So You Have An Idea…

Disclaimer: This blog post contains spoilers for my short story “Multiple O,” as I break down how I turned my starting Idea into an actual plot.

So you have an Idea. You’ve got some kind of notion that could make for a good story. What’s next?

That depends on the writer and the idea. A lot of the time, for a good writer, having an Idea is enough. In previous years, I succeeded in my May Challenges by becoming skilled at taking an Idea, and being able to turn it into an acceptable short story just by sitting down at the keyboard and typing by the seat of my pants.

Pantsing works well for a lot of writers, and it works well for me most of the time. When I wrote “Satisfied By A Stegosaurus,” all I had in mind was the title, along with the notion that I’d have human/dinosaur sex be consensual instead of the standard rape fantasy scenario. With “An Innocent Haircut,” I just had the setup in mind–a young man is seduced by the woman who’s cutting his hair–and the inspiration to try to write the story about a male losing his virginity as detailed as possible, to try to craft it in such a way that males who hadn’t lost their virginity (and females who hadn’t been male) would be able to live the experience vicariously through my words. Both of those stories turned out very well, still some of my best work, and they were pantsed.

Then there are those other times.

My story “Multiple O” is set in my Serpent’s Gifts setting, a world where the appearance of a giant snake in the sky grants various people comic-book-style super-powers. I’m a big comic fan, and there are certain powers that are staples for superheroes (or villains) and that also lend themselves well to erotics. One of those powers is the ability to make instant copies of yourself, along the lines of The Multiple Man, Silent Majority, Triplicate Girl, or Multiplex.

That was my Idea: write erotica about somebody with that kind of self-duplicating power.

But it needed refinement, because “One day, a person with duplication powers did some sexy stuff” isn’t a good story. It’s not even good micro-fiction.

Once you have your Idea, I find that it’s pretty good to start working through the Five Ws of Journalism: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. My Who in this case is my main character, my protagonist. I toyed with making a male character named “Gangbang,” and having him multiply in the middle of sex with a woman who was open enough to roll with suddenly having sex with two or twenty guys instead of just one, but my personal tastes go the other way, and I decided that I’d rather write about a woman who could turn into multiple women. So that’s my basic Who–the protagonist is female. I came up with the title of “Multple O,” and went with the first female name that sprung to mind that started with O: Olivia.

The Ws don’t have to be in order, and often the Idea itself will fill in at least part of one of them anyway. If I’d been doing them in order, I’d have focused on “What” next, but I didn’t. Instead, I focused on that sixth important question, that honorary W just because it hangs out with them so much. I asked myself How.

Specifically, I asked myself how her power functioned. Multiple Man produces copies from kinetic impact. Other characters seem to be able to do it at will. I think one character could pull alternate-reality versions of himself/herself, or maybe I just dreamed that. I needed a mechanism for my character’s power to work. Where did the copies come from?

I mulled this over for a couple days, I think.

A lot of the time, shaping and refining the Idea is mental work that I do while I’m on a long drive, or trying to beat my insomnia into submission by letting my mind wander, and so forth. Eventually, I hit on the idea of her power being the ability to pull her own image out of mirrors, into the real world. That gave her a vulnerability (her power only works when there’s a reflection nearby), it gave her a limitation (only one copy per mirror), and it gave me a start to the story: a woman is looking at herself in the mirror, when suddenly she pulls her own reflection out into the real world.

As soon as I had the How, the rest of the Ws all fell into place.
Who? Olivia and a single copy of herself.
What? A solo scene that turns into girl/girl fun.
When? Sometime shortly after December of 2012, because that’s when this setting splits off from the real world–That’s when the powers start manifesting.

Where? In the bedroom, on the bed.

Why? Because Olivia was trying to do the female empowerment thing of looking at her own vagina in the mirror, to get in better touch with herself and her body, but when she drops the mirror and tries to pick it back up again, she accidentally grabs her mirror self and pulls it into the real world. Once she adjusts to this new event, the two of her go back to doing what she was doing moments before: getting better in touch with her own body (or, in this case, bodies).

I asked myself if this story would work, and the first snag I hit upon was the issue of whether or not a person who was confronted by a doppleganger of themselves would try to have sex with it so quickly. I went back to thinking about How the power worked, and decided that since the copy was in fact a different version of the main character, that Olivia would be perfectly comfortable with her mirror-clone–it was her , after all.

This wasn’t two strangers–it was two of the same person, and they’d known themselves for their entire lives. You can’t get much more intimate than that; the sex is just a formality. It’s more like masturbation with access to a second body. Which fell nicely into the general themes of the story–a woman who is uncomfortable with herself gets to lover herself a bit more.

That’s the kind of thing that many writers tend to leave out of short erotica, by the way. They come up with characters, a plot, and a sex scene, but they leave their story at that. That’s a mistake, because stories have to be about something important. Yes, sure, sex itself is important, but not always in its own right. Creating a story about two bodies fucking is like creating a story about two people eating a meal together–if that’s all that happens, don’t bother writing it.

The meal, or the sex, or the walk through the park, or the fight in the alleyway… it has to mean something to somebody. It has to be important enough that the story is worth telling, and the reader knows it. In this case, the main character grows to accept herself a bit more. Yes, she has her first lesbian experience (kind of), and she discovers that she has superpowers, but while both of those events are exciting, a really good story needs an extra layer of significance to make it really shine.

The story “Multiple O” is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Multiple-Richa…

Jagermeister Night

April 16, 2014

It’s Jagermeister Night at House Bacula, and it’s a pretty good night.
It should also be a short night, at this rate.
I found this blog, though, and figured that I’d put something here, if only to surprise myself in the morning, or whenever I find it.

In general, if anybody has any good suggestions what exactly I can use this blog FOR, feel free to let me know!
I’m not really a blogger by nature.
I do tend to answer questions, though, so if anybody out there has any questions for me, about anything, by all means just ask me.

