Everyone loves a good dirty story – the sales figures for the, ahem, “erotic” monstrosity that is Fifty Shades of Grey can attest to that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the Second Coming of Bodice-Rippers, though in this century I suppose our heroines are more likely to shed crop-tops and skater skirts than intricately-laced underthings fashioned from whale bones.
The only concern I have about this raunchiness renaissance is that writers, especially those of the confessional variety, will be so swept up in their attempts to pen porn for the ‘Bon Iver and Beards’ generation that they’ll neglect the Nine Tenets of SlutLit.
1. Use a fucking pseudonym.
You don’t need to be ashamed of what you’re writing about, but you do need to cover your ass, lest a future employer stumble across your most detailed recounting of embarrassing moments involving your most basic bodily functions.
2. Don’t expect readers to know the difference between author and narrator.
If you write about sex, dating or relationships without threading the whole thing in deep emotional connections spurned by romance, you will offend someone. Get over it. This is why you need to…
3. Always change the names and identifying details of your mark.
You know what sucks? Getting caught! Or worse, sued. If the story is good, it won’t matter if the dude you met in a bar was a barista or youth swim coach. Feel free to take liberties with the minutiae (accents, nationalities and appearances) but not how you reacted to them. This is because you should…
4. Tell the truth…as best you can, anyway.
Authors have…well, authority. It’s your story, after all. If you don’t remember finer details—which is apt to happen, if you’re anything like me—fill in the blanks and tell the tale unapologetically. People are more likely to question the veracity of a story with either too many or too few details, so try to toe the line between the two.
5. When it comes to the lurid details, there is a fine line between poorly written romance novels and the admittedly boring reality: sex is seldom glamorous.
If you can weave between the two, you’re golden. Falling too much on either side of the line is inevitable; just try not to make a habit out of it.
6. Skip technical details.
Everyone knows how to use Google. You do not need to provide a step-by-step rundown of how you wound up “riding him in reverse cowgirl.”
7. If you’re going to get specific about sex, skip all the tired (albeit colorful) euphemisms.
Here’s a very short list of things you shouldn’t use when attempting to titillate younger readers: “sausage,” “throbbing member,” “sweet flower,” “undulating with desire” or anything else that no one has ever actually said out loud. Writing can be erotic without sounding like it was penned by the guidance counselor in 10 Things I Hate About You.
8. Happy endings need not apply.
Your hero does not have to fall in love, ditch the loser they’ve been seeing or feel happier without them. Though I suppose if you were into fairy tales, you wouldn’t be writing SlutLit to begin with, right?
9. Do not let URL meet IRL.
Don’t show your blog to your friends, don’t sleep with your fans and, more importantly, don’t always adhere to these rules. (Otherwise, you’ll never do anything worth writing about.)