How an Erotica Writer Gets Her Ideas

19 Jul

Naughty writer Erin O’Riordan was cool enough to contribute this guest post.  I was tickled pink as I read it, recalling how in my juvenile writer stage I used to “dabble” in romantic writing.  In elementary, I used to read Mills and Boon books (Grandma had a HUGE collection) behind a textbook and pretend I was listening to the class.  Anyway, read this interestingly written post and who knows, you might discover a hidden talent… at the very least, the exercises she outlines makes for some yummy daydreaming.

You may be a budding erotica writer and not even know it yet. Not me, you say? Do you blush when you read naughty words, so much so you can’t picture yourself dreaming up the plots for erotic novels – much less writing them down? Believe it or not, writing literary smut is a skill that can be learned, like most other aspects of the craft of writing.

First, know what you like. I’m sure you have a general idea of what you like. You know if you’re straight, gay or bi, whether you like women or men – or women and men. You probably have a general idea of your “type.” Now it’s time to get a specific idea of your types (emphasis on the s.)

This little exercise reveals one secret of where an erotica writer gets her ideas. It involves observation. For one day – one day when you’ll be at the grocery store, the mall, the art museum, a sports event – anywhere you’ll see a lot of strangers, keep a log of who attracts you and why.

Soon you’ll begin to see all sorts of erotic inspirations from real life: an eye-catching pair of eyes, a jogger’s tightly muscled calves, the tilt of a hat. Your log can even include non-human things; maybe your neurons get fired up over a whiff of perfume, the smell of apples baking or the feel of sea spray on your face. Any one of these people and things could be the spark of a short story. Any short story can be the beginning of a book.

Don’t feel guilty about keeping a log of people who attract you, even when you’re in a relationship. Just because you go to a museum and look at the paintings doesn’t mean you don’t love the one above your couch. If God gets upset when you don’t notice the color purple, imagine how she feels when you neglect her most complex and artful creation, the human being.

Looking at the world around you is one source of erotic inspiration. There are many others, from song lyrics to films. I once based a short story on the premise of a woman playing “Redneck Woman” on the jukebox in an airport bar.

Celebrities can be inspirational, too. Go ahead, indulge that fantasy about Ryan Reynolds, Rihanna or whoever floats your boat. Use their names and images in your fiction and you’re writing RPF (real people fic). It can be fun to read on the Internet, but it’s considered more of a hobby and generally dismissed by publishers. Get inspired by a celebrity’s traits, though: apply those traits to a fictional character, and you’re writing erotic literature.

Happy writing – and reading!

About the Guest Blogger: Erin O’Riordan lives in the Midwestern United States with her husband and co-author Tit Elingtin.  Her erotic short stories, essays, and film reviews have been published in numerous magazines and websites. A trap designed to catch her should contain dark chocolate, espresso drinks, and Christian Bale. She can be found online at or the Pagan Spirits book blog at


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