc” in the Full – Amazon folder.
  4. Open the front matter file “MyStory – Front – Amazon.doc” from the Front Matter – Amazon folder. This will be the title page and copyright page customized for Amazon.
  5. Copy the front matter by selecting it, copying, and paste it to the top of the “MyStory – Full – Amazon.doc” file. If you’re happy save it, just in case. Now the full copy has the front matter plus the body in the Full folder.
  6. Close the front matter file and open the Table of Contents file. Select it all, copy and paste in between the front matter and the body of the story. Now save that.
  7. Open the back matter file, select it all, copy, and paste to the end of the full copy.
  8. At this point, we have a full copy of the MyStory for Amazon. The title page, copyright page, TOC, body, and back matter.
  9. Next check the points where you joined the various sections to be sure there are no extra page breaks or extra space.
  10. Go through the body and back matter and set bookmarks at each chapter and point in the back matter which you need to reference in the TOC. I recommend that you create a standardized set of bookmarks to make it easier to reuse the back matter on other stories.
  11. Once the bookmarks are in place, go to the Table of Contents and create links for each chapter and spot in the back matter.

At this point, we have assembled a complete book yet the individual parts are available for ongoing modifications. For example, in the back matter, you may list all of your other stories.

Then when you add a story, you normally have to go back and re-edit all of your finished stories to add the new material. By keeping the body and the back matter separate, all you have to do is copy and paste.

By the same token, to publish to a different publisher such as SmashWords, you simply create front matter and back matter for SmashWords. Then take the body that you used for Amazon and tack on the front and back for SmashWords.

When you publish a new story, update the back matter file and then rebuild old stories by assembling the new pieces and upload the new copy.

Hopefully, this makes some sense to you and will help to standardize your stories to look consistent and more professional.

I’m going to expand upon this in more detail on my blog and answer any questions that arise. I’ll get into what I use for setting and layout in a later issue.

Thank’s for reading and check out my blog: LarryArcher.blog

See you next month!

Aww Gee, Do I Have To Wear A Rubber?

Rant for the day by Larry Archer!

Does Stephen King dismember his victims with a rubber knife? Did Jaws chomp up Captain Quint with plastic teeth? Did Maverick shoot down Russian fighters with a BB gun or bang Kelly McGillis with a dildo? What about Chucky and that delicious Jennifer Tilly (pant, pant, pant). No, No, No, No, and No!

So why do we have to put on a rubber when we bang out some smut story on our Underwood? This is not Randy “I can’t put my arms down” from A Christmas Story where we have to protect ourselves against our parent’s imagined fears, both seen and unseen?

I am continually amazed when someone says, “Your characters didn’t use protection in your story!” WTF?

Why is it that Dean Koontz can dismember his characters with abandon using a chainsaw, but I can’t have two people screwing unless they have a raincoat and rubber gloves on? You know, the big thick yellow ones that come up to your elbows and ensure you don’t get any of that icky “stuff” on you.

When you can get an STD from reading one of my stroke stories, then I’ll consider making my characters wear a rubber when they play hide the wiener.

In school, I had to read “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which was about some guy who dreamed of being different people; fighter pilot, doctor, and probably porn star in the Hustler version. He didn’t wear a rubber and probably didn’t put on his seatbelt either!

Fictional books are often a form of escapism for the reader. We get to imagine anything our little pea brains can conjure up. Like getting to bang Stormy Daniels, why should Donald get all the fun, not to mention watching hookers pee on the bed? Personally, I would have chosen the Playboy Playmate myself, but there is no accounting for taste. I’m more of a leg man than a boob man.

When you lust after your next door neighbor, the stripper who sat on your lap, or maybe the milkman, do you think about running to the drugstore or gas station to pick up condoms? I know that I don’t! The feeling of skin on skin is far better than with a layer of plastic in between and much easier to fantasize about.

Writing an erotic story, I don’t think about safety, and I don’t want my readers to think about it either. Getting laid with a rubber is not near as much fun as bareback so why would you want your characters to put on protection before doing the nasty? Just like Dean Koontz, I don’t worry about my characters as they are all fictional and impossible to hurt unless I allow it.

Well, other than the times Wifey has on her leather bustier, thigh-high leather boots, and riding crop that she uses to correct her slaves! Then I’ll stand back an extra three feet to be sure I don’t get anything splattered on my camera!

My erotica is not designed to teach you a safe sex lesson, just the opposite. If you wanted safe sex, then you can screw your boring wife or husband on the first and third Friday (let me check my calendar). We want to have sex in the produce aisle with that hot chick from People of Walmart. Just flip her skirt up and make mad passionate love amidst the cantaloupes while hoping the guard on his electric scooter doesn’t catch us! Afterward, we’d zip up our pants and join Wifey as she tries to figure out which detergent to buy to get those stains off the front of her blouse she bought from Monica.

Like in a story I’m working on. The husband finds out his wife was in a gangbang and asked if they kissed her. Her response, “Why would they want to kiss me, they just wanted to fuck me!”

I’m not sure why reading someone’s comment that your characters needed to wear a condom puts me over the top, but it always does. Like Walter Mitty, I want readers to imagine a situation they would never normally find themselves in and especially not in their normal safe, dull environment with their pipe and slippers.

