Smut University—The Dos and Don’ts of Smut Writing by solareclipses

The Dos and Don’ts of Smut Writing by solareclipses

Homework:

Take one of the following passages from these dreadful, published books and re-write it. You can change the characters’ names and add to or subtract from the scene as needed. You must maintain the overall idea, though, which is that some form of sexy times is had.

From ‘Maps for Lost Lovers’ by Nadeem Aslam
 
At the tip of his penis, the dot of starlit ache – which had to be kept in place and referred to periodically to maintain the erection, but was never to be dwelt on because then it would spread and lead to climax – was growing larger.His mouth looked for the oiled berry. Her taste came and went tidally salt and sour in his mouth, as eloquent as weather.

When he fell through the sensation and opened his eyes he was surprised to find her there.

And he could not hold her close enough.

The smell of his armpits was on her shoulders – a flower depositing pollen on a hummingbird’s forehead.

They detonated the remains of each other’s orgasms with fingers and tongues, areas of their bodies sticking together with sweat that was like the weak glue that holds segments of an orange together.

From ‘Knight Moves’ by Jamaica Layne
 
“Everything you see and feel is real, milady,” my knight says, caressing my bare back with his hands. “That, I promise you. If you desire proof, you only need consider the three very real climaxes you just had in your lady-softness.”

My eyes fly wide. “How did you know I came three times?”

He grins wider. “Your lady-softness told me herself when she was wrapped round my codpiece.”

From ‘The Gingerbread Tryst’ by Nichelle Gregory
 
Marisa considered masturbation an art form. She could spend hours playing with her pussy until she achieved the perfect climax . . . or two. She loved creating the mood for her me-fuck-me sessions and always took special care to set up before pussy play.
From ‘Knight of My Dreams’ by Delilah Devlin
 
Quentin wished like hell he and his cock shared the same heart. The same mind. He hated how his body betrayed him, again, in her presence. Just a whiff of her unique scent wafting in the air was enough to tug his arousal into full bloom. Like Pavlov’s stupid dog, his cock filled, poking at the sheet.

[Apparently later in the same book…]

“Good.” He rooted with his cock, still pressing down his chest to keep hers deflated, and then curled his belly to stroke inside her.

…her womb clenched, cramping hard, almost painfully, and she couldn’t do anything, just lie like a suffocating fish on the banks for a roaring river while he continued to plow her depths.

…His cock spent, but still turgid, returned to a meaty human size, filling, but not too many calories.

From ‘One + One = Three’ by Sasha James
 
“Take … all … of. . . this . . . dick,” he said, in between thrusts.

“Give it to me,” she moaned back.

They each gave as good as they got, bucking back and forth like two prized steers.

“Oh yes, yes, yes, YES!” Munro screamed on the verge of cumming.

“That’s it, Baby. Let’s cum together!” After a few more heated moves, they exploded simultaneously.

When submitting your homework, please
mention which shitastic excerpt you worked from!

Read the Submissions


  • INTRODUCTION: You don’t have to stick the penis in.
  • DON’T…
    • Think all lemons are tasty in every pie.
    • Finger yourself while writing, Mary Sue.
    • Misplace hymens.
    • Overdo it.
    • Forget average is relatable.
    • Try to ram it in.
    • Think “unique” automatically means “good.”
  • DO…
    • Consider your audience.
    • Watch for potentially alienating words and phrases.
    • …your homework!

INTRODUCTION: You don’t have to stick the penis in.

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Repeat after me: “Plot before porn.”

Yes, yes, you’re here to learn how to write smut, but the best smut is the smut that deserves a place in your story, even in those stories that frequently feature sex. Whenever you get ready to write a sex scene, you should ask yourself some simple but important questions:

  • Does this move my plot forward?
  • Does this make sense for my characters at this point in the plot?
  • Would not including this sex scene be a problem?

Contrary to popular fandom belief, your story doesn’t have to contain graphic sex scenes–or any sex at all. (Gasp, I know.)

In particular, when thinking about the last question, your readers’ perverse wishes shouldn’t sway your logic for the overall story that they don’t know. Taking requests or giving in to reviewers’ pleas for sex is the makings of a 500,000-word monstrosity with a rambling plot. Can we all agree that there are enough of those in the fandom already? Good. Let’s move on.

A common problem I see is readers don’t remember details about stories, or they get stories confused or completely forget them. There’s a reason for that.

The stories aren’t memorable.
Why aren’t they?

