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J. J. Brown, Wordslinger

"I Sling Words As I Go Along."

Month

August 2014

So, I updated my book covers…..

…..and they look pretty nice, if I do say so myself. Creating my own book covers is one of my favorites things to do and I have a lot of fun scouting locations for new images.

If I find myself gravitating to a particular spot, I’ll take several shots from different angles and positions. This gives me plenty of choices when making the final decision. I opt for black and white, rather than color, photographs because I want the images to pull the potential reader in.

As a voracious reader and book-lover, I sometimes find color to be too distracting to the eye – I don’t know where to look and then I lose interest. 🙂

trio

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So, I was contemplating………

………my earlier post about the ease and/or difficulty of writing in a genre outside one’s comfort zone (whether it’s erotica or something else entirely, it’s all the same). To challenge myself as a writer is to better myself at the craft of putting words together and coming up with magic.

Most of my stories reflect my life, as I’ve mentioned in at least one other post. When I mention to friends that I’ve taken on erotica, to a one, the response has been only positive. So, I know this story will be received with a lot of love and support.

But there is a huge amount of fear attached to this.

I have a tremendous fear of letting go of my intellect and embracing my passions.

In short, I have to go from icy logical Vulcan to fiery impulsive Romulan.

Because, you see, I’ve been saying over and over for awhile now that I want passion in my life. Passion for what I do, in the creative sense. Passion for what I want, in the professional sense. Passion in all of its glorious and beautiful and frightening and positive glory.

What is erotica but a tale of two adult people surrendering to fiery, impulsive passion?

“To create out of logic rather than emotion is not logical.”

I think Spock would have said something like this. Whether or not he agreed with it, he would have seen its truth.

To create something, it must be born out of emotion by way of passion.

So, you’d think writing erotica would be easy……..

………and, for some, I suppose it is. The set up is simple, the situation clear and the end result is fairly obvious. Also, you could just throw a couple of hot babes and some dinosaurs together and, wow, red-hot Flintstones sex in Bedrock.

The reality, for me, anyway, is a little different. While having far too much fun with the, um, you know, research, I did find myself struggling a little with the actual writing of my erotic tale. Since this is a new genre for me as a writer, I expected it to be a challenge in many ways. Not necessarily with background or snippets of dialogue or even character, mind, but working to describe the sensuality of the setting and what transpires between the two primary characters as they engage in a verbal dance that will eventually lead to the, ah, physical culmination.

I’ve been aware from the beginning that I was very much inside my head, intellectualizing and falling back on logic and structure and continuity instead of leading with my heart, embracing the feeling of what I wanted to do. This was reflected in the Narrator’s voice – she sounded quite prim and proper and kinda boring, if you ask me. Bland, too.

I worried about this, because, as my first venture into this genre, the worst kind of sex is boring sex, even if it’s in the written form (and I’ve read my share – if I have to put the book down during a sex scene in order to figure out the how, the why and the number of partners involved in a diagram, then it’s poor writing). I want to put my best effort out there in any kind of story, thus my research not just about time and place, but in how other writers handled the language of sensuality and intimacy.

Putting that kind of pressure on myself wasn’t helping, as you can imagine. Performance anxiety, I suppose one could call it. I’m not giving up on it – I gave myself a specific challenge and I plan to see it through. But when I went to put what I’d learned into practice, I came up against a wall. Like a stubborn horse, I balked at using certain words, wanted to shade things so that the outcome wasn’t obvious, like it was a mystery or thriller or something.

I have to laugh at myself for that last one – erotica isn’t like a mystery, where red herrings abound, only to reveal whodunnit in the end. Erotica is an intimate journey between two people where the outcome isn’t in question, only the when. (Porn is altogether different – in my opinion, erotica is about intimacy and connecting, porn is about the fuck).

So I push on and do what I normally do – get the bare bones of it out on paper and change what doesn’t work. I’m getting to know the characters as I go along and I’m finding that the Narrator is a bit feisty. I recently wrote a full-blown scene where she blithely issues a challenge to her male lead, which he proceeds to take her up on while in a public place. And this led to back-tracking and fleshing out bits earlier on, so that when I finally am able to place this particular scene into the main body of the story, it’s an ante that’s been upped.

And that’s when I realized what’s actually going on here – I’m circling into the project, not from the inside out, but from the outside in. I’m navigating this story in a way that allows for discovery and more than a little fun and many occasions to laugh at myself.

So maybe writing erotica isn’t so different than writing a mystery, after all. All writing is about discovery and human nature, either of the self or of the outer world, isn’t it?

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