Meanwhile, I’ll give a bit of my background.

I’ve been interested in sex since I was a little kid, and I took every opportunity to explore the weird world of sexuality. Oddly enough, this did NOT include playing “Doctor” with other kids, or anything like that.

I’ve also always been a big reader. For the most part, I read about sex.

I’d find the medical books in school, and look at the naughty bits. I’d read up on all the naughty words in the dictionary and the encyclopedias.

I’d sit in the grocery store when my parents weren’t looking, and browse through any unsealed dirty magazines that I could find. When magazines weren’t available, I’d find romance and horror novels, and skip around until I found the sex scenes there.
I learned a lot.

As I got a bit older, high school age, I had read the Kama Sutra, all kinds of dirty magazines, had watched a lot of dirty videos, had read “The Joy of Sex,”
“Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex
(but were afraid to ask),” and multiple other books that were specifically about sex.
I read other stuff too, of course, but the early interest in and information about sex stuck with me, and it eventually spurred me to write erotica.

There’s a lot of erotica out there already, and most of it really isn’t very good.
My goal as a writer is to try to raise the bar a bit, to provide more accurate, more detailed erotica that delves deeper into the motions and emotions of the participants.

Because I’m writing about sex, the sex tends to take up most of the text in each of my stories.

While many people do enjoy a long, slow, lingering, tedious build-up before the sex happens, that’s not the kind of thing that I enjoy in my reading, so that’s not what I write.
My stories tend to start off with the action, in media res, with character depth and plot demonstrated during the scene, with the occasional explanatory flashback.

I write some unusual erotica. I’ve written one story with a female werewolf, one story with a stegosaurus, and one story with a scarecrow.

All of them are good.

Part of my interest in writing that kind of story is the challenge of writing them well, given their rather absurd premises.

Other stuff is more vanilla. Just male/female stuff, or male/female/female stuff, or female/female stuff.

Despite a healthy level of personal sexual experience, there are limits to what I have done. I have not had sex with a stegosaurus, nor as a stegosaurus, for example.

Nor have I ever been a lesbian engaged in sex with another woman.

In these cases, I try to research as much as I need to in order to maintain the integrity of the scene, in order to get the details as correct as possible, or as possible as the story requires.

I’m not a hobby writer, by the way. I’m writing to make money, with full intent of making enough money to quit my day job(s) and to write full time.

Every copy of my work that is sold helps me toward that goal, and every little bit of word-of-mouth helps me get more potential sales.

Not to mention reviews!

If you read my works (and I suggest that you do: they’re reasonably priced), and you enjoy what I have written, I urge you to help spread the word.

It’s not necessarily my best work, but this free short erotic story should give you an idea of what I’m capable of:
http://www.literotica.com/s/cornholed

How to Be as Sexy as a Dead Deer

Written May 6, 2014

I’m pretty sure that most people would agree that deer aren’t particularly sexy. “Pretty,” probably. “Beautiful,” maybe, in the way that nature and animals can be beautiful, but not “sexy.”

Likewise, it’s only a certain kind of twisted person who thinks that death is sexy. It’s not- it’s tragic and ugly, even with animals. Sometimes more so with animals than humans, actually, which is why pretty much everybody hates a scene where a dog dies, but they’re often indifferent to scenes where a human dies.

In their song “Hunter’s Kiss,” Rasputina creates a little story about a hunter killing a deer. It’s sexy. It’s also horrible. That’s one of the things that makes the song stick in my mind, that makes it haunt me. It is both horrible and sexy.

I actually find the song more arousing than a lot of erotica I’ve read. It’s not that the song is THAT sexy… it’s that one hell of a lot of erotica is THAT bad.

A lot of writers can somehow manage to take the most arousing sexual acts and experiences, and turn them into something flat, un-interesting, or even outright painful to read about. They can start with all the right ingredients, and they can fuck up the recipe so badly that it’s effectively inedible.

Rasputina does the opposite. They go take a piece of metaphorical roadkill, and turn it into a darned fine meal.

How the hell do they manage to do that? Let’s find out.
Follow the link and listen to the song, if you haven’t done so already.
Click here to read the lyrics.

Are you with me?

They tell you right off the bat that it’s a sad story. The deer’s death doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. So they lessen the shock of the death; you already know it’s coming. It’s been foreshadowed. Readers like twist endings… sometimes. Other times, especially with short erotic stories, a twist breaks them out of the mood that you’re trying to sex, I mean “trying to set.” (That was an honest typo, but I’m leaving it there for the ghost of Sigmund Freud.)

You want readers to be aroused when they’re reading your erotica or sex scene, and clouding things up with other emotions only dilutes the elixer that you’re trying to create. If the reader laughs, or cries, or lets out a startled gasp of the wrong kind of shock, then their arousal—the emotion that you’re trying to stimulate most—gets broken. Rasputina knows this. So they start diluting the negative emotions associated with a dying deer, beginning by bracing the audience to understand ahead of time that, yes, this is a sad story. Any sadness, that way, will not come as a real shock.

This is also something of a magician’s trick. While they’re telling you on one hand that the story is sad, they’re secretly using the other hand to turn you on. (At least, that’s how it works for me. Some people, at this point, might very well not know what the hell I’m talking about.) While you’re bracing yourself for sadness, for something Bad, they start giving you something good.

It’s about context, and it’s about expectation. If you expect something Bad (sadness), and in the midst of the Bad you get something Good (arousal), then the Good parts will seem all the better for the contrast, the same way a bit of salt can highlight sweet flavors in food. Rasputina starts off immediately by taking control of your expectations. They make you brace for the Bad, while their other hand prepares to do something Good to you.

Next up, they start adding the Good, the old-fashioned spice of “Romance.” They do this by setting the stage: “A romantic scene, from a lullaby.” So now we know that it’s not necessarily just a tragedy, it might be a tragic romance. They’re foreshadowing more, showing us that other hand, without telling us what it’s going to do to us. We know to expect the bitter, but then we’re set up for a bit of sweetness.

