World building is something that gets taken for granted in erotic literature because the focus is on how we get to the bumping uglies part and we assume everyone knows what the scene looks like, a bedroom, a kitchen, the pool, a bar. In making this assumption we are then missing key flavors in the story that draw you in. The world is a character that's all around us all the time.
I'm not writing a fantasy novel.
The notion that this is the realm of fantasy and Sci-fi is flawed. Erotica is definitely fantasy. You don't have to be bonking elves to think about the world in the story. There is a lot to your surroundings that create mood. The world can even change what a character might do. Perhaps something that they might not normally do. Even showcase how our main character is stepping out of character. There is a difference between a pink bedroom and one that looks like a headbangers cave with black lighting. So let's review a bit.
If you have followed the series then I have great news. You have already been world building. Story plot, structure and pacing is world building but it's a world with blinders on focused on just the path we want to walk. It's not quite a "Tree Level." but close.
The Character study adds details to the actions and descriptions of that path. Motivations and desires add flavor and is a part of world building that broadens the characters and makes them come to life. This is the level of a small grove of trees, the crowd around your main character and how she see's them as well as how they see themselves. This creates a new tension but it's an inner world. In a way this tells you the color of the trees.
The world at large is the whole forest our path exists in. Lets say Chicago, in winter. What the hell are you talking about Bella? How does that help. Lets look at the detail in the scene below, I have put in bold where the "World" as a character, is flavoring the scene. (they way I see it)
She sighed and took in a deep breath. Cindy had never stood naked on a balcony before. Standing so high above everything in his Chicago apartment made her feel powerful. The neon signs far below dancing in the night.
Her nipples hardened, partly from the excitement, partly from the cold as the snow drifted down slowly on the city. Normally afraid of heights she stood at the edge daring herself to do new things.
"You're shivering. Come back inside," Jake said. My husbands best friend for years. He had won the dirty Santa auction. He outbid my husband by a lot to take me to dinner. No one ever said the dinner couldn't be at his place and the dress code very relaxed.
"I like the cold," I said as he pressed himself into my back and reached for my breasts. "It makes you feel warm."
I reached for the iron railing as he caressed my sides and belly. I leaned back and put my head to one side as he kissed my neck. I felt warm and safe with him.
"Merry Christmas Cindy," He said as he tickled my clit.
"Merry Christmas, Jake. Just so you know I want my present unwrapped tonight."
We kissed this time like lovers as the wind picked up. But now I couldn't feel a thing but my heart beating.
So you see, that's why you need to know this was Chicago, in the winter. The details of the scene are a little more crisp and connects the reader. Could I do better, I could, but you get the idea. The world is another character that adds details to enhance the scene.
Think about the world!
Does your world have hot dog vendors. Is there a beach. What are the winters like. What are the summers like (she might miss them, or not). Time of year. (Above she ditched her husband on Christmas, Oooo) What part of the world are we in? New or familiar culture? that all affects the details. Maybe she goes to an ugly sweater party at some point. The world determines a lot in an erotica, not as much in porn.
Do you think Cindy would do this on the balcony of a small town apartment. She's being bad, not a slut. But if she did, imagine how the scene would change. Maybe a hot summer?
The point is the world is your character too. Don't neglect it, spend some time thinking about it. Spend a few minutes in google and look at the map, research the shops and places in that place. Research whom else lives there, is there a large Jewish community, black community and so on.
Next lets talk about how world building and the other article affect your writing. Some random stuff that might not at first seem to be relevant but indulge me.
I know this is weird to talk about now. But I bring it up because there is no such thing. WHAT? Now I know your crazy!
Writers block is either one of three things. You painted yourself into a corner with a plot you didn't properly manage, or your unable to let your character be themselves (because you don't know them), or you just lack context that will help you come up with scenes and details because you don't have a good fix on the world (The time and surroundings). As I mentioned in other places, I don't tend to make things up, I research what's there. The more color and detail you have, the less likely you will get blocked.
Ok, so now your pissed. I can tell. Writers block is when I can't think up a story idea. Not entirely true. Yes that's what people say it is. But it's not writers block until your trying to write.
So how do I come up with an idea
A quick diversion, how I come up with story ideas. Look at amazon top 100 and read, watch videos on your favorite porn site. Watch people. Go places.
You can often get inspiration around any one of the facets of planning. You don't have to have a plot first. You can start with the world. Japan is fun. Or the scene above. Porn, as I mentioned is often the result of a series of events we never see, nor do we know the motivating feelings. So if you have issues thinking up things to write in Erotica, wow. Your boned, and not in the good way.
God damn what a bummer. I have to plan?
I don't like to plan. I just like to write (Pantser). If this is a 1000 to 2000 word hot scene. This does not make sense. If your doing it for porn stroke value probably also not that important. But if you trying to get an interesting read with a page count (there I go again with the pages) then spend a day on it. Page count gets you $$ and gets you read because lots of folks like longer stuff.
I write for the joy not the business
Ok. Fine. Then again, ignore all this. But while your writing for Joy I will guarantee two things. the first is nothing will give you more joy than seeing people read it and you making a dime. It's the gamification of your art. It's like a little slot machine and nothing will motivate you to get back into your chair more than the dollar.
The second thing is that unless your writing purely to put it in the drawer and burn it later, the best way to get the strokes writers are looking for, is to be detailed. As I mentioned in pervious articles, sex can be boring. It's the details that get you off.
So I think now you have a great start on some compelling sexy smut. Practice and challenge yourself to doing three, 5000 word stories this week. After you plan of course. Don't edit, just write. Edit on the weekend.
You will think at first 5K is a bitch to get to. But with the details or plot, character AND world you'll see. It's easier than you think. But these only get you to the short story level. Next time, I'm going to talk about Layering and more about the writing process itself to get you further.
Once again I hardly wrote anything about sex. We will get there though.
A question I get asked all the time. "How do I know if I did it right?" Well, did you get wet/hard when you wrote it. Then your on the right track - for you. Now see if others think so. Open an account on Literotica, Vocal, Wattpad or whatever and post it. See if you get thumbs up and feedback.
Not all feedback is fun to read though, some people are just assholes. So take it with a grain of salt and improve.
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