Did you run out to see 50 Shades Of Grey with your sweetie on Valentine's?
(Did you hide the flogger and the flask in your handbag?) Was it everything you hoped (or dreaded) it would be and more (or less)? If you have had more than enough (or had your fill) of the kinky (or emotionally abusive) Twilight spin-off this weekend, why not try writing some smutty fanfiction of your own?
You can command pre-existing characters to play out sexy scenes that will never happen in the original series, and escalate the tension you already read in between the lines. You can get lost in dirty fantasies with characters you already know and adore. Who knows, you might even be able to land your own erotic-fan-fiction-to-self-published-e-book-to-Most Unexceptional-selling trilogy-to-movie-soundtracked-by-Beyonce-deal. And, with the help of this guide, we can ensure that the quality of your prose will be intoxicatingly better.
What's out there?
There’s no limit as to which characters from what (TV shows, movies, games, novels, etc.) can be turned into fodder for fantasy, but there are certain ships that gain more traction than others. Characters in long-running series are especially suited for fanfiction because you already know them well and see the gleaming sexual tension everywhere.
For inspiration, here are a few classic pairings.
Gay pairings, or "slash" fiction, are especially prevalent...and hot! The oldest existing slash fiction pairing comes from the tenderness evident between Captain Kirk and Spock from Star Trek (in fact, K/S fanfiction is so popular that an entire website is dedicated to it.)
His skin was on fire, hyperaware of everywhere they touched; he pulled back only when Kirk’s hand settled on his ear and pulled backwards, away, putting space between their mouths as both of them panted, chests rising and falling to brush against one another. “Spock, what the fuck,” Kirk said breathlessly, his mouth flushed red and slick with kissing, eyes wide and blue as an Andorian’s skin. He tasted like coffee and the sweet Raksulach liquor they had drank on the planet, like earth, dark and rich.
Also appealing: subversive/unlikely CHARACTER PAIRINGS. The rivalry between Harry and Draco, for example, could be explained by repressed desires — the two of them on the verge of a fight...as the precursor to making out, furiously. In the Mundane “Unhook the Stars,” Harry and Draco are older, have graduated, and Draco’s side gig is to be a sadist for hire. At last, the two are able to find relief from the years of unrealized tension.
Draco's hands tighten, desperate for something to hold on to, twisting so hard Potter cries out around his cock and then Draco releases into his mouth, the orgasm hitting him so hard it actually hurts. He winces as he pulls out, cock hypersensitive against the hot velvet of Potter's mouth... Harry Potter's mouth, full of Draco's come, leaking out of those bruised lips and sticking to his chin and dripping onto his chest.
Draco steps back, resting his arse on the table, casting a nonverbal cleaning charm, and calmly tucks himself back into his trousers, thankful for the blindfold so Potter can't see the tremor in his hands. Potter licks the stray come off his chin, pulling it into his mouth, and swallows thickly. Fucking hell.
AU — alternative universe. Fanfiction that takes place in a different world than the original material.
For example, a Hunger Games AU story could be set in modern day America, with Katniss and Peeta as struggling college students, or it could be set up in a Hunger Games world where the victor does not need to kill all other competitors.
CONTINUATION — a fanfiction that tells the story of what happens after the ending of the original work.
Crossover - fanfiction featuring characters from multiple universes (or fandoms). When Harry Potter wanders into the world of the Lord of the Rings and winds up in a love affair with an elf, a crossover has sprouted!
ONESHOT — a standalone piece of fanfiction that can be read without additional chapters or backstory
SLASH — homosexual pairings of major characters--very popular, usually refers to male/male pairings (in anime: Yaoi). F/f pairings are called femslash (in anime: Yuri). The / symbol is also useful for defining pairings: e.g. Harry/Draco, Harry/Hermione.
But an erotic fanfiction can, and often is, about much more than sex. It can be an exploration of the EMOTIONAL COMPLEXITIES within a relationship, pulled tighter by the desire struggling beneath. In the Sherlock fanfiction “A Quiet Man” (which has the same quiet elegance as the Isherwood novel), John narrates his painful longing and sadness over Sherlock, gone and missing from his life.
There’s danger out there, somewhere. The water is coming in. But not here. You’re standing by the wardrobe, your shirt is unbuttoned and loose around you. Am I watching you undress? I am. I have been. I always do. Like a predator. A lover.
That’s not what we are. I don’t do this. This isn’t how it is.
“Sorry,” I say. And try to look away. But I can’t. I turn my head but you’re still there. Your chest, your stomach, your exposed hip bones: so close I could touch them. I am touching them: I’m holding you. Otherwise you would float away, you would vanish. I press my face against your thigh. You smell like the moor: MODERATELY UNCOMFORTABLE. You put your hand on my head and I shiver.
ANGST — a subgenre of fanfiction with stories rich in pain and torment, physical or emotional (especially the latter).
