The second thing I like when I achieve it in my writing, and try to achieve is: “no inflatable darlings”.
2. No inflatable darlings
An inflatable darling is a character who doesn’t have needs and drives and desires, except perhaps for the desire to please the protagonist. She – it’s usually “she”, though some people write male characters in the same hollow vein – has nothing inside. No doubts, no worries, no insecurities, only lust. So the hero, Tex Turisedmeattube, says to his lover, “We’re going to have a threesome with Mona next door.”
So, as it happens, does Mona, who has been sitting at home, crocheting sleeping bags for mice, and waiting to be asked. For ages.
When the threesome happens they are jolly and jovial throughout.
In fact, they’re more committed to Tex’s pleasure than their own. Despite that, they both come noisily and often. Out of the blue, really.
But I’m going to come back to one of my stories soon. I broke it off just as the threesome was about to happen. And at the time I just found it too hard to write.
There’s a man and two women, each of whom have their own desires and fantasies, and their own fears. He’s afraid of hurting his regular partner, or their guest. He’s afraid he won’t be able to keep them entertained. He’s worried about seeming selfish, or bossy in the wrong way.
One woman is worried about her body, and worries that the man will prefer the other woman. She’s worried about the other woman, and just how far she’s supposed to go with her, because she’s a little bi-curious but she’s basically straight.
The other woman is worried that she’ll cause trouble between the principal couple.
Perhaps she actually prefers the other woman, and is putting up with her mixed feelings about the man because the encounter will only happen if he’s present.
And so on. There are three agenda. They’re all trying their best to please the other two, and to be decent, and to give pleasure and receive it.
But it’s complicated, because they’re real people. Erotic writing is still a kind of literature, and it should capture some of that complexity. In fact the more it does the realer it is, and the realer it is, the more more sexually powerful it is.
Even when one of the characters is submitting, and dedicating themselves to serving the other’s pleasure, that person is still a person, and there are reasons why he or she chose their submission, and there’s usually a history to the pleasures they take from it.
So, when I’m writing, I try to make sure I know what each character is wanting and thinking. Even if I don’t say all of it, there should be enough to make it clear to the reader than these people are real, feeling, wanting and alive.
The third thing I aim for, and like when I get it, is clarity. So I’ll talk about that next week.