Saturday, April 28, 2012

Writing the Sex GAME

Writing the Erotic Visual Novel
Writing the Sex GAME

Before we get into writing sex, the first thing you need to know is:

The Law of Erotica:
"If you can take the Ero (erotic) Out of the Eroge (erotica) and still have a viable story,
you did it WRONG."


Why is this Wrong?

How can you call any story Erotica (eroge) if Sex isn't what makes the story happen?

I don't care what other VNs (visual novels) have done, or not done, if Sex isn't what's driving the plot (making the story happen,) then the sex scenes aren't needed. If the sex scenes aren't needed, then they Don't Belong in that story, and if your sex scenes don't belong in your story, it's Not Erotica or an Eroge.

The Law of Fiction:
Anything that CAN be pulled out of a story, 
SHOULD be pulled out: 
characters, settings, and whole events definitely, but 
Especially SEX
(Not kidding here. This is one of the first things I learned as an erotic fiction author.) 

Sadly, a LOT of JVN eroge games break the Law of Erotica; they add sex to an already viable story. Or worse, they don't bother with a story at all, they just string each sex scene to the next with poorly written text and seriously crappy 'sound effects' dialogue. These sorts of stories are more commonly known as PWP; Porn Without Plot

While JVN eroge producers clearly use actual erotic artists for their graphics, it makes one wonder if they bother to use erotic authors to write their scripts. Personally, I'm highly doubtful.

Unfortunately, this trend in JVN eroge games has led to some seriously bad habits among VN game-makers trying to follow the Eroge model, namely; Poor Erotic Plotting or worse, NO Erotic Plotting.

Easiest way to Avoid making a PWP Game?

Get a real Erotica author to Write the Story FIRST!!! Got branches? Have the author write out each ENTIRE branch separately. Then hire the artists to illustrate it. Piece the story together at the coding stage. Seriously, how simple can it get? 

The Eroge Excuse.

According to my sources, the excuse for why so many JVN eroge turn out with such good art yet such bad stories is COST. Apparently, it's more expensive to hire a real author, plus illustrate a fully fleshed-out story --more backgrounds, more characters-- than it is to produce a gallery of erotic pictures strung together by poorly written dialogue.

When put that way, I can kind of see their point.

However, their main point is that they don't need an actual story because the buyers of their games are Not looking for a story -- just click-able Art to fap to.

THAT is just WRONG. 

Cheaply made erotic picture galleries may indeed sell to otaku men who still live at home with their mommies, but if they want to sell their games to those with the most disposable income available --women-- they're stupidly missing out on a massive source of Possible Income BECAUSE their games have No Story.

Okay! So... 
Making Erotic Games RIGHT!
Don't add Sex Scenes to a Story. 
Create a Story to 
Make the Sex Scenes Happen.


Sex & PLOT
People talk about 'forwarding the plot' or 'intrinsic to the plot', but not a whole lot of people talk about what those actually mean.

  • "Forwarding the Plot" means: Motivational Force; the reason (or excuse) that pushes events into happening.
  • "Intrinsic to the Plot" means: Important Element; an object or person used as the reason (or excuse) for why events are happening.

The statue 'The Maltese Falcon' is intrinsic to that story's plot. It is the excuse for WHY events are happening in that story, but it's Not what MAKES the events (plot) happen. You could pull out that statue and replace it with just about any other object and the story wouldn't even flinch. This interchangeable object is also known as a Macguffin. (Thank you Alfred Hitchcock.)

What forwards this story's plot; the reason (or excuse) that pushes events into happening is the pursuit of this object -- not the object itself.

An element 'intrinsic' to the plot can be REPLACED.
Something that 'forwards' the plot Can NOT.

This is why I say:
-- A story with sex in it is erotic -- but it's not Erotica.

Here's a simple Test to see if your Sex Scenes are Forwarding and driving your plot:

Can you Replace your Sex Scenes
with Fight Scenes or Kissing Scenes
and still have a workable Story?
~ * ~
If you CAN'T, you did it RIGHT!
You wrote Erotica!
 
If you CAN, you did it WRONG.
Sex is NOT driving your plot.

So what do you do if the sex scenes Are Not what's making your story happen? Look for what is driving your plot. THAT is what you've actually written.

