Thursday, May 31, 2012

Creative Block

Today I hit a bit of a creative block. It wasn't that I didn't feel like writing...  I did.  I just hated everything that was coming from my finger tips.  Whether it was erotica, an email, or trying to work on a non-erotic book... and this is probably the latest in the day I've written a blog.  It's hard, especially when I've been as prolific as I have been and have started up so quickly again, to find something new to write about sometimes.

Especially with Venus School of Sex. I think I'm almost purposefully writing slow on the next chapter, not because I don't know where the next chapter is going to go, but because I'm sitting there thinking - oh God, what am I going to do for her next week of classes?! And part of me wishes that I'd only made the school a week long... talk about a challenge for me! The main problem is wondering where do I go in the classes that she's already taken a couple of?

I surprised myself with her Light BDSM class with Mr. Fire. I'd never written a story before that involved so much verbal submissiveness, as opposed to being handled physically by the Master.  Because it's the physical that normally turns me on. But I ended up branching out a little bit... mostly because that day I had a creative spurt rather than a creative block. I could use another spurt right now.  I'm about halfway through the chapter of Jessica's Saturday night, her Sunday isn't going to take that long because she's going to spend it mostly recovering from Saturday and then we're back to classes...

So what do I do when I hit these blocks?

Take a short break. Typing was rough today anyway because I accidentally stabbed my hand yesterday while cooking... pretty deep stab in the web between my index finger and thumb.  Kinda surprised I can use all my fingers, to be perfectly honest. I can type, but it makes my finger ache a little.  So I made myself do about half an hour of writing - I don't want to get out of the habit and some days you just have to kinda force it a little - and I spent my evening reading. Mercedes Lackey's most recent Valdemar book.  Pretty good. Not at all erotic. But it was a nice break. And I went to the gym, which I hadn't done in awhile. I've been sitting in front of my computer typing every evening for the past week. 

I'm also working on another story - although not a series.  I intersperse my series with stand alone short stories because sometimes I need to write something different in order to keep my creative juices flowing within the series.  The one I'm working on right now will go into the Mind Control category. 

So now I'm going to go read some more, even though part of me wants to be writing... a night off is a good thing for everybody.  Hopefully tomorrow my creative juices will be flowing again!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Waiting Game

Waiting for stories that I've submitted to appear in the "New Story" feed is always a source of extreme impatience for me.  I never know when they're going to appear.  I can see on my own author feed that they've been read... but sometimes it takes only a day before they're up and sometimes it's many days.

The next chapter for Venus School of Sex has been waiting for awhile. It has a backlog of two chapters behind it.  There are two chapters for Submission waiting. The conclusion to Living With Uncle John. And I just submitted a new House of Fantasy story yesterday... not too impatient about that one since I just put it in. 

I just hate waiting. I'm not good at it. I'm an instant gratification kind of girl (like most of my generation), and that's part of why I love Literotica. Usually the stories get up pretty quickly and then I get feedback pretty quickly. 

I think part of my impatience is also because I'm writing about some things that I haven't before and I want to know how they'll be received.  Jessica's Friday BDSM class is all about verbal commands, rather than being touched by Mr. Fire.  Her weekend activities ended up surprising and fascinating me as I was writing them.  Just a hint?... Some fun with berries and a paintbrush. There's a dance for Saturday night planned. I haven't written that chapter yet but I know what's going to happen and I'm excited... I know what she's going to be wearing and I wish I owned something like it. Might have to make it maybe. But I'm really nervous and anxious to find out what people think about the three chapters that are currently waiting to be approved.

I like stepping out of my comfort zone and trying out new ideas, but it's also scary. I take a lot of pride in writing a good story and it makes me really happy to know that people are enjoying what I write. That's really the whole point, after all, is that I want people to enjoy it. Of course there are always the occasional anonymous comments to get under my skin, and sometimes people want things to be 100% realistic where as I tend to lean towards writing as an idealized fantasy, but I always hope that overall... people will think it's sexy.  And I'm not sure if people are going to think the things Jessica and Mr. Flood do with berries are sexy or gross.

Maybe a little bit of both.

At any rate. There are chapters submitted, waiting to be approved. I'm continuing working. I think the Venus School is going to end up being practically a novella by the time I'm done with it. Do I know where it's going and who she ends up with? Yes... or at least, I know what I was originally planning, although now I'm considering doing 3 alternate endings.  I got the idea off of another writer (blanking on the user name) who is doing 2 completely separate plot lines for a story. At first I was just going to write the ending that made me happy, but I've gotten a couple of comments / emails from people that make me want to give people the choose their own adventure =)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Office Play

I've started releasing some stuff on Kindle lately.  The short compilation of erotic shorts that I mentioned earlier, and now I've re-released Office Play on the Kindle as well. 

