Could you be the next E L James? How to write your own 'literotica'

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We learnt what it takes to write erotica at one of Mills & Boon's new workshops

Dominatrix
If, like us, you've devoured Fifty Shades, poured over Bared to You and actively sought out anything even slightly suggestive on Amazon, isn't it time you had a go at writing the sexy stuff yourself?

To point us in the right direction, we attended one of Mills & Boon's free erotica writing workshops in the basement of a central London sex shop.

Armed with a glass of sparkling wine we were guided through the history of 'literotica' before being briefed on how to write sex and how to get published.

So, if you picture yourself as the next big thing here's what you need to think about...

1. Characters

Ana and Christian, Eva and Gideon - they're all strong characters with interesting backgrounds, bubbling personalities and something to say. Decide who your characters are and how your want them to interact with each other. Plus, avoid making them both the same...two shrinking violets in one relationship won't make a believable romp!

2. Storyline

Once you've decided who you're writing about you need to find out where they are going. Give them a starting point and decide on some key plot points like big arguments or romantic holidays. Even though the focus of the novel will undoubtedly be the sexy scenes, you need to build a believable story outside of the bedroom.

3. Theme

Are you creating an S&M inspired novel like E L James, or something more sinister like Tiffany Reisz? Discover your theme and make sure it's consistent throughout. Don't be afraid to think outside the box and do something new - shocking the market isn't necessarily a bad thing.

4. Understand the basics

Now you've got your characters, your storyline and your theme it's time to start writing the real action! During the Mills & Boon workshop we were asked to write a short and very suggestive piece about something completely ordinary like a shoe, a water glass or a pair of sunglasses. It sounds easy, but in reality it's tricky to find new words and phrases that imply something raunchy.

Practice with this first before you start animating your characters. Once you learn how to make their world sexy, it will be easier to make the bedroom scenes even more exciting.

5. What are publishers looking for?

According to Mills & Boon editor, Anna Boatman, publishers are looking for strong realistic characters, believable situations and a distinctive writing style that makes your work fresh and interesting. Anna revealed that she has seen a massive spike in submissions since Fifty Shades, so if you want to get noticed it's important to come up with something unique. Try brainstorming your ideas with erotica-loving friends to really find out what they would want to read...oh, and don't forget to have fun.

To find out about Mills & Boon free events near you visit millsandboon.co.uk/events.

Will you be giving it a go? Leave a comment below to be in with a chance of winning a £100 goodie bag

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