If it's not Sex, what IS making your story HAPPEN?
  • The progression of Love? You're writing a Romance.
  • The Conflict between Two Opposing Forces? You're writing a War Epic. (Even if it's only conflicting Teams in a sport it's still a War Epic.)
  • The Search for the answer to a Riddle? You're writing a Mystery.
  • The Quest for something Strange and Wonderful? You're writing an Adventure. (Even if it's a Fantasy World or Deep Space it's still an Adventure.)
  • The Consequences of strange new Technology on Society? You're writing a Sci-Fi
  • The Struggle against the Monster Within? You're writing a Gothic. (Whether it's a robot, a paranormal being, sudden paranormal powers, sorcerous abilities, or the obsession with Revenge, it's still a Gothic.)
  • The Struggle against a Monster? You're writing a Horror.
  • The Emotional Trauma of Grief? You're writing a Tragedy.
  • The Emotional Trauma of Embarrassment? You're writing a Comedy.

It's not the Sex
It's what the Sex Does.

If you can take out your sex scenes and replace them with another action, such as a fight scene it's intrinsic to the plot, but NOT what moves the plot forward. What does that mean when writing Erotica?

As an example, what if we make the Maltese Falcon a Maltese Dildo and every single person in possession of said object has sex with it?

In this case, the story would become erotic, but it still wouldn't be Erotica.

Why not?

Because the Pursuit of the Object is still the Motivational Factor. In fact, you could leave out the sex completely and just use the original Maltese Falcon plot without even so much as a raised eyebrow.

However, if you change the Motivational Factor to the "Pursuit of the Ultimate Sexual Experience" with this object as the key to said experience, the plot would change, and so would ALL of the main characters -- into nymphomaniacs. ♥ With the lure of having the Ultimate Sexual Experience --Sex-- being the motivation to chase down the Maltese Dildo, sex scenes then become absolutely necessary for the plot to move forward -- making the story Erotica.

You can STILL swap out the Maltese Dildo with any other object your heart desires, but as long as the reason the characters want it remains SEX -- it's Erotica. See?

Okay, now that we've got that settled...
.
So you wanna write it DIRTY?

Before you even consider coming up with a story or characters, you need to come up with a sex scene, (or three, or four...) No, really...! You need to know what you're aiming for in order to make the story go there, therefore, think of what kind of sex you want FIRST.

Once you know what kind of Sex scene (or scenes) you're going to have, making up characters that would actually do that stuff, and where it would happen is easy.

So where do you come up with sex scene ideas?

To borrow from my friend Toonces...
"What do you find hot? Write a short list."

Just to help you along, here are what I came up with...

Sex Scenes:
Scenarios:
(I did a poll to discover what scenes were the most popular among females.)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1. *Ravished! ~ "Oh no! Don't...! Stop...! Don't...stop!"
2. *Captured! ~ "I have you now, my pretty!"
3. Threesome ~ Sharing the love.
4. Romantic Fluff ~ Wine & Roses
5. Lower Education ~ “Teacher, I was a naughty boy.”
6. Domination & Punishment & Whips & Chains ~ "You've been a bad, bad boy."
7. Bribes & Blackmail ~ "You owe me. Drop your pants!"
8. Strip Tease ~ "Oops! I'm naked!"
9. Self Gratification ~ "When I think about you, I touch myself."
10. Costume Play ~ Leather & lace & ears & tails…
11. Orgy ~ "The more the merrier!"
12. Voyeurism ~ "I'm watching you..."
13. Exhibitionism ~ "Here? Now? In front of everyone...?".
14. The Professional ~ "You can have me--for a price."
15. Beautiful Stranger ~ "He saw. He conquered. He came. He went."

*Note: Seduction (Reluctance) vs Rape
The difference between Seduction and a Rape is that Seduction is not a Brutal Attack designed to hurt the recipient. That's Rape. Seduction is where the protesting recipient actually wants sex, but needs to be coaxed into it. Normally these scenes are written entirely from the Seduced's point of view, not the Seducer's. This is to make it crystal clear --to the reader-- that the one being seduced really Does want to be seduced, but is protesting from Moral or Social reasons -- not out of FEAR.
.
Things to AVOID at all cost!
NO Under-Age participants: All participants should be 18 or older -- especially virgins. I realize that this is Not Realistic, but The Law cannot be argued with.
NO Bestiality: No Animals ever. Were-people and Furries don’t count, as they’re people that LOOK like animals.
NO Snuff: Fucking people to death is Right Out.
NO Watersports or Scat: Most readers see pee or poop used in a sexual context as DISGUSTING -- me included.
NO Gore: Blood is okay if used tastefully and in limited amounts.

