This material is intended for a mature audience. Right, with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk about sex.
Or, to be more accurate (and less controversial), let’s talk about writing Erotic Fiction. Erotic Fiction has been around since long before a certain Ms. James penned Fifty Shades. What she importantly did though was popularise the genre, made it acceptable to talk about at parties. And, even more crucially, she made it a sought-after commodity by readers and, as a result, the publishing industry.
What is actually sought after, it should be said, is good erotic fiction. Readers want fresh, original and well-written stories. Send in a manuscript about the erotic adventures of a pizza delivery boy or something equally hackneyed, chances are, we’ll get the same short shrift as with an unoriginal story in any genre. And just because we’re writing in what’s seen as a less-literary genre doesn’t mean that we can short-change our readers on the quality of the writing. If we want it to be published, then our novel is a product that we’re trying to sell. So the same rules apply as to writing crime, science-fiction or horror.
Erotica has so become an acceptable mainstream genre now that it is discussed in even the higher echelons of the writing community. WritersDigest.com welcomes erotica writer Lisa Lane, who guides us through the lessons she’s learned over her years of writing in this genre. She tells us that erotica is not actually all about sex, that this only plays a secondary role to character and plot.
Litreactor’s Elissa Wald gives us a no-holds-barred run-down of the Dos-and -Don’ts of writing erotic fiction. She tells us that intelligent, well-written erotica is rare and suggests that, to achieve it, we have to resist the clichéd version of sexuality brandished by the advertising and fashion industries.
When looking for help writing erotic fiction, it’ll come as no surprise that the ‘How To Write Erotic Fiction’ website would be a source of insight. Professional editor Alison Tyler, who specialises in erotic fiction, tells us specifically what the publishing industry is looking for. Some of these rules apply to all fiction while others are more tailored to this genre.
I talked earlier this year about the festivals available to writers in Ireland and the UK. What I failed to mention is that the erotica-writing community is well-catered-for in this regard. Next year’s Eroticon takes place in Bristol and will feature seminars, workshops and networking events all about the art and business of writing erotic fiction. It will offer guidance and insight into language, plot and character development, stepping up from short stories to novels and how to get an erotic novel published.
And if you think that erotic-fiction writers are a sub-class of people writing in some den of inequity while wearing PVC and thigh length boots, think again. The Daily Mail newspaper’s profile of erotic-fiction writers shows that most, much like any genre, are ordinary folk – mothers, accountants and church-goers – who take pleasure in writing what they could never say, writing about what they would never do. Many of these writers, who write under pseudonyms, take the brave step of being interviewed for this fascinating profile.
For those of you who prefer video to text, international bestseller Julie Cohen discussed writing great sex scenes in the bonus footage of WritersWebTV.com Writing Women’s fiction workshop broadcast last month. Well worth checking out here.
Are You Afraid To Ask?
The Writers’ Digest’s Lisa Lane tells us everything we need to know about Erotica.
“I had misconceptions of my own, and that led to much trial and error as I worked to refine my craft and learn how better to please my audience.”
The Dooz And Do-Not-Dooz.
Litreactor’s Alisa Wald gives us the low down on some of the golden rules of writing erotic-fiction.
“Bring the same attention and regard to writing about sex as you would to anything else you’d write.”
What Does The Publisher Want?
Erotica Editor Alison Tyler knows what to look for – and what the industry wants.
“Over the years, I’ve become fairly adept at knowing right away whether a story is going to work.”
Viva La Festivale.
Eroticon, the festival dedicated to all-thing-Erotica takes place next March.
“Meet with like-minded people and leading voices of the erotic industries, make new contacts and learn new skills.”
It’s Not All PVC, Corsets And Thigh-Length Boots.
The Daily Mail profiles some of the best, most successful and most prolific writers, most of whom live nine-to-five ordinary lives.
“many of the women are overwhelmingly shy, with some working low-key jobs as librarians, accounts managers, nurses and stay-at-home mothers.”