By Loryn Stone
Of all the shit I don’t believe in, I have two strong personal philosophies. The first, is that all of life’s problems can be solved with a sandwich and a nap (in that order, very important). The second is that in order to get any good at doing something, you have to dive face deep into that shit and just handle in. Taste every dirty corner of it. Wreck it with your entire essence. Just annihilate it until you’ve wrung it out dry, pulled its strings taut, and the leftover putty is just soft, pliable ooze in your hands.
I’m talking about writing, of course. Did you think I was talking about fucking?
Wait! Don’t go- you’re not a pervert! Because you know what? Sex and writing, for many of us, go hand in hand. And you know what I learned during my time as a writer?
Sex scenes aren’t easy!
For those learning to write, Fan Fiction is a glorious place to start. Not only do you have a complete world built for you and ready to go, but you also have characters that you’re familiar with. You can move them along their pre-engineered universe without worrying about small details that sometimes bog our own original ideas down. It’s the perfect application for first-time smut writers. And truthfully, I don’t read anything but smutty Fan Fiction.
I mean, why choke down popcorn that isn’t lubed, er, buttered?
In my noob head, this was a simple win-win. I would take a prefabricated world, twist and bend its characters to my sick desires, and get mad awesome feedback in the comments section. My naughty-fandom word prowess would take over the internet!!!11!!111!
But that was before I understood the rules.
I thought being a seasoned Fic Lurker was enough, but it wasn’t. I’d written two dirty Fan Fictions about niche fandoms that really didn’t get much attention. But on my third try, I hit gold. I found a community that was starved for quality fics. I gave them the first chapter. They loved it. The second? I was golden. The third and forth followed in similar suit. And then…chapter five happened.
Chapter. Fucking. Five.
I struck out. HARD. I broke all the rules of Fan Fiction writing I didn’t know were there. The fandom tore me apart to the point where I had to delete the story and re-upload it in order to get all the hate off my story. In a hurry, I uploaded a new ending chapter and an apology letter to the readers. Because I didn’t know the rules. I didn’t know the game.
But along that road, I learned five important lessons when writing filthy Fan Fiction. And they are…
5. You have to take your time coaxing the tension
It goes without saying that first and foremost you have to know how to write. I can’t tell you how many Fan Fictions I’ve read where the reader, bless their effort, didn’t have a grasp of the physical structure of a story. But coaxing can be said for any romance or erotica genre, really, it’s amazing how many writers forget it. Like old school pornography, my favorite Fan Fics (and porn scenes, who am I kidding) are the ones that have a deliberate buildup to the goods. But there’s a very delicate balance. Jump in too fast and it’s like sticking your tongue into a dried-up salt shaker. Your reader isn’t emotionally (or physically) invested yet and wasn’t ready for that hot dog to fling down the hallway quite yet. Like, my hand hasn’t even left the trackpad yet and these characters are already changing positions?
Get the fuck out of here.
On the flipside, I’ve read Fan Fictions that just take way too long to get to the stuff I’m there for. Like really, we all know we don’t want to be at this party unless it gets weird, so why are you wasting everyone’s time by serving apple juice?
We. Want. LEMONS. Gnarly, twisted, fermented lemons.
Those stories that waited until chapter six or longer are just ones that I can’t get behind. I’m not so invested in your Alternate Universe that I’m going to let my sweet honey well go dry waiting for your characters to smash their parts together in heavy detail.
4. That said, you have to use the right language
There’s power in words. And it’s intriguing which words affect people more than others. For example, there’s that “c-word” that’s popular nomenclature for female lady parts that seems to get many all bent up. But for the rest of us, it’s a perfectly reasonable word. To others, its irresistibly sexy. That’s the word they want to hear when they imagine a thing getting stuffed into another thing.
Other words, such as vagina, may be seen as too clinical and therefore doing nothing to stimulate our sexy nether-region-electric-tingle-glitter in the great below. My favorite “not-pussy” word is sex, as used with exhausting frequency in Anne Rice’s Claiming of Sleeping Beauty erotica series. But when it comes to dude parts, good old cock seems to be the word that works well in all flavors of fiction. Hell, I’d even read the word “length” over penis. Seriously, give me that cock, but keep your penis away from me.
These are all very important elements to consider when writing a fuck-scene! No joke! Sensory writing is imperative, and we all need visuals to get ourselves immersed in the moment. Take a tongue. Put it on a nipple. Now add an action word. No, touch isn’t good enough. Let’s graze. Flick. Swirl. Flick. Taste. Suck. Ravage.
Do you feel the tension building? Or am I just creeping you out?
Choose your own adventure.
But off the bat, we don’t always know which words to use! And truthfully, the word has to match the ambiance of our universe. Maybe your story is hard, fast, and rough. Thus, you need to find the balance of sensory language to support that? Have a flowery, swirling whirlwind romance? Well, take the time to find the words for that too. You’d better do it right! Or you know what?
Those fans are gonna come get ya.
3. You have to (kinda) stay within the canon
From my experience reading/writing fan fiction, especially dirty ones, readers tend to need a familiar backdrop of some flavor. Truthfully, while I know they exist, I’ve never personally met anyone in person who likes Alternate Universe or Crossover Fan Fiction. This is where you take familiar characters and put them in a new setting (like making Sansa and Joffrey high school students at the Westeros Charm School of Patience and Tolerance) or taking Zootopia characters and making them meet characters from Elder Scrolls (an actual Fan Fic that somehow landed in my email inbox and made me question all of my PopLurking decisions from age 13 to the present).
But I think I speak for many of us when I say this- we’re looking for a certain thing. Give us the thing and make the writing not suck. Give me the tingles, make Aang and Katara go on an (aged up, of course) sexy camping trip, they bone in the woods and everyone is happy. If Sonic and Knuckles are going to star in some crazy-ass slash fic, they’d better have their first time together while trapped in Eggman’s laboratory, finding comfort in each other’s white-gloved arms on the crazy Robotnik man’s workshop table, where all other bad ideas go down south.
Far, far down south.
I’ll refer back to that self-proclaimed Smash-Hit Fan Fiction I wrote, the one that got me in lots of trouble. From the masses of feedback in the comments section the best thing my story had going for it is that it literally picked up where scenes from the movie stopped. I posed the question “What happens to these two characters when the camera stops rolling but the scene keeps going?” That immersion into the film was the best thing my story had going for it because the fans were able to perfectly imagine exactly where it picked up.
Now, for a regular non-sexy Fan Fiction this isn’t needed (but again, why do those stories even exist?) but it’s like porn taking place in a bedroom, an office, a classroom, a mechanic’s workshop- The backdrop is familiar.
Now we can focus on the good stuff.
2. Don’t Fuck with the Ships!
If you’ve never looked for dirty stuff on a site like FanFiction.net, here’s the way it’s done. First, you search for your franchise/fandom. Then, you scroll all the way down and change the rating of the story from K-T to that good old purring M. But after that, you have an option to select from a drop-down of characters and pick the two you most want to see do the schmegma-schmear. And if an author was goodly enough to make that combination of condom-collide happen, then a list of stories will popular and you’ll be home free to read them all. Or search the trove for that one special treasure that you read over and over again.
But what I learned during my brief stint writing the goods is that (many) people take their Ships very seriously. You’ve heard the term “I ship it.” For those who don’t know, that means you place two characters in a Relationship together. What sort of relationship? Well…that’s not the conversation we’re having. There’s always the traditional relationships, the ones that end up together in the show, movie, or book. But then there’s those “read between the lines” situations that some people seem to pick up out of nowhere. Like remember when the internet was all about Katara and Zuko from Airbender? Or Aang and Toph from the same franchise? Or when people thought that Gordon the Train from Thomas and Friends was totally into The Fat Controller, when it was painfully obvious that he and Spencer are in love?
The point is, if people pair two characters together and go into a Fan Fiction expecting these two characters to do some cool things together, you need to keep it that way. Stories involving a specific pairing are expected to stick to a certain level of decorum. And for the love of all that’s weird and right in the world…
1. Never, ever pull a fast one on your readers!
I can’t even stress how important this is. Truthfully, this was the biggest lesson I learned from writing that dirty, dirty story from the fandom I refuse to tell you about (but will admit that if my kids watch it, it’s subject for me to tear apart, manipulate, and beat into a pulp of enslaved, sexual yuck).
As I’d mentioned before in the intro to this article, chapters 1-4 were golden. The writing was strong, the sexy scenes were varied (and plentiful!) and everyone in the comments section was having a good time. In under a week, the story had several hundred comments, views, and subscribers. I was on top of the world!
And then…chapter 5 happened.
Because of the nature of the fandom, I made of a grave mistake. I incorrectly assumed that everyone reading were nasty freaks, and they wanted their story to end with a big, dirty, multi-character crescendo. I admit it, I pulled a fast one on my readers. I thought to myself, “Well, if they’re willing to see these two characters doing the dick-disco, then they’re willing to have anyone join the party, right? And let’s let it get real gross and upside down!”
And holy shit, was I way, way wrong.
I called the forces of my friend Skye, one of the most versed Fan Fiction readers I know and asked her about authors pulling fast ones. She was kind enough to give me her thoughts on the topic:
Pulling a fast one…yes, I do have one of those stories. Basically, I was reading a Remington Steele fanfic, and the main character Laura’s father came back (he was absentee and it’s a big part of her character background).
So, dad comes back, and they meet again. There’s a tearful reunion. Then Laura’s new baby starts crying and she needs to go and attend to the baby, which includes feeding them. Then her dad says,
“Let me watch you nurse my grandchild.”
It was at this point I completely noped out of the story and literally never went back. The thing that got me the most upset about that particular situation was that it was part 9 in that fic series, and I never had any complaints about said author before. It was…pretty bad.
The thing that usually turns me off fic-wise is when the characters suddenly become OOC (out of character). Yes this fic where Captain America is being a jerk is great, but no way in hell would he ever become a racist jerk hole?? Because he grew up in the 40s? The character isn’t built like that.
And if it’s gonna be crazy, tag it as a crack!fic. Because the filth you wrote, Loryn, sounds like crack!fic to me!
…I still have so much to learn…
You can find Loryn on Twitter, where she’s still writing weird things.
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