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Smut Marathon Round 4 Feedback and Results

I had a feeling I was in a precarious position, following the results of the Round 3 voting. I had hoped I’d written my story well enough that I’d make it through to Round 5. Alas, sadly it has not happened, as I found myself voted out. 🙁

The prerequisite for Round 4 was to write a story that featured dancing, in no more than 325 words. My entry was number 1- Lucia’s Sensual Dance Lesson. At least I got a number one somewhere 😉

I was somewhat annoyed with myself, as I had been preoccupied with homeschooling my daughter and other ‘life admin’ at home. I missed the opportunity to read all the entries and cast my votes. My own fault really, for forgetting to check when the voting round finished.

What I will say, is the Smut Marathon has been a good learning curve for me, for the few months that I’ve taken part. I’m not a ‘seasoned’ writer, and I think the competition was strong. I did receive some helpful feedback; some of which I tried to reflect upon when writing subsequent entries. Other aspects, I must admit I did not take on board as I ought to.

My entry was this:

Lucia’s Sensual Dance Lesson

“Music’s your leader; let the beat guide your feet.” Carlos encouraged Lucia, as they executed sharp cha-cha-cha steps to ‘Mambo Italiano.’

Swivelling their way through the choreography; Carlos’s substantial, warm hands holding Lucia’s waist, and clasping her left hand. He was a convincing leader on the dancefloor- Lucia had no problem following his next move. Her execution occasionally fell off-tempo, though Carlos remained patient. As the track ended, he released her, walking over to pause the laptop’s music streaming.

“Let’s take a break, Lucia,” he offered, observing the colour in her cheeks from becoming flustered.

“Drink?” Carlos queried. Lucia simply nodded. They headed to a small kitchen area at the back of the village hall. Carlos took two cans of cola from an old fridge, handing her one. “Pfizz,” they sounded, releasing gassy pressure from within.

Carlos placed his hand on Lucia’s shoulder, squeezing it. “You’re trying so hard; I see that Lucia. Maybe you’re forcing it too much.”

“Perhaps you’re right, Carlos,” she agreed. “I just need to relax.”

“How about this?” Carlos asked, massaging her shoulder.

“That’s perfect,” she hummed, as Carlos’s warm hands worked her tight muscles and eased the knots from them. Tilting her neck to the side so he could have easier access, he became tempted to sprinkle her smooth skin with hot kisses, nipping it delicately with his full lips.

Turning her head towards his, Lucia’s lips met Carlos’s and their tongues entwined, tangoing with sweet, saucy flicks. He tasted the Cola in her mouth, and now he wanted to sample the sweetness from her southernmost lips. Lifting her ruffled skirt, he paused to check Lucia welcomed his advances.

“Yes,” was her reply, so Carlos pulled the gusset of her Brazilian pants to one side. Lowering his head between her parted thighs, he licked her dewy vulva. Up along one labium, down the other. Lucia moaned as sensations sizzled through her lips. “More, please!”

The results of the voting round can be found in Marie’s website, so I won’t waffle on about that here. I will mention some of the feedback my entry received since this is what helps us grow as writers. So even though I won’t be participating in further rounds, hopefully, I’ll be back next year for the 2021 Smut Marathon. Not to mention, I can use the feedback to improve my writing on my blog and elsewhere. 🙂

The comments on my entry

Bella Spelunked wrote, “This took a little while to get going, and then it sizzled. It didn’t feel like a completed story, is my little ding.” I would agree that it did become rushed due to the slow build-up, and ended too abruptly, without a real conclusion.

Beforesunset49 listed my story as one that didn’t work for them. They wrote that the title Lucia’s Sensual Dance Lesson felt more like a working title; “Titles really matter to me. ‘Mambo Italiano’ might have been my choice.”

Another comment concerned the line about the cola cans being opened- ‘“Pfizz,” they sounded, releasing gassy pressure from within.’ Beforesunset49 didn’t think it added much to the story to tell us the sound of Coke cans opening/explaining the physics behind it. They wondered whether it was a metaphor for the characters’ emotions, though they were not sure that would make it better. The upshot of their feedback was making your word count efficiently productive is so important in flash fiction. This is the hard lesson I have learnt from this round.

Dirty Romantic said of my entry, “there was a good start creating characters and linking it to the dance. But there was too sudden a jump to sex, with no build-up or tension between the two while they danced. And no background to help understand why it could happen so quickly.” With hindsight, I can appreciate there was a lack of build-up and contextual background. In all honesty, I perhaps did not spend enough time refining my story.