Then, Rasputina sets the point of view: the singer is the deer. The hunter is about to shoot her. We empathize with the deer, because Rasputina has given the deer anthropomorphic thoughts: “Then the fleeting notion, that my life he’d save.” Deer don’t really recognize the danger that a hunter’s bow poses, not as a rule, and certainly not to this depth. Deer don’t have the cognitive ability to think the implied thoughts, along the line of: “Crap! This guy’s pointing an arrow at me, and he can kill me! Maybe I’ll luck out? Maybe he’ll show me mercy?” It gives the reader something to identify with, though, puts us in the deer’s shoes. Well, “hooves,” anyway.

We know it’s sad, and we know that this deer is in jeopardy, and we identify human emotions and intelligence with it. We’re invested now, for bitter or for sweet. Or for bittersweet.

The next stanza serves something of the same purpose of the first line; it gets the Bad out of the way quickly. The deer gets shot, thinks (again, anthropomorphizing the deer creates empathy) for a second that it’d been missed by the arrow, but then discovers that, no, it’s been hit. The deer isn’t dead, but it’s dying and helpless. It also subtly starts moving that other hand again, the hand that slipped the word “romantic” into the mix earlier. This time, it uses the word “Dirty.”

“Dirty” has many connotations and uses in the English language, and while Rasputina is using it accurately on the surface, leaving the deer “lying dirty” as in “on the ground, with some dirt on it,” there are other connotations. “Dirty” also means “Naughty,” as in “Sex is Dirty.” The association between the phrase “sex” and “dirty” is so completely overpowering, that I doubt that any listener fails to somehow make the connection, suddenly and abruptly, with sex. The hand that Rasputina told you to watch is showing you a dead deer. Their other hand is showing you sex, subliminally. Just a quick flash of it, but you’re still getting flashed.

Then we get to the refrain:
I have never, felt like this before.
Felt my body sinking, to the grassy floor.
No I have never, known a love like this,
Felt the flaming arrows, of the hunter’s kiss.

This is where the hands change, where we suddenly realize that while we were watching the hand we were told to, Rasputina has slipped their other hand into our clothing, and it’s that other hand that suddenly gets all of our attention as they start to touch unexpected parts of us. The first line is a classic sentiment of both love and sex, of the romance that was foreshadowed earlier. It’s something that’s been said countless times, in countless ways, in a near infinity of tales of romance and sex.

The refrain is brilliant, because that’s where the bulk of the heavy lifting is done for the storytellers/singers; that’s the part that carries the weight of our sadness off of us in several ways. They’re still singing about a dying deer, but they’re also now clearly singing about love, and about sex. By using classic romantic imagery to describe the dying deer, they create an emotional association between love/sex and a dying deer. It’s actually a kind of pun: they’re using well-known words that typically mean one thing, and they’re using those words to mean something else. They’re playing with words, like when somebody steps in a hole in the ground, and somebody else says “You’re on holey ground,” manipulating homophones to connect a hole in the ground to a phrase associated with churches and places of worship. Even if there isn’t any church or other “holy ground” in sight, the combination of words is going to make the hole-stepper and any nearby listeners suddenly think of churches or other locations that they associate with the key phrase, with the pun. The same way that Rasputina just made us think about a woman lying in the grass, about to have sex with a man that she loves, even though they haven’t shown us anything of the sort in their song.

The second thing that the refrain accomplishes is confusion, at least the first time we hear it. This reduces sadness, because Rasputina just shifted gears from “Aw, poor dead deer!” to “Woman passionately in love!” That’s a pretty big WTF moment, and when people are thinking, “What The Fuck,” they’re no longer thinking, “Aw, poor dead deer!” Even though Rasputina continues to sing about a dying deer, that confusion lets the listener simultaneously see something else: a woman who is powerlessly overwhelmed by love/sex. The dying deer and the woman in love are the same, one image is super-imposed over the other, and it ends up being like one of those pictures where you’re not sure if you’re looking at a young woman or a hag. Or a candlestick or two faces. That confusion lets the listener pick, to some degree, which one they’re thinking of, and that choice allows the listener to listen to a version of the song that they prefer. They can, from this point on, either listen to a song about a woman who has fallen unexpectedly, completely, and powerlessly in love, OR they can listen to a song about a deer that’s being killed by a hunter.

The song is about both, about a deer and a woman, about dying and about falling in love. It’s a metaphor, and I’ve rarely metaphor that I didn’t like, not one as well-crafted as this.

The third thing that this refrain accomplishes is just as important. What is perhaps the only thing that can take the sting of death away from the dying? Wanting to die. The hunter has just shot the deer, and it’s reaction is love. The hunter kills the deer, and the deer likes it, even if it still regrets what is happening. It’s a kind of rape fantasy, where the horribleness of the act being committed is made more palatable to most readers if the victim of the act enjoys it, if the victim’s thoughts of the attacker are filled with love. To other readers, it becomes all the more horrible.

The next line: “My life is not mine, like a dog or a wife.”

Is that a deer, lamenting the loss of it’s actual life? Or a woman lamenting the loss of freedom caused by her overpowering emotions for a man? Or about a deer lamenting the loss of both it’s life and freedom to a man who is killing it?

Yes, I think that it is.

“He has taken his time, he has taken my life.” Again, deer or woman? Is the fact that he’s taking his time foreplay, or ruthlessness? Or both?

In the confusion, we get to choose. Just don’t forget the whole orgasm/death metaphor that has existed for centuries (if not millennia), because that’s another key to this song, especially in the next stanza:
I could see the steaming, of his cloudy breath,
No, I was not dreaming, I was next to [orgasm].
As I lay there twitching, then my legs he tied.
There was nothing missing, on the day I [climaxed for the first time].

That metaphor switches the scene from that of a deer being gutted, to that of a woman being pleasured. Even those listeners who are not already familiar with the tried and true metaphor of orgasm as death, I think that they’ll likely make the connection.