Sex Characters:

Next, you need characters to make your sex scenes happen. So, what kind of people would actually Do the sex scenes you chose? Traditionally in Western literature, there are Three main characters:

  • Protagonist: One who fights For--
  • Antagonist: One who fights Against--
  • Victim: The one caught between them, and/or lived to tell the tale. 

In current modern literature: Hero ~ Villain ~ Victim

In a basic erotica story you'd have a Lover, a Beloved, and a third character that tries to interfere. 
  • Erotica, and Romances: Hero ~ Heroine ~ Troublemaker (cock-blocker)
  • BL/ yaoi / shounen ai stories: Seme ~ Uke ~ Rival
  • BDSM stories: Top (Dominant) ~ Bottom (Submissive) ~ Interfering Goody-Goody
In harem eroge, where the main character is collecting conquests, you not only need a minimum of 3 characters that would do the sex you want, but you also need to give them differing personality types. Don't forget to make it so that each of them runs interference and out-right cock-blocks each other. Ahem... Adds conflict to the story.

Here are some characters types...

Seducer (Top/Seme) types:
(Yep, I did a poll for this too…!)
~~~~~~~~~~~~
1) The Teddy Bear: Sincere, affectionate, and slightly clumsy, they patiently until their beloved is vulnerable; such as inebriation -- then ruthlessly seduce them.
2) The Loaded Gun: Silent and anti-social, they are highly dangerous to everyone, but their beloved.
3) The Guardian: Cold, cool, and critical, they don't show any outward signs of affection, yet they always come to the rescue."
4) The Elite: They're is so good at what they do, no one can win against them, and it's all for their beloved."
5) The Quiet One: Sweet, smiling, and seemingly harmless, they wait until their beloved is isolated and alone -- then ruthlessly seduce them.
6) The Royal Brat: Ruthlessly uses charm, beauty, and connections to captivate, isolate, and then seduce the lover of their choice.
7) The Trickster: Never without a smirk, they entice their prey with smoke and mirrors only to entrap them in a web of seduction they will never escape.
8) The Sadist:  A demanding lover that shows their affection by bullying their chosen beloved.
9) The Stalker: They they know absolutely everything about the one they adore -- and they're not ashamed to use it.
10) The Boss: A demanding lover that shows their affection by bullying their chosen beloved.
11) The Demon: Pitiless and calculating, they seduce their prey specifically to destroy them -- until they fall in love.
12) The Archangel: Armed with angelic beauty, but an iron-clad heart, they specialize in bringing sexy villains to their knees.
13) The Tyrant: Obsessively controlling of every aspect of their lover's life -- for their own good of course.
14) The Jester: Uses a facade of cheerful, absent-minded, silliness to get close to their unwitting prey -- only to devour them.
15) The Beast: Violently protective and aggressively affectionate to those they love -- whether they want it or not.

Seduced (Bottom/Uke) types:
(Oh look, another poll…!)
~~~~~~~~~~~~
1. The Brat: Obstinately defiant, they only submit to those strong enough to MAKE them submit.
2. The Defiant: Hates the very idea of taking comfort another's embrace, but will allow it if heart-broken -- or under the influence of alcohol.
3. The Cherub: Sweet, delicate, defenseless, and tearful, they're often bullied into sex -- repeatedly.
4. The Clueless Wonder: Quick-tempered, but easily distracted, they're commonly tricked into sex -- repeatedly.
5. The Little Dictator: Demanding, and attention-loving, they tend to bully their beloveds into ravishing them exactly the way they wish to be ravished.
6. The Puppy: Clumsy and affectionate, they'll allow any form sexual gratification their Love demands -- no matter how embarrassing.
7. The Home-maker: Utterly spoils the one they adore with lavish affection, special services, and Food.
8. The Butterfly: Desperate for affection, they're happy to take it any way they can get it from anyone at all.
9. The Kitten: Using not-so-accidental physical contact, pheromones, and flagrant nudity, they entice their unwitting lovers into ravishing them.
10. The Shattered Doll: Compulsively obedient due to extensive conditioning.
11. The Poisonous Flower: Beautiful and calculating, they entice their prey into ravishing them specifically to destroy them -- until they fall in love.
12. The Shattered Heart: Having loved and lost, they'll willingly indulge in sex, but view honest affection with suspicion, and Love with extreme prejudice.
13. The Wildcat: Free-spirited and kind-hearted, they have a knack for uncovering perilous secrets -- and attracting the dangerously powerful.
14. The Sleeping Beauty: Calm, cool, collected, and oblivious, they're fixated on a love forever out of reach -- until they're kissed.

