Naturist fiction is bound by the same rules as any other genre of fiction. The stories are peopled with some sort of beings with whom the reader will either identify or come to hate. Typically, the characters are human, but not always. Regardless of whether they are human or not, the characters will have personalities that engage the reader at some level. Even stories about animals as the characters follow this requirement. Without the support of the reader, a story is declared dead at birth.
Naturist fiction, to be stories that will hold a reader’s interest, needs to have a plot line, a series of conflicts that emerge and get resolved until a satisfactory conclusion is achieved. Of course, if there is any intention of having a sequel, the story can end in a manner that has the reader wanting more. It’s all good stuff for the reader. Of course, I’ve simplified it somewhat as it does tend to get complicated. Because of that, a writer needs to have a critical reader [editor] who will do the work of following the emerging threads to determine which ones simply disappear unfinished, and where too many contradictions in the story line cause dissonance in the story.
In my novels, I want the characters to be you and me, as well as the other people in our lives. It makes it easier for me to write when the characters come alive and have a personality and the complexity of normal people in normal situations. If a character is simply an action figure, a barbie or a ken for example, a figure with no depth, only surface, then he or she becomes boring and the story is abandoned by the reader, even if the writer is a master of the language with every word spelled correctly and every punctuation mark in place. On the other hand, when a character comes to life, with depth, then the reader typically sticks with the character and his or her story in spite of grammar errors.
Naturist characters need to be complex, struggling with some aspect of how others in the story are impacted by nudity. One doesn’t write a naturist novel by simply mentioning every once in a while that the characters are naked. That is where plot comes into play. I can’t imagine a James Bond novel getting away with constantly reminding the reader that Bond is wearing a certain set of clothing in order to let the reader know that Bond is a man with a suit and tie, the defining element of his character. When I look at Will Forest’s characters, and those by Paul Z. Walker, where nudity exists, it exists in context. In a scene where two characters on on the beach, the feeling of sand on one’s skin leaves no doubt in the reader’s mind that no bathing suit is being worn. Or when the characters are in opposition with others who are clothed, the reader has no problem picking up on the tension between those who are naked and those who are wearing clothing.
Naturist fiction doesn’t focus on regaling the reader with statements about how the naked protagonist has a sexual response to being naked, a response that typically leads to a scene where there is sex, or self-gratification. Of course there are legitimate stories where this happens, stories from different genres. They simply are not naturist fiction in spite of how they may be marketed.
Naturist fiction is focused on solid characters and stories who are not dependent on trying to have the reader buy into their stories with gratuitous sex. Nudity is treated as normal, at least within the psyche of the protagonist and his or her supporting cast of characters. No one is discussing size or sex appeal or performance. It’s not that hard to distinguish erotica from Naturist Fiction. It all comes down to plot and character.