I don't think there is really a difference between writing an erotic novel and any other type of novel, so everything here applies anywhere, but this is a comfortable place for this crowd. One of our faithful posed a desire to run a practice on plotting a novel length work, so I thought I'd start a thread outside the password so that we got the most participation.

To tee up the conversation, I was taught that we need to pick our character, set the dogs on them, run them up a tree, set the tree on fire, and watch what happens. That's a bit of an oversimplification, but also a good description. In super simple terms this is the basic framework for a novel length plot.

  1. Begin with a sympathetic character.
  2. Give them a problem.
  3. Show them the solution, make it impossible.
  4. Set them to trying anyway.
  5. Introduce an alternative (one good/one bad, if you have the space).
  6. Give them resolve to stay the course.
  7. Knock them on their ass.
  8. Let them wallow in self pity and make a few mistakes - complications to overcome.
  9. Stand them back up
  10. Reinforce the alternatives
  11. Let them realize that their journey has made the problem solvable.
  12. Choose a different path.

It doesn't hurt to give this basic journey to your antagonist too, and maybe even secondary characters, especially if the journeys are entangled and conflicting.