Coming up with erotic romance plots is all about inspiration. What is sexy? What sort of situations would turn my readers on?
The first step is to choose a setting. Gym? Fire station? Antiques roadshow? On the hunt for Al Qaeda?
Make it as daring and/or exotic as you like. In fact, sometimes random-er is better! A really strange set-up will force you to start in imaginative overdrive mode, sometimes called (admittedly by me only) the “naughty scenario first wind”, or NSFW (which I like because it is already an acronym for not-safe-for-work, and if you’re doing this right your naughty book will not be appearing on any workplace Kobos).
Always start in overdrive. This comes in handy when setting up the all-important “sexy pretext”. You have to think of a way to get your characters aroused by each other (perhaps a context where they're scantily clad in each other’s presence) but you have to create a barrier that prevents them from just tearing each other’s clothes off straight away. Maybe they're attending that nudist colony for research purposes (both are journalists). Maybe the hunt for Al Qaeda takes them to a fundamentalist country where canoodling will have you arrested. And so on.
Detail is the icing on the cake of a sexy scenario. It would not be a basketball court sex scene without, for example, the following (and this is just off the top of my head):
- rubber balls squeaking against the court
- synthetic shorts housing warm man-parts (acres of tightly-pack cock right there)
- a referee’s whistle trilling like a bird after every foul (have the heroine reflect that the tiny creature is the size of one of the hero's mighty palm calluses).
- thighs that contain more hard planes than a granite cliff-side.
And yes, that’s just the beginning. However (relief!) once the scene is established and a few vivid details have sprung out of your imagination, the rest will pretty much write itself.
That squeaky rubber basketball sound? Ah, of course it echoes the sound the heroine will make when she's penetrated during half time *Jane Austen voice* (I always try to craft paragraphs with an English-dame monologue in my head because it makes me feel classier and less porn-y).
“Acres of tightly-packed cock”? Aha! I must have the players line up in lycra shorts so the heroine can mutter that million-dollar line.
So on, and so on. And remember – you cannot rely on the tropes and ideas of the women who came before you. This is not physics where, like Newton, you may “see far by standing on the shoulders of giants”. You must innovate!
Creating sexy plots is pretty much like re-inventing the wheel, every time. Again and again. No one likes a tired old cliché. Remember that romances are still (way too often) referred to sneeringly as “bodice-rippers”. Stay away from the tropes, and thumb your nose at the naysayers. Hit ‘em where it hurts and give them an awed sense of “I can’t believe this bitch went there” (and I can’t stop reading).
To keep my finger on the pulse of contemporary sexiness, I make sure to check out sex-related Twitter hashtags on a regular basis. #sexy is an oldie but a goodie. #thiscouldbeus will give you lots of ideas about what people are aspiring to these days in their romantic imaginations.
The Twitter hashtag #thiscouldbeus also spawned a brilliant Prince song:
#Iwokeuplikethis will bring up (thanks Beyonce) a slew of images of people looking their sexiest (or what they consider to be their sexiest). This will either give you a deep insight into the nature of contemporary glamour-aspiration and the way people believe they ought to present themselves to their peers, or leave you crying/laughing at the misguidedness of the world (so many duckfaces before those heads even left the pillows!).
Happy scene-sculpting word nerds! Sculpt like you would a date-night cheekbone. Let the noun be your bronzer, and the adjective your highlight, and may your plots be sharper than a Kardashian contour.