Plotting to Take Over the World
So now that we know what you want to write, or you’re on your way to finding out. That’s good because that leads to the next part of becoming an erotica writer.
Write your book!
It is essential that the first thing you do as an erotica writer is write, and finish, your book! If you haven’t written a book, then there is nothing to publish, market, or sell. The book is your product. Everything else is getting readers to look at your product.
There are many ways to write your book, but they are often broken down into two simple concepts: Pantsing and Plotting. Lots of authors may argue about the best way to write your book, but I’m going to cut through all of those arguments right now and say something revolutionary.
It doesn’t matter.
It’s true. It absolutely doesn’t matter how you write your book as long as you get it written. This is what many people won’t tell you. They’ll tell you their process and that is what they know and that is what works for them. What you need to do is find the process that works for you. The only way to do that is to write a lot AND try out new things.
Pantsing doesn’t require pants
Pantsing or seat-of-your-pants writing is where you sit down with a blank sheet of paper or screen and just write your story. One of the most famous pantsers is Stephen King. In his book On Writing, he has some famously rich things to say about plotting,
“Outlines are the last resource of bad fiction writers who wish to God they were writing masters’ theses.”
“Story is honorable and trustworthy; plot is shifty, and best kept under house arrest.”
Now, I could talk all day about these quotes, but again, it doesn’t matter! King wrote his book to demystify the writing process and to let people know that pantsing does work. It just doesn’t work for EVERYONE.
Pantsing has its benefits. There is a thrill to listening to your Muse and writing down what it tells you. Oftentimes your characters will do or say interesting things that you didn’t know were coming. This kind of writing is like channeling your Muse and putting it on the page.
This may work for a lot of people, especially if you’re writing shorter pieces. I was a pantser for a long time until something happened.
I got stuck. And when I say stuck, I mean STUCK. I had multiple works in progress and would get to a point where I had no idea what to write next. The Muse had stopped singing, my characters had stopped talking, and I was close to dumping every manuscript on my hard drive and calling it a day.
I realized if I was ever going to finish anything again I needed to do something different.
Enter the Cat
I love movies and to help distract myself from the ache of not being able to finish my book, I watched a lot of films that I loved. A good movie is like comfort food for the soul.
The simplified storylines of films spoke to me and I found myself looking to scriptwriting for inspiration. I felt that if I could unlock the secret of why movies were successful, then maybe I could figure out how to translate that to my stories.
That’s when I found a book called Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. The title refers to that part of a movie where an unsympathetic character becomes heroic by “saving the cat”. This can be the literal saving of a cat, or it can be anytime a character helps out someone in need. Think Han Solo’s ultimate save-the-cat moment when he saves Luke at the end of Star Wars and you get the idea.
I won’t go into all of the things Save the Cat taught me, but what I can say is that it had a HUGE impact. It demystified storytelling and I began to watch films with a critical eye, gleaning the best parts of them to adapt to my books. I used Blake’s story structure and applied it to my manuscript, immediately identifying the plot holes that were keeping me from finishing my work.
With this structure in hand, I was able to finish my book. Not only that, I developed a way of planning my books ahead of time so I could write faster and spend less time editing than ever before.
I know I might lose some of you here, but that’s OK. We all have different ways of writing and my opinion is whatever works for you, go with it. But, if you’re reading this because you want to find other ways of writing or you need help speeding up the process, then stay tuned. Next week, I’ll go into further detail about how I plot out my books and why it’s so important for erotica writers to publish NOW and publish OFTEN.
While you’re waiting for the next riveting installment of So You Want to Write Erotica, watch one of your favorite movies. Why do you love the movie so much? What about the plot do you like? Does it keep you interested all the way through, or does it drag in places?
Are there any Save the Cat moments?
Until next time!
Manus Dare writes twisted cheating and cuckold stories. Check out all of his books here.