Fifty Shades, Anais Nin and the three things you need know to write good sex

As a writer-girl and badass book coach, it seems the only question people really want to know right now is 'so, what do you think of 50 shades?' I was with my mumma in hospital a few weeks ago, reading my kindle, and a 68 year old woman came in close and whispered, 'are you reading THAT book?' Me: 50 shades, you mean? No. Her: I am, and it's DIRTY. I love it. Then a nurse, who'd overheard us talking, joined the convo: 'isn't it fabulous? Everyone's sneaking off on their break to read it, it's unputdownable!'

Now, just to give you the heads up, I'm no book snob. Lots o' my author-girl friends are very sneery about 50 shades and EL James, not me. Don't get me wrong, as an editrix, my own palm twitches with a need to spank that book into shape, my own inner goddess cringes inside and shakes her fist at the exploits of Anastasia's inner goddess and the amount of time the word 'cock' is mentioned when NOT referring to Christian's appendage just gets a girl's hopes up unnecessarily. But as a fellow author-girl I am high-fiving and fist bumping EL James. Her ability to simply write, publish and show up in the world means g-friend deserves every single bit of her gazillion book selling success. Besides, I actually really rather enjoyed them. What I've enjoyed more, is how girlkind are talking openly and honestly about sex, reading books and talking about the awesome sex that is happening in these books. All of my most favourite things.

But I now see it as my absolute duty to encourage aforementioned newly erotic-kink-reading members o' girlkind, to now read some exquisitely written, sensual, deliciously decadent erotica in the form of Little Birds by Daring Dame, Anais Nin.

To say I love this Ohh-la-la Parisian woman is a freakin' understatement and the evocative and superbly erotic, Little Birds is, in my world o' SASS, the most powerfully written journey into the mysterious world of sex and sensuality. It's a combo of thirteen vignettes that travels from the beach towns of Normandy to the streets of New Orleans, introducing us to a covetous French painter, a sleepless wanderer of the night, a guitar-playing gypsy, and a host of others who yearn for, and dive into, the turbulent depths of romantic experience. Sigh. Doesn't that just sound divine? That's because it is. That's because she is.

If indulging in the reading of erotica has you reaching for your pen, and NOT your vibrator, here's my ohh-la-la top tips to becoming a writer-girl o' smutty goodness...

♥ Make sure the scene reveals something about the characters we didn’t know before. I don't need to know he's 'mercurial' EVERY time they're getting it on.

♥ No one wants their erotic fiction to be like the real fumbly sex that happens after a few bottles o' wine, but it does need to be representative of an actual sexual encounter, which as we all know, ultimately alters something, changes something up, either in the scene or with the characters.

♥ Most importantly, Make sure the description of what your lovers do isn’t a collection of generic, off-the-shelf 'moves', in cliche phrases we’ve all read a gazillion times. Once you've written it, read it out loud, if it makes you cringe, or you hesitate on certain words, change it up.

If you've read 50 shades and enjoyed it, cool, now read Anais Nin. If you're thinking about writing erotic fiction, read Anais Nin. Why? Because this is what erotic fiction really should read like. Just so you know.