Office Play was the first story / series I ever wrote for Literotica.  At the time I was in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship, that eventually became physical.  During that time I was also coming to some realizations about myself and the fact that BDSM stories really turned me on - something I had no experience with and only knew about from reading stories on Lit.  I originally wrote this series from a standpoint of complete fantasy.  When it came right down to it I had no idea what I was talking about from a personal standpoint, I only knew what I liked to read about.  I think that the sadism of Michael in the original series may have been because of the relationship I was in at the time.

When I decided to make it available on Kindle I knew that I wanted to edit it; what I hadn't realized was how much editing I was going to put into it.  I've learned a lot since I originally wrote this series, about writing, life and BDSM.  I'm by no means an expert, or even really experienced, but I know a heck of a lot more than I did when I first wrote the series.  I was rather embarrassed when I started editing it; Michael came off as so uncaring, not at all the sexy Dom I remembered writing about.

So the novella available on Kindle has some major differences.  For one, the beginning of their relationship became much more about seduction than the reluctance / non-consent overtones that were there before.  I also took out all of the sharing that Michael does with Juan; while Juan gets to be a voyeur he is no longer a participant.  In a lot of ways I think that the relationship between Diane and Michael has become much more believable and much more loving.  While the punishment aspect remains, of course, it's no longer so sadistically brutal and it takes into consideration the limits of the human body.   Obviously, from my stories, sometimes I feel like ignoring those limits but this was not a story that I ever meant to do that with.  It was just my first and I was inexperienced.

I'm not saying that what I've made available for Kindle is completely different, but for me it's a more satisfying stories in a lot of ways.  It's a little bit longer. Some scenes are extended. I've added in a couple of scenes.  And the relationship between Michael and Diane is a lot more satisfying for me to read now.

Re-writing was an interesting experience. I'm glad I did it. I always liked these characters.  And it was fun to revisit my first ever story and see what I wanted to change about it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Written Word

I discovered Literotica.com about a year before I started writing.  I had never been all that into watching porn - unless I found everyone involved in the movie attractive it just didn't do much for me, and that was rare - but when I found Literotica it was like a whole new world had opened up for me.  Before that I'd relied on cheesy romance novels to fuel the fantasies in my head.  Some romance novels have some really great sex scenes, plus they're usually great at the build-up, but sometimes I am just not in the mood for a long build-up and I want some instant gratification!

At that point I was constantly reading on two sites; Literotica and another one which didn't have the high quality or quantity that was available on Literotica.  My boyfriend at the time didn't really seem to understand the attraction - he was a very visual person and so he was very into watching porn and didn't really have the patience to read it. I'm not sure if the preference is a male vs. female thing, or just a personality thing.

The written word, to me, is so much sexier because the reader can go so much deeper into the characters than the viewer of a porn.  We get the emotions, descriptions of the physical sensations, the thoughts, the hesitancy and fears of the characters through the written word.  Porn can do that to an extent but it's just not the same.  Plus, when I'm reading something I can picture it from whatever angle I want to instead of having to rely on the camera and the director's vision.  My vision is the one that is important!

Of course, sometimes the written word doesn't do it for me either... which is why I love Literotica's "favorites" feature.  Freaking brilliant is what that is! There are a lot of stories where the writing style doesn't suit me or there's just not enough descriptiveness when it comes to the actual sex act or I don't like the characters, etc. and when I find something that I want to go back to it's nice to be able to just click on my list of favorites.  Sadly I sometimes have trouble finding favorite stories that I had read before the favorites button was around.

I also have a few favorite books laying around my house to read when I'm in the mood for some sexy reading and don't feel like sitting in front of the computer.

The Darkfever series by Karen Marie Moning is hot hot hot... very long build-up but totally worth it.  I had some trouble getting through the first book because I couldn't stand the main character at first, but I was super turned on by the main guy in it so I kept going and omg was it worth it by the end. Funny enough the romance/erotic stuff isn't the main part of the books, so I enjoy the read as well as the eventual culmination of sexy time. It's Fantasy and fantastic.  Her other series is more normal romance and wasn't quite as stimulating in my opinion.

The Captivity of Celia by M.S. Valentine is another one that I've read over and over again. Fantastic writing, depravity galore, and plenty of instant gratification.  Not much of a slow build-up but plenty of slow seduction as Celia falls deeper and deeper into the perverse games of her lover's cousin.  Unfortunately I haven't really been able to get into any of M.S. Valentine's other books. Still great writing, but the subject matter just wasn't really my cup of tea.

