#SmutMarathon Round 3 Musings

The Challenge:

Write an erotic/sexy conversation between two people.
(Your story should have at least 75% dialogue)


Specific requirements:
– at least 75% dialogue in your story.
– your story is between 180-200 words. No less, no more.
– give your story a title of 2-3 words (this is not part of the word count required)
– Tip: if your story is 180 words long, then 135 words should be between dialogue tags. If your story is 200 words long, 150 words should be between dialogue tags.

I’m not gonna lie – this was a hard challenge. As I was struggling with it, trying to write a story (or a hint at one) in 75% dialogue, I thought a few times, “It just can’t be done.” Or maybe “done well.” But after reading others’ entries during the voting round, I found that, while yes, it was difficult, and while yes, many (in my opinion) didn’t succeed in the “doing it well” part, there were many that did succeed, and proved me wrong. I was heartened to see that. The world needs good writers of smut, and I am enjoying getting to know some of them through their submissions to the Marathon. And again, I am enjoying (even when I am gnashing my teeth) the challenge of creating something out of nothing, of pushing myself to a) fulfill the parameters set before me, and b) finish with something I can feel good about submitting.

I honestly think this challenge would have been better served to have either had a higher word count or to have been more like 65% dialogue. There’s just so little story-building you can do with dialogue alone, and as a result, a lot of what we saw were the “tell me your fantasy” type stories. It don’t blame people for using that trope, but it did get a wee bit tiresome to read through. Another negative: one of the first things that seems to have gone in the quest for more dialogue, less description, etc., were dialogue tags (he said, she said) and even the barest of descriptions of characters. I have a really hard time falling into a scene if I can’t at least get some indication of who is speaking, and following long sections of dialogue – especially when it is not punctuated correctly – made me frustrated instead of titillated. I found that in my own writing even: I had to strip my characters of any description in order to have enough non-dialogue words to set a scene. And I like to set a scene. To give some background so that you know this isn’t just two people making words at each other, without any context. I think the challenges of the requirements forced a lot of people into doing just that.

That said, there were several stories that accomplished all of those things: set a context, inspired my interest, titillated me, felt more like a story than just a snippet of dialogue, the dialogue felt real. Dialogue isn’t easy to write well, but it’s an absolutely necessary skill to have; the best writers are able to make us know which character is speaking just by the way they speak.

My final three were:

21) Lost At Si

This entry created a place, gave context to the dialogue, and told a sexy story. I like a story that hints at erotica as much as stories that come right out with it : sexy isn’t always sex, and sex isn’t always sexy. I especially loved this line: “I need,” she smiled, “to educate your tongue.” I could hear the accent in her words. It told a whole story. I had no trouble following who was speaking.

39) Call Me

This one was the exception to what I felt was the easy way to handle the challenge: a phone conversation. It was clever, well-written, and I loved the predicament in it. This one was downright sexy, without trying too hard. My only criticism is the last line, which came off awkward to me.

47) Try Again

I liked this one because it made gentle fun of what so many of us find difficult: saying the words without coming across silly (and why some of the entries fell short, in my opinion.) I could hear them both as individuals, and with very little description, the scene really came through.

A runner-up for me was 63) Stronger Measures. It succeeded in setting a scene in what I felt was a unique way, was written well, with no ambiguity about who was speaking – and one of the central characters never even spoke. And ok, it hit my hot button of objectification, but I never claimed to be totally objective! lol

On to Round 4!



    1. Jade Post author

      Thank you, Marie! I can’t tell you how much I have learned – even when, and maybe most when – I have struggled. Thank you so much for all the work you do to make the Smut Marathon happen. It’s really awakened the writer in me again. xoxo

  1. Brigit Delaney

    I agree with all your points here. It is hard to write a good story out of nothing but dialogue, especially one so short. I picked 2 of the same stories you did, Lost at Si and Call Me.


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