I have used similar techniques in my own writings, albeit less eloquently. In my story “Satisfied By A Stegosaurus,” one of the obvious challenges was the question of how to make a dinosaur’s penis a point of arousal for readers not into bestiality. After all, I write to arouse more than to simply amuse, so my goal is to get the reader turned on, even when writing something absurd. I rose to the challenge adequately, I think. When the heroine, Layla, is wrestling with the enormous appendage, I insert this flashback into the scene:

When she was younger, new into her womanhood, Layla had once sat in the lap of a handsome warrior of her tribe, a man long since gone missing after a Rhino Men raid. They had kissed, their mouths merging, tongues intertwining, and Layla had allowed the man’s firm thigh to part her legs, so that she was straddling his bare leg. That thigh had been thick with muscle, and as Layla and the warrior had kissed and caressed each other, Layla’s intimate flesh was pressed right up against it, with only the thin layer of Layla’s animal skin clothing between them. Layla’s hips had started rocking then, pressing herself against that man’s strength, feeling the power of that thigh, even through her clothing. The sensation of the strength, of the maleness, of the power filling the space between her legs had been overwhelming. Layla had had her woman’s bliss, crying out her pleasure into the man’s eager mouth, just from riding that mass of male muscle.

Now, for those readers not instantly aroused by dinosaur cock, or by my previous descriptions of what a stegosaurus can do with his tongue, I have created a kind of backdoor for them to enjoy the scene anyway. I have given them this little story-within-a-story to enjoy. I have implanted it into their brain for my further use. I then connected that very human sex story with the dinosaur-on-human sex story that I was in the middle of telling:

Layla had always regretted that she had been too modest that day, that she had not simply pushed the crotch of her covering aside, that she hadn’t been able to feel his naked muscles with the bare flesh of her womanhood. She’d never had another chance with that warrior, never known exactly how it would have felt. Now, though, her entire body wrapped around a gigantic cock, Layla felt that she knew.

Now, for those readers for whom my technique worked, suddenly that dinosaur’s penis is also the penis of a handsome, muscular man. At least, when they read about the dinosaur’s anatomy, they’ll have some level of internal connection to the anatomy of a man, as well as to a mini-story that has already aroused the reader.

I use similar techniques in my story “Cornholed,” where a woman has sex with an animate scarecrow whose penis is an ear of decorative dried corn. Once I decided to write a scarecrow story, you see, I had to decide what the scarecrow was going to use instead of a penis. Real-world scarecrows don’t have them, after all; if they did, then they’d scare more than just the crows. I was going for a Halloween theme, so I eventually settled in on the decorative corn idea. It had the right shape, after all, more or less. That left me with the idea of how to make corn-on-the-cob sexy. Not only corn, but dried corn. Dried corn simply isn’t sexy. It’s almost as un-sexy as a dying deer, in fact

Keeping my magician’s hands busy, I described things in such a way that I downplayed the downsides, and I up-played the upsides. I didn’t really mention the “dried” part during the sex scene. The rough surface of the corn would most likely be painful in real life, but I decided to spin it. Don’t think “rough,” think “ribbed”:

The scarecrow grabbed her by her hips, and slowly, kernel by kernel, slid himself into her. His painstakingly slow speed gave her body full time to adjust to the sensation, to feel every ridge of the strange member that was slipping between her inner labia, starting to stretch the muscles that guarded her inner anatomy.

Slip. Slip. Slip. As each ridge, each row of hard corn slipped into her, her body tightened again to grasp at the groove between kernels. Sarah had heard of condoms that were “ribbed,” supposedly “for her pleasure.” 

She had never experienced the use of one, the feel of one, but Jack’s unusual member was naturally ribbed, and he was certainly using it for her pleasure.

In real life? Probably unpleasant. In a fantasy story about a magical scarecrow coming to life on Halloween, in order to have sex with a woman? I think I made it work for most readers; I’ve only received a few complaints about that point, and any number of compliments. By making the connection between the corn and the condom, I made things a bit easer to swallow.

Language helped too. I use the word “slip,” because it’s a nice, easy, non-rough word, and I used this word to reassure the reader subconsciously that although the surface of the corn might be rough, things are actually going very smoothly in the story. I also describe the girth of the corn as follows:

It was wider than anything, than any cock or any toy, that Sarah had allowed inside of her before.

See what I did there? I compared it to human penises, and to sex toys. I take the potentially unpleasant, and I compare it to the pleasant and familiar. I take the un-sexy, and I compare it to the sexy. I make a connection between the Bad and the Good.

Also, once the nature of the scarecrow’s phallus is established, I backed away from mentioning that it was corn. The readers already knew, and didn’t want to keep their minds thinking about dried corn. So once the sex really starts, I simply refer to it as the scarecrow’s “cock” or his “shaft,” not his “corn-cock,” or his “ear of dry, rough corn,” or anything else that would bring the focus back around to unpleasant things.

Metaphors are quantum entanglement. Metaphors are voodoo. Metaphors join two different things, and they allow a good writer to manipulate one thing by manipulating the other thing.

A dinosaur’s penis is a warrior’s muscular thigh.

An ear of dried corn is a throbbing erection.

A dying deer is a woman having sex.

Metaphors are power. Learn to use them to their fullest.

The Nature of Storytelling

Written January 13, 2015

I’m not going to start in with elemental structures about plotting. I’m not going to go over stuff like story arcs, character creation, or “Show, Don’t Tell.” I’m going even more basic than that with this entry. The entire point of this entry is accomplish two simple things:

1. Explain briefly what storytelling is.
2. Explain why it is important for writers to understand what storytelling is.

This sort of thing is so basic that you might be wondering why I’m bothering even writing it. If somebody is an author, then surely they MUST know these things already, right?

