Novels vs. Short Stories

Novels vs. Short Stories

Things have been quiet around here, but that’s because I’ve not only been busy with Strange Tides Book 2, but I also have two more novels in the works!

Some are probably asking, “Why novels? Why not just publish short erotica stories?” Although a good portion of modern erotica offerings tend to fall in the short-story vein (or sometimes as collections of short stories), adult-themed novels are still a viable form in the genre. I am no stranger to writing short fiction, but when it comes to erotica, I wanted to explore the genre from a different angle, and here’s why.

I have always been a firm believer in the importance of stories. A good story will pull you in, make you root for the protagonists and rage against the antagonists; it will stick with you even after you’re done reading it. A bad story will leave you wanting to set the book down and go do something else instead, and maybe never come back to it, if it’s bad enough. So whenever I set out to write stories, regardless of genre, I strive to make the reader feel something, and that effort extends even to adult-themed stories.

By nature, short stories tend to have a less-complex story than longer forms of fiction: by virtue of length, not much can happen in them, especially if the author has a descriptive or florid writing style. (This is not to say ALL short stories MUST be simple. In fact some can deal with a surprising amount of complexity and depth, but that is very difficult to do in such a short space.) By contrast, erotic short stories feel story constraint even more than the average short story, especially if the story wants to cultivate a meaningful relationship between the principal characters: the story not only has to devote most of its length to the titillating aspects of the genre, but it also needs to find some space to frame the erotic encounter that occurs. And although one-off encounters can make for great erotic short stories, the kind of stories I aim to tell require a lot more space than can fit in a single short story.

When I first set out to write erotica, I wanted to write stories that were more than just a single scene or two between characters. My goal was also to write stories that would make for good genre tales in general, the adult-oriented elements aside. To accomplish this goal, I ended up gravitating toward erotic novels instead of short stories: fantasy and science-fiction stories that have loooots of sexy moments organically incorporated into the story. I may occasionally write erotic short stories in the future, but the vast majority of the stories I have planned out to date are far too ambitious for the scope of a short story.

So the advantages of an erotic novel over a short story is I get more room to develop the story, and I can let the relationships evolve to a deeper and ultimately more satisfying level. Plus, I can feature more intimate scenes in a novel than could ever fit in a single short story, which means readers get more bang for their buck.

For me, one of the few disadvantages of an erotic novel, however, is that sometimes it can take a few chapters to get to the really juicy scenes. (Don’t worry: they’re always worth the wait.) Whenever I know that an erotic scene might not happen at the beginning of the story, I include as many hints or sneak peeks of what is coming, to build the anticipation; I don’t ever plan to leaving my readers hanging for too long.



Dare to Believe

Dare to Believe

This whole endeavor, like many good things, all began with a dare.

I’ve been writing for a really long time, so I’m no stranger to prose. And I’ve never had qualms with incorporating adult-themed content into my stories when the story warranted: I am an adult, after all, and adult characters in stories often do adult-oriented things. But I’d never really considered writing stories that primarily focus on adult-themed content.

Awhile back, a webcomic-artist friend of mine started publishing erotica art, and was doing really well at it. Several months later, this friend came up in conversation with my wife, and the back and forth went something like this:

Her: Why don’t you try doing something like that, but with stories?
Me: I could, I dunno.
Her: Well, I dare you to at least try.
Me: *shrug* Maybe.
Her: You already write really well, so I’m sure you could write circles around what’s already out there.
Me: Eh, I’ll think about it… I’d need a good premise first….

And less than a week later, I came to her and said, “I’ve got a premise. And I could write a whole series of these things.” Which is weird because I’ve never really been a series writer: I usually write one-off stories and move on to the next thing, so this was a huge step for me in more than one way.

The first erotica book I wrote, Marooned, which ultimately became the first volume in the Strange Tides series, took me a long while to write, mostly because I was working on other writing projects simultaneously. Also, as the old saying goes, the tale grew in the telling. I figured the whole thing would end up being about novella length, but the story and characters kept growing far beyond the initial idea, and so novella length just wasn’t going to cut it. Once I reached official novel length, I knew I had something special, so I ran with it.

During the time I worked on Marooned, other ideas for adult-focused stories started percolating, and before I knew it, I had an entire Scrivener file devoted to various adult-themed story ideas across a large breadth of genres, and that file is still growing. Writing that first story really opened the floodgates in this new venture.

And it all began on a dare.

If there’s something you want to accomplish but are having trouble doing it or finding the motivation, have someone dare you to do it. Have them convince you that you can’t do it, and then set out to prove them wrong. Then go about it, and do so with a vengeance.





Are you ready to be Marooned? Strange Tides Book One, available now!

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“There is magic here on this island….”

Daren Valastro, a sailor from Navaria, washes up on an uncharted island—the sole survivor of a disastrous shipwreck far from civilization. But the isle is not as deserted as he presumed. A primitive tribe of robust, sensuous women populates these sun-drenched shores, and they hunger for companions from the outside world. What do they want from him? To survive, Daren must contend with their strange, amorous customs and navigate the peculiar waters of their hedonistic culture if he is to have any hope of ever returning home. But will the tantalizing pull of the island’s magic let him go?