Characters are the heart and soul of any fiction, erotic or otherwise. You can have a great plot, vivid descriptions, and nuances up the wazzo, but if your characters act like sock puppets – spouting endless clichés, doing stupid things for stupid reasons, and in general acting nothing like real people – the reader’s disbelief is not suspended and the story doesn’t work.
So how do you breathe life into a character? In my experience as an editor, I can tell you that stiffness instantly shows in a poorly written character. What is stiffness? Well, some of the best examples I can think of aren’t in writing, but in movies or television. You’ve seen it: an actor or actress gives a bad performance, being stilled or monotone with no inflection. On the page, that shows up when a character thinks, does, or says something wooden, lifeless, or obviously forced to get the author’s point across.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Do you know how to make a character live on the page? It’s kind of scary, which is why I suppose a lot of writers don’t do it, and it shows in their work. Are you ready? Are you REALLY ready? Honestly? Okay, here goes: look inward, my child.