Unfortunately, no. I occasionally find ebooks and authors that seem to miss these fundamentals in some important ways, so many in fact that I decided to write this blog post. If you already know everything that I say in this post, that’s great! But if you run into other people who DON’T seem to understand it, feel free to direct them this way.

Stating the obvious here for those who might miss the obvious:
“Storytelling” is simply telling a story.

A “Story”is simply a series of events. If you write something that has absolutely no events (implied or actual), or only one event, then what you have written is not a story.

“Telling” is the use of words to convey information.

What this adds up to is that Storytelling is “communicating a series of events” to an audience.

Are you with me?

Here’s why that’s important:
The nature of storytelling determines to a large extent the quality of any story that you write, because it also describes your goal when writing, to communicate.

A story that communicates successfully with its readers is, in a very fundamental way, a better story than a story that doesn’t communicate very well with its readers. As an author, you have something in your head that you wish to convey to other people. You have an imaginary series of events that you construct while plotting or writing a story, and the entire point of storytelling is to get other people to understand what’s inside your head, as best as you possibly can.

If you’re describing a character, you want the audience to imagine a person exactly as you imagine the person. If you’re describing a sequence of events, you want the audience to be able to understand exactly what is going on in that scene. And as a general rule, especially if you want to make money writing, you want as wide of an audience as possible, which means that your communication needs to be structured in such a way that a wide audience will be able to read what you have written, and to get the same story in their heads as you imagined in your own.

What this means is that very often a storyteller needs to set his/her ego aside when dealing with feedback from readers, because that feedback is telling you how successful your communication with the reader has been.

If a significant percentage of your readers are confused by a passage that you have written, then–no matter how crystal clear you think that passage already is–you should probably look at it again, to see if it can be made any clearer. Likewise, if you are using any writing technique that you find personally appealing, and you find that that technique interferes with communication with the reader, then you should re-assess the value of that technique in your writing.

Size is Everything

Written February 11, 2015

Something that I see in both erotica and in other genres of fiction–from sci fi to horror to literary–is authors who have a tendency to use specific measurements in descriptions.

I tend to think that straight measurements in description are usually a bad idea.

When audience members aren’t familiar with the measurements being used, details like “5 feet” or “8 inches” or whatever are useless, because the readers cannot visualize what is being described, and the entire point of description is specifically to get readers TO be able to visualize things.

On the other hand, when readers ARE familiar with the measurements and the kind of thing being described, then you risk them second-guessing your measurements if you’re too specific.

In erotica, for example, I never describe a man’s penis as being a specific number of inches long. Some readers won’t be able to accurately visualize the size. Other readers won’t be impressed by whatever number is used. Still other readers will find whatever the number is to be too high.

Same with a woman’s breasts- I never refer to her bra/cup size, because it ends up either being meaningless, or implausible, or unimpressive.

Instead, general and relative descriptions work best.

A penis can be “thick,” “long,” or “massive” without any specific measurement, and the description is vague enough to be meaningful to everybody. One reader might picture an “enormous” erection being 7″ long, and another reader might picture it being 13″ long, but they’ll probably each picture something pleasing to them specifically, without getting caught up in numbers.

Same with breasts.

Same with almost anything else.

One good (and obvious) alternative to specific numbers is to have loose numbers. Instead of “three and a half feet,” try “several feet.”

Instead of “twenty minutes,” go with “Many minutes .”

Most of the time, whichever character we’re viewing the story through isn’t going to know the specific measurements anyway.

An often better alternative to loose numbers is to use relative measurements. If a woman is reaching out to grab a man’s erection, telling the readers his exact length and circumference in inches isn’t nearly as useful to the readers as comparing the man’s erection to the woman’s own body. It’s an easy visual, and it’s right in the mind of either the man or the woman, assuming that they’re watching the action.

It also means that you’re being vague twice, which gives the readers more opportunity to insert their own experiences and tastes into the equation.

For example:
“As I hesitantly wrapped my fingers around him, I realized that his erection was as thick as my wrist.”

How thick is his penis in inches?

There’s no way to know, but there’s no reason to really care either.

All we need to know is that it’s impressive on the scale of this particular woman’s body, and that’s really the only scale that matters. Maybe she has really tiny, dainty wrists.

Maybe she’s got thick, meaty wrists.

It doesn’t matter either way, because every reader is going to visualize the scene in proportion to itself.

Same with breasts.

“Her breasts were so large that I could barely fit them in my hands” is far, far more interesting and useful than “Her breasts were 38DDs.”

It puts an image into our heads, an image of action. We can visualize his hands on her breasts, and that’s one hell of a lot better than trying to visualize a bra’s dimensions.

Same with almost anything else.
“His fist was the size of a grapefruit”
“My gun lay a coffin-length away.”
“It was only minutes until dawn.”

Where Do I Get My Wonderful Ideas?

Like most authors, I’m frequently asked where I get the ideas for my stories. Often the person asking has a sense of curiosity or awe, and other times–like after stumbling onto one of my odder stories–it’s more like an accusation.

There’s no one easy answer to the question, so I’ll give several.

First and foremost, as well as recurring, I have a very busy mind. I become bored easily, and I don’t like it. Since I was a child, I’ve filled countless periods of boredom by either reading (or watching) some kind of story created by another person, or by making up my own stories. If, for example, I’m sitting in the waiting room to see the dentist, and I don’t have a book with me, and I either don’t have my phone or the internet is simply boring, I’ll let my mind wander about freely to see where it takes me.

Another factor to keep in mind at this point is that I’m kind of a pervert.  So my mind very often wanders toward sexy places.

Now, it helps that I mostly write short stories, and that I tend to be quite descriptive. This means that a very simple idea can end up becoming a good story. I can (and have) literally walked through a grocery store and come up with dozens of ideas:

Ooh! There’s a choke chain and leash for sale in Aisle 3. That could make for some kinky fun. Who wears it? Probably a naked girl. Why? Has she done it before? Let’s say she’s never done it before, because novelty makes for better erotica, and let us therefore say that she’s doing it… for a bet. But what kind of bet? And with whom?