I think a lot of it comes down to the usually overabundant smut scenes, of which I’ve seen several readers recently mention they only skim now. After a while, all the your-pussy-is-so-tight-and-grips-like-a-rubber-band and your-cock-is-so-big-however-will-it-fit-into-my-dainty-love-pocket starts to blend in together, especially when you’re pulling the same characters out of the proverbial hat time and again. To make a story memorable, your plot and characterization mustcome first, as that’s where your creativity will shine if you do things right. The smut gets sloppy seconds.

You can write a story where sex is at the hot core of the plot, as in it is essential to thrusting your story forward and helping your characters grow (hard); however, few do this well, and the reviews received for shameless smut aren’t always indicative of quality or memorability.

So, when a lemon is right for your story, what should and shouldn’t you do?


DON’T think all lemons are tasty in every pie.
There are sweet lemons. There are tart lemons. There are lemons that have fallen on the ground and gotten so dirty-filthy-nasty that you’d never show them to your mother for fear of being disowned.

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Not all flavors of lemon are right for all characters or stories. Pick your lemons wisely, then squeeze the juice out. But don’t call it juice. That’s probably a bad idea. Usually only Led Zeppelin can talk pull that off.

The point here is that unless your oh-so-conservative female lead has a secret (that your readers are in on) or goes through a personal transformation, she’s probably not going to be donning her black leather dominatrix get-up on the third date. She probably doesn’t own one.

Your lemons should make sense for your characters’ personalities and the circumstances your plot has placed them in. Anything else comes off as being insincere, if not desperate.


DON’T finger yourself while writing, Mary Sue.

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Don’t insert yourself (snicker, I know) into a character’s place when writing sex. Yes, the male lead’s hunka-hunka-burnin’-love hot, but if you’ve written him well, he should want your female (or male!) lead, not you. Your. Story. Is. Not. About. You. It’s just not that into you. Writing yourself into your fiction is inevitable, especially in first person narrative, but overdoing it is a form of Mary Sue writing, and it’s often obvious to discerning readers. What’s sexy to you shouldn’t necessarily always be sexy to your characters.

Writing yourself into a character’s place has the added downside of being potentially painful or embarrassing on a personal level. No matter how wonderfully flawless your writing may be, someone out there will hate it, with or without a valid reason; sometimes it’s only a matter of personal taste. You likely will receive a disgruntled review, perhaps even a trolling flame.

It’s one thing to receive comments like those about the characters you’ve worked on; it’s another to receive comments on what is a barely-masked version of your own, personal sexual experience. Unless you have a really thick skin–in my two years in this fandom, I’ve seen few who do–you probably won’t be able to calmly deal with that kind of hurt or anger.


DON’T misplace hymens.
A.k.a., “Biology: learn that shit.” Clearly we’ve a ways to go with sex education, because far too often Edward’s encountered Bella’s hymen hiding deep in her tightly-clenching, soaking tunnel of love, seemingly clinging to her cervix for dear life. For the love of all that’s unholy, that is not how it works, ladies. I’m sad that I have to be the one to explain this to some of you.

The hymen is a thin layer of tissue that partly covers the external vaginal opening. It is so thin, in fact, that it is a horrible way to determine a woman’s virginity, as it can easily be stretched or torn by an active lifestyle (e.g., bicycling), tampons, medical examinations or–most likely, let’s face it–fiddling with yourself while you’re reading erotica. Hormone levels also determine the thickness/”strength” of the membrane, which may or may not contribute to pain during sex for the first time. (As a side note: Not all virgins bleed like stuck pigs, though plenty do.)

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Bella’s hymen is not buried in the cavern; it’s right at the entrance, like an unfortunate toll booth. It’s a good thing, too, because if Edward ever suffered frommicropenis, she’d never be deflowered. On the upside, she’d have a permanent, natural barrier to pregnancy. Not.


DON’T overdo it.
Bella’s twat should not be a subterranean wonderland that inspires spelunking adventures, so no dripping cores or leaking penises. Leaky characters are bad characters. Can you write about Bella’s perfectly normal super-lubrication? I guess, but let’s have a show of hands of how many want to read it. Do you see any hands up? No.[/b]

Less is often more, even when it comes to delving into some of those sexy details. The reason this is true is because sex is different for all of us. The more details you give, the greater your chance of having multiple readers stop and go, “What the fuck? That doesn’t happen to me!” This then launches into debates about what is/isn’t natural and takes readers out of the scene that you want to keep them interested in.

