top 5: things I object to in erotic writing

5. Cliche language. cup, sample, mound, limpid, envelope (verb form), spiraling upward in a cloud of ecstasy, nipples and penises acting as barometers of arousal. Eye roll.

4. Vague, ordinary language. beautiful, hot, sexy, hard, wet, perfect, delicious, bold. Yawn.

3. Jealousy fucks. I guess there are a lot of people out there who find this dynamic hot: the hero is jealous and angry, loses control, and therefore fucks the heroine with possessive rage, claiming her for “his own.” I just find that really tasteless and objectionable.

2. Beauty. The opening sentence of GWTW is, “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.” That’s how it should be. She works hard to have a tiny waist, she worries about being attractive, it doesn’t come naturally or easily; it’s part of her character. Unless their beauty has significance in their personality, it’s dull for a character to be beautiful – it’s like making them rich. Why give them privilege when good stories are about adversity? Maybe, since the function of a great deal of this kind of fiction is wish-fulfillment, a lot of people wish they were beautiful. I almost never wish I were beautiful, but I ALWAYS wish my heroes and heroines were more interesting looking.

1. “It felt so good.” If you have to use this sentence – if it’s not obvious that it felt so good without your having to state it baldly – you’re doing it wrong.