I can just go on from there, filling in the questions as they come into my brain, until I have a fleshed-out plot. Then I write it. Just from walking through a store. Or, in this case, from thinking about walking through a store.

At the other end of the store is the veggie aisle. Cucumbers… well, that’s obvious, isn’t it? A girl masturbates with cucumber. But that’s been done, probably a LOT. So let’s make it different somehow. The cucumber isn’t for her. Who’s it for? A girl friend? Still cliche. How about her boyfriend? There we go. Because he’s got a massive penis, and before she’ll let him have anal sex with her, she wants to show him what it’s like to be on the receiving end. So the story opens with her in the grocery store, looking at cucumbers to judge if they’re the same size as her boyfriend’s penis. Maybe she fondles a few of them, gets some odd looks from other customers. Not the clerks; they’ve seen it all. They’re jaded…

And so forth.

The seed for an erotica story (so to speak) can be very simple, very small. It can be anything.

I listened to some TED Talks on technology the other day, and I came up with the idea for a phone app that matches people for sexual hookups not only based on their sexual compatibility, but also based on how much money they could make by filming themselves hooking up, and uploading the product to the internet.

That’s not just a story idea–it’s a story generating idea. I’ve written one story about this app so far (“That Syncing Feeling”), putting it in a cyberpunk setting, and I’m already mentally working on a second story. I can–and most likely will–be able to fill my own anthology with stories based all around that app.

I do like to have more than just sex go on in my stories, so once I have a seed, a basic idea, and a plot, I try to come up with additional ideas to make it stand out. With the cucumber example above, you can see that I often come up with things based simply on a desire to avoid the completely cliche.

My story “Corn Hold” (Just “Cornholed” on Literotica) for example, was written for a Halloween story contest. I wanted to avoid vampires and werewolves, because I figured that most stories would be covering those Halloween tropes. Same with ghosts, and to a lesser extent Frankenstein-type monsters. I tried to think of a Halloween creature that wasn’t done-to-death, and I came up with scarecrows. They show up in the occasional horror movie, but I’d never seen one in erotica before. Which made sense, because they were just rags stuffed with hay. What kind of penis would one even have…?

When I answered that question, I not only had the physics of the sex, but also the twist ending. The fact that the story turned out to be a decent exploration into the main character’s personality as well as the spirit of Halloween was all bonus.

Ideas are easy.

They’re in things you see, places you go.

They’re in the people that you meet, when you’re walking down the street.

Ideas are everywhere.

Shaping those ideas, cutting and polishing them so that they’re unique and memorable?

That’s a bit trickier. Maybe I’ll talk about that later down the road.

 

See you next time!

“Amazon.Com Has Rejected Your Product Review”

“Merry Christmas, Richard.” The woman handed me a $100 bill. “But you have to promise to have fun with it. Don’t just spend it on bills like you always do.”

I need the money just to survive in this economy–the IRS has me bent over a table, and the local water company is psychotic about late payments–but okay, I guess she’s right. I need something to boost my morale. I need some fun. Everybody needs some fun now and then, just to keep from sitting too long in the dark with the bottle or the barrel of a gun in their mouth.

Less than a week later, I’m with this other girl, and she wants to get out of the apartment. She wants to do something fun. This triggers my memory, and I remember that I’ve still got that $100 bill in the pocket of my pajamas (yeah, sometimes I still wear them).

“Want to go to the sex store?” I ask.

She squeals, and we head out.

We take a tour of the place, and she picks out a nice trio of anal plugs. We look at the riding crops and such, but they’re all just toys. For a cheaper, better product, you can buy the real thing from a farming goods store. I end up looking at the sleeves & stroker section because I’ve never found one that’s just right. Most of the things are only four to six inches long, and that’s just not deep enough. When I use one, I’m either poking out the far end, or I’ve got inches still sticking out at the base. I don’t like that. I like going all the way in, feeling that cushy pseudoflesh push right back against my balls and my pubic bone, especially when I come.

This place has some strokers that look less than four inches, and I have no idea what they’re supposed to do other than just be a cruel tease. I guess they’d be good to use as a kind of bump-stop around your base when you’re fucking a girl, and you don’t want to go too deep. Might be good for anal. The Fleshlights look plenty deep enough to fit all of me, but I can’t say for certain, because I’ve never bought one. They’re too damned expensive.

I’m about to give up, when I spot the Doc Johnson “Balls Deep” stroker. Unlike most of the strokers, it says the overall size on the box: nine inches.

“That should do it!” I think.

I read the box, and I find out more.

The thing is translucent, which is cool if you want to see your cock sliding back and forth inside the thing. That’s sometimes nice. I like watching the physics of sex, even when there’s only one participant and a toy. It’s important to know how things work, how they move. It’s not a big bonus, but it’s a minor plus.

It’s ribbed on the inside, which is also nice. Some strokers have weird little nubs and tendrils in them, then have the gall to proclaim “Feels Like The Real Thing” on the packaging. Sometimes I wonder if these toys are built by people who have never actually felt a real pussy in their life. Tendrils? Who comes up with that shit?

This thing, though… it’s just ribbed inside. If that’s the right term. The tunnel has a nice, tight entrance, of course. The entrance has the normal faux-labia exterior, and a hole that looks to be about the diameter of a pencil, but it’s silicone–it stretches. Maybe a quarter or a half of an inch inside, the tunnel opens into a marble-sized cavity, then it starts to close up again, but there’s another of those cavities. It repeats this pattern the rest of the way. It’s like looking at the mold for a set of anal beads.

I picture it in my head, my cock slipping into the fake lips, feeling that nice tightness around my girth, then feeling my head slipping into the first chamber, expanding a bit to fill the void, then hitting the next micro-tunnel. It’d be like slipping into a pussy within a pussy, within a pussy, like fucking a full set of Russian Dolls all at once. At least, that’s the theory behind the design, I can tell. Maybe it’ll work at least a little like they intend.

