GALATEA Chronicles

The Making of a Steamy Erotic One-Shot: 5 Main Rules

laptop on bed

What is a One-shot?

A “one-shot” refers to a self-contained story or narrative that is told within a single work, typically a single book, short story, or comic book issue. Unlike a series or ongoing narrative, which may span multiple installments or volumes, a one-shot tells a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end all contained within the confines of a single work.

What Makes it “Erotic”?

You can certainly find one-shots as a sub-genre in many different styles. But in this article, we are interested in defining and understanding better the erotic ones. Let’s try to untangle it a little more.

Erotic one-shot Regular one-shot

Content and Themes

An erotic one-shot focuses on explicit sexual content and themes. It also often features graphic descriptions of sexual acts, intimacy, and relationships. So the focus of an erotic one-shot is to arouse the reader through sensual and explicit storytelling. A regular one-shot, on the other hand, may cover a great range of genres, themes, and content beyond sexuality. The topics that are more typically covered in one-shots are 1) adventure, mystery, 2) romance, 3) horror, 4) drama. And it doesn’t necessarily incorporate sexual content – at least explicitly.

Intended Audience

Erotic one-shots are mainly aimed at adult readers who are seeking explicit sexual content and erotica. These stories are intended for mature audiences who are comfortable with and interested in reading about sexual themes and experiences. A regular one-shot may have a broader target audience, depending on its content and themes. While some one-shots may be suitable for readers of all ages, others may be geared towards specific age groups or demographics, such as young adults or adult readers.

Purpose and Focus

As we already mentioned, an erotic one-shot is meant to arouse and entertain readers through explicit sexual content and storytelling. These stories often prioritize sensuality, intimacy, and sexual exploration, focusing on the physical and emotional aspects of sexuality. The purpose of a regular one-shot can vary depending on the author’s intentions and the genre of the story. It may aim to entertain, provoke thought, evoke emotions, or explore complex themes and ideas beyond sexuality. The focus of a regular one-shot may be on character development, plot twists, world-building, or exploring a specific concept or message.


Rules of Erotic One-Shots

In short, the 5 main rules of any erotic one-shot are the following:

  1. Paying attention to pacing and structure
  2. Developing believable characters
  3. Building sexual tension and atmosphere
  4. Balancing plot and eroticism
  5. Writing engaging and descriptive scenes

Now Digging a Little Deeper – Building a Character

How can you notice whether the character from your favorite one-shot is “believable?”

Well, you have to pay attention to certain elements, that are not necessarily obvious at first.


First and foremost, they should have a background. Even in a short story, having backstories can add depth and complexity to their personalities. Consider their past experiences, motivations, and aspirations. What events or traumas have shaped them? How do these experiences influence their desires and behaviors?

A great example of a character with a defined backstory in an erotic one-shot is Snappin’ The Burn by EL Koslo, which uses characters from a previous novel to quickly establish an honest-feeling backstory within the confines of the one-shot.


Complex characters have vulnerabilities and flaws that make them relatable.

You should be able to find character’s insecurities, fears, and emotional struggles. Vulnerability can add layers to their personalities and make them more empathetic to readers.

In The Hockey Player, for example, the main character Bia’s vulnerability is the love-hate relationship she has with her love interest, Tanner Hart. This is established quickly, within the first five paragraphs of the story.

Conflicting Desires

Characters with conflicting desires and motivations are usually very dynamic and interesting. You will notice some internal conflicts or dilemmas related to their desires, values, or beliefs.

No story better exemplifies this than the Galatea erotic one-shot The Bet by V.J. Villamayor. In this story, the lead, Lina, makes a bet with love interest Mateo over who wins a pool game. This clearly sets up an interpersonal dynamic between the two which just goes on to make the sexual content in the back half of the story more engaging.

Typical Characters in Erotic One-shots VS Novels

Characteristic Erotic one-shots Novels

Scope and Depth

Characters in an erotic one-shot are usually introduced and developed within a shorter narrative space (hence – one-shots), often limited to a single scene or encounter. As such, there may be less opportunity to explore their backgrounds, motivations, and inner worlds in depth compared to characters in novels. Characters in novels have more room for development – at least in good novels. Authors have the opportunity to get into their characters’ backstories and relationships. They get to describe their inner lives in greater detail. This allows a much deeper characterization and emotional complexity.

Focus and Purpose

In an erotic one-shot, characters may be quite often defined by their roles within the sexual encounter or scenario. Their personalities and traits may be tailored to serve the erotic themes and narrative, with a focus on arousal and titillation. Characters in novels serve a couple of purposes beyond the erotic elements, contributing to the development of plot, themes, and overarching story arcs. Their personalities, motivations, and emotions are integral to driving the narrative forward and engaging readers on a deeper level.

Emotions and Relationships

Emotions in an erotic one-shot may be heightened and focused on the immediate sensations and experiences of the sexual encounter. Characters may experience arousal, desire, passion, and ecstasy within the context of the scene. Characters in novels serve multiple purposes beyond the erotic elements, contributing to the development of plot, themes, and overarching story arcs. Their personalities, motivations, and emotions are more integral to driving the narrative forward and engaging readers on a deeper level.


Characters in erotic one-shots may exhibit personality traits and behaviors that align with the themes of desire, seduction, and sexual exploration. They may be portrayed as confident, sensual, and sexually adventurous, with a focus on fulfilling their desires and fantasies. Characters in novels can have a wider variety of personalities and traits that contribute to their depth and complexity. They may be multifaceted individuals with strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and contradictions that shape their actions and relationships throughout the story.

Subgenres of Erotica

So what else is there to explore? Here is a list of all the other erotic subgenres to explore.

1. Novels

Erotic novels are full-length works of fiction that focus primarily on sexual themes and experiences. These novels often feature complex characters, intricate plots, and detailed descriptions of sexual encounters, relationships, and fantasies. Erotic novels may span various genres, including romance, erotica, fantasy, science fiction, and more.

2. Short Stories

Erotic short stories are brief works of fiction that deliver a complete narrative or scene within a limited word count. These stories may focus on a single sexual encounter, fantasy, or theme, allowing writers to explore eroticism in a condensed format. Erotic short stories are often published in anthologies, magazines, or online platforms.

3. Poetry

Erotic poetry uses language and imagery to evoke sensual and erotic experiences, emotions, and desires. Erotic poets explore themes of love, passion, longing, and intimacy through the use of rhythm, metaphor, and symbolism. Erotic poetry may vary in style and tone, ranging from sensual and romantic to explicit and provocative.

4. Graphic Novels and Comics

Erotic graphic novels and comics combine visual storytelling with erotic themes and imagery. These works often feature explicit illustrations or depictions of sexual acts, fantasies, and relationships. Erotic graphic novels and comics may explore various genres, styles, and artistic approaches, catering to diverse tastes and preferences.

5. Erotic Anthologies

Erotic anthologies collect a diverse range of erotic writings, including short stories, poems, essays, and excerpts from longer works. These anthologies may be themed around specific topics, genres, or authors, providing readers with a curated selection of erotic literature from multiple contributors.

6. Erotic Memoirs and Nonfiction

Erotic memoirs and nonfiction books explore real-life experiences, reflections, and insights related to sexuality, relationships, and intimacy. These works may offer personal narratives, advice, or commentary on topics such as sexual exploration, identity, kink, and BDSM.

7. Online Platforms and Digital Media

With the rise of digital publishing and online platforms, erotica has become increasingly accessible through websites, blogs, forums, and social media platforms. Writers and readers can connect and share erotic stories, poems, art, and discussions in online communities dedicated to erotica.


Related Articles