5 Ways to Use Technology to Write Erotica
How photos, news, social media and search can improve your smut
A lot of people think fiction writers sit down at their computers and magically have their stories unfold for them. Maybe that’s how it happens for some people, but I love doing research for my erotica. By that, I don’t mean having sex, though that provide fiction fodder, but rather, taking advantage of the fact that you have a wealth of research material at your fingertips, and it’s often in unexpected places. I’ve written about everything from fire eating to collaring to a spanking machine, all thanks to information I found online. Here are some ways to get started with story ideas.
1. Google (or your preferred search engine)—Sometimes I think the advice to “write what you know” can do more harm than good, or at the very least, shouldn’t be a hard and fast rule when it comes to erotica. Why? Because even if you’re one of the most sexually experienced people around, there are still going to be things you haven’t tried, and bringing a diverse roster of sexual identities and activities to your erotic stories means you can write for more markets, and you’ll probably have more fun. Considering that there’ve been erotica anthologies focused on everything from office supplies (yes, really!) to firemen (ones geared toward both gay male and heterosexual readers) and military couples, there’s a whole world of opportunities waiting for you. I know nothing about actual firefighters, but I still wore a story called “Fire Stud” for a book called Backdraft about gay male firefighters, by imagining what it was like to be one of them. Want to know more about military families so you can submit to Kristina Wright’s anthology Commanding Desire: Military Erotic Romance? Check out sites like militarywives.com or Military Significant Others and Spouse Support).
Also right up there in usefulness is Wikipedia—while it may not be a reliable source for journalistic purposes, it can provide a seemingly endless series of links to topics you’ve very likely never heard of. Sometimes when I’m stuck for a story idea, I look up sexual fetishes and follow whatever links spark my interest.
2. Pinterest, Flickr and photo blogs—If you’re a visual person, often seeing a photograph can help inspire you in ways you never would have expected. Maybe you can’t stand the smell of smoke, but come across an image that captures a person smoking in way that’s so intriguing you can’t look away. These don’t necessarily have to be erotic photos, either. Maybe a random photo at a fashion blog will prompt a question like Why would a woman bike around Montauk in just a shirt and panties? Another great place to search is sex toy stores; you can get details and precise images of products you may want to include in a story, as well as learn about items you may not even have known existed.
3. The news—Every day there are stories happening in all sections of the newspaper and gossip sites that could spark the beginning of an erotic story. Don’t believe me? Here are four stories I found via The New York Times website and the quick plot ideas they prompted: Modern mothers escaping in the summer—what if two (or more) of them had a lesbian affair? Young cigar smokers — maybe a dedicated cigar smoker shows a newbie how it’s done? A mother takes her teenage son on a heavy metal cruise — what if she were to meet a dad on the cruise and they rocked out in their own way? Loaner jackets at restaurants—perhaps two men wind up fighting over the last one?
What’s going on in the news informs what kinds of work editors are looking for as well. There’s even a call for submissions right now for Take This Man, an anthology of romantic gay male erotica, tied to DOMA, and a charity one with an anti-bullying theme.
4. Social media—Similar to the news, there are erotica stories just begging to be created based on Facebook and Twitter posts. Now, does this mean you should steal your friend’s intimate revelation and turn it into smut? No, but with a bit of creativity, you can take almost anything and refashion it in your own way. Maybe a post about visiting a foreign country leads to an idea about two lovers who connect even though they don’t speak the same language. Maybe someone ‘s insomnia leads you to an idea about a character who can’t sleep and goes online in the wee hours, flirts, and through their sexy anonymous emails gets ideas on what to do with their partner during their waking hours.
5. Technological innovation—When I had to write a story about joining the mile high club (airplane sex), I knew I wanted to go in a different direction than either a couple getting it on in the bathroom, or seatmates sitting next to each other. This was a few years ago, when wifi was relatively new on flights. I wrote about a couple sending explicit emails, while one was back home, and one was in the air. If you have a smartphone, check out apps that help you connect with people (whether for hookups or just socializing), then use your knowledge of how they function to write a story about them. That’s the beauty of erotica—you get to keep trying on different erotic elements over and over, whether or not they’re part of your actual life. You can apply the same process of free associating with the news to tech news; for instance, the startup MeUndies sells underwear via subscription model. What if one partner bought this for the other—or one intercepted an underwear package? Or take Fundaware, a line of vibrating underwear from Durex? Or create your own tech startup (in your mind) and use your creation to fuel a fantasy story.