Make Love to Me... With Your Eyes
When we like someone, we are automatically sending out signs towards them, and towards the universe. They might not scream loudly, they might just be silent whispers. A longing glance in their direction, looking away shyly when they lock eyes with you. Or a slight tremble when their hands accidentally brush yours. Yes, they might be subtle, but they are there nevertheless. They send a clear message, one that (sooner or later) will be heard. One that says I'm yours. The jolt of electricity, the butterflies that you are sure everyone else notices, but the person in question. One minute you pray he (or she) will never know, yet the next moment you want to scream at them, coz you have waited for this for oh-so-long.
But these signs are subtle, after all. And if all we get are similar signs from them, then we are in a catch 22 situation. Especially if that other person reciprocates those feelings. Okay, they will be more tuned in to our signs than if they didn't care, but then again, the very same reason makes them feel as vulnerable as ourselves. They might think they hear us sigh, or catch a glimpse of us staring at them, only to question whether what they saw was really what it all meant, or if it was simply a friendly gesture, one that they would very much like to misinterpret.
What If They Say Yes?
I like to think that when it comes to mutual attraction, both people are in the same boat. They both have the same insecurities, the same fears of rejection. But sometimes, when those feelings are too intense, both parties could be afraid of the whole thing happening to them this time, just as much as they are scared of it not happening. Because, what if he (or she) says yes? After all the heartbreak, after all the rejection, what if this time it really is happening? What if those subtle signs of seduction are truly there, loud and clear? What do we do then?
Yes, love can be scary sometimes. And although this aspect is extremely hard to manifest in short stories, an author has to try. And oh, trust me, I do, all the time. Whether I succeed or not is another question. I mean, there is only so much one can do. You don't want to tease the reader for too long, promising them something epic, only to fall short of that promise in the end. It works similarly to real life in my opinion: whenever you fall in love with someone new, a little bit of flirting before you jump between the sheets is essential. A few weeks, a few months perhaps. Oh, there isn't anything sweeter than making love with the eyes (and the eyes alone), before getting physical. But yes, you need the second part, too. Especially in erotica. And in real life, of course. There is only so much subtlety one can take, right?
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
So, those signs of seduction need to become a little bit more obvious. But here comes the tricky part. The protagonist doesn't have months to sigh and swoon over her potential lover, nor does he have ages to steal an innocent touch or two once in a while. They need more, and there is always an urgency. Of course, in some cases, the characters just know that it's going to happen, because there is a supernatural force pulling them together, and it can't be any other way. Still they can resist though, and that makes it so much more fun. And then there are the full-length romances, where you have the time and space to make the characters fall in love with each other naturally. But in erotica short stories, you don't have that luxury. Every minute (or shall I say every word) counts, and you have to make the most of it.
So, how do I do it?
How do I make those signs subtle, and yet unmistakably seductive at the same time? Well, the easy answer is that I simply imagine what my characters would do in the particular situation. How would she react, if she saw something in his eyes, something she hasn't seen before? One look is enough for her to know that he wants her, but could it be true? The not-so-easy answer (but one that's probably closer to the truth) is that I become a voyeur, or kind of an intruder in their privacy. I observe, I listen, and then draw my conclusions. You see, every character is different, and as such, their love is different, too. They need to find their way into each other's arms without anyone (including me) getting in their way. And that's the mentality I normally adopt. I know, I know, I'm a big softie when it comes to my stories.
Yes, I tend to play with that inner voice, temptation and doubt, but I always help them overcome those fears and get rid of those doubts by the end. I do love a happy ending, but then again, who doesn't? Not to mention that I just love to write stories from a dual perspective, creating one chapter from the female protagonist's point of view, and then the next from the man's. Again, it all comes back to being in the same boat. Who gets the oat only depends on my imagination really. Sometimes it's the man who decides it's time to move on to the next stage, and other times the normally shy woman says enough is enough and jumps his bones. Well, em, most of the times quite literally.
The Power of Creation
Of course, how subtle those signs are and what my characters do with them also depends on my mood at the time I write the story. The whole process can be quite empowering, I must say. Especially when someone creates erotica. I always feel like I'm in charge of my characters' sexual satisfaction, and I get to decide when, where, how and with whom, if you know what I mean. Okay, they might just be in my head to start with, but once they appear on paper (or on the screen), there is no turning back. They are 'alive', and will be for eternity, in both my and my readers' imagination. And that isn't a power I want to abuse. So, from time to time, I allow my imagination to run wild, but other times, my signs of seduction will remain as subtle as they can be. Teasing. Promising. Arousing.
A reader recently pointed out, that I'm not only in charge of my characters' sexual satisfaction, but my readers', too. Which is very true indeed. And scary. And exciting. Whenever I think about this carefully, the idea makes me blush. I'm serious! There is nothing weirder than one of your friends coming to you with an awkward grin on his face, telling you how much they enjoy your stories. Or when you actually watch them read the saucy bits. Do you just ignore the not-so-subtle signs that they are truly enjoying what they are reading? Do you feel embarrassed or proud that you have achieved that with your words alone?
Well, I'd rather choose the latter.
What do you think? Do you prefer subtle signs of seduction, or shall he (or she) confess their feelings and get things rolling straight away?