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Come on and join author Melissa Bradley as she sets off on her latest adventure...

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If you are not 18, please exit stage left. While there is normally nothing naughty here, I do write and review erotica so there are links to spicy stuff and the occasional heated excerpt.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

IWSG Rant Style

I had another ISWG post all planned out, but I am mad as hell right now and need to rant.

I am an erotica writer, I am not a porn writer. I don't get all turned on writing my stuff, thinking about sex all the time. I do not create my stories with the hopes of getting someone off, I create my stories for entertainment and the exploration of the human condition. The same as any one else out there. And yes, they are complete stories, not a string of sex scenes. There's plot, character development and all the other things found in any other novel or short story. They just happen to continue through the bedroom door.

I cannot believe the utter disrespect my genre receives. When people find out I write erotica, I get asked the most offensive questions and I get comments like "Say, how do you do your research?" Wink, wink, insert double entendre. Or worst of all, "erotica is written by women who can't get any of their own."

I see commentary from fellow writers along the lines of, "oh I would never write erotica, you just can't be original." and "I could never write that stuff with a straight face." I have never done that, not ever. I have never trashed someone else's genre or poked fun at the people who do write in a particular genre, but I see that a lot as I visit other blogs. I read these narrow-minded statements and think, wow, I thought we were supposed to support one another as authors. Guess that only happens if you write in an acceptable genre like YA, or sci fi or mystery.

Now, I do have a sense of humor. I can and do laugh at the stuff I write because sex is funny. However, when I constantly see comments and posts like this, it makes me feel like I'm somehow offending everyone. It also makes me sad and angry.  I know people are uncomfortable with sex and that's fine. I'm not asking you to read my stories, just don't scoff and tear down my genre and my work. I don't do that to yours.

48 comments:

  1. I know I couldn't write it - it was difficult enough adding one kiss to my second book. (I got brave and wrote two in the next.) But like a passionate love scene in the movies, if you can write it believably and beautifully, then that is to be admired.

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    1. Thank you, Alex. I appreciate hearing that. I'm sorry I ranted on big time, but the anger and sadness seethed to the point where I had to just explode. I'm very passionate about what I write and to see it denigrated as if its just cheap adult entertainment is beyond maddening. Especially because it comes from other creatives who should know better.

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  2. I admit I haven't read erotica. (Well, I did read 50 Shades of Grey, but everyone read that) however I'm not surprised to see that it follows the same rules as all other fiction. It might be a case of people turning away from things they don't understand.
    There does seem to be an inordinate number of YA Writers out there doesn't there? Maybe someday those YA readers will become erotica readers. ;) Just sayin'!

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    1. Hi Kirsten. Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. Erotica does follow all the same parameters as any other well crafted writing. And there is bad, good and great like with all other genres. I was very happy about the phenomena of 50 Shades as it brought ore attention to my genre. I hope there are more authors who will explore erotica in the future.

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  3. You're a fantastic writer of erotica, which is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult genres to write well in. I think there's at least a little latent jealousy in those who denigrate it - because they aren't comfortable enough with their own sexuality to be able to write about sexuality in their characters. You go right on being fabulous at what you do - and anyone who doesn't get it - can suck it.

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    1. You get a million cool points to already add to your infinite total, my friend. Thank you! That was just the kind of boost I needed to hear after some of the horrible comments I've been reading the last couple of days as I've gone about the blogosphere.

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  4. Yeah - what Craig said! I've felt this derogatory vibe too. There's just something in the way they say "I would never write that." that screams of them looking down their long noses at those of us who choose not to fade to black. I'm glad you're not letting that attitude affect what you write. Write on, Melissa!

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    1. Thank you Nicki! Oh do I know that tone. Like because I write sex they are somehow superior to me, that my writing is not as lofty as their own. I even had a colleague from a writer's group I belong to tell me that writing should elevate, not degrade. That erotica was little more than mommy porn. I wanted to scream at her.

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  5. I think writing sex is one of the hardest things a writer can do. I love reading erotica both gay and straight. I'm with you sista! I write gay erotica and post it online for free, but I know I get looked down upon by other writers for doing so when they hear me talk about it. But whatev...I get fan mail so there.

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    1. High fives, Michael! It is very difficult to write an erotic scene and other writers should respect that. I'm very excited to hear that you have fan mail. It's the readers who keep us going.

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  6. In my opinion, writing is writing...and should be respected as such. Regardless of your topic, it's still work...and hard work, no doubt.

    Don't be dragged down by those who scoff, just remember that real writers respect the craft and not the subject matter.

    Hang in there! :)

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    1. Thank you, Mark. I appreciate the support. It is darned difficult to write great intimate, sexy scenes that do not stray over the top. You're right, we are all writers and we should encourage all of our creative endeavors.

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  7. I'd rather not leave a comment than leave a negative one.

    And I still remember your post of Sex in Outer Space on my blog. That was great and well researched.