Unlike most sleeves, this thing has a dead end. The tunnel just comes to a stop, and there’s no way to slip out the other end of the thing. That’s appealing, because a lubed up stroker that’s too short (and virtually all of them are too short, really) just leaves the head of your cock sticking out into cold air. That’s good if you like aiming your comeshot someplace specific, but I’d rather get the sensation of coming INTO something, of feeling the head of my cock as tightly gripped as the rest of the shaft.

Also, the closed end means that if you do it right, there’ll be suction. I like to lube a stroker up, push all of the air out, then slide my cock into the entrance while holding it closed tight enough that no air gets into the works. That creates a bit of a vacuum, adding to the sensations and helping you stay hard. That’s particularly enticing right now, because the other thing I’m looking at in the store is a vacuum pump.

See, I’m not just shopping for solo play. The girl I’m with at the store, she likes to take turns holding the crop from time to time. I’m not into pain, but I’m into sex, and I’m into her, so I’m looking for a way to make it work.

Part of the trick to BDSM for people who don’t truly get off on pain (and even for some who do) is that the endorphins released by sex help relieve and mask pain. When you’re turned on, minor impacts, shocks, and so forth that would normally register as pain, instead just register as extra sensation. Like if you eat a raw jalapeno, that’s mostly just going to hurt, but if you mix it with the right amount of chili and/or cheese, the burn just highlights the flavors that you’re already enjoying, and vice-versa.

The problem is, she’s impatient, and not fully trained in the art of the tease. Also, I’m getting older. So when we’re together, I can’t just lay there rock-hard excited just because she’s naked and going to have sex with me, and she stroked me to fullness a minute or two earlier. I kind of need something to keep me stimulated sexually while she’s got me cuffed, gagged, and blindfolded, and she’s whacking my ass with that crop.The burn alone just doesn’t do it for me without the metaphorical beans and queso.

It’s easier for her. I can slip a vibe into her, or a plug, or both, and that keeps her special places entertained enough that the pain blurs with the sex. I’m looking for something that works for me like that. A vibe won’t work well with a cock, and a plug just doesn’t work the same for me as it does for her.

So I’ve been thinking that if my cock was inside a stroker or a pump while I’m lying there, that might keep me turned on enough that the crop would stay on the good side of interesting. A pump specifically would have the suction to keep me at least hard, even if it lacked the stimulation to feel good. I figured it was a long shot, but maybe this dead-end stroker would work even better. The suction might help me stay aroused, and it might feel real nice when I’m getting cropped on the ass. I mean, when your ass is smacked, you jolt forward. I figure that if my cock’s in a nice, slick stroker, then every time I’m whacked with that crop, my ass is going to flinch, my hips will buck forward, and I’ll be sliding into that nice pseudopussy.

Worth a shot anyway.

But I saw the price tag, and I thought that maybe I could get the same thing cheaper at Amazon. We bought the plugs, and I waited on the stroker until I could check online prices.

Anyway, I get the thing at some point, but it’s on a day where she isn’t in the mood to play with toys. She’s had a long day, and after we watch a movie together, she just heads off to my bed to sleep.

“Mind if I play with the toy without you?” I ask.

“Go for it!” she says.

I do.

A score of minutes later, I’ve got some porn pulled up on my computer, and I’ve got the stroker near me. I pick something that should work for me, some of that quasi-forced, “I’m embarrassed and vulnerable, and I’m oh-so-pure, but what you’re doing feels so damned good that I can’t stop you from having your way with me” Asian stuff. Live-action, not anime, and I manage to find something that doesn’t pixel out the best parts.

Asian girls are one of my go-to fantasies, ever since that girl lived down the hall from me in college. Of course, Hispanic girls are a thing for me since grade school, and black girls have been a hot-button since Junior High, and redheads have done it for me since… fuck it. I like women. Pretty much all of them–a thousand flavors, and they’re all my favorite. Tonight’s flavor is Asian.

I use my hand to start. No lube, just bare skin on skin, holding the loose flesh of my shaft and moving it gently back and forth. Sometimes I grip tight, sometimes I grip gently. Sometimes I let go, and just glide my hand over the outside of the skin, but I have to be careful because my hands have callouses, and that can turn rough and scrapey.

There’s an art to all of it. I’m in the teasing stage, where I’m getting myself hard, turning myself on, and priming the pump so to speak.

After I’m good and ready, I reach for the toy. I lubed it up first, before I started. No point in slowing things down during the session. I used generic water-based lube, the kind where you sometimes have to spit to add moisture when it starts to dry out and get tacky.

The stroker is bulky, and floppy. That’s a negative, because it means that I have to use both hands just to maneuver the thing. It’s not an uncommon issue with the larger strokers–the ones that are deep enough to take all of me inside of them–but it’s still annoying. I like to keep one arm free so that I can use the other to play with the nips, or slap my face, or tell myself in sign language (or with a sock puppet) that I’m a dirty whore, or whatever else suits my particular mood. Point is, it’s important to have a hand free for other stuff, okay?

So I have to use both hands with this thing, but it feels pretty nice. The suction definitely works. The chambers? They’re a mixed bag. The idea is nice, but it’s kind of intense to the point of being distracting. I mean, it’s interesting, but it sure as hell doesn’t feel like pussy.

The Asian chick on the screen is sucking a guy’s cock, and I pull back a bit with the stroker, trying to wade back to shallower depths to replicate the blowjob, but it’s more unwieldy at that level. If I go in too deep, then it messes with the fantasy a bit because most good head only works the first few inches, and while this thing sure doesn’t feel like pussy, it sure as hell doesn’t feel like a throat. If I go too shallow, then it’s physically awkward to handle the thing, and that messes with the fantasy as well.