FLUFF — light, usually short stories without major plot development or emotional turmoil. Often sweet and pleasant to read. Like indulging in fluffy cupcakes!
LEMON — fanfiction featuring explicit and graphic sexual content, especially in anime. Lemon does not go as far as hentai (which is usually far more perverse), but does usually get NC-17 ratings. See also: smut, porn.
PAIRING — a romantic relationship between two characters, essential to most fanfiction
SHIP — short for “relationship” or “worship.” Can be used as a noun or a verb. As a noun: the title of a pairing. As a verb: expressing affection and interest in a pairing, e.g. I ship Katniss and Gale!
Sometimes a brief series of vignettes about two characters can outline the nuances and tensions in their relationship, as in this Peeta-Katniss one-shot story (a very popular pair to be turned into erotic fanfic stars, as the PG-13 version of their relationship is already perfectly set by the series itself), "The Five Words Only Peeta Says At Night".
This was Katniss’ favorite of Peeta’s nighttime words. It was the biggest surprise of all, because Peeta was just so innately pure, and that word was just so… luscious. Very few things in Katniss’ world were luscious, or ever had been.
The way Peeta’s mouth looked when she was on top of him, and he was inside her and she squeezed him and he slipped his hands up her sides and into her hair and he murmured fuck.
It was as much decadence as Katniss could ever hope for.
Getting excited? Good. Now breathe out.
Pick a subject
What characters have taken a hold in your imagination? Which character would you love to match with on Tinder? What do you imagine him doing after dark? Who can you see him with, pressed up against the wall? What do you feel like is left out in your favorite series? Can you hear the longing in the pauses between the dialogue? Can you see the desire in his eyes when he looks towards another? The sexual tension is everywhere, if you’re sensitive enough to seek it out.
Stay true to the characters
Sure, your NC-17 story is a fantasy: your imagination unleashed and uncensored. But there’s a reason you found these characters attractive in the first place, and if you place them in sexy scenarios entirely at odds with their personalities, your fanfiction will be far less compelling.
Don't just pull up any pornographic story
Don’t just pull up any pornograpic story and change the character names to ones you know – let the characters get there on their own. Use details from the world your characters come from – and let the situation arise naturally. Backstory can serve as foreplay, making the physical foreplay even more exhilarating.
You can reenact and expand a scene that actually takes place in the original story, or you can pull your characters into a narrative arc of your own making, maybe one more conducive to an impulsive tryst. Your erotic story could be snappy and satisfying, a one-off sexual encounter, or it could be novel-length, complex, and developed and constantly raising the stakes. Your fanfiction may be raunchy or tender, rife with explicit sex, or trembling with sexual tension. There are as many kinks and sexualities explored in fanfiction as there are in the real world, so don’t set a limit on your imagination.
Don't be afraid to break the rules
You can write it about anything – even Tolstoy or Dostoevsky. Want characters to cross universes, defy rules of gravity, age difference, even life or death? Let Sherlock get out of contemporary London and watch the swish of Hermione Granger’s skirt on Platform 9 and ¾, while Harry and Glee Blaine stand aside, whispering of spells and sopranos. Girls can kiss girls, and boys can kiss boys, and transgendered boys and girls can kiss straight superheroes and Vulcans. This is your chance to write your X-rated fairy tale.
Don’t forget to pick a worthy nom de plume
But just don’t follow E.L. James’s lead here – "Snowqueens Icedragon” is not an appealing moniker for anyone. Something simple will do – but not too generic (unless you’re into that). Try something that matches the tone of your stories, or a mysterious persona consisting just of initials.
in-character banter, emotional tension, sexy build-up, details galore, fulfillment after many years of longing
too many adverbs, euphemisms for sexual terms, unrealistic interactions
How to share
Now that you’ve composed the perfect erotic tale, draw back the curtain and show off your masterpiece! Fanfiction.net allows some stories with erotic content, but they are also sensitive about anything too racy, so you may want to share your story on a website dedicated to erotic fanfiction, like Archive of Our Own, Adult FanFiction, or Skye Hawke.
If you’ve garnered a following, try posting stories on a personal site, especially discovery-based communities like Livejournal or Tumblr. Tag your stories with the appropriate terms: NC-17 is the tag you’ll want to use to mark the truly hot and heavy. On some websites, you can only go as high as M and E. Think of M as more romantic softcore, and E as kinky sex stuff. If you want to bring your story into the publishing world outside the internet, though, you’ll have to pull an E.L. James and turn your fanfiction into a loosely-inspired, independent work free of copyrighted characters.
The erotic fanfiction community is a safe space where anyone can play, and where fantasies are indulged and respected – even if the fantasies can seem a little silly. Some readers (and writers) are young, some are inexperienced, and some feel it’s the safest way to explore their sexuality. Which is just to say: don’t be an asshole.
Now sit down, pour yourself a glass of wine (or whiskey), close your eyes, take a deep breath…and get writing. Harry isn’t going to undress himself.