Writing Erotica; How deep will you go?

First of all, this should be the last time this blog will appear on my personal Facebook page. I plan on having the Danae Wulfe author page up by next Wednesday, and all ‘writing’ posts will be coming from there.  I don’t plan on cross posting.  If you have enjoyed reading these blogs or my other posts, please keep an eye out for the new page.

Word count for the Beta draft is 144,221.  I’m five chapters from the end.  I’m getting excited to finish, do some final editing, make up a few more ‘Sci-fi’ words, and give it to some Beta readers.  I’m noticing my brain seems to be a different shape then when I started. Is this normal?

That should be enough words to keep the Facebook post clean, so lets get down to the dirty bits.  18 and over, please!

Ok, you have decided what kinds of words you are going to use for your sex scene, unless your character decided for you.  (Mine did.)

Now, you have to decide how detailed you are going to get.  Vague descriptions, or as detailed as a sex manual. Maybe somewhere in between?  Are you a nearsighted nun describing something seen through a frosted window?  The average person?  A doctor describing a procedure performed under strong lights? A professional dominatrix paid by the dirty word?

Do you know what?  Doesn’t matter.  No matter what you choose, lots of people will think you are  wrong, and a bad writer.

I’ll admit it, the first time I read a modern graphic sex scene, I was shocked. I kept feeling that I was reading something Not Allowed and couldn’t understand why it was just sitting on a shelf, where anyone could pick it up. It should have been wrapped in brown paper and behind the counter, requiring you to ask for it.  The pictures it made in my head, so… intense. So real. So… erotic.

e-rot-ic  adj.  1. Of or concerning sexual love and desire; amatory.  2.Tending to arouse sexual desire.

The more research I do, on writers, erotica, and publishers, the more I find a subtle-and not so subtle-disapproval for writers and publishers who use graphic depictions, even by those who consider themselves unbiased.  It’s labeled ‘porn’, regardless of the depth of the story, and disregarded as serious writing, BUT somehow makes sales.  Sometimes, LOTS of sales, but that apparently only compounds its offenses.

I get it, as a society we are struggling with our sexuality, both as individuals and as ‘groups’.  We still seem to think we have the right to decide if someone is too slutty, too prudish, too confused or just wrong.  You want to have an opinion? Great. It’s normal for the mind to form opinions based on your experiences. Just don’t expect everyone else to subscribe to your particular flavor of morality.

Books are the ultimate in virtual reality.  In its pages you can explore issues, fears, hopes and fantasies.  They can pose the big questions, in a safe but challenging environment. What bothers you about ‘Tom Sawyer’ or ‘The Color Purple’ or ‘Atlas Shrugged’ or ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ or…

Did I lose you? Possibly, but that’s ok.  It’s a hot button, for a lot of people.

Back to the word ‘erotic’.  The definition mentions sexual love.  So, if I’m doing my job right, as a writer, the description of a first touch, or a first kiss, should be considered ‘erotic’, just as much as the first penetration. Before, during, and after a sexual encounter is an especially open and vulnerable point in a relationship.

Some religions think there are three points that you can touch spiritual enlightenment; birth, sex, and death.  Sex is the only one of those you can normally do more than once. Personally, I believe this is why the sex act changes a relationship permanently, either for good or for bad.

Heck, if I am doing my job, the clenched fist hitting the face of your enemy should FEEL visceral.  (Hopefully, not erotic.)  Also, you should FEEL as if you are piloting the space craft, dancing at the Ball, eating the weird foods, and consoling your best friend. Why should I flinch away from sex?

You’re still thinking about ‘Fifty Shades’, aren’t you?  sigh.

Look for my next blog, Erotica; Guilty Pleasure or Evil Incarnate?  In the interim, leave a comment and we can discuss things…


When is a Cock Not a Rooster? A writer’s confusion…

Word count first.  I’m at 126,648 on the Beta draft, and have passed the chapter that could be a cliff hanger if I decide to split the book in two.  I wrote an alternative chapter ending suitable for the cliffhanger, saved it, and continued on the  original manuscript.  I had some zero word days during the week, due to the holiday, but I also had one 5,000 plus word day.

I love those.  They make me feel like a grown-up writer, although I end up a bit spacy by the end of the day, unable to come out of Bookland.

Anyway, adults only from here on.

18 and over please.

Don’t keep reading if you are under 18.  I have already ruined my daughter’s childhood, or so she has told me.  Who knew she would react that way to the word ‘McGuppies’?

I mean it…

When is a Cock not a Rooster?  When it’s a penis, of course.  Did that word make you flinch?  I still does for me, sometimes.  I think it’s strange, how words can make you react so viscerally.  Still, it’s better than some of the historical terms.  If you ever need a laugh, look them up and use them in conversation, maybe even the bed room.  Tallywacker is a favorite.  Try whispering it.

Moist.  That gets a lot of people, but I like it.  Moist cake.  Moist kisses.  Equally decedent.  Equally sought.