Some other options are:

Zodiac types
Typology Types
Elemental types
Blood types

Motives for Sex
To do the story right, you have to come up with Motive for sex; a Reason or a Good Excuse for WHY the characters want/need to have sex. "Because their body wants it" is Not good enough! WHY does that body want sex?

Here are just a few perfectly legitimate reasons to need sex in a story. 
  • To salve a troubled heart.
  • To comfort someone during a crises.
  • To calm a savage God or Monster from a rampage.
  • To gain a magical tool or power.
  • To transform. 
  • To return someone to human shape. 
  • To activate or break a Spell.
  • To Feed on sexual energy. 
  • To stop someone from doing Evil.
  • To convince someone to do Evil.
  • As a reward for doing Good or Evil.
  • To gain control over someone's heart or bank account. 
  • To express feelings that can't be expressed through words.
  • To express thanks for being rescued.
  • To show the level of intimacy in a progressing Romantic relationship.

Sex PLOTs:
 Erotic Short: Good for Kinetic Novels.
1. They meet.
2. They hump.
3. What happened after.
The End
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Erotic Dating Sim?
Simply use the above pattern as a complete route for each pursue-able character, then apply lots of flags to push the player character back and forth between routes. Once a choice is finalized, add a Confession scene that becomes a tender humping scene and you're done!

Multi-Route Erotica: 
1. Main Character meets each potential conquest.
2. Main character goes after one (or more) of the potential conquests and seduces (or is seduced by) one or a few.
3. Troublemaker(s) and/or other potential conquests cause complications that keep main character from getting laid.
4. Conquest(s) and/or Main Character stalk each other and angst over how much they Really want to hump.
5. New revelations (exposed secrets) bring the main character and chosen conquest(s) back together--and they hump.
6. The climactic moment where a plot-twist is uncovered and/or a confession is made.
7. Complications are resolved, Relationships are solidified.
8. Everybody humps.
The End.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To make the story longer, just add more humping.


Writing SEX:

Warning!!!
Do NOT depend on Art to carry the 'sexy' across, 
Especially during a First Encounter!

Guys are fine with a few hot pictures and strictly dialogue (& sound effects), but women need Description: sensations, emotions, feelings...etc. too. They need the scene written out and described in loving detail.

In fact, if you describe the sex scene well enough, you can actually get away with only one or two static images for the whole scene. (Think in terms of ordinary erotica novels with only one cover image for the whole story.)

Now then...

Writing the Sex Scene

ADV mode
Most Visual Novels separate a character's dialogue from their thoughts, feelings, and actions and rely on the images for description. If you plan to use the standard ADV dialogue box during your sex scenes, that's fine. Just remember to keep everything in strict Chronological order or you will confuse your readers as to what's going on.

Novel mode
If you're going to use a static image and write your scene out in Novel Mode to -- you DO NOT separate a character's dialogue from their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Nor do you rely on the image for description. You write the scene exactly the same way you would a for an unillustrated story you'd post on the 'net, or for a book.


Watch your GRAMMAR! 
I don't care how other eroges are written, most of them were originally in Japanese and kept the Japanese style of punctuation. Their way of using grammar is incorrect for English. 

For example: 
  • Japanese quotation: [I love you... I really do.]
  • US English quotation: "I love you, I really do."
  • UK English quotation: 'I love you, I really do.'
English dialogue always has Quotation Marks, and an Ellipses [...] is never used as a comma. Ellipses are only ever used to replace omitted or skipped words -- not anything else. 

In addition, ONLY the POV character gets internal thoughts and opinions! If you add anyone else's thoughts, you've just committed the heinous crime of HEAD-HOPPING.

Okay, onto the fun part!

Writing in Novel mode

The easiest way to write any scene is by starting with a list of Actions. Why a list? Because...  