Compare the following versions of the same passage:

  • Edward explored her body with his hands, and Bella smiled up at him. They were ready for each other. 
  • Bella parted her thighs in expectation, and Edward’s hand traveled downward. She was ready for him. 
  • Bella parted her thighs in expectation, and Edward’s hand traveled downward. He slid his fingers through her wetness. 
  • Bella moaned and parted her thighs in expectation, and Edward’s hand traveled downward. He slid his fingers through her warm wetness. “Ohhh, fuck,” he murmured. She was slick all over; the scent of her arousal lay heavy in the room. Easily sliding his fingers inside her, he began pumping and stroking her to climax.

All say the same thing. One is actually concise and avoids all possible “trigger” words/phrases (to be discussed later) and may eliminate the need for a lemon all together. If that’s not right for your story and its characters, the second level of detail should suffice; the third version is only a little more detail, but begins to use words that some readers may find off-putting. The fourth version may be overdoing it. It uses lots of “trigger” words/phrases and will take the most people out of your story, even if it may very well garner the largest review count.


DON’T forget that “average” is relatable.
Can your characters have sex upside down in the water while dolphins swim around them, shooting rainbows out of their blowholes? Sure. It’s fiction. Doesn’t mean you should write it.

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The simple fact is this: The more awkward the position or situation, the more awkward the writing usually is. To combat this, you should probably stick to sexy, but relatable (and highly writable) scenes. There’s nothing wrong with putting your take on something tried and true. If your characters and plot are solid, the sex will be just right.

When you do want to write something you’re unfamiliar with, research, as Gingerwombatkat has gone over, is paramount. With sex, you almost certainly need to go a step further, too, and not merely depend on clinical, encyclopedic descriptions. Forums and documentaries will give you a good, personal view on whatever sexual kink or dysfunction you’re thinking about exploring. When writing about the “unfamiliar,” you will encounter lots of skepticism and questions; be prepared to answer them if you need to.

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DON’T try to ram it in.
TKegl did a great job looking at the ass end of smut writing, but it I feel it bears repeating: Anal sex without lube: DEAR. GOD. NO.

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DO consider your audience.
All right. I’ve been a Debbie Downer for long enough. Let’s talk about some things you should do.

As much as you shouldn’t bend to readers’ wishes, you should be aware of the kind of reader you want to communicate with. This knowledge is empowering when it comes to writing your entire story, but with sex scenes in particular, it will help you know whether it’s right for you to fade to black or dress Edward in a black thong and get him dancing at the local gay bar. Consider the message you want your story to send and the types of readers you want to read and review your work. This will sometimes help you choose what scenes to write, as well as how to write them.


DO watch for potentially alienating words and phrases.
The following list–compiled partially in thanks to the ladies over on A Different Forest–is of words that may or may not remove some or many readers from your story. Some are a matter of taste; others are really, objectively bad, I think, and should be rarely if ever used, unless your characterization especially calls for it. (Seriously, though, don’t write a character who calls for “weeping cocks,” okay?)

  • “aching” genitalia
  • ass
  • center
  • clit/clitoris
  • cock
  • “Come for me. Now.”
  • core
  • “cum,” versus “come”
  • cunt
  • dick
  • “dripping” genitalia
  • “exploding” genitalia
  • folds
  • “gushing” genitalia
  • jism/jizz
  • juice
  • labia (due to how clinical it sounds)
  • laving
  • length
  • “lower lips”
  • member
  • milked cocks
  • moist
  • nub
  • penis (due to how clinical it sounds)
  • puckered hole
  • pussy
  • “scent of her arousal”
  • seed
  • soaked panties
  • stiffness
  • tiny hands around giant horse dongs (a rather general issue in this fandom…)
  • throbbing
  • twat
  • vagina (due to how clinical it sounds)
  • “weeping” genitalia

Feel free to mention others. I could list more, but we’d be here forever.

You may look at this list and think, “What the hell is left for me to write?” The answer is, “Plenty.” You can, of course, choose to use some of these terms–I recommend you do!–if you’re consciously aware of and okay with the fact that they may alienate certain readers. And, again, much of it comes down to your characters and what they would do. Asshole Edward probably doesn’t use the word “center,” for instance. In my own writing, I only have certain characters use certain words in certain circumstances.

To be certain.

This is really about making conscious decisions; many don’t when it comes to smut writing, as being “technical” about it is often seen as a negative thing, even though it’s not.

Good rule of thumb beyond knowing your characters and story really well? Go light on the adjectives and be aware of the nouns you’re using to describe those girl and boy bits.

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