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    1. Thank you, Stephen! My piece on Sex in Outer Space was one of my favorites and I still refer people to it. I loved that you had me on your blog, letting me showcase my genre in a way that was universal.

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  8. I really don't understand why people would look down on other writers. I've always thought every writer should support other writers, regardless of genre. Keep doing what you are doing Melissa and don't let these people bring you down needlessly.

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    1. Thank you, Daniel. Indeed writers should support other writers. We are all creative spirits and our job is to entertain and elevate the mind and heart.

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  9. I'm with everyone else. My sex scenes take forever to write. They're so hard to get just right and well done erotica is amazing stuff that illuminates so much of the human condition.

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    1. Thank you, Johanna! Sex is a huge part of being human and it seems that these narrow-minded people have forgotten that. I appreciate the thoughtful comments very much. :)

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  10. Holy sweet venom that's a rant! Way to defend yourself, Melissa :)

    Belittling a genre or begrudging another writer for their preferred expertise is juvenile. Heck, I wouldn't expect such vapid behavior on a high school newspaper staff.

    You have every right to dismiss these literary charlatans because there is no monopoly on the creative spirit. The written word is free currency.

    Be proud. Persevere. I'll leave you with this terrific line from Hamlet: "Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works."

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    1. Thanks, Matt! That Hamlet quote made my night. It is juvenile to belittle an entire genre. I mean if one doesn't like it, that's fine, but don't go out of your way to decry the work of the writers. We work very hard honing our craft and creating our tales. Writing intimacy and sex is extremely difficult, but it is a huge part of who we are. A theme worthy of exploration to be sure.

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  11. I admit I am probably one of those narrow minded people. I don't like romance books, and that is my opinion. I think I hide my discomfort with harsh criticism. I find it difficult to write what I call "the squishy" scenes in my books. But I do understand getting bashed for your genre. Maybe not as hard as you getting bashed for your genre. So, I can't speak for everyone, but I apologize for my narrow-mindedness. I respect all authors and that includes romance and erotica.

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    1. Thank you so very much, Mel for coming on here and responding so honestly and thoughtfully. I appreciate that very much. Sex is quite difficult thing to write about and it does make a lot of writers very uncomfortable. Your heartfelt apology is most welcome and I look forward to more discussion with you.

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  12. You have every right to be pissed off. We are all writers and regardless of the genre we write, each of us knows the difference between porn and erotica (or at least a writer should know). I can understand your mixed feelings of sadness and anger. I am angry, as well, that fellow writers actually post such insensitive remarks. Writing sex scenes (I mean actually writing good scenes-not just porn) is tricky work and it takes a talented writer to pull it off. I'm with you on being offended by the narrow minded people who don't even recognize the difference, yet feel comfortable of obliged to leave comments that are disrespectful & just plain wrong!

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    1. I appreciate you support a lot, Melissa. We are all writers and genre should not matter. I've unfortunately seen a lot of thoughtless remarks about erotica writing and I've kept it bottled up with a smile. No more. We are all writers and deserve each other's support.

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  13. I've written erotica so many times I could make an anthology if I were interested in publishing it (which I'm not) but still I don't see anything wrong about it. Then again I'm a dragon. I don't have many taboos people often have.

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    1. The dragon writes erotica? How intriguing and wonderful. I hope you do decide on an anthology, it would be fantastic. Dragons are very special people indeed.

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  14. I agree that we should support, not tear down other writer's. I would be mad if I was in your shoes too. Simply Sarah

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. Support from fellow writers is very important. We should always be there for one another.

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  15. It's like you said, if someone doesn't feel comfortable reading erotica, then don't. It's sad that others would judge an entire genre like that. I write MG and YA, and I know a lot of children's writers. We sometimes hear things like, "when are you going to write a real book." That leaves most (if not all) of us children's writers biting our tongues thinking, really? Some people just need to keep their comments to their self.

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    1. See, I cannot believe that attitude. You write real books. Kids read and I find MG and YA very entertaining. I'm with you, if you don't like it, just keep quiet. You are entitled to your opinion, but please don't be rude and rain it all over me.

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  16. I admit that I'm not comfortable reading erotica, or sex scenes at all, but at least I know enough to respect the work of other authors.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, Gina! Respect is all we ask.

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  17. Funk that noise. People are tools. There's a culture of making oneself look superior by cutting other things down, and mob mentality/sheep-like following insures that other folks join in - well, screw them all sideways.
    Some Dark Romantic

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    1. High fives, my sista! I know what you mean about those who look down just to feel superior. It drives me batty. We are all creative spirits so we should support one another.

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  18. Wow, this is the same IWSG topic another awesome, sassy blogger wrote! She's new. In fact I was thinking I should introduce you to each other - you'll get along great. I'll be back with her addy.

