The Plot Thickens
So, now we get into the nitty-gritty of plotting. Let me preface this by saying that this is only one way of plotting. This works for me and some of it may work for you. Feel free to ignore or steal any of my ideas.
I posted this as a joke on Twitter yesterday and even though it was meant to be funny, I realized this contains most of the elements I follow to write a story.
- Someone wants sex
- Something (or someone) gets in the way
- They have sex
- Something/someone breaks them up
- Realize they really have to have sex again.
- Fantastic Climax!
- The end.
Think of these elements as signposts, a helpful way to see if you have a compelling story or just a set of entertaining sex scenes. Again, you can use these elements after the fact or, for faster writing, you can brainstorm ahead of time. Either way, this list can be remarkably helpful!
Note on Story Length: I plan on tackling story length in a later post, For now, I am going to show you how I plot a 15k-20k story. For my kink that is the length that I can realistically charge $2.99 for on Amazon. That is my sweet spot.
The above elements, or beats, are very important in my plotting. In my opinion, story beats can take a boring story and make it as exciting as a short movie or a really good episode of television.
Despite the above list being simple on the surface, describing each element in detail takes a little time. Today, let’s focus on just the first element which will comprise the first quarter of your story.
Someone Wants Sex (or The Setup + Inciting Incident):
This is the first part of your story. This part is going to introduce us to your main characters and give a sense of the ‘normal’ world of your story. In other words, we’re going to find out who wants to have sex. (In a thriller this is where you meet the detective who wants to stop the killer, in a buddy cop film you meet the straight man cop who wants a quiet life, in a fantasy you meet the hero who wants adventure, etc).
This is a chance to introduce us to your characters’ normal, everyday lives. We must get to know the characters so we are invested in their lives before we disrupt them. Many erotic stories ignore the setup, which is okay if you are writing a simple sex scene, but if you are writing a longer story (anything over 5,000 words) you’d better make us care about your characters.
Even with short, short stories you can make us care about the characters, but that usually is tied in with the sex. Or not. There are a lot of junk stories out there that have nothing but sex. Why bother? I can find pornographic sex scenes literally anywhere on the internet. If I pay money for a story I want to think and feel!
#darotica Notes: #darotica was a term coined by fellow writer Alexa Sommers (@alexasommers on Twitter). This term identifies my own unique brand of erotica which focuses on cheating wives and cuckolding. In Japan, this is called netorare. I’ll be adding #darotica Notes as I make my way through this discussion so you can see my take on each element. In #darotica, the setup is almost always a slice of life of a fairly happy couple who may, or may not, be having trouble in the bedroom. It is important for me to show this connection so that the later disruption (a sexy male antagonist) comes as a shock to the wife or girlfriend AND the reader.
I did not come up with this term, but it is a very useful and an essential part of Someone Wants Sex. Every successful story has a moment when the status quo, the world the MC lives in, gets disrupted. In my erotic stories, this moment is the introduction of what I call the ‘alternate love interest’. In your story, it will probably be the introduction of the main sexual interest for your main character. An ex-boyfriend calls unexpectedly, a hot babysitter meets the man of the house, or a bad boy biker saves a fiery lawyer. All of these are examples of sexy inciting incidents and, depending on the complexity of your story, it may or may not include actual sex.
In fact, this may be a good time to have a Failed Sex Scene. This is a scene where not everything goes right. After all, real characters are not porn stars and even if you aren’t aiming for realism, a failed attempt to connect can add spice and drama to your story.
#darotica Note: My stories tend to be a reverse love story. That seems like a high minded concept, but it’s actually pretty simple. Instead of the couple getting together, they are driven apart by a male love interest. In most of my stories, the loving couple has sex (often Failed) in the beginning. The inciting incident is almost always the introduction of the other man. Not for everyone, but that’s my kink!
No matter what the inciting incident, it should force the characters to make a choice. This choice will propel the characters into the next part of your story where your heroine or hero comes face to face with the opposition, or Someone or Something that Gets in the Way!.
Next time, we’ll talk about Someone (or something that gets in the way). Until then, watch your favorite movie or read your favorite book. What is the setup? How is it unique? Can you spot the inciting incident?