Post by Lily Harlem
It is with great pleasure that we welcome Judith Watts and Mirren Baxter to Outrageous today. Get Started in Writing Erotic Fiction is a brilliant new book that tells it how it is and I'm thrilled to say that I contributed a few 'pearls of wisdom' to the text as I had the great fortune to bump into Judith and Mirren at Eroticon in 2013, just as they were setting out on their adventure of writing this 'how to' book. So without further ado, let me hand you over to these wonderfully helpful ladies...
Hi everyone, and thank you, Lily, for inviting us to Outrageous!
At the cinema recently, we were reminded that depictions of sex can make people very uncomfortable. Admittedly, Blue is the Warmest Colour has some of the longest and most explicit sex scenes that we’ve ever seen in mainstream cinema. But at the very first hint of raunch, the woman sitting in front of us snatched her smartphone from her bag, fired it up and proceeded to stab away at her emails. It was completely distracting. The light from her screen took our attention away from the big screen, but her font size was too small for us to find out what on earth could be more compelling than the unfolding story, damn it. When she did it again at the start of every sex scene, we realised that she wasn’t dealing with an emergency; she was completely mortified and had to invent a reason to look away. Despite all the changes in society, sex can still be an awkward subject.
With this potential for awkwardness in mind, Get Started in Writing Erotic Fiction is aimed at people who are interested in writing erotic fiction but who need some help. Readers might be erotic fiction fans who have never written before, trying to find out how to go about it, or they might be experienced non-erotic writers who understand only too well how difficult it can be to write well about such a complex and emotive subject.
When we meet brand new writers, they often mention three areas of concern, regardless of the genre that they’re working in:
I have an idea for a story, but I don’t know if it’s any good.
I don’t know how to start.
I’ve written something, but it’s terrible.
Our book addresses these issues from the erotic fiction writer’s perspective. For example, one of our first writing exercises tackles the first two concerns with a prompt:
The First Time
First times carry significant weight. Whether it’s the first meeting, the first kiss or your first publication, these occasions often involve strong and varied emotions, ranging from nervous trepidation to delirious excitement. They are fun to write about and satisfying to read.
• Write about the first time. Which first is up to you, but make
it sexual, important and positive.
• Start with ‘It all happened when …’.
• Just write. Include everything you want to say about that
memorable first. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar.
Enjoy remembering. Aim for 500 words.
We’ve included topics specific to erotic fiction (such as issues of consent and a nod to the the ‘erotica versus porn’ debate), information about the erotic fiction market, and chapters about traditional and self-publishing. The book was designed to give step-by-step support; the workshop exercises can take new erotic fiction writers from their first inspiration to getting their work ‘out there.’
One of the unexpected pleasures in writing Get Started in Writing Erotic Fiction was finding out how welcoming and supportive the erotic fiction community can be. We were lucky to meet some fabulous established authors who were happy to contribute advice for new writers. As well as the wonderful Lily Harlem, we have advice from Lucy Felthouse, Victoria Blisse, Remittance Girl (Madeleine Morris), MK Elliot and Tabitha Rayne. Without exception, everyone that we’ve met and spoken to in relation to this project has been approachable and friendly - this is encouraging news for any new writer.
Ultimately, we want to support new erotic fiction writers because we’re fans; we’d like to see more captivating, sexy stories that are well written and professionally presented reaching a larger audience, please. We hope that Get Started in Writing Erotic Fiction will help new writers to achieve exactly that.
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