Saturday, April 30, 2011

Seduce Your Reader--And Yourself

The next installment in my writer's feast is up: Seduce Your Reader--And Yourself: Erotic Sex, Sexier Erotica, and Very Versatile Salads.  I consider timeless questions such as "What's the difference between erotica and pornography?" (there is indeed a difference and I will go to the arm wrestling mat to defend my opinion); "How much sex does an erotic story need?" (as much as possible, silly, but be sly about it); and "How can I make a tasty salad from this week's CSA veggie box?" (it depends on the season, but follow your instincts or my directions, whichever appeals at the moment).  It was fun to write and I hope fun to read.  Bon Appetit!


Craig Sorensen said...

Nice article. So many truths I can relate to, but this one says it all: erotica, if you take out the sex scenes, you still have an interesting story left over. Perhaps a very short interesting story, but one that would intrigue a reader nonetheless.

Too true!

I guess my answer to the question, "how much sex does an erotic story need?" would be:

"As much as it takes."

If that makes any sense...

Donna said...

Thanks, Craig. "As much as it takes"--I like that, although, as I argue later, I like to read and write stories where a simmering sensuality pervades the whole experience, so in that case, as much as it takes is also as much as possible!

Emerald said...

Beautifully eloquent column, Donna!

I loved, first of all, that while distinguishing in your perception between pornography and erotica, I perceived no judgment about either—one of the reasons I have tended to not perceive any difference between the two is because I have experienced "pornography" as frequently used as pejorative, so that distinguishing between it and erotica has seemed to me to reinforce that status of the word and perception of "pornography." I can appreciate offerings of perceived distinctions between the two with no such judgment of either; just discernment via one's individual perspective. I also appreciate the nod I interpreted from you to subjective perception and experience as such!

And I loved the list of sample first sentences—how not only helpfully demonstrative but quite delightful! ;)

Btw, Craig, I love your answer. :)

Thank you for sharing, Donna!

Erobintica said...

Donna, what a wonderful article! (yes, just getting around to reading it now)

I'm with Emerald in appreciating the lack of judgment in your definitions - too many folks think erotica=okay while pornography=bad, and I just don't agree with that. I found I liked your definitions and they made sense. I also like how you brought literary fiction into the mix.

I've been trying to figure out my own relationship to my writing when it comes to the "sex stuff" and so I found this piece very timely. Thanks!

Donna said...

Thank you so much Emerald and Robin. Your opinions mean a lot to me! Having been on the receiving end of the disdain for sexually explicit writing, I am very aware of the power of the "pornography" word to degrade, and also suspect many who use "erotica" are doing so as a euphemism for dirty stories without appreciating the continuum of approaches to sexuality in fiction--as I see it. Trying to step out of the judgment game is an important first step. And Robin, I am ALWAYS figuring out where sex fits in my writing, confusing, but fun and instructive, isn't it? Glad to know such wonderful writers who share my mission!

Anonymous said...

Hi Donna,

I'd love to read the article, but the link seems to be broken. I tried ERWA archives for 2011 and didn't see it there, either. Help?

Donna said...

I've corrected the link to the article now--it was moved to the archives! Thanks for your interest :-).