Writing Exercise - Forbidden Desires
In both romance and erotic writing, one of the most useful tools for creating tension and conflict is to make the main characters' love or desire forbidden for some reason. The arc formed by this is one of building desire, inner turmoil, guilt, negotiation, desperation, finally succumbing to the attraction, with a resolution that often includes either remorse or eventual acceptance.
Some examples of thing that make love/desire/sex forbidden:
Belonging to enemy groups (Romeo and Juliet)
Being too young (Love in the Time of Cholera)
Homosexuality when/where it is not accepted (Brokeback Mountain)
Infidelity (Written on the Body)
Different cultural or economic classes (Wuthering Heights)
Religious vows (The Thorn Birds)
Incest (Ada or Ardor)
Other examples: age differences, student/teacher, boss/employee, etc.
The Four Steps
Examine forbidden desires in four ways. Take a taboo relationship of some kind and write a short piece (100-500 words) for each of these steps.
1. Explain the Taboo
Describe what makes it forbidden and how that affects the characters. Remember in this scenario it is crucial that the characters are actually conflicted, so they must believe to some degree that their desire is wrong.
2. Explore the Desire
Describe the characters’ attraction for each other both despite and because of the taboo nature of their longing.
3. Build the Tension
Explore the cycle of arousal, guilt, denial, and rebellion. They meet, they come close but they just can’t. It’s wrong! It’s bad! But they need each other!
4. Submit to the Desire
Finally, they can’t stop themselves anymore. The hunger is too intense. The Id finally overpowers the Superego. The heart wants what the heart wants, no matter what. Write out what happens after all the tension comes to a head and there is an explosion of passion, like a dam bursting.