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10 Erotica Writing Tips, Tip #1

10 Erotica Writing Tips, Tip #1  by Rowen Starr

I hope you find the following tip useful and if you don’t, pretty please, a big beautiful please, with a juicy, red, brimming with juice, cherry on top please, tell me why! I am still learning too. First 5 comments will get a link to their blog placed on my main page.

Tip 1: Good Writers Borrow, Great Writers Steal (I stole this quote)

I took a Masters Degree in Creative Writing. One of my fiction professors was known for regularly dating and having sex with his students. Very not cool, but so was the Berlin Wall. This was a different time when smoking in class was just being discussed as “hmmm, maybe ashtrays shouldn’t be built into the desks.” Good idea.

His sexual antics were no big secret to anyone, even the College administrators knew about it. His exploits were seen as a cute side-effect of a neurotic mind. He picked his way through my classmates like a common cold. He partly seduced them by coming up with insightful and deep comments- it was obvious it was his intellect and not his chain-smoking good looks.


He said on one typical day- I think it was raining- “good writer’s borrow, great writers steal,” which sent the class into a swoon, soaking up his brilliance as balm to our withered, jaded souls. No one realized this wasn’t something he thought up, but a quote he stole and passed on as something he came up with all on his own.

I spent years attributing the quote to him, without checking it out. I am a writer after all and not a jounalist. Years turned into decades and, over time, I mentioned this quote to hundreds of people. No one pointed out where the quote came from. From time-to-time I may have passed this off as something I came up with.

It wasn’t until I was writing out this tip that I conducted an online search of the quote; I was going to attribute to my prof and thought I better check it out. I quickly found out several writers had used this quote. It is thought Oscar Wilde had originally come up with it, but he probably stole it from someone else. T.S. Eliot came up with his own version, which probably caused Ezra Pound to have another fit.  Some bloggers insist this quote came from Mark Twain.

The not-so-subtle irony is we don’t know exactly who came up with this quote on stealing quotes because it has been likely stolen so many times we don’t know who, with any certainty, came up with it first. For a good discussion see the blog http://keithsawyer.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/good-writers-borrow-great-writers-steal/  which one blogger points out “It turns out that no one’s even sure who said this first, or what the exact quotation is. Somehow, that makes the point even more strongly than the quotation itself, doesn’t it?”

At the time I had given my prof the benefit of the doubt that this was something he had brilliantly thought up himself. I still think he is a genius. My point is read some really great classic erotica, or not-so-great work. Read anything you think is good and dissect why it works, like a mid-evil astronomer deciphering the sky.  Good ideas are not copyrighted so if you read something you like, take a good, long look at why and imitate it.

Disclaimer: this advice may or may not help you get laid and remember, no one likes a plagiarist.

Thanks for reading. Follow this blog for future writing tips.


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11 thoughts on “10 Erotica Writing Tips, Tip #1

  1. Hmm, this is a good tip for people starting creative writing, but those involved in erotica generally have different problems. They (most of them, anyways) know the basics and are probably avid readers and analyzers.

    Also, “stealing” from other authors means learning how to become a writer by copying others (which is perfectly fine). I would like tips that teach better writing skills without the effort.

    It’s like a teacher giving you a stack of essays and telling you to write your own as opposed to explaining “beginning, middle, end” or “transition sentences” or “how to write a good conclusion.”

  2. Great and as promised you were added to my blog roll. I liked reading your blog and about those teenage years, taboo when it shouldn’t be when just writing about your own experiences. My main character has described some of his own first experiences pre-18years. Will probably have to delete them out.

    Thank you for your comments, certainly food for thought as I map out Tips 2-10.

    • Thank you, and I would love to read more. Releasing an excerpt or two periodically would be a great way to promote your book, your blog, and yourself as a writer, along with providing extra incentive to keep writing and finish it already 😀

      I just got through my first year of university, and would be more than happy to oblige if you wanted someone to bounce ideas off of.

      Please don’t stop; writing a book is considered an accomplishment for a reason, but I think most people would agree that the end result is well worth the effort.

      • I am stuck at 30,000 words. It just seems so clunky now. Maybe I need to just settle on a novella to start with and kindle-fy it. I am a poet by trade so have no formal training in novel writing and erotica. I need to get some more excerpts out there.

        Thanks for connecting. I am always looking to build my network.

        How did you find me?

      • If you feel a shortened version would be more practical, then go for it, I guess. Just don’t let it go.

        I find blogs through the wordpress reader feature. I believe yours popped up under the tag “erotica.” Thinking it would be a quick read and useful (since I am considering writing some short erotic stories myself), I clicked it and here I am 😀

      • Good info. I was going to write today and ended up just working on my blog. Time not wasted as I am glad you found me. I am just going to keep working on it and let the words keep rolling by like a river, or a song, or a river song.

      • Haha, definitely a poet 😛
        That background should give you a different perspective from the regular writers.

        Good luck! 🙂

      • you too… I will tweet your blog too @rowenstarr

      • Much appreciated. I am considering creating a twitter at the end of the summer. I’ll be sure to follow if I make one (which I probably will).

  3. Hey Rowen. What word count are you aiming for above? Because there’s a rule of thumb, you know. For a 75000-100,000 word novel you write 15-20pages per chapter with 16-18 chapters. For 50,000 words you write 10-14 pages per chapter with 15-17 chapters. For novella of 15000-30000 words, you write 5-9 pages per chapter with 13-15 chapters. (Or around those numbers.) You get it?

    Now break down each of those chapters, ensuring you plan out your plot so it falls in the right order. If you’re moving too fast, add more within the chapter’s scene to bring up the page length to hit the ratios above.

    This is a great guide, because it’ll soon point out where you’re rushing your storyline if you’re under each scene’s chapter length, or of course letting it drag because it’s too long and your pace it out.

    See, I’m a helpful Kiwi. I’ve “liked” your FB page.

    If you want, check out my website. All great weekly tips to aid writers.

  4. This article is genuinely a fastidious one it assists new neet visitors, who are wishing
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