Smut Writing Tips for Aspiring Writefags
Posted to a weekend smut thread by SmutArchiveAnon on /tg/ December 8, 2013. A general list of guidelines for fapfic writing.
Spelling and Grammar
Remember to keep a close eye on both spelling and grammar- while your average spellchecker (like in Word) can catch most obvious mistakes, it's not perfect and things can still slip through the cracks. While this may sound like nitpicking, these errors are an irritating distraction at best and at worst can completely change the meaning of a sentence in a way that is neither intended nor desirable (e.g. saying "her penis" when you meant to say "his penis"). A good rule of thumb is to read your work out loud to yourself before submitting it- some mistakes are easier to notice when you're hearing it being read instead of just looking at the words.
Plot and Porn- How Much is Enough?
While too much plot can be a bit of a boner-killer, jumping straight into the action isn't always the best approach either; depending on the story length, 3-5 intro paragraphs is usually enough. (Remember, you are writing a fapfic, not a novella.) You can add more if it's going to be part of a series instead of a one-shot, mind you. Speaking of which, making a fic into a series is something best left for more experienced writers, since if you make a fic into a series you have to deal with the additional problems of continuity and creating an overall plot that ties the individual chapters together, not to mention the increased importance on developing the characters and the need to plan the story ahead of time.
A perennial favorite of mine that I like to use as an example of how to pull off a series of smutfics is Edinbro's The Final Saga of Macha the Ever-Virgin: Extra Large Heresy. The premise is simple enough- "Macha gets laid, this time for real", but instead of jumping straight into the fucking as most people expected at the time it was written, he gives us a bit of time for the reader to know Macha and Virtanen, sets up the sexual tension between the two of them, and brings it to its logical conclusion (i.e. Macha deciding to take matters into her own hands). And that's just the first part- from there on it continues to expand on their backgrounds and add new characters into the mix, all while arguably giving Macha more character development than she's had in all of the previous stories featuring her combined. Granted, emotional engagement can be a double-edged sword if people grow too attached to the characters, but the benefits almost always outweigh the costs in the long run- it's far more entertaining to read about developed characters than it is to read about the equivalent of cardboard cutouts who happen to possess functioning genitals.
Regarding your Female Audience (Yes, They Exist)
It's not just about what exactly is happening- they don't need to know where where all the hands are at all times and what everyone is doing in each scene. We have porn for that. Erotica and smut for women are more about the emotions of the moment and what everyone is feeling rather what their dicks/pussies/arseholes are feeling. Anyone can write "he stuck his dick in her pussy and they had sex" or some variation of that phrase, but it takes real skill to convey both the physical sensations and the emotional states of the people involved in the scene.
Don't use excessively vulgar slang like "cunt" or "twat". Instead, use terms that would be more appropriate for the setting the story takes place in. And don't use the same word too often, it gets repetitive after a while. (To quote Quest Thread General, "Using the word ecstasy more than once a paragraph when writing smut makes you seem like a massive tool or a fifty-year-old British lady, and either way the reader will want to gut you.") Some purple prose is alright, but too much is never good (it makes it difficult to figure out what's happening and at worst can make what was supposed to be an arousing scene unintentionally humorous instead). Just try to read any of the sex scenes in Fifty Shades of Grey without snickering and you'll see what I mean.
Your Fetish is Not Always My Fetish
While these threads are quite tolerant of many different forms of /d/eviancy, you can't just assume that everyone will automatically share your kinks. Because of this, it's always a wise idea to say what's going to be in your fic before posting it on the board, if only because some readers do not like surprises and would prefer to avoid stories of one type or another. Nobody is stopping you from posting your story about furry dickgirls, but please be considerate of others and mark it as such when you post it. (That said, there are some fetishes which are almost certain to be rejected- in particular, you shouldn't even think of asking about NTR unless you want the entire board to turn against you.)
Speaking of which, posting the story right on the thread itself is a bad idea, particularly if it's a long one- it eats up the post count and might get the mods mad if it contains explicit material. Post it in a pastebin instead and link the thread to it instead. Same goes for lewd artwork; at the very least, put a censor bar over any exposed nipples, dicks, pussies, and/or assholes if you wish to post it directly in the thread- spoilering it won't always spare you from the mods, so err on the side of caution.
Do Your Research
If you want to write about an established setting (e.g. Warhammer 40k), doing a bit of reading about it is strongly advised- if you want to see what happens when your story takes too many creative liberties with the canon it's derived from, read one of C.S. Goto's books (or better yet, don't read them- they aren't reviled on /tg/ for nothing). 1d4chan is a good source of info when it comes to answering most of your questions (and it's a good idea to check the Stories category to learn from previous writers' works. Other wikis such as Lexicanum can also be useful, and when in doubt you can always ask /tg/ for help.
The Act Itself
"Giving a reader a sex scene that is only half right is like giving her half a kitten. It is not half as cute as a whole kitten; it is a bloody, godawful mess. A half-good sex scene is not half as hot; it actually moves into the negative numbers, draining any heat from the surrounding material.” -Sandra Newman, How Not To Write a Novel
Try varying the length of your sentences and paragraphs to reflect what's going on. The foreplay should be slow, flowery and described in long chunks. By contrast, the paragraphs describing the actual sex act should be shorter and more succinct, and the sentences that constitute it should be equally short and to the point. A good example of this at work can be seen in Smutomancer's "The Covenant of Sanctified Souls" and "Avelorn Bliss".
If you're going to use euphemisms in place of the more common terms, be sure that your readers can figure out what it's supposed to mean. Take the semi-famous line from My Immortal: "He put his thingy in my you-know-what and we did it for the first time." If it takes someone more than five minutes to determine what your characters are doing, then you should consider changing the wording to make things clearer. On the other hand, if you just describe it mechanically, the end result will be no more arousing than an IKEA instruction manual. (And on that note, there's no need to rattle off specific measurements- saying that a character has apple-sized breasts is fine, but saying that she has a 32A bust size tends to be a libido-killer.)