Spanking Theatre

Spanking stories for the theatre between your ears


writing tips

World Building

What makes a good erotic story?

It’s a common question in my inbox, so I’ll try to answer all the different variations of that question here.

I believe the
defining feature of visual pornography is titillation – where there’s no reason to think deeply or care about what’s going on. It’s just
like the ‘action porn’ blockbusters that are really just sequences of evermore outrageous fights and things
blowing up. 

Some written erotica falls into the same trap. It hurries into explicit descriptions of sexual acts.

Now, I love the cold open narrative technique, where the story jumps straight into the action and then provides some backstory when it’s hooked the reader by their eyeballs. But it’s easily abused, some stories just carry on describing the opening scene, until it becomes the whole story, and it ends.

Cold opens only work if the storyteller is willing to pause the ongoing drama, backtrack and do some exposition. Without changes in dramatic tension, there is no chance of building that most crucial aspect of an erotic story: sexual tension.

A story devoid of sexual tension is unfulfilling. Titillating stories offer no
opportunities for emotional investment. There are no characters to care
about, no points of view to take sides on, no ambiguity, no drama,
secrets or surprises.

If you’re telling a story – and this applies to any story, from a two-page short story to a two-hour movie, you have to make things matter.

For me, the most enjoyable part of writing is World Building. There is nothing so satisfying as fleshing out a complete imaginary world, deciding on its setting, anticipating its past, present and future, and crafting it until it’s logically consistent and believable.

World Building is the defining characteristic of fantasy novels, because they’re set in imaginary worlds. The best create a ‘universe’ with its own history and geography. Think of Harry Potter, or Star Wars, or Middle Earth or Westeros. These are immersive worlds for the reader to get lost in, to be thinking about long after the story ends. 

I like to think of my stories as meandering waters, I don’t aim to write tales that are flood torrents, a few pages that sweep readers away and they’re gone. I prefer to write stories that take time to tell, which will describe an imaginary world, and take readers on a satisfying journey.

The latest story, Head Girl, is a good example.

Like Inevitable, it’s set in an imagined world, a future that might yet come to be. The world of Head Girl feels competitive and impersonal, it features familiar tropes in unfamiliar settings. And it explores how new technology, like ultra-high definition immersive virtual reality – has the potential to alter our perceptions of what really constitutes our reality.

And you’ll notice, none of this is to do with sex. Great erotic stories are rarely just about sex. They’re adventures, expeditions into the unknown. Opportunities to experience something only our imagination can provide. A chance to vicariously indulge in danger and risk, taboos and boundary-breaking.

And where better to surprise and delight your readers than in an detailed imaginary world – somewhere beyond anything they’ve ever been able to imagine before… 

I’m a man who was spanked as a teenager. My sister was allowed to watch, though she rarely did. My fantasies involve teenage boys being spanked but I’m afraid it’s illegal/immoral. Sometimes I feel guilty for the things I imagine. What happens if I write them down?

Great question. This is an area that causes guilt and anxiety for many who want to begin erotic writing.

Almost everyone had their first sexual fantasies before they were sixteen, many even were sexually active. But that doesn’t seem proper to write about.

Ageplay is a perfectly legitimate (and very popular) fantasy, where some consenting adults adopt a mindset that is more juvenile. Erotic stories often use the same approach, exploring reminisces or what-ifs, as adult characters play as being younger, or look back on their own sexual origin stories.

This is fine, as long as you adhere to the golden rule of erotic writing: do not sexualise children. Never describe sexual acts that involve characters who are children.

Of course, spanking fantasies often feature school settings, so I always try to make clear in my stories that the protagonists are young adults, and never minors. This is important to me, because I want my characters to be sexual beings that adult readers can relate to, characters with desires and fantasies of their own. Forcing adult fantasies into juvenile characters feels icky, and to my mind, it’s not just improper, it’s immoral.

There is plenty of scope to write about sexuality without mentioning children. They simply don’t belong in erotic writing. You don’t need them, you can easily tell the story without them, or with older characters.

Writing about sex is a minefield, there’s so many taboos and repressed awkwardnesses. But that shouldn’t deter you. Write as an adult, for other adults, and you’ll stay on the right side of what is proper.

hi, i’m interested in erotic writing and i’ve attempted it a few times before but they never come out as sensual as i want them to be. when i read your work, i never fail to see the story in my mind, and i’d like to be able to do the same with my own writing. do you have any tips for doing so?

As it happens, I do.

I highly recommend erotic writing. It can help the writer articulate
their own tastes. As if the act of erotic writing is actually a
kind of longform journalling exercise. So first and foremost, write what arouses you, not what you think will arouse others.

I’d advise reading the story The Caning Emporium too, as that contains some advice on how to engage your own imagination.

Here’s some advice I wrote on creating characters in erotic stories, a much neglected part of the writing process.

And then there’s my widely shared 10 Tips on Erotic Writing, which I hope will provide some helpful guidance.

But most of all, be mindful and enjoy the very act of writing, and you’ll achieve the sensual results you seek.

Sex is just another form of talk, where you act the words instead of saying them.

D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (via theliteraryjournals)

An insightful quote.

And the reason why I use dialogue sparingly in my stories.

Because sex is an act, not a discussion.

How Posts Spread in Social Networks


This is a post for new writers, creators of original content, and all those who’ve ever wondered about how ideas spread. I might even be able to teach you a bit about the science of social networks.

Recently, I’ve been playing with Reblog Graphs – a feature you can enable through Tumblr Labs. These graphs show how posts spread, starting with the original post (shown in orange). Each line is a reblog, so each blue dot is a Tumblr that has reblogged the original post.