After a while, I’m not getting much out of it. This thing was interesting at first, but now it’s just too much: too much pressure, too much weight in my hands, too much flopping around if I don’t use both hands to line it up right. I try laying the stroker on the desk, and just fucking it while standing up, watching the screen. The Asian girl is in doggy-style now, so that works out alright, but the motion isn’t as natural as just moving my hands as well as my hips. This kind of work is only worth it for real pussy, and this stroker isn’t real pussy. No stroker is.

I get kind of tired, and think about just quitting and going to sleep, but at this point I’m too horny to hit the hay, and I’m too bored with the toy to get an orgasm. That’s kind of disappointing.

So I check my email for a bit, and I play around on Twitter.

After a while, my cock starts telling me that it’s bored, and that I’d better do something to tire it out, so we can both go to sleep for the night. I click back to the tab where the porn is still pulled up. The Asian girl is frozen mid-fuck where I left her, the guy’s hands on her hips and his stomach against her ass. Her mouth is frozen open in the start of a moan, and her eyes are lightly closed. It’s a good moment, the kind of moment that I often wish I could freeze-frame my own life at. All good things come to an end, though. I click the mouse. The screen unfreezes, and her moaning body instantly thaws back into sound and motion.

She’s not fully shaved down there, just around her entrance. The rest of her pussy is neatly groomed. The couple changes position. Now the guy she’s with is going down on her while she protests, her face red with shame, but her legs are open wide, and he’s not holding them there. Her hips are bucking, pushing her pussy against his face. His hands reach up under her buttocks, grabbing her ass and pulling her body closer to him, getting his face right in there so close that I can’t see the immediate action any more. That’s okay, because sometimes I don’t need to–my imagination is enough, along with the look on her face and the jiggle of her body.

Yeah, okay. I’m getting hard again.

This time, I start off with a different stroker, a translucent sleeve that’s not long enough to fit all of me–and that’s too well-worn to be all that tight–but that’s familiar, and it works well to get me started. This one is ribbed too, but the ribs are gentler, less distracting. I watch the Asian girl’s breasts shake as the man starts fucking her again, her perfectly round nipples sticking out like candy, her supple flesh so smooth and sexy.

There’s a close-up of the guy fucking her, of his large cock slipping into those tight nether-lips of hers, pulling back slick, then sliding forward into her again. I try to time the movements of my hand to each thrust that he makes, but that’s a tricky game to get right to begin with, and pretty soon my body craves a faster tempo.

I’m pretty turned on now, so I grab my Doc Johnson “Balls Deep” stroker. I squeeze the air out, and I spit on the entrance. I relax my hand a bit, watching the saliva get sucked into the entrance, mixing with the lube that’s already in there. I place the head of my cock right against the entrance, and I relax my grip on the stroker as I slip my cock into it.

There’s that suction again. It’s pleasant.

I slide in deeper, and there are those ridges that demark each chamber. It’s a bit like entering all of those Russian dolls after all. It’s pleasant too.

The thing is still cumbersome. It’s too soft to be so long, and I still have to keep both hands on the thing, one at the base and one at the end. Sometimes it’s one at the middle and one at the end. Once I’m worked up enough, I can switch to a hand on the base, and one in the middle. The dead-end to the tunnel keeps me from slipping out, and it prevents those irritating squelching noises that sometimes happen with an open-ended stroker.

This time it’s better. This time it’s good. There’s a close-up of the Asian girl’s face as she reaches orgasm (or fakes one), and I’m right there myself, so I let loose, and I come. It’s not a fantastic orgasm, but it’s not bad either. It’s about average. My legs try to shake a bit, and my head leans back, and I think I let loose a brief grunting noise as my semen shoots out of me into the stroker. I’m glad it’s got a closed end–cleanup will be easier that way.

The girl at the store told me that I should really buy their $15 cleaning product that’s specifically for toys, but I didn’t bother doing it then, and I didn’t even think about it when shopping online. That stuff might extend the life of a toy, but for the price of two or three bottles of the cleaning product, you could probably just buy a brand new toy. When I declined, she told me that soap and alcohol both degrade the material (which I knew), and that I should just use hot water (which I do anyway, but it’s good to have professional confirmation). So after I pull the stroker off of me, I keep it tilted upright, with the labia toward the ceiling, and I go take a shower. I dump the contents down the drain as I stand in the hot water, mildly surprised at the quantity. I fill the stroker up with hot water, empty it, and repeat a few times. I hang it up to dry in the shower caddy, lips-down so it can drain, then I clean the other one.

When I’m satisfied with the toys’ sanitation, I clean myself.

Next, I mix some Everclear and orange juice, and I write this review.

I look at the stars for a while, the review stars on the screen in front of me.

One star is “I hate it,“ and I don’t hate this product. I’m used to some disappointment with sex toys, especially with sleeves and strokers. I also don’t “don’t like it,” which is the two-star option. It got the job done, even if it needed a bit of help. Hell, maybe it was me. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood, or I haven’t practiced enough with this particular toy.

I start to click on three stars, for “It’s okay,” but heck… I’ve only given it one test run. I remember that well-worn sleeve I have, and that it was a little awkward starting out as well: a little too tight, and a little too intense. But I adjusted to it, and it adjusted to me, and now we’ve got a good thing going. I’m going to give this thing four stars. I can’t give it five, just because it’s too bulky. Maybe that’s why Fleshlights and other toys come in those hard plastic outer layers. That probably makes them easier to handle.

Four stars is “I like it,” and that seems fair. How could I not like something that helped me reach orgasm?

As far as strokers go, it’s pretty decent. It’s got very nice depth. It’s got a bit of natural suction. It’s got easy clean-up. The heft of it feels nice when I really do go “balls deep” inside of it. Those are all quite important. I think I just need to learn the best ways to use this. Maybe if I hump it while lying down. Maybe if I use it while that girl crops or flogs me. Maybe I can figure out some one-handed technique that works with it.

It’s not perfect, but neither am I.

It’s a four-star product, but it’s a three-star world.

It’ll do.