Each Character gets their own Paragraph
of Actions AND Dialogue!!!

When you write out all the actions in the order they actually happen, then paragraph them together by character, what you end up with looks very much like a List -- and it's supposed to.
He did this.
She reacted this way and did that.
He reacted this way and did the other…
Etc... 
Once you have all the actions for your scene listed THEN add the description and dialogue. If your sentences end up short and choppy, it means you didn't add enough description, such as body-language or internal thoughts.

Write each scene IN DETAIL!

As in, every sight, every sound, every scent, every sensation. Describe the setting where the humping will happen BRIEFLY, then focus on the characters and stay focused on the characters.

You don't need the word "Said". 

When writing in ADV mode, you already have the speaker's name posted at the top so not using the word "said" goes without saying. However, you don't need "said" in Novel mode either.

As long as you have an action with your dialogue, even if it's just a simple facial expression  the one doing the speaking will already be identified -- especially if you put the actions FIRST and write the dialogue After.

Jason rolled his eyes. "Oh yeah, I really believe that."

Don't Forget...! ONLY the POV character gets internal thoughts and opinions! If you add anyone else's thoughts, you've just committed the heinous crime of HEAD-HOPPING.

Ready? Set? GO!

Things to keep in mind while Writing...!

Describe the scene in Chronological Order:
1. He did this.
2. She reacted this way and did that.
3. He reacted this way and did the other…
4. Etc...
Write each scene only ONCE.

You don't need to keep writing the same scene over and over in each participants' POV. They'll only get skipped by your readers in favor of the main character's POV anyway.

Pick ONE Point of View per scene!

This will keep your readers from getting confused over who did what and who felt what especially when it gets hot and heavy.

Write what you KNOW.

Avoid hate-mail: Do Your RESEARCH!  If you write something anatomically impossible or something you're totally ignorant about, at least one of your readers will most definitely let you know. Guess how I found out?

Words to AVOID:
MEMBER: It's a dick, a prick, or a cock, and sometimes a ‘length’. NOT a 'member' and NEVER a 'Manhood.' 'Member' and 'Manhood' are words used by ancient granny romance authors and under-aged fan-fiction writers.
PENIS: This is word that should only ever come out of a doctor's mouth.
VAGINA: This is another word that should only ever come out of a doctor's mouth.
WOMANHOOD: It's a pussy, a sex, a cleft, a core, a center, an entrance, and for the very brave; a 'cunt*'. Not a 'slit', that's derogatory, and NEVER a 'Womanhood.' 'Womanhood' is another word used by ancient granny romance authors and under-aged fan-fiction writers too embarrassed to write the proper terms.
*Note: Some people consider 'Cunt' derogatory. I'm not one of them. However, I do see the word as very coarse and emotionally powerful. I advise using it only during extreme moments, such as right before or during orgasm.
APPENDAGE: Whether it's an arm, a dick, an ear, or a foot -- name the frikkin limb!
LOCKS: Locks are tiny portions of hair that tend to curl. Children have locks, not grown adults. Adults can finger a single lock or a tendril, but what they have on their heads is hair, and if it's really long, a mane.

If you're too shy to write dick, prick, cock, or pussy
DON'T write Sex.

Getting into the Mood:
Hump with your significant other, watch porn, or read your favorite erotica just before you sit down to write. (If you're not old enough to watch porn, you're not old enough to be making Eroge games. Seriously.)

Put on some music that suits your story.

Close the door, shut off the phone, and don't get online. Interruptions will make it hard to maintain that special mood.

Enjoy yourself! If it's not fun for you to write, it won't be fun for anyone to read.

In Conclusion...

Coming up with a viable reason to make sex important to a story's plot can be a tough challenge. Most stories tend to be goal-driven toward an accomplishment, (save the world, save my family, escape the bad-guys...) or toward a prize, (if I do this I get the kingdom, I get the girl, I get the Maltese Falcon...) Making sex part of a story's plot is MUCH harder. An easy way is to make sex necessary to get to their goal. However, the Best way is by making Sex the CAUSE or the RESULT of everything that happens in the story.

Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest. As a multi-published author, I have been taught some fairly rigid rules on what is publishable and what is not. If my rather straight-laced (and occasionally snotty,) advice does not suit your creative style, by all means, IGNORE IT.

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