The image above shows two very different shapes of network, despite having a roughly similar number of shares. One is an image post (a spanking illustration), and one is a text post (a spanking story).

Can you tell which of the two networks is the story?

Try having a guess now.

In network A, the original post doesn’t spread far, the vast majority of sharing is done directly from the original poster. The longest sharing chain is 3 deep, (visible at the 6 o’clock position) where Alice shares the original post, Bob reblogs Alice’s post, and then Carol shares Bob’s post.

In network B, we can see a quite different propagation taking place. This time the original post is the orange node at the top. What’s interesting here is even though fewer people share directly from the original poster, a chain of sharing develops, introducing the post to small numbers of new individuals at each hop. Eventually, the chain reaches 10 shares deep,

So, can you tell which network depicts the spread of the story?

The answer is… network A is the story, network B is the image.

It might surprise you, but network A is actually the reblog graph for my most popular story, Punishment Panties. It hasn’t been shared widely at all, but does seem to have a host of dedicated fans (thanks folks!)

Whereas network B, which has been shared more widely, is a vintage spanking illustration, which I didn’t create, but shared from my blog.

To use the social network analysis terminology, network B has a low structural cohesion, as the removal of a few key members would disconnect the group. Network A has a much higher cohesion, as the majority of individuals share a central connection in common (in this case, me). But because the individuals of Network B are less likely to know each other, the image post will tend to spread further afield.

Why We Share

Whilst researching this post I actually looked at the reblog graphs for all my stories, and it was intriguing to discover they all looked like network A. Which got me thinking: what explains this particular pattern of propagation?

One theory of mine is that whenever a reader sees a post, they tend to spend a moment or two appreciating it, and then decide whether they’ll share it or not. When the post in question is an image, they can come to a conclusion quickly, hitting the reblog button before moving on to look at something else. But if the post is several thousand words long, and may take over 10 minutes to read, the reader has no idea if this new post is any good. Instead, they might “like” it, or bookmark it, so they can return to it later.

Even when they do eventually read it, readers seem less inclined to share stories. This might be because the written word elicits a much more personal response than an image. Even if we’ve enjoyed it, we might think others won’t necessarily appreciate it. So we keep our new discovery to ourselves. Fundamentally, we share posts we think others might like, because that reflects well on us. After all, we like to consider ourselves as discerning consumers, with impeccable taste.

Why You Should Write Anyway

I’ve written this post as I think the graphs reveal an important lesson for new writers: stories don’t go viral.

Despite all the weeks you spent lovingly crafting that story, it is very unlikely to spread contagiously across the net. But the lack of interest you see is not a reflection on the quality of your work, rather it’s a reflection of the deeply personal nature of reading. Especially when it comes to subjects as sensitive as kink and sexuality. 

So, if you’re a writer – keep writing. Do not be discouraged. Write because you have stories to tell. Don’t rate the worth of what you create by the number of times it is read, but by the pride you feel when you read back your own words. No matter how good your story is, it is reliant on the mysterious forces of serendipity to spread by itself.

Or course, it helps if you can find someone with a big audience to promote your work. But such individuals tend to have big audiences precisely because they’re very selective about who they endorse. Their influence comes from being very discerning curators, who only recommend content of the very highest quality. 

In time, you will accumulate your own audience – but be aware, it is a slow process. If you do want an audience, you’ll need to reach out and talk to others, show gratitude to those who champion you, and be prepared to put your work forward in competitions and showcases. However uncomfortable that might feel.

You might also consider spreading your work on multiple channels. I’ve put some of my writing on a WordPress blog, and posted several on Medium. And I tweet about sexual, erotic and political matters on Twitter too. It never hurts to give your readers more opportunities to stumble across you.

But fundamentally, you should write
because you need to write. Because you feel that almost primal
urge to transcribe the imagery floating in your imagination into written words. Write because you’re desperate to make what you’ve seen permanent before
it fades forever.

Write because you enjoy giving gifts – visions that
will enter the lexicons of your readers’ imaginations, and thrill them…

Gifted Imaginings



My latest story had been ‘coming soon’ for months. 

It took so long to complete because I wanted to paint an experience, one so vivid it could be remembered with the detail of cherished memories from long-ago. I wanted to transport each reader’s imagination away to that night at Firecrest Manor, so each scene might enter your erotic lexicon, the treasure chest of imagery we dip into when generating our fantasies.

The magic of fiction is that by reading a story we add new sights to our mind’s eye. So those who’ve read my latest story will now have imagined punishment panties, intimate bottom inspections, bathtime spankings, toilet predicaments, dressing up, panty play in public and whatever other moments made them tingle. These are gifts of discrete imagination, new treats to add to your collection – and unlike Alice’s laptop, they’ll be safety retained in your most secure and private repository, the one between your ears.

Keep reading

I originally wrote this piece a few years back, but the process of crafting and polishing words I describe remains a big part of how I write, something I hope should still be evident in recent stories like Coming of Age and The Sit-Down Dance.

My gift to you, to imagine and make real…

“Stories are fragile things; so delicate, finer than gossamer threads, so easily forgotten, blown away and lost. A story dies when it is read for the last time. But in writing them down, you preserve and share them, opening portals for other intrepid souls to enter and explore…”

10 tips for (erotic) writing

“Stories are fragile things; so delicate, finer than gossamer threads, so easily forgotten, blown away and lost. A story dies when it is read for the last time. But in writing them down, you preserve and share them, opening portals for other intrepid souls to enter and explore…”

10 tips for (erotic) writing

I’ve just posted an extended version of my highly popular article on erotic writing on Medium. 

Find out how to share your imagination (before you lose it)

10 tips for (erotic) writing

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