Sunday, April 17, 2016

Erotica and the Craft of Writing

I've started writing erotica in the last few weeks, mostly for practice. No need to worry. Links will not be posted here, nor any excerpts from much longer works. I'm quite happy writing under a very private pseudonym to an audience of complete strangers. Most of the time, I write intentionally for a public forum, courting a fan base. The key to being a good blogger, a good op/ed writer, an internet attraction, or all three, is building a cult of personality around oneself. I find the work of naked self-promotion distasteful, offensive to my artistic and religious sensibilities, but I've been necessarily forced to court it to be relevant.

But not here. In this case, I've chosen an innocuous username, one that will never be revealed for any reason. I'm not even telling my friends where to find me. That said, should you feel similarly inclined, I encourage you to try your hand. You may find you really enjoy it, particularly because of the instant gratification aspect that is rare in many other platforms. Receiving praise and a few thousand hits within hours has a way of boosting the ego.

Writing, as anyone who tries can attest, is a discipline. It is one of the most demanding disciplines of any worthwhile artistic endeavor. I haven't written much fiction in months, and what I've been doing in the past few weeks is mainly good practice. I'm easing myself back into the purview of short stories, efforts that need to be revised and revised again. At the site where I've been recently posting, one can submit content in one of about ten different categories. I'm comfortable with three or four of the listed genres, but totally out of my league in the rest. I want to expand my skill set, for the sake of growth, but I don't want to sound like I have no idea what I'm doing.

My first story won me between 4,000 and 5,000 hits. So far, it's been rated somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. As is true for internet content of any form, most people only bother to read a post. A very small minority even bothers to votes. Almost no one leaves feedback or comments. 5 stars is the maximum rating, but that is an impossible standard. Certain truths prove inescapable. Discerning the taste and preference of those who read comes first. It doesn't matter how compelling or arousing one's work is. Every publication has its formula, its system.

Part of the fun is confusing my readers, making them guess who I really am and how I identify. I'm a complex person with a correspondingly complex fantasy life, which is, I assume, what one wants. Truly skilled craftspeople can switch genders, ages, settings, and periods of time skillfully. These qualities separate good authors from great ones. Thus far, I've written three stories, all part of a series. I'm not sure how to draw it to a satisfactory conclusion, but I'm having a lot of fun generating plot twists and dialogue.

Erotica has been less daunting than I feared it might be. There's something titillating about the process of creating an erotic story. Sexuality can be as stimulating for the author as it is for the reader. I haven't had to worry as much about losing patience, drive, and the will to do it. This might not be the case with a lengthy post about a political issue, but writing on topics like those can occasionally try my patience. But as I wrap up my thoughts once again, I have no real destination in mind, nor any idea of when it makes sense to stop. It doesn't matter, and that's okay.  

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