I’ve been getting back into writing lately. Slowly. After over a year of short stories, it’s time. The last thing of any length I wrote was Out of the Blue, which saw it’s first draft sent to my editor in September 2010. Yikes. It may be true that there’s no such thing as writer’s block, it is true that real life can happen and fuck your writing mojo up.
I picked up a daytimer yesterday that is now filled with sticky notes to remind myself of what needs to be done and when. First up was a short story I wanted to submit to a call I had seen online. I grabbed my tablet and went to my cave, and I started to write.
I got about 500
pages words (edited: durrr) in when I realized I wasn’t feeling this at all. It’s not that what I wrote was bad, but it was too real. Too close to home. Too like something I would actually do. Not just the sex, but the scenario.
I didn’t want to write it.
Then today, I spotted a tweet by Rachel Kramer Bussel:
As editor/author/kinky person I’m esp interested in motivation. I think about trust & risk & desire in my life & try to translate onto page.
— Rachel Kramer Bussel (@raquelita) April 17, 2012
It hit me how separate I wanted to keep my own life away from my writing. Further to that, I have no inclination whatsoever to put my own sex life on the page.
With a few exceptions I’m a pretty vanilla writer. I’m cool with that. I need to entertain myself before I entertain anyone else, and if I’m cringing through a story I fully expect anyone to read it to do the same. When I try to inject too much of myself and my experiences into a story, I get cramps and it’ll show in shitty writing.
I write about hot sex, but not necessarily the hot sex I’m having. Not to say I haven’t done it or that I’ll never do it again, but overall my sex life is hands off. Sometimes it’s more tame than what I write, and sometimes it swings in the other direction. Sometimes I’ll think of something that would be fantastic in a story, but if my significant other suggested it I’d be like, “Are you crazy? What the hell, man?” And there are other things that would have me all over my partner over that I wouldn’t dream of putting in a story.
Dialogue & dirty talk is right up there. I had a partner say something to me in that vein once that turned me into a raging nympho, but write it down and it just looks ridiculous. Not saying that this is based on a real-life experience, but take a look at the dialogue in One + One = Three and Jane’s reaction to it. That’s how most people talk when they have sex. How unsexy is it in black and white?
And maybe that’s why it gives me cramps — at this point I’m not only putting my writing out there, but my sex life. I can’t even imagine reading a scathing review in which a sex scene was torn apart when it was ripped right from my own experience. It’s one thing to judge my writing and a myriad of other things I make public, but when it comes to my private life it’s private for a reason. I don’t want to read about how gross someone thinks my sex life is, or how boring it is to another person.
Besides, that sucks the fun out of writing. I’m doing it because I like to make stuff up. It’s more fun that way. If that makes me a prude, fuck it.
RKB clarified her tweet on Tumblr as it pertains to writing BDSM (lack of context remains one of Twitter’s shortcomings). I love this part:
There is always some of me in my fiction but most of the time it’s a distorted, twisted view. I steal a line someone said and feed it to another character. I give the “me” character someone else’s fantasy. Or I take the real and amp it way up. I go in the story where I want (or wanted) to go in real life.
This pretty much eloquently sums up my experience with writing erotica, or pretty much anything fictional.