(Editor’s Note: This post was first published on 10 February 2014.)
My 1998 The Oxford American Desk Dictionary defines “protagonist” as: 1) chief person in a drama, story, etc. 2) advocate or champion of a cause.
That’s pretty simple. How does this generic definition apply to the protagonist of an erotic flash fiction short story? The dictionary goes on to say that a writer’s main challenge is to create a protagonist that the reader can identify with.
Every book I’ve ever read on writing short stories and every instructor, teacher or professor who taught me about writing short stories also drilled into me that a change had to take place in the story, either in the protagonist or in his or her situation; something had to happen or was happening or was going to happen that had not happened before.
Something was different.
Now let’s step back for a moment. An epiphany (realization) is something different. However, it can be the reader who has the epiphany. “Aha! So that’s what their relationship is like.” But usually it’s the protagonist who has the epiphany, who moves from unknowing to knowing, from the mundane through the thing that has never happened before.
In the erotic flash fiction short story, sex helps to get the protagonist from point A to point B. So, the sex in the story should always be about more than just sex. It is the vehicle that moves the story to its resolution. Its organic meaning to the story goes beyond sucking, fucking and eating pussy.
Your protagonist must want something, must need something for the story to work. He or she doesn’t have to get it. He or she just wants or needs it.
Remember, none of the things I’ve suggested here are meant to be hard, fast rules. Creative writing has too many subtleties for that. Of course, you break certain basics of the short story form at your own risk; but these points are to get you to think about your own theories on the craft of writing erotic flash fiction.
“The best sex stories are not about sex at all. They’re about relationships” –Guy Hogan
This morning the Old Soldier struggled once again to get online. Well, the count down to a new computer is less than 30 days away. Today the high in Pittsburgh will be 19 degrees.
This is the Old Soldier reporting for the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette, the premiere online publication of erotica for men and women who enjoy art, creative writing, culture and explicit sex all in the pages of the same magazine.