    PS I love you and hate those who mock your genre. They are completely clueless. The reason I don't write erotica is that it would be too hard (sorry, no pun intended) for me.

    xoRobyn

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    1. Thank you so much, Robyn! I really love Mencara, you gave me a great new site to visit. ANd thank you for the supportive comments. I love you too and fon't mind the pun in the least. :)

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  19. Melly, check this link out on the same topic. I KNOW you'll get along and she's new in blogland. I wish the three of us could go for drinks. It'd be such a blast. xo

    http://mencaramitchell.blogspot.com/2013/05/iwsg-genre-shame.html#comment-form

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  20. That is sad Melissa. I can see why you have 36 comments on this. You're right that it's not fair to scoff and tear down a genre. Science fiction had to put up with that for years.

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    1. Maurice, isn't it just icredible? I mean we are all writers, who cares what kind of stories we tell. Thanks for always being supportive.

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  21. Sex is a part of life. It's in all the magazines. They teach sex ed in school. High school students do it much more than we want them to, and old married couples - well, if they're smart they haven't dropped the ball in this department.

    As long as there are people, there will be people judging others. Meet them. Learn who they are and what they are about, and move on. You'll know all you need to know, so there's no need to get your blood pressure up over them. Sorry you had to experience this. Glad you released the anger from it.

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  22. Rant is totally understood. I READ you book and LOVED it! And everything you say about your writing is TRUE! Writing is WRITING, no matter what subject or genre. I have a HOT sex scene in my edgy y/a and I was looked down on because of it. PLEASE... Like teens DON'T have sex? Right....

    Anyway, Mel, don't sweat it ..... We love you!

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  23. yep, I will never understand how erotica, sweet porn :) and sex can be something shameful and gory horrors, bloodthirsty crime and action novels and films, and offensively stupid and superficial YA books aren't shameful??? I blame it all on the church LOL

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  24. A well-written work of erotica is an artform as much as a well-written story in any other genre. A lot of people, even amateur erotica writers like I've read one some sites, don't seem to understand that it needs an actual storyline, not just a rush to the X-rated parts. I love finding a well-written erotic book or story that's more than just getting it on without character or story development. One of my pet peeves about amateur erotica is the insistence on including personal measurements, and almost always making them much bigger than average. Is it really germane to the story to know that a male member is 15 inches long or that the woman has a 40 DDD cup?

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  25. I read one of your novels and it was a well constructed story...with lots of steamy stuff too!

    I know I can't write erotica for the market. Seriously, I don't have the imagination for it. I do write sex scenes in my novels, but they aren't as explicit as erotica would demand. And they are difficult, difficult scenes for me to get right. It is much easier for me to write a battle scene, believe me. :)

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  26. Dude, yes. I write romance and get roughly the same attitude. It's hard out there for those of us who enjoy learning and reading about things that people feel are taboo. I have no good advice, I just whined about this very thing in my IWSG post. But have you ever read the book, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach? She talks about how sex researchers have the same problem. They have a horrible time getting funding for their work and how people assume their interest in human sexuality is prurient. It's a good read.

    Good luck to you. Erotica is a wonderful and incredibly difficult genre to write in (writing a great sex scene is difficult all by itself, let alone the rest of the story).

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  27. Melissa,
    I used to feel this way about writing romance. In the Caribbean, people seem to think you're a writer only if you write literary fiction or stuff that can be used in schools. While I may never write in some genres, I don't believe it is reason to disparage those who do.

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  28. I hate judgmental people. You're very talented - I loved the books of yours I read - and glad there are more out there for me to enjoy. I liken this to women who birth their children naturally, use cloth diapers, and grind their own baby food. They have criticized me for having an epidural, using disposable diapers, and buying Gerber baby food. OMG! We each get to choose how we raise our children, and our books are our children. You know, the babykilling and stuff ;-) Write what you are good at, and screw the critics (pun intended).
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

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  29. YES! Great post! THIS. So much this. I think erotic gets a bad rap (in this day and age) because there are so many "erotic writers" who don't know how to do it. Fifty Shades of what? There ARE self-indulgent writers in the genre, but there are self-indulgent writers in any genre (YA, I'm looking at you).

    Erotica is a writing style like any other and deserves mad respect, especially when done right. Anais Nin, anyone? She's an erotic writer, but that doesn't limit her to "porn." Case in point, I read a short story of hers about a woman giving birth to a dead child. Hard stuff, right? The point is, the story was really visceral and I physically hurt after reading it because the woman knows how to write vivid descriptions that pull the reader into the story...all thanks to writing erotica.

    Not gonna lie, I've considered dabbling in the genre myself, just because I think you really find out who characters are when they're stripped of inhibition. If you don't know what your character likes in the bedroom, you're missing out on a pretty nifty chance at character development. Plus, all my female characters somehow turn into dominant women with full control of their sexuality. I blame Gina Carano.

    I might have to write a post about this myself because I clearly have a lot of feels, but all this is to say: don't let the haters get you down. You're in a genre that's been touched by greats like Catullus (the Roman poet) and Bram Stoker (if Dracula isn't erotic horror, I don't know what is), and Nabokov (is Lolita not visceral?). So they can suck it.

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