Posts Tagged ‘erotica’

I’ve mentioned on this blog more