It’s time for another installment of Pillow Talk Secrets! This time around, Tamsin, Jade and I are dealing with the devil – the devil in the details, that is. How much physical / erotic detail do we prefer a story to contain, both as writers and as readers? And we’d love to know what you think. Would you rather the protagonist have “dark” hair, or do you want a fully painted picture of her “curling raven locks”? Feel free to leave a comment below or, even, better, follow the link and jump over to the Pillow Talk website to finish the conversation and let us know what you think there. Either way, I hope you enjoy! xx.M
Pillow Talk Secrets
Jade: Hello, ladies! So nice to be back together again! How are the both of you?
Malin: Hiya! I’m doing good—got my first cup of tea right here, so I’m feeling fine (though I’ll feel better after the third!).
Tamsin: Hello girls—hope you’re both well!
J: Good to see you both. I’m very excited for today’s session! Shall we dive right in?
J: All right—today is all about the dirty deets. As in, how much specific physical detail do we like to read and write in our erotica? It’s a pretty broad topic. Any initial thoughts?
T: Just to explain how this topic came up—I was having a chat with Malin as she’d been beta reading something for me, and I pointed out that I’d never mentioned what colour hair the protagonist had. So I asked her if that mattered.
M: And my response was that, for me, it definitely didn’t. I actually preferred it. I’m a “less-is-more” kind of girl whether I’m writing or reading. I like selective amounts of specific detail, and then I like to let my brain, (or the reader’s), fill in the rest.
J: I get the sense this is a common feeling for the three of us—and maybe a lot of other erotica authors as well. Sometimes, too much detail can throw things off. For example, if a character is described as having enormous breasts, or a certain color hair, or a freckle on the forearm… that paints a very specific image.
T: I find there’s nothing worse when I’m reading a story if the action breaks off for a whole paragraph of physical description, like the writer’s going down a checklist of hair, eyes, height and so on…
M: Absolutely. It feels manufactured. You basically want your reader to identify with the characters—if you lay in a ton of generic detail (large breasts, curly hair, etc), it can make it more challenging for the reader to put herself or himself in the story.
J: I don’t want to discount some detail—I think some detail orients the reader. The key is just enough, without becoming overkill.
T: Drip feeding it is the preferred way, I think. A small, specific detail here, another there, to build up a gradual picture—not all at once.
M: It’s also important to drip feed those details (I love that, by the way) in as they become relevant. Don’t give us a dossier the moment the character walks into the room…
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