Few of us are ever in a situation where they can do things like be in a gangbang or be the gangbang’ee, so literature is the escape mechanism to let our imagination fly free. Sort of like those rock climbing crazy people on a sheer rock face without a rope.

In the real world we have to make compromises, like not smoking when we fill the lawnmower with gasoline, but in our minds, we can be King (Queen) of the World. Sort of like ZZ Top when they sing, “We could have had Miss October, but we waited until November.”

That was the rant for the day, and maybe next month I can finally post the article I wrote like two months ago, which keeps getting thrown under the bus.

Remember that reading erotica does not cause STD’s but may create friction burns, kind of like the carpet burns you got in high school. Use lubricant as necessary and remember to stop when you need glasses.

As always, check me out at LarryArcher.blog or on Twitter at @Archer_Larry.

“Erotica from the Dirty Mind of Larry Archer.”

P.S. See Lisabet I can stay under 1,000 words!

When You Poke the Sex, What Comes Out?

One of my favorite erotica stories is by Patrick Califia. (No
surprise there.) “No Mercy” (which can be found in his collection of the same title) centers Terry, who is in an abusive D/s relationship with
Heather, and on the cusp of finding her way out of it. The story begins as they
approach a piercing shop to finally get the genital piercing that Terry has
wanted for a long time. Her body could not accept the piercing from Heather,
she kept safewording as the moment was approaching, so they decide to go to a
professional piercer. The first 8 or so pages are filled with the lead-in to
the piercing. Heather thinks of the piercing as a last ditch effort to save the
relationship, and Terry thinks of it as another step away from the
relationship. The tension in the story builds until the piercing is done, and
once it is complete, Terry bursts out with a flow of words. The piercer, a
leatherdyke herself who becomes a key character in the rest of the story,
explains, “Once you poke a hole in somebody, something frequently comes out.” The
piercing, which is hot in and of itself and also incredibly satisfying, is also
holding so many other things for all the characters involved. It is this transformational
moment, this intensely loaded thing.

Sex and kink can hold so much in them, and Califia is one of
those writers that deeply embraces this reality, and uses the sex and kink in
his stories to nudge the reader to grapple with the things he cares about. He’s
pretty upfront about it too. In his essay, “A Insistent and Indelicate Muse”,
printed in M. Christian’s brilliant collection The Burning Pen: Sex Writers on Sex Writing, Califia says:

“I like to use the cover of eroticism to entice the reader
and make them emotionally and psychologically vulnerable to new ideas or
discomfiting information. I hold out the reward of dirty talking in exchange
for the reader stretching their political muscles.”

Califia is upfront about wanting the reader to stretch, to
see the things that sex is holding inside itself, to grapple with those things
in reading his stories.

When I started writing erotica, it was about reaching for my
desire, trying to envision it and make it real for myself. My early erotica is
full of my fantasies about BDSM, but more than that, about my fantasies of
being seen, witnessed, and met in the wholeness of who I am, particularly
around gender. I wrote a story about being seen and desired as trans by cis gay
men. I wrote about being witnessed and desired as a genderqueer femme by queer
trans men. I wrote about being desired as a submissive boy by a trans man, and
as a femme dyke by a butch dyke.

These stories, these fantasies, were as much about gender
and queerness as they were about spanking, or pain play, or sucking cock in a
bathroom or an alley. They were imagining a sexual universe where I was able to
be in the fullness of myself, and be desired. Because I was worried about that,
worried about whether I was desirable in my gender complexity. Worried about
whether the kind of queer kink I wanted was possible.

I am not worried about those things as much now; I bring
other needs to my writing. But they often are still rooted in that desire to be
recognized, that desire to create moments of recognition for readers, that
desire to open up space that allows us to be in the wholeness of ourselves
during kink and sex.

Erotica has been a place where I play with the ways we can
feel seen and met in our desires, honored for all of who we are, witnessed and held
in our vulnerability, as we show ourselves to our partners. That’s been a
common thread in my erotica over the last 15 years of writing, because I find
it to be one of the most gloriously hot aspects of sex and kink. I titled my
recent queer kink erotica collection Show
Yourself To Me
to evoke that aspect of my work, to draw attention to the
ways it is rooted in that place of yearning and meeting, of holding and
celebrating, of showing who you are and being shown in return.

In a recent round table discussion on sex writing, Larissa Pham, who writes one of my favorite sex
columns, Cum Shots, said:

“With Cum Shots, people would text me (saying), ‘Oh my God,
you broke my heart again.’ This isn’t happy writing a lot of the time. Sex
is just a way to talk about other things. You poke sex and a bunch of stuff
comes out: power comes out, abuse comes out, emotions come out, trauma comes
out, race relations come out.”

For me, writing stories about sex and kink has been a way to
write about other things that I care about. You poke the sex and kink in my
stories and a bunch of other stuff comes out, including the very things that
Pham names in the quote above. Sex and kink is the arena where all that stuff
takes place, shows its face, gets grappled with and held. I use my stories to
illuminate ways I have found to create safe enough containers within sex and
kink that can hold the things that come out when you poke.

When you poke the sex you are writing, what comes out? How
do you grapple with that as a writer? How do you create stories that can hold
it? How do you decide what stuff your story can hold, and where you need to
limit that? What do you use sex to talk about?

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica

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