Marie made some comments on the use of passive verbs, overused words, sticky sentences and cliches. There was a lot of information in her comments. Here is what Marie said of Lucia’s Sensual Dance Lesson; “I like how you repeated the dance theme in their kiss too. A sensual story and there is so much promise in that last paragraph. I personally wouldn’t have used dialogue for the sound of the Cola tins opening.”

Story editor suggestions and feedback included:

  • Add a comma after ‘that’ in ‘I see that Lucia’.
  • Overused words: initial–ing (remove 4), for example, ‘swivelling, holding, clasping, convincing, following, and walking.
  • Summary: Overall = 84/100 (Grammar: 100 / Spelling: 82 / Style: 70)
  • Flesh Reading Ease: 73.4

Brigit Delaney said she “chose to use a “teacher” strategy called “2 Stars and a Wish” for feedback this time around. That’s two things well done and one suggestion/question or critique.” For my story, her feedback was:
Star: Starting with a quote puts the reader right in the middle of the action.
Star: Specific word choices – especially in description (adjectives/adverbs).
Wish: Focus more on the plot and creating some tension in the events…something more memorable than cunnilingus.

This feedback is reassuring, as I like to try and make a point known as soon as I can when using a limited number of words. So to start with a quotation meant the scene was set straight away. I agree that there needed to be more to the plot than there was, and that tension was missing at key points as the story progressed.

Marsha Adams gave her thoughts, in quite a lot of detail and was also encouraging. She said, “this began—and began well—as the sort of story I expected/wanted to read many times in this round: a Latin dance, with the inevitable erotic connection of the two dancers sparking a sensual sex scene. I got sufficient sense of who the characters were (although I might have liked some indication of their prior relationship) and a scene was sketched, so I was engaged enough to overlook the ‘Pfizz’ moment.

This was an unnecessary detail which might have represented a release of tension in the dancers if this was cinema but which would be very difficult to write erotically; unfortunately, two people ‘releasing gassy pressure’, even from Coke cans, didn’t work for me. The story picked up again immediately, with the seduction building a little erotic tension but, for me, it crashed as soon as the scene turned sexual.

Finding the right words, in context, for body parts is tricky, but it is key to finding the erotic/smutty sweet spot. Here we go from the euphemistic ‘southernmost lips’—which is too cutesy for my tastes but might be the perfect phrasing for someone else—to ‘vulva’ and ‘labium’—too medical for me, but appropriately Latin. Neither of these approaches—coy or correct—is inappropriate, of course, but there’s a conflict between them which I found jarring.”

Exhibit A summarised that a lot of the stories fell into “the trap less successfully avoided by too many writers, namely the inability/refusal to do more with the brief than ‘two hot people dance together hotly, then have hot sex’.” With reflection, my story was probably in this selection.

On the whole, I’m pretty humbled by how much detail some of the other writers and judges have gone into with their feedback. I wish I could have spent the time to read all the entries and cast my votes for this round. I will try to make up for it in the subsequent rounds, as I’ll be keen to see how the competition pans out for those who are extremely talented and creative with their writing.

Please do check out the submissions for Round 5; writing will commence today and the 55 entrants have until Wednesday 27th May to send in their pieces. Voting for Round 5 is from Sunday 31st May – Friday 5th June. Good luck to all the remaining writers!

To see all of my Smut Marathon 2020 entries along with the feedback I received, please click here. 🙂

New Toys from Tantus; Hook, Paisley, Groove, Grind

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6 comments

  1. Don’t be upset, Bunny. The participation and the work you’ve done, comments and advises you’ve received are so valuable 🙂 And I as an ordinary reader, not a writer, liked your story about Lucia 🙂 Who knows, such story could happen one time

    • Thank you Lisa, you’re right, the advice, comments and taking part were all valuable. I am happy for my first time doing the Smut Marathon to get as far as I did, and it will give me something to aim for in next year’s challenge. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my entry 😊 xx

  2. Thank you once again for blogging about the marathon 🙂
    If I can give a piece of advice: for the next six rounds, read the stories, and then read some of the feedback the stories get, say on one story you like, and one you don’t like. That way we learn a lot about our own writing too. Back when I ran a writing group I almost never wrote a story for it, but gave feedback on the stories of others, and listened to the feedback others gave on the same stories. That taught me a lot about my writing. That said, bottom line in the end is that we all have our own style, and I like yours 🙂

    • Thank you for the encouragement Marie, much appreciated. My biggest struggle at the moment is having to flit between homeschooling, dealing with lifestyle changes imposed by COVID, and remembering all the other adult stuff that needs attending to. When I get the chance to shut myself in my ‘quiet place’ I can hopefully focus on getting into reading. 🙂

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