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Author Topic: Sex Writers (NSFW, if we're lucky)  (Read 287 times)
Waterfall
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« on: July 07, 2017, 07:42:27 PM »

I'd love to start a conversation group among other QT'ers who write adult material for adult audiences.

Let me start with some home-grown definitions:
  • Pornography is intended to facilitate masturbation. It is essentially the plumbing diagrams of human relations. Think Penthouse Forum.
  • Erotica uses descriptions of sexual activity to portray some powerful personal growth or struggle. Think The Story of O, or Little Birds.
  • Erotic Romance uses descriptions of sexual activity to further the protagonist's desire for a committed relationship. Think anything by Sylvia Day or Tara Sue Me or tons of others. The former Ellora's Cave publishing house copyrighted the term "Romantica" to describe this.
Any of these are worthy of writing, but the naming may help us get our categories and intentions together. It's not about the words we use, it's about why we're including sexual scenes in the first place.

When I write adult material, I write erotic romance, in which there's a man and a woman who are thrown together by some circumstance, have some extra-relational problem to solve as well, and have to figure out how to support one another and fall in love while doing it. I also write erotica, in which some man uses sexual exploration to address and overcome some other issues of his life (and ultimately falls in love anyway, but that's not why he starts his sexual adventures.) I also write a lot of fiction that isn't sexual at all. As Whitman said, we contain multitudes.

I'd love to see a group come together to discuss common writing problems and query tactics, and to share favorites. I'll start with the favorites question: a very quiet little book by the poet Jennifer Tseng called Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness, which has very little explicit sex (but explicit indeed when it's there). It's a story about an early-40s librarian and her affair with a 17-year-old boy, a brilliant story of desire and confusion and loss. It falls within my grouping of erotica: it's about Mayumi's search for something greater than she currently knows. She understands that the boy will soon enough go off to college, and to college girls. She doesn't want to have a permanent relationship with him. But she does love him, and she loves who she is when she's with him.

So welcome aboard, and let's see what we can create.
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Falthor
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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2017, 08:02:33 AM »

Interesting that you posted this here.  I was always unsure of what to consider my writing, but by this definition, I write Erotic Romance.  I also have some ideas that border on erotica and porn but I don't know yet if I'm ready to make that leap.

I've been working through some stuff over on Wattpad as I write out what is the expansion on my first work "What Happened at Kate's House", now Wattpad is a little different in a lot of ways but one of the things that really gets to me is the death sentence getting a mature rating is for your book.  They are working on it but it hasn't really changed a lot there.  As it stands, right now on Wattpad you can get the mature rating for all the reasons a film would get the R rating, Excess Sex, Language, or violence.  The problem is that once your book has this rating on Wattpad it will no longer have the chance to rank, and until recently, would never be featured.

I write Erotic Romance, or close to it.   "What Happened at Kate's House" had one scene that didn't include anything more that hands on underwear (and now I don't mean rubbing or manual stimulation, I mean the guy touched it and nothing more), and I got slapped with the amazing "mature" rating which tanked any chance I might have of ever getting featured or ranking on the "what's hot" list to draw in more readers.

When I sat down to write the expansion (story happens at the same place in the same timeframe as the original with a completely different set of characters), I thought long and hard and just rated myself mature out the door.  Mature, Erotica, Erotic Romance and the like really get a bad rap sometimes when really you should just write what works for you.  When you don't it doesn't come out with the same energy to captivate and falls a little flat.

Interesting piece either way.
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Waterfall
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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2017, 09:36:53 AM »

Mature, Erotica, Erotic Romance and the like really get a bad rap sometimes when really you should just write what works for you.  When you don't it doesn't come out with the same energy to captivate and falls a little flat.

Stephen King said that he became a writer when he stopped feeling like he had to apologize for what kind of writing he did.

And yeah, the rating systems are all nuts. There's a terrific documentary from 2006 called "This Film Is Not Yet Rated," about the MPAA rating systems and their utter unwillingness to discuss anything about how they make their decisions, who's on the rating panel, or what a filmmaker could do to change their initial rating. It's really funny, and really creepy, and pretty sad. The director of Boys Don't Cry said that her theory is that showing a woman's face while she's having an orgasm is an automatic NC-17, though it's fine to chainsaw dozens of people to death and still be an R.
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Falthor
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2017, 09:49:22 AM »

My favorite rating story to date was Trey and Matt doing the Southpark movie and they got slapped with an NC-17 rating for excessively crude humour, so they made it worse and resubmitted, it still came back R, and they just kept making the humour more and more crude until it finally came back with the R rating they wanted.  I think it was submitted 6 times if I remember correctly.
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Waterfall
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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2017, 11:47:28 AM »

Sex in a story, for me, is just like any other action; it has to show me something about the person doing it, it has to reveal character and motive. If it's just there to entertain me as a reader, then it has a pretty short novelty life, and I'll get bored pretty soon (just as I do with action/CGI sequences in big movies where stuff gets blown up just because it's fun to watch). But if it's moving me forward through the story, showing me something I didn't know about Colin or Katie—something about their generosity, or about their need, or about their attentiveness—then it matters to the story.

As writers, I think it's easy to get over-involved in whatever our characters do, and to portray it in such detail that our readers get weary of it. THEY don't care as much as we do about cooking, or bowling, or magic, or the family dynasty. As soon as the pictorial hardware overcomes the characters and their dilemmas, we lose all but our fellow obsessives.

And I think that sex is particularly capable of revealing character, far more than fistfights or gun battles. That's why I'm drawn to writing about it.
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