My first article in this mini-series looked at what I’ve written and published in the erotica genre. As a refresher, it explains I’ve written poetry, short stories, and a novel. It also highlights my latest venture – I’m underway with a series of novellas.
This second post is an insight into why I decided to get involved in this area of creative writing. Reading erotica isn’t for everybody, and having read comments from writers who can spin a great yarn, I know the writing of erotica isn’t for everybody either.
In closing Part 1, I promised the whys and wherefores of my interest.
I first dabbled in literary titillation when I was experimenting with poetry. I’d written about natural history, the military life, thrillers, reincarnation, romance, and a few odd pieces where I introduced humour. It was when I wrote about relationships I found I had to move on from the meeting, and the dialogue.
Surely as the romance deepened it would be natural to move on to action?
It took several attempts before I produced anything I’d post on the poetry website, which had guidelines on ‘acceptable’ content for any genre.
My erotica poetry started out like sexual foreplay. The hints were in there, a bit of teasing of what might come, and I took it forward with visual appreciation, dialogue, romance, titillation, and finally action. I received several compliments on my efforts and I was glad I’d tried.
In the background I had already started playing around with the concept of short stories, and I’d tried a variety of genre. The prompt to try my hand at erotica came from a fellow poet. The lady wrote well, which was why I was delighted to have public praise from her on my widely varying poetic efforts. As I developed my verse, this lady was particularly impressed with my erotica and wrote me a private message to let me know.
A couple of private messages later there was a request for me to write an erotica short story. It wasn’t for general consumption, but for my secret fan, who said she’d be willing to critique the finished product. I obliged and produced a story which she liked, and it was followed by a few others. We’re no longer in regular contact, but I get an occasional message to let me know she reads all my work.
I was keen to write romance, adventure and thrillers, which were the genre I read. As I increased my selection of reading material, I selected the first in the ‘Fifty Shades …’ series. Suffice to say I wasn’t impressed by either the writing or the content. I wrote a review which appears here: Fifty Shades – a review.
Having had my interest piqued by the popularity of something so badly written, I downloaded erotica eBooks by both male and female authors. It should be remembered at this point, a high number of authors in this genre use a pseudonym. I found several areas of concern in my research of erotica storytelling.
1. A lot of the ‘books’ purporting to be erotica are neither erotica, nor stories, but a series of scenes involving two or more people in sexual activity.
2. Many of these titles are badly written in the extreme, but the worst are usually spotted in their short sample available on Amazon.
3. A personal gripe is the ‘author’ who produces a badly written, short book, and compounds those two factors by over-pricing.
Is there anything worse?
Yes, sadly, a few of them go on to write a ‘series’. I detected many of these by the rapid turnaround of the ‘next in the series’ being produced a month after the previous title.
Having read several erotica titles covering a wide range of sexual orientation I can tell who knows their subject, and who uses vague descriptions.
What’s the difference?
Put simply, it’s the difference between saying ‘The man had a gun.’ or, ‘Dan carried his Browning 9mm automatic.’
I’ve read samples which have had me shake my head because they’re so awful, and I’ve seen eBooks which made me smile – because the cover, title, length, sample, and price were so bad. It takes imagination to believe the author is serious.
There we have it faithful followers. I was erotica curious, and tried my hand. I believe I’m making progress, and my titles have positive reviews. I am still experimenting to some extent, but I work on the premise my finished titles should have a story, and the books should be written and formatted with the same care given to any other genre.
In the final part of this insight I will take you under the covers, and we’ll look at the detail.
Thank you for reading my offerings, and any comments are welcome as always.
2 thoughts on “Erotica: The Long and Short of it … Part 2 of 3”
That poem is not half bad, Tom! Kudos to you, my friend 🙂 Now, regarding what you were mentioning in your previous blog post about not getting a lot of reviews, even though your latest erotica project sells well, I think – in a nutshell – that it’s not you, but them. The readers. Sadly, reading erotica, and then openly talking about, still bears something of a stigma, which I, for one, can’t understand. I read Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series and I thought: Here’s a writer who knows exactly where her strength is and takes full advantage of that.
To conclude, keep up the good work, Tom. I’m sure it will pay off in a variety of forms! 🙂
Hi Ramona, and thanks for dropping by with a comment. Yes there are mixed messages regarding erotica. I have three titles out there and they all sell to a greater or lesser degree, although reviews are hard to come by.
I put Give & Take on free at the weekend 30th/31st July, and within two hours the downloads were in double figures … mmmm.:D
I’ll play along with my latest venture in between my other work, and when I have at least three Highland Games titles out there I’ll consider a freebie to see if it works.
Until later – thanks again.
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