Monday, 4 February 2013

Madeline Moore

Five tips on how to write erotica from Madeline Moore:

1) 'Telling detail' and 'detail' are not the same thing. Many new writers describe every movement a character makes. These details aren't necessary. Readers know how to open doors, drive cars, get dressed and so on. What they don't know, when they begin reading a story, is the stuff your character is made of; that's the 'telling detail' you need to show (not tell) them.

2) While your story needs a beginning, middle and end, everything that happens in each scene (or chapter) does not. A character doesn't need to enter a room, engage in a conversation or series of actions and dialogue, leave the room, mull over what was said while he gets ready for bed and drift off to sleep. Start the scene or chapter as close to the point it is there to convey and end it as soon as possible after the information you want the reader to have has been provided. This is doubly important when writing erotica. Every erotic encounter doesn't have to start with foreplay and end with orgasm. Honest.

3) Avoid 'ing' words as much as possible. You'll still use a lot of them and that's OK but if you don't have to use one, don't. In particular, try not to start your sentences with 'ing' words. Often, new writers think they are starting a new sentence with a verb when in fact they are starting it with a gerund. Gerunds are very tricky. Stay away from them. Subject Verb Object is the natural order of a sentence. Stick with that and you'll be fine.

4) Every verb doesn't need to be preceded by three, two, or even one adverb. Every noun doesn't need to be preceded by three, two, or even one adjective. Look at it this way: there are thousands upon thousands of words that are eager to appear in your story. Some of them are worthy of a place in your piece and others are not. New authors are particularly fond of writing: She smiled. Really, it's rarely required. Other oft repeated descriptions that are usually unnecessary are: He nodded. She shrugged. Or, even worse: He nodded his head. She shrugged her shoulders. Most of the time you don't need to write any of this and you never need to write: She shrugged her shoulders. There is no other body part that shrugs. This is also true of: He nodded his head, except in erotica, where on occasion a man might nod another body part. Simply put: Make words work hard to be in your story.

5) Most of the time, the only tag needed in dialogue is the name of the character who is speaking, or the pronoun representing that character and the word 'said.' Sometimes a writer might use 'asked' or 'replied.' Occasionally, characters may shout, whisper, or mumble. Almost all new writers overdo their tags. One character 'vehemently demands' to know what's going on, while another 'whispers coquettishly and batts her eyelashes' while saying a flirty line. This quickly becomes annoying. The truth is that 'said' is so common in literature that readers' eyes actually skim right over it. That keeps the dialogue and action moving and that's what you want. On this topic: people do not 'smile' or 'laugh' their dialogue. Ok?

Madeline Moore is the author of many pieces of fiction including Sarah's Education. More of Madeline's work can be found by visiting:, and


  1. "Every erotic encounter doesn't have to start with foreplay and end with orgasm."

    So true! The "little sex scenes" are often among my favorites, as a reader. In media res and in flagrante delicto are not mutually exclusive.

  2. I didn't know these were being posted until today. Must come back and read everybody else's tips. I betcha there's lots of good ones!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.