PART ONE: WHAT ARE THE RULES OF EROTICA WRITING
A lot of people read the word “Erotica” and think pervert author. While there are some “perverts” out there, it isn’t always the case. Is there a right way and a wrong way to write sexually explicit scenes in a book or erotic scenes? Yes and … no.
It was Harlequin that brought us the dawning of the racy book with flowery suggestions that left the reader having to imagine what the writer meant. It was Indie erotica writers that gave us way more than that when it was their turn to blaze a path in the writing forest. These days places like Literotica exist, well they’ve existed for a while now, where you can find all niches of erotica writing.
There are a few unsaid rules to erotica, be it you use the flowery concept of body parts or anything like myself and use anatomically correct names of vulgar, shocking descriptors for body parts, these few rules are absolutely among the erotica community. NO pedophilia, NO incest, NO child porn, NO rape for gratuitous shock value. That simple.
Did you all collectively gasp on that last one? No rape for gratuitous shock value is a very different statement to “NO rape” isn’t it?
There’s a reason for that. That sole reason is simple, as unfortunate as rape is, in some stories the act contributes to the plot and conflict of a story being told. Let me show you rather than tell you:
(HINT: skip to the last paragraph if you want to but the previous paragraphs show how it works up to the scene in question. It’s in bold for you.)
The leader of this roving pack of men stepped forward into the market area and people parted in droves away from him, leaving him with a widened berth to move freely about. He strolled right up to Kara’s table and stared at the pies and cakes lined in neat little rows. When he looked up at her she cringed backward and stepped away from her side of the table.
“Little lady, how much for what’s left on your table” the man said gruffly.
Kara grit her teeth. She could chose to say not for sale or just give him an exorbitant price. Perhaps the latter would deter him and make him move on she thought. So be it, an exorbitant price it would be to spite the bastard that stood before her.
“Fifty gold shillings sir” Kara grunted defiantly. Her mother had always told her she was too defiant for her own good, let alone for the good of a woman. She stared the man down, right in the eyes. He stared right back, lips moving slightly, weighing the pros and cons of causing trouble no doubt to Kara. He then smiled and shook his head in amusement.
“Alright you little smart ass” He laughed as he tossed a coin purse full of gold coins on her table then motioned the other men to come forward and take their fill from her baked goods, “You know, that mouth of yours little lady, it’ll get you into a hell of a lot of trouble.”
“Screw you” Kara breathed it out, elongating the word screw and you in turn. The ‘slinger with the colt python sighed and looked down at his boots for a few minutes as his men gobbled greedily at the food on the table. When he looked back up, Kara gasped and nearly fell backward on the dirt behind her booth.
“Well, fine then. Don’t mind if I do.” He grunted back at her as he stepped around the table and grabbed Kara by the arm. He yanked her over to the table and threw her face first down on it. Lifting her skirt up and ripping her panties down. He was just about ready to undo his belt buckle and partake of the red haired woman when another male voice boomed across the village square. It caused everyone to stop dead in their tracks and look toward the source of that commanding voice.
– UNPUBLISHED TRILOGY, TABITHA TODD
As you can see, the lead up to the “rape” scene furthers the plot and conflict of this story, it also provides an introduction to the main character (the commanding voice), gives some insight to the protagonist (the gang leader) and to the main female character (Kara). It isn’t gratuitous, it is shock value, it isn’t for the purpose of amusement. This is a soft example of rape in erotica writing.
A harder core example to further plot and conflict for example would be:
(HINT: Again the bold typeset is where you want to skip to but again the lead up is important to the example. WARNING: MUCH MORE GRAPHIC DEPICTION)
“Nothin’” I said as I backed up into the kitchen, bumping into Mama and nearly causing her to spill over the bowl of sweet potatoes she was bringing to the table in the dining room. With a look of sheepish apology I shrugged my shoulders and spun around to sit at the table only to find step pa staring at me with putrid hatred. I slunk to the table and plopped on my chair resigned to another possible beating from the old man.
It wasn’t until that night the worse was yet to come. Laying in bed the first time I heard the boots down the hall, thinking that another beating would come today. Little did I know it would be much more than just a beating, it would be the start of my deconstruction. Those horrible, hollow boots clanking drunkenly down the hall to my bedroom door. The pause when they finally get there and the creak of the door as it swung slowly open. The light was blinding and the fear was thick.
He had not come for a beating this time, no, he came for much worse. He came for my soul that night and he took it forcefully and without much grace. Grabbing me by the hair he tossed me out of my bed, disoriented and terrified I landed hard on the wooden floor with a thump. He growled low in his chest, baring his teeth at me as if my inability to keep quiet was a nuisance.
He rolled me over roughly, tearing at my clothes. Stripping me down to nothing but bare skin and vulnerability. The grunting was ironically the worse part of the violation he bore upon me, the dirty, guttural sound of it ringing in my ears like a reminder of my humiliation and pain. He said nothing in the way of words to me but nothing had to be said. We both knew why and what the punishment was for.
– THESE CHAINS, TABITHA TODD
In the second example, again the act of rape is used to further plot and conflict. It introduces the past child abuse that the main character of THESE CHAINS endured and gave a jump-off point to introduce his demons and excuses for his addictions in the rest of his story/book.
It’s not about the actual act itself, rape was and never is about sexual pleasure and should never be used in that manner in any form of writing whether that be erotica or not. Rape is about power and how someone hangs that power over another person, uses it as a tool as they do the person. There is tacky way of writing rape and a tasteful way of doing so that never has anything to do with man poles, love mounds, cocks, or pussies.