Anybody watching my Twitter feed recently will have probably ducked for cover several times, hiding from my repeated lapses into rage spitting rants regarding erotica. I can’t help it, but I think writing something here will get it out of my system.
So… here goes.
I used to write Yaoi. Shit loads of it and when I look back at some of those lemony pages, I feel something inside me want to curl up and die. When it doesn’t get the chance to – because its attached to the rest of me – it begs for a hefty slap at writing such dribble. Not at all to say that all lemon yaoi is awful, because its certainly not. Mine was… that’s all.
Anyway, the point is, when I stepped away from Yaoi, its because I wanted to write something more realistic with an erotic element. I didn’t want it to be about anime characters; I wanted it to be about my characters with feelings and personalities that I’d put there, not paraphrased from a manga or anime. So I started to write shorts.
The very first thing I realised when I started writing these shorts, was that they were so much harder than Yaoi. I couldn’t just mash two (or three) people together and have them start shagging, because that’s not what its all about. So I spent a lot of time writing about the build up. But by the time I’d written the build up, I was well passed the 5k words I’d allowed myself. By that point I really should have been tying off the ends to make a neat bow on the head of the story.
After several attempts that ended this way, I realised something important… the anticipation of getting getting to that key moment is sometimes all you need. I say ‘sometimes’ because there are some stories that bloody well want a sex scene in them and readers might even feel cheated if you didn’t get it. But building the elements into the story; a subtle touch here, a shift in the eyes there… a chaste kiss on slightly parted lips… the journey of teasing fingertips over the planes of hard muscle, or the soft curves of a hip or thigh… those are the things that make it erotic. At least for me.
And I have to add that last bit because one girl’s cheesecake is another girl’s mushroom pizza if you catch my drift. Just because I like it, doesn’t mean everybody else feels the same way.
The reason this is all coming out now is because part of my Kindle spurge involved picking up loooooooooooooads of erotica (for free, like I said) as research. It was/is important to me to see what people are writing and selling (and if its successful or not), because if I do go ahead with the half baked plan I came up with during the Christmas holidays, I need to know what I’m up against (and I’m not saying anything more about that until I’ve worked out more details.).
Most of it is awful. Dear god awful, which leads me onto a whole new debate that I can practically see playing out on Twitter right now (‘what do you expect; picking up a bunch of free, self pubbed stuff?’ Utterly unfair, totally not true (self pubbed is not the same as small press is not the same as just re-releasing as ebook), but that is a debate that could well kick off from this).
HOWEVER…! Some of it is wonderful. I mean lovely; just the right mix of build up versus sex versus emotion versus people that makes it an absolute (shivering, spine-tingling) pleasure to read.
These two, stick out for me. I’m sure there will later be more, but for now… of the five erotic novellas I’ve read its only these two that didn’t make me want to scratch things with my fingernails.
They even manage to get the blend of ‘hard-dirty-talk’ and ‘gentle-sensual-talk’ (you know… lime versus lemon) perfectly spot on to suit my tastes.
I’m not even surprised that these two are gay erotica and the others are more mainstream heterosexual pieces; it seems to me, that going for a gay relationship gives people license to take more time over painting a picture of real people, rather than a couple who just constantly tip themselves into bed for no reason.
It was a tale about the relationship between a vampire (male) and a human (female) that tipped me over the edge actually.