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Must-read Series for Erotica Writers and Readers

Several months ago, Emmanuelle de Maupassant invited erotica genre writers to share their secrets and thoughts about writing, writing erotica, their processes, and backgrounds in a very detailed written interview. 

130 responded, writing honestly of their experiences.

She's been sharing the results in an amazing series (which came out right about the time I felt compelled to post about "erotica today").

The series has been thought-provoking, provocative, and eye-opening.

It's a delight reading how various authors approach the writing process and the manner in which they focus their erotic lenses and why they do so. READ IT HERE (and see links at the end for more in the series).

Erotica Today

After Fifty Shades of Grey and countless copy-cats, I almost hate to say I write erotica. I like porn as much as the next person, so let me explain my hang-up. 

You see, real erotica is not usually about pleasure or sex, just as sex is not always about the body. Sex can leave you wanting or satiated, physically and emotionally. Sex involves emotions (even for men, despite what some would have you believe). 

Sex can make you sad, happy, relieved, or something else entirely. Sex can heal or wound. Traditional erotica explores more than desire, more than body parts, and more than orgasms. It digs deeper than surface emotions. Real erotica doesn’t necessarily require you to feel horny when or after you read it.

Good erotica often challenges you to think about yourself as a whole being. It asks you to explore the ways sex unites us, rips us apart, embarrasses us, or defines us. The best erotica shines a light into our most secret, dark corners. It can make you uncomfortable, or squirmy.

Erotica doesn’t condemn or judge or exploit. It often features people we recognize in ourselves. Imperfect people. People who don’t have movie-star looks or Christian Grey’s bank account.

Since I began writing erotica in 2005, I’ve written stories about many facets of sexuality, from the serious to the absurd, the sad to the joyous, and everything in between. I love a challenge and often write stories to push my own boundaries or to understand things that make me uncomfortable.

I love to shock the senses and do not shy away from difficult subjects. When I write BDSM, it’s about more than toys and playacting; it’s about what drives people to delve into it (and, shocker, it’s usually not because they were abused as children).

Horror is my favorite genre to read, so much of my erotica could be classified as erotic horror.

My goal as a writer is simply to create the best stories I can. No genre is off-limits. If I offend you with my fiction, good. If I turn you on, okay. If I make you think . . . nirvana. It’s all about the emotions to me. Sex is not my focus.

One of the best compliments I’ve ever received from a reader was, “This is the product of a sick and twisted mind.

My reply? “Thank you!
In a market saturated with porn calling itself erotica, and poorly written books still jumping on the Fifty Shades of Grey and soccer-mom porn bandwagon, there are still writers who offer something more than body parts moving in paper-thin plots. These are a few of my favorites:

Charlotte SteinShe’s edgy and unexpected. Her prose is razor sharp. Whether she makes you laugh or fidget or sigh with pleasure, you’ll be entertained.

Remittance GirlRG has a knack for writing believable people and lush, foreign settings with an other-worldly quality. Her work holds its own against mainstream writers. When I grow up, I want to be her.

Rose de FerRose writes lush, Gothic-flavored stories and books in a distinctive and captivating voice. 

Malin James – She describes her writing best: "Sex can be joyful, painful, wholesome or filthy - sometimes all at once. The people involved determines what kind of sex is being had, far more than the physical act alone."

10 Easy Things to Give up to Improve Your Writing

I got an email recently from a client, asking how I write so many short stories and books while sometimes working full-time, being a wife and a mom, starting a business, working with other writers, and doing a million other things (including dealing with three surgeries in two years, and not writing or working at all for a long time).

Here's my secret: Doing more didn't work (and wasn't possible most of the time). In fact, doing more almost killed me.

Doing LESS is the key to my success. By giving up the following things, my energy shifted, and I found a sense of freedom and acceptance that resulted in people, resources, and offers flowing to me with almost no effort on my part.

Words flowed like rivers and inspiration came from everywhere.

10 Things to Give up to Improve Your Writing:

1. Give up perfect first drafts.

Let go of the idea that you need to fix every mistake or worry over each sentence until it is just right before moving on. If you're stuck on anything (details about a place, a character's name, how to commit a murder), don't stop to research.

Write, and know you can go back and fix things later. Bracket items, add a comment or highlight text to remind yourself what needs attention later. Leave spelling mistakes alone. Screw punctuation.

Learning how to write, worry-free and full of mistakes, was a life changer. It gave me a creative space of non-judgment that allowed me to produce work much faster. Everything can be fixed when you edit. It's actually easier when you can see the whole picture.

2. Give up negative language.

Stop saying:

I can’t.
I won’t.
It’s impossible.
It won’t happen.

Get rid of limiting statements. They prevent you from seeing possibilities and opportunities.

3. Give up draining relationships.

Also, get rid of people who make you feel crappy or say anything from the list above to you. Stop hanging out with people where the relationship isn't balanced, or doesn't make you feel good.

Go ahead. Unfriend and unlike and block anyone who spews negativity or who never fails to make you feel like you 're not good enough. Stop wasting time on them. Breathe a sigh of relief.

4. Give up unhealthy food.

I'm an 80/20 girl. 80% of the time, I am an angel. 20% . . . not so much. Junk food depletes energy instead of filling you with it so you can perform at your best.

Try eating vibrantly colored, real food for breakfast and lunch. Or try a vegetarian diet for those meals then splurge at dinner, eat meat, and enjoy wine, beer, or even dessert.

5. Sleep.

Your body and soul need time to recharge. Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night so you can thrive during the day. Remove electronics from your bedroom.

6. Give up being reactive or defensive about your writing or genre.

Writing is hard enough without dealing with reviews. Elizabeth Gilbert makes a great case for never reading them here.

Some people delight in tearing others down. Stop paying attention to them. See #3 again if you need to.

If you are stuck (as I was at a neighborhood party recently, surrounded by negative Nellies and haters), just take a deep breath, find someone nice to talk with, or leave.

7. Give up trying to change how people feel about your genre or writing.

It’s an impossible task. End of story.

"Hemingway sucks. If I set out to write that way, it would have been been hollow and lifeless because it wasn't me." - Stephen King

8. Give up trying to do it all.

Pick what makes you happy, and work on that. One project at a time.

Surrender to the idea that things happen in their own time when you do something (anything) toward your writing goals daily. A watched pot never boils, but the universe is always paying attention.
9. Give up not writing for you.

You are free to express yourself any way you wish. If your intentions are cloudy, the world will respond accordingly. If you try to write a bestseller, but your heart isn't in it, readers know.

When you come from a place of love, passion for your topic, and honesty, good things happen for you and people around you. Readers feel the difference.

10. Give up believing the illusion.

Most writers never become millionaires, and that's okay. Love what you do, and it won't matter. Have fun, and use this knowledge to inspire yourself to write whatever makes you happy.

A writer's best reward is often helping other writers. We're all in this together.

If anything I said here helped you, please share this post with someone else.

Namaste, and happy writing,