I’ve always had a problem with the way people use vagina as the word for female genitals.  That is the internal structure.  Shall we just call the penis a ‘shaft’?  The problem is, I’ve never found a word for the female genitals that isn’t used as an insult, or giggle-inducing flowery, and I have LOOKED.   Just don’t get me started on the ridiculously childish V-jay jay.  You are a grown-ass woman, act like it!

Then you have all the words and phrases for the sex act.  So, so many…  Why are we so obsessed?  There are entire dictionaries with timelines, for the more historically minded.  You don’t want to use the wrong slang in your historical romance, do you?  Do You?

Anyway, the writer attempting to write a sex scene has a hard road to follow.  There are only so many words the modern audience will understand, or tolerate, so you go to the Thesaurus, or lift nice words from other writers.

What word gives you a thrill when reading it?  Put it on the list.  Don’t like it?  I have those words, too.  Frankly, I’m only allowing an author the word ‘lave’ once per book before I want to throw the book at their head.  I’ve seen it too many times in the past three years.

So, now you have all the words; medical, flowery, slang, dirty, and everything in-between, but you can only use them so often before they lose meaning or just bore the reader.  Wait, what if there is more than one sex scene?

Depending on the category of words you use, your work is split into different places.  Romance, vanilla, steamy, erotica, hard core, or porn.  There are probably more, but I’m still playing catch-up.

Problem is, nobody will define the categories, or they contradict themselves.  One publisher’s submissions tips I recently read insisted they wanted steamy ménage (specifically, only m/f/m) but ‘no erotica or porn’.  They didn’t want anything that was ‘just sex, outside of a relationship’.  No porn, yeah, but how does that include erotica?  Is there a different meaning to the word ‘erotic’ that I’m missing?

Then there is the question of what would your character actually use, both as spoken words and internal dialogue.  You have to stay true to the story.  Right?  Yeah, I thought so.

Now, you have your reader.  The range from “Urg, they’re kissing, again”, through “Eek, no squishy bits”, to “Meh, too tame.”  Luckily, no one has to admit their guilty secret if they like to read erotica, especially in the age of e-books.  Awkward is the moment you head to the Erotica section of a book store, only to find someone already there.  Doubly awkward if the person is the opposite gender.  “Just passing through…  this clearly marked, hard to get to, right angled corner of the store.”

Hmmm, I seem to have rambled, and we’re not even into the content of a sex scene.  I guess we should pick it up next week.  Keep an eye out for ‘How deep is your love?’ or maybe ‘Just the tip, I promise.’  I haven’t decided.  Enjoy the start to the new year!


A Writers Confession…

To date, 112,444 words.  I’m only about 2/3 through the rough manuscript.  Both concepts are equally disturbing.

Have I really typed that many words?  What do I do with this mountain?  How do I divide it?  I’m close to a chapter that could work for a cliffhanger, but I hate those.  Plus, that would leave the remainder short on word count for a novel.

But the real confession…

It’s a Romance.

That wasn’t the plan!  I read Sci-Fi and Fantasy.  I want to write Sci-Fi and Fantasy.  I gave up on romance in my teens (in the 80’s), because the characters were too stupid to deserve any happiness.  I won’t list the writers who did this to me, they have followers.

Because most of my manuscripts-in-progress have some element of Romance, I spent the last three years trying to play catch up.  There are many improvements to the genre, stronger characters, better plot lines, believable dialogue.  Personally, my discovery of Paranormal Romance, with the smaller Fantasy sub-genre, was the only way I was able to make sense of the things I was writing.

I keep telling myself that it’s a Sci-Fi with a romance sub-plot, but it’s not.  This story is ‘girl meets boy’.  It’s on a planet far from Earth, but in our Galaxy.  About three or four hundred years in the future.  I asked myself, “How difficult would it be to find a man acceptable for this particular woman?”  Turns out, pretty damn hard.

The problem?  It’s not a good romance by Romance standards.  The carnal relationship starts right away, not delayed for effect.  The male antagonist isn’t an Alpha-hole  who needs to be reformed.  The female protagonist isn’t in her twenty’s, naïve, and needs to be sexually educated.  It’s almost bizarre opposite land.  I will be pushing  Romance readers away in droves.

The squishy bits will turn off most traditional Sci-Fi readers, although that genre has made some changes, too.

Am I blurring genre lines or just writing something unmarketable?

On top of all that, apparently I’m writing ‘hard core erotica’, although getting a definitive definition for that is difficult.  I try for the ‘pan away to the fireplace’ trick, but it’s ridiculous, considering how much of the relationship changes in bed.  I can’t just say, “She is falling for the guy, and decides on hot sex and a relationship.”  I have to show that, right?Anyway, ‘Bad Sex Scene Award’, here I come.  Yay!

So, apparently, I’m writing an Epic length, ‘hard’ Erotic Sci-Fi Romance.  My potential readers are few.  I’m so screwed.

Next week, let’s explore the confusing world of erotica.  Look for my next blog; When is a Cock not a Rooster?  Warning, 18 and over!