Shayla Black and Lexi Blake (especially together) are new favorites. She does a lot of BDSM / Menage stories and I haven't read anything by her that I didn't like so far.  I'm anxiously awaiting Lexie Black's next Masters and Mercenaries book in fact.  I've checked Amazon.com like 5 times this month, at least, in hopes that it was out because it's supposed to be sooooooooooo and I must read.  The teaser that she left in The Dom Who Loved Me absolutely sucked me in.

So yeah... those are some of my big reads. I feel like anyone who wants to be a writer should also read as much as possible. Not just for ideas, but it's so much easier to write when you know what interests you and the writing styles that you enjoy reading.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Long Long Time Ago...

I can still remember when....

No I'm not going to sing American Pie but somehow it got stuck in my head. Anyway, I can still remember when I first started writing and I was struggling to put the pictures that I saw in my head into words.  Especially without using the same words over and over again.  I recently self-published a compilation of some of my favorite shorts that I wrote for Literotica (available here: clicky) and before I self-published I went through and edited / re-vamped them.



Most of my edits were grammatical (I have a tendency to overuse commas) and some of them were just switching out words for synonyms.  Thesaurus.com much?! Yikes!!! And, of course, since they aren't free, I tried to make them better by adding more character development to most of them and by writing a couple additional sex scenes for a few of them. They're still just short stories... but yeah.

All proud of myself I asked my husband to read them and tell me what he thought.  He finished the first short story (An Exchange of Fluids), which is one of the ones I was rather proud of because I'd revised that one fairly heavily and extended the scene in it, and he looks at me and says "Are there any other words you can use for 'dick'?"

Well yes you wanker, you shaft, you  meat head, you one-eyed snake, stinking trouser trout. Gah. I consoled myself with the reminder that those were older stories and it's possible that I just didn't catch all the repetitions while I was editing. But you'd better believe I'm now keeping an eye on trying not to overuse the same descriptors... and holy crap is it hard. Because I'm always writing about the same thing: sex.

So how to change it up? Well, I've found that writing from different perspectives helps.  A man thinks differently from a woman, an older person thinks differently from a younger person, and the writing style for a first or third person story really changes the thought process and emotions of the characters.  "The Photographer" was a story that was fascinating for me to write because she's not experiencing the physical sensations that the characters involved in sex are; she is quite literally outside of that scene and, not only that, but for the most part she has to focus on her work and not her own body.

Interestingly, I think she's one of the characters I have most in common with, mentally.  I am, at heart, a voyeur.  The vast majority of my stories include things that I'd rather watch happen to someone else, and when I write or read I don't picture myself in the story, I'm sitting there watching it unfold. I've had some people ask me how I can write about things that I don't know about... I really have no idea. Over active imagination perhaps?

While I try to experience at least some small semblance of the physical acts that my characters participate in, a lot of it just comes from my supposition of what such and such would feel like.  I have gotten tons of comments, both good and bad, from people who think that I'm a male or a gay male. I assure you that, other than my strap-on, I do not have a penis (except in this dream I once had, and that was really awesome). But it makes me feel like I've done a good job of imagining what things feel like for a man... at least I hope so.

I think that being open to writing things you don't know about, being willing to open that door and take a risk, is a lot of what's helped me grow as a writer. I don't want to play it safe.  And sometimes I get swept past the grammar and the repetitious use of certain words, because I'm so involved in the story rather than the mechanics.  Because, in my opinion, that's what makes it fun.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Story Ideas

Probably the question I've gotten the most, the entire time I've been writing for Lit., is how do I come up with my story ideas?

Easy, I cheat =)

The vast majority of my story ideas come from other people's stories.  Whether I find something inspirational in their writing, or I start wondering "Well, what if something similar happened but with this result?" or I find the concept sexy but am somehow left unfulfilled by the execution.

The latter actually happened very recently.  Venus School of Sex, which I am currently in the middle of writing, came about after I downloaded an erotic story off of Amazon.com called "The Madame X School of Sex."  It's a hot little book with sexy writing, but it ended way too soon as far as I was concerned.  The main character, Sara, has the major hots for her boss, Quinn, (who has the major hots for her back) but she has no idea that he's into her. She wants to explore her sexuality, and she's a wee bit on the submissive side, so she signs up for the school where Quinn used to work. Madame X is an old buddy of his and she calls him up so that he can come back to the school as Master Q, an instructor, and Sara's "handler" (think, guidance counselor / study buddy / etc.).  He's masked so she has no idea who he is... and after two days at the school she's lusting after Master Q as hard as she was lusting after Quinn (btw, a couple things happen that make her think he's NOT Quinn, she's not stupid so she did suspect at first).  Unfortunately, on that second day she ends up admitting to Master Q that she's in love with her boss, he whips off his mask and the story ends without the kind of climatic sex scene I was craving after reading all the hot scenes that came before it. I wanted more more more... and there wasn't any.

