A difference between fantasy and erotic short story

When I want to feel turned on, whether that’s masturbating or just the brain-buzz from sensual/sexual arousal, I can, of course, use visual porn or read something written by someone else. But often, I simply delve into my own imagination and produce a hot scene of my own devising. (These scenes often borrow visuals or themes from other sources, of course.)

Sometimes, a little part of my brain, while this is going on, says, “Hey,this is a great scene, I should remember it and write it as a short story.” Given the wide range and variety of fantasies I have, these seems like a good idea on the face of it. It would, I am sure, boost my traffic if there were regular hot porn writings here, for starters.

The fact is, I struggle to write erotic short stories. Most calls for submissions I see suggest somewhere between 3k-5k words as the upper limit, depending on the publication. My typical sex scene, going on previous experience and what I am finding with the novel WIP, is 1.5k words. “Well, that’s well under the 3k limit, what’s the problem?” I hear you say.

The problem is that my fantasies don’t start and stop with the sex. “Sex” here is also a flexible term, in that BDSM is sex for me, whereas I wonder whether vanilla sex is really sex (I mean, I get that it is for vanilla folks, but it doesn’t do it for me the way it does for them). So when I say “my typical sex scene”, it includes the bondage, SM play, verbal back-and-forth between the partners, as well as the “tab A in slot B” part.

In Tucked Away (my last post), although it comes to less than 600 words, it focusses entirely on the bondage. The “tab A into slot B” (in this case, strap-on into anus) part is left to each reader’s imagination, and the story cuts off just as it’s beginning. If that were to be an actual sex scene in a longer story then I would have written the build-up (we join the scene when he’s already erect and at his partner’s mercy) and I would have at the very least cut to the end of the arsefucking and shown what happens next, before I would have considered the “sex scene” to have finished. All of that would certainly total 1.5k words or so.

It all goes back to what happens when I create a fantasy for the purposes of self-arousal. The main difference between a brain-buzz and masturbation is that I generally use hand-on-penis stimulation, which in turn means that at some point the fantasy builds to some form of penetrative sex to tie in with the friction, and with the eventual orgasm. In a brain-buzz arousal state, there’s no need for that overlap to occur. But the sex act or acts featured in the fantasy are only a small part. There’s a whole big storyline to explain why the sex or torture or other BDSM activity is taking place, and this is (for me) deeply important to the hotness of the fantasy. There’s all kinds of emotions and relationships going on or being signified (the stuff about the male character in Tucked Away responding to his partner hints at the backstory I was conjuring in my mind there, too).

And because it’s all in my mind, as I’m wanking (or thinking), I can flit back and forth along the timeline of the fantasy to whatever part I want to develop or focus on to make the hottest feelings happen for me. Bored of picturing the anal sex? flit back to the bit where she’s (or he’s) nervously confessing to her darkest desires of bondage and sodomy, or forwards to where he’s telling her she’ll be his anal slave forever now, or back again to the bit were he whips her for her dirtiness, then reveals his own desire to bugger her. (That’s not actually a scene I’ve used before, but you can bet it will be now!) And each time I flit backwards or forwards, the scene changes to create a different nuance that just matches whatever I’m feeling horniest about right then. (A recent New Scientist article discussed technology that alters a story as you read it based on what mood you’re feeling, as detected through sensors attached to your skin – I’ve only just realised, while writing that last sentence, how powerful and fun to play with that would be for porn!)

Most often, when I set out to write an erotic short story, I find it hard to get all those twists and variations into a single narrative. And when I do, I find it hard to know when to stop. How far back does the build-up go? What happens to the “anal slave” now that she’s doing something that she both loves and hates all at once? What other BDSM games does her partner (or blackmailer?) introduce? What led her to desire these things in the first place and confess them to him? 3k quickly grows to 10k or more. And of course, it isn’t really practical to read a story that way (for one thing, the words tend to stay stubbornly the same – brain-reading technology notwithstanding) so I have to write it as a linear narrative as well.

Of course, it’s possible to cut all the build-up away again, but then what sense would the pay-off make without the context? Some porn works perfectly well because it gives enough seeds that you can grow your own backstory/aftermath and I love it when video porn does that, especially. I tried to give enough interesting hints about mindset and relations in Tucked Away that readers can decide for themselves who those two are to each other outside of the scene. But it isn’t always possible to do that. The set-up is vital, and the story would be much less hot without understanding precisely what the emotional as well as physical significance of the events were supposed to be. Part of me still wants to go back to Tucked Away and write “the rest of it”, but hopefully you, Dear Reader, can imagine enough different beginnings and endings of your own.

About ValeryNorth

I overthink everything.
This entry was posted in Kink, Sex, Writing about writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A difference between fantasy and erotic short story

  1. Pingback: What is sexual arousal, anyway? Some research and theory | Valery North - Writer

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