Pillow Talk Secrets: It’s All About the Details!

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the next round of Pillow Talk Secrets! Today, Malin James, Tamsin Flowers and I—your host for the day, Jade A. Waters—have some major details to discuss…physical details, that is. The question is, how much physical description is “ideal” in erotica, and is it the same for readers as it is for writers?

We are so delighted you’ve joined us—so without further ado, let’s talk about those dirty details…

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?

T: Absolutely!

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.

Eye Color Detail

Her eyes were the most amazing shade of…

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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