Boom. Venus School of Sex. Yeah I ripped off the idea a little bit, but that's what happens.  Good ideas get told over and over again in different ways and I don't really think there's anything wrong with that. Also, my school is different, the classes are different (and Jessica actually goes to them) and I've got a love triangle going on.  The actual chapters that I write are completely original, just not the starting idea. So that makes me feel a little better.

But can I take credit for the full idea? No, not really.

However, there are times when stories just kind of happen - the Submission series that I'm currently writing for instance.  I'm not entirely sure how that one got started.  Possibly the whole "war one women" stuff that's all over the news and the constant political fight for sexual control. As far as I know, I didn't pick up the story line from another story.  I also try to fulfill reader suggestions and requests, although sometimes the amount of them just becomes so many that I can't keep up and write the things that I want to write as well.

The absolute best part about writing is when the characters take over and start to write themselves and I find them doing things that I hadn't planned. It's a heck of a lot more fun for me that way.  Originally I wasn't looking forward to writing Jessica's weekend at the Venus School because I thought it would be boring and I was going to just skip it and head immediately into her next week of classes.  Then, yesterday, I thought 'why not give it a shot?'  I thought I'd write her weekend, throw in a little sex with someone (maybe Nick... was trying to figure out if I could convincingly write some flirtatious interactions with Mr. Flood and Mr. Fire) and I thought I could cover the entire weekend with one chapter.

And then the characters got away from me - Jessica being outside of a classroom setting completely changed the dynamic that I was writing and I found myself getting really into it.  Not has Nick not entered the picture yet, but I wrote an entire chapter about her Saturday morning... if I tried to pack in the entire weekend's activities it would practically a novella. Plus, I ended up writing some stuff that... well let's just say I've never written anything like it and I'm really curious to see how people react. I thought it was hot when I was writing it, but then there's always the writer's anxiety over "Will the people reading the story think it's hot? Will this turn them off?"

The hardest part of writing is waiting for my story to be approved so that I can get some feedback.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

First Post... Woo!

So I've been writing on Literotica.com for about 7 years now, with several breaks here and there, and I've recently started writing on a more consistent basis again, and also self-publishing some of my stuff for Kindle, and my husband asks me: Why don't you start a blog?

It seems incredibly self-indulgent to have a blog about myself and my writing, but at the same time I know I like reading personal tidbits about other authors on the site so who knows. Maybe people will enjoy reading this.  Or maybe I'll just be writing for myself and no one will read it and that's fine too.

Let's see... a personal tidbit about me. I only write about stories that interest me in some way.  Although I will often try to fulfill reader requests, I can't write about something that doesn't also turn me on. At least, I can't write anything good about something that doesn't turn me on.  I have quite a few stories up on the site in categories that I never thought I'd be comfortable writing in... the secret to success? I imagine all my characters as cartoons, kinda like Hentai.  That way even if they're doing something that isn't my cup of tea I don't care. If I picture real people doing it then it's hard to remember that it's fictional; cartoons are easy to keep a fantasy. 

This means that I have a lot of similar themes to my stories, although I've also noticed that my themes have changed over the years. The very first story I wrote was "Office Play."  I was combing the site, frustrated because I wanted something very specific: a story about a woman's descent into depravity, pain and lust because she's being dominated by a charismatic and domineering sex man-hunk, and if he hurts her a little (or a lot) on the way then even better.  When I got frustrated trying to find exactly what I was looking for I decided to try writing it myself, and was thrilled that people actually seemed to like what I was writing.  Now I look back at that story, knowing more about the BDSM community, and I think "Wow... Michael is a really sadistic and kind of terrible Dom and there is no way Diane's body would have actually been able to handle this abuse..." But hey, it's a fantasy and that makes it okay in some ways and it was also my first attempt.

I love Literotica because

1. It's free

2. It has great readers who are very sharing with their feedback, constructive criticisms (and some anonymous commenters who are a little too free with unconstructive criticism), and ideas.

3. I receive the most interesting fan mail from it

So... I guess this is enough for a first blog post? Next time I'll talk about where some of my story lines have come from...