Writing erotica in a digital world


The advent of easily accessible publishing, especially publishing that costs nothing in terms of hard cash, presents an interesting dilemma. On one hand it inspires people to write and produce works they might not have considered putting out in an era of gatekeepers. That means fresh ideas, new talents and all the things that we, as readers, want to see in our world. Even better it provides opportunities for experimentation. Have a strange or new approach to the erotic (or even to fiction in general)? Go for it. There is room and if it is well done there will be readers.

The downside is that we often rush to publish while the story is still molten. The story seems done and we kick it out there.

We all do that on occasion.

Good writing takes time and practice.

This came to mind as I am rewriting my novel. After letting it sit for a time, I can see that the pace is hurried, giving it an artificial patina. In many scenes I didn’t let the emotions, the plot even, develop thoroughly and fell into the trap of letting the character tell us how she felt rather than letting the complexities of human interaction show. After all, sex is not a single, simple thing. It is two (or more) people with complex personalities interacting. Yes, many times the urges are simplistic, and primal and hot, and we enjoy reading those, but an unrelenting series of scenes that are strictly portraying physical responses to those urges is, in my mind, less erotic than a story where a character experiences doubt and uncertainty in equal parts with lust. Characters should wonder about the consequences of their actions at least some of the time, lest they are reduced to comic-book dimensions. I have nothing against comic books, but wouldn’t turn to them for substance.

I like to come away from a story with questions about the characters still lingering in my head. What if this or that had happened? Would they have acted the same way? Building characters that evoke that kind of response takes work. Fun work, for me, but hard work.

As I rework my novel, I find I am throwing away a substantial amount of unnecessary stuff. The scenes must work. They must pull their weight. More importantly I am noting what I left out in the earlier drafts and working hard to put that in.

 

 

 

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