I learned a lot of things working on a short 4,000 word erotica about an incubus, The Altar of Deimos. Here are a few I thought worth sharing.
Author N/A [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Inspiration can come from anywhere
I have this problem where I watch terrible reality TV, like Bravo’s Real Housewive’s of Beverly Hills. I will watch the hell outta some Housewives. In particular, I was fascinated watching Camille Grammer during her divorce. As spastic and mean spirited as she appeared sometimes, I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for someone cracking under such pressure. She didn’t know what was going on with her marriage, she’s on a TV show, and in the middle of the season her husband asks for a divorce. More so than anything, I wished she could have some awesome no strings attached sex, hence the tale about an incubus and divorcee.
I don’t have a lawyer
The original story referenced Housewives much more directly. “Househotties” was in the titles, and the main character’s name was “Camille Cracker” (don’t worry, that got changed). While what I did would probably fall into the realm of parody, I didn’t feel the need to risk it. Why put all this work into something I might have to change? And honestly, I think the story is better without it.
I don’t think that means you can’t use brand names in your stories. Here’s a great blog post on the matter.
Personally, I included a lot of brand names in a story, Ass Grabber. The only one I shied away from was directly referencing The Winx Club, opting for “The Blinx Club” instead. I made this choice for two reasons: it’s smut, and I disparagingly called the fairies in it “inappropriately sexy”. This I felt was skirting the line of taste a little too close. A currently defunct late night horror movie show probably doesn’t care if I have my characters watching them. The people who make kids show may.
I’m terrible at titles, and names
So, once there was no reason for my divorcee to be named “Camille Cracker” she became just “Wanda”. The title I came up with was Wanda’s Unexpected Guest. Yeah, I know, I’ll go sit in the corner and think about what I did.
Talking to Virginia Flowers, she suggested a few titles, among them The Moon of Deimos. I said to her: Wow, how did you think of all those awesome titles? She replied: I just thought about the story.
I have to be honest, I name books like I season things. I fling some shit together and hope it tastes good. It works great with soup and marinades, not so much with titles. The biggest emotional moment in this book is where the nameless incubus is christened “Deimos” by Wanda. There’s also a lot of religious imagery, “anointed” and “worship” are used. I like the way “altar” works in with that, rendering Wanda’s body a shrine.
Don’t make idle similes
When I posted this piece for group critique, this line sparked a lot of discussion:
Sprawled back on the pillows in her black lingerie she looked like a 50s pinup model.
I just wanted something vampy and idly tossed this description out there. It didn’t fit with the theme of the piece, and judging by the discussion it generated, it jarred readers out of the story. Now it reads:
Sprawled back on the pillows in her black lingerie she looked like a modern day dryad, one that dwelt in concrete instead of myrtle.
This works with the Grecian theme.
I should hire an editor
I sent 2,000 words of this story off to an editor, and felt it well worth my money to pay to have her fix the whole text. Ultimately, I saw improvements in the story.
Now, while posting a sample to Reddit, I was told by another redditor that there were numerous errors in the final copy. Nor does this person pass this sniff test (1 and 2 specifically) put together by this same redditor editor—oh my! Needless to say, I’ll be exploring my options.
In the end I don’t feel like I’ve been ripped off. It wasn’t a lot of money, the stories were better afterward, and I’ve learned a valuable lesson, an editor is worth it. I might not hire one for every story, I may seek out different levels of editing, but it’s a good thing and I recommend at least sending a piece out.
Now it’s that time I suggest you buy my book, The Altar of Deimos.
Something in his voice, the low sensual tones in which every Incubus spoke, must have calmed her, because she stopped kicking him. Afraid she would start again, the Incubus didn’t move. The towel had fallen off in their tussle, and he was trying very hard not to stare at the damp blond curls of her pubic hair. She kept her bush tastefully trimmed, and he was so hard it hurt. The hand that held his hair loosened, but her fingers remained.
“Why are you here?”
“For you,” he said, peeking at her from under his eyelashes. She was surveying his body, his dusky skin and lean muscles, his Patrician features and bee-stung lips. His cock jumped as her eyes rested on it.
“What do you want with me?”
“I want you to put on your lingerie, and I want to watch you as you make yourself come. And then I want to make you come.”
“Who are you?” she asked, her voice low and husky.
“I’m an Incubus.”
“A what?” She withdrew from him and he moved closer, not wanting to lose contact with her body.
He sighed with joy as she laid her hand over his. “An Incubus. We’re not demons, though we do give women pleasure. We are given to those who have struggled, who need someone to touch them.” He reached out to trail a finger up her arm, leaving a wake of shivers.
Already her eyes were growing dark, intoxicated with him. As an Incubus, he had been blessed with many gifts to seduce women, including the heady aura of sex.
She blinked, jerking her gaze away from his body. “Don’t you have a name?”
It was not the question he had been expecting, and not one he had ever been asked. Then again, women rarely said anything to him beyond Mm…. and Oh yes. He thought about it, and decided Mediterranean Incubus probably wasn’t a name. “No.”
“How can you not have a name?”
His cock stopped its weeping as that question floated to the forefront of his mind: Who am I? Whenever he found himself idle, it teased him, like Wanda’s ass. “What do I need a name for? I am the lover that comes to you in the night.”
She stopped him as he reached to embrace her. “No, you need a name. There’s a broom closet down the hall, on the right. Go clean up the glass, and I’ll think of a name for you.”