Thus I reunite with my poor, undernourished writer’s blog. I’ve been up to my elbows in Ending the Sexual Dark Age and writing erotica for a while, so my tunnel vision got the best of me and this blog has obviously suffered. There have been some big things happening on the publishing end and I’ll be talking about those very soon. This post is mostly just about saying “hello again” to the blog
I’ve spent the last week or so working on a couple lesbian BDSM short stories. They’re coming along really well, but one aspect of writing lesbian erotica (which would apply equally to gay male erotica) is giving me periodic headaches. When writing a straight scene pronouns and possessives are easy; he/she, his/her, etc. All of a sudden they’re a minefield, and I’ve developed an entirely new respect for writers for whom gay/lesbian erotica is a primary genre.
“She did this to her, then she did this to her, etc., so forth,” makes perfect sense in my head when I’m typing it because I know who is doing what to whom; but on the first editing pass I’m shaking my head. I’m finding myself using character names or descriptors more often to deal with the issue smoothly, but I have to admit that it’s a challenge.
I’ve written enough bisexual female characters to have dealt with this issue often, but it never stood out the way I saw it after writing 5,000 words of it over the course of a week or so; to the exclusion of anything else. This has turned into a better exercise than I expected, and even though the polishing takes a bit longer the stories are smokin’ hot.
The first story of Aeodar has been published over at Twisted Erotica, and I feel a bit relieved to have a piece of that world out in front of readers. While I was writing The Price of Mercy I was fleshing out the back stories for the characters, and I repeatedly thought “wow, that would be a great story to tell too; it’s a shame I don’t have room for it.” I realized once I was done with the novel that a batch of short stories would be a perfect way to get those stories written, and start promoting/branding the franchise immediately.
I was going to spend some time after the novel writing short stories anyway, and a lot of them were going to be writing exercises for me in writing about certain types of scenes and kinks. I’m accomplishing the same goals, but now that I’ve gone to the trouble to create an entire world it would feel silly not to keep refining and defining it.
Once I’m done with the short stories, depending on when I find an agent, I’ll probably do another pass over the novel to tie things to the short stories a bit better. I also have the opportunity to submit some for inclusion in anthologies, and it couldn’t hurt to have stories of Aeodar already picked up by a publisher. Depending on timing, they might end up being recent credits to add to my query letters.
I’m really having fun with these short pieces so far, and it’s an outstanding exercise in character development. Traffic is really starting to flow over at Twisted Erotica, so at least before too awful long I’ll be able to say that several thousand people have read each of them.
I often argue with myself about how vividly to describe characters in short stories. Many readers and editors like to see pictures painted of what characters look like. That’s all well and good, but when writing a piece that’s only a few thousand words the on-page real estate becomes more valuable than it is in a longer piece.
There’s also the issue of what kind of fantasy you’re writing to. In a novel my job is to paint a complex picture of a world and the way characters interact with it. I want the readers invested in the characters I spent so much time getting to know. In short fiction, I see my job a little differently. Let’s be honest. Good erotic fiction is literature that also happens to be masturbation material. It’s sexy, smutty, and intended to get the reader all hot and bothered. It’s about good stories that couldn’t be told without sex. I’m happy to do whatever is within my power to help the people of Earth get off more often, and I try to take ownership of my art by calling it what it is.
Don’t think I’m knocking the craft, either. It’s not easy. When most writers have 2,500-5,000 words for a short story it all gets to be, well, “plot.” In short erotic fiction you have to establish the characters quickly but still believably, then write a steaming sex scene that continues to develop the characters, then tie it all up pretty quickly.
I think the goals of short erotic fiction are supported by allowing the reader to picture themselves in the story. My inner debate revolves around how much to lock the reader into my vision of a character when I want them to slip themselves into the story. Whatever my vision might be, it’s not likely to be a description of the reader.
For my part, I’m going to do some experimenting with the batch of short stories I’m working on at the moment, and see what kind of responses I get. It’s nice to have Twisted Erotica rolling to the point that I know I can get at least a few thousand sets of eyeballs on anything I publish there, and hopefully I’ll start seeing more comments.
After owning the domain for about 7 years, I’ve finally turned Twisted Erotica into what I had originally intended. For a long time it was just a place to post a few poems and build a bit of credibility with the search engines, and now that it’s becoming a full blown erotica site things are really starting to roll. It’s nice to know that I can still build traffic at a reasonable pace, and by the end of next month the site will be getting well over 4,000 visitors a month. For a site that’s effectively a month old right now that’s not bad.
My call to writers is posted, and hopefully I’ll find some other authors who don’t mind free publicity in a forum that celebrates all the many flavors of deviance. Now that it’s built and more or less running itself, I can get back to writing some short stories to introduce several of the characters in The Price of Mercy.
I’ve been a keyboard jockey for a number of years, having built a lot of websites and done quite a bit of online marketing. As I’ve been researching the world of publishing, I’ve seen a lot of references to the need for an author to build an “online presence.” To me this is obvious, but it presents me with in interesting quandary.
I write with a pen name, primarily because of the mainstream business that I own. While I’d truly love to be able to seek publication of my erotica under my given name, it’s just not practical at this stage in my life. I invest too much of my personal experience and predilictions into my writing to have conservative business clients interacting with that side of me.
So many times over the years the old line has rolled through my head, “If only I’d known then what I know now…” Well, now it’s time to build an online presence for myself as an author, from scratch. Considering the need to keep my worlds compartmentalized, I can’t exactly start posting all over personal Facebook page about my foray into erotica, just like I couldn’t do it regarding the adult sites in my portfolio. I also can’t exactly start pushing traffic from my mainstream sites.
The great thing about this is that I get to apply everything I’ve learned about the internet to a fresh venture. For starters, I’ve taken an old site of mine called Twisted Erotica and given it a breath of new life as a gallery of erotic fiction and poetry; instead of just a place to post a few old poems and build up credibility with the search engines for a few nice, kinky keyphrases. Now that I know how to build traffic and networks of websites, I’m giving this venture a chance to become something extraordinary. Stay tuned, it’s time to try something a little different.
When I first conceived of the world of Aeodar, I looked forward to the opportunity to map it out and give it life. Thanks to some stellar software from Pro Fantasy, it’s not all that difficult to get started. I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to graphics and software, so your mileage may vary, but the long task of mapping out Aeodar is shaping up to be a really cool experience.
So far I only have the continents worked out in Fractal Terrains, but as you can see below I’m off to a running start.
I write erotica with a definite flavor of kink, specifically various aspects of BDSM and other fetish oriented subjects. For my first novel I have the Kink-o-Meter turned down quite low, but like all authors working with BDSM I’m faced with decisions regarding capitalization of select lifestyle-oriented words.
At some point far enough in the past that I’ve found no clear answer on the topic, some poor misguided soul started a trend of always capitalizing terms like “Master, Mistress, Sir,” etc. This practice goes hand-in-hand with not capitalizing “I” and proper names when they refer to characters who are submissive, even if they appear at the beginning of a sentence. The choice of style is ostensibly intended to reinforce the dominant (wait, Dominant sic) or submissive aspects of the character’s personality in a textual setting.
Quite frankly, that “traditional” scheme of capitalization makes my eyes bleed; and has kept me from finishing more than one book as a result. It has the intended effect, but at the cost of making prose look like the Declaration of Independence. However, I don’t feel that the intention was entirely misguided. So, as most writers of twisted erotica have at one time or another, I’ve struggled with the issue. Read more »
It’s about time I got around to starting a writer’s blog. I’ve blogged on several topics of interest over the years and did a music podcast for a while, but I never really looked forward to it like I do this time around. In the course of working on this novel I read a lot of posts by people in and around the publishing industry. Among those were some really insightful thoughts by writers, both published and hopeful, who took the time to talk about their relationships with their work.
At this point I’ve closed the book on my first complete manuscript, working title The Price of Mercy, and it’s been something of a transcendent experience. Now, the real work begins. I know how to write well in a variety of formats, but learning the business of getting published is something new.
It’s a bit daunting to consider having my work mercilessly critiqued by agents and editors, but at the same time the prospect of having new means to polish my craft is an exciting possibility. I’ve always believed that you never run out of room for improvement, in any endeavor. In the meantime I’ll be developing a small network of websites in support of the world I’m bringing to life, including a proper new look for this site as soon as a few other things get knocked off my “to do” list.
In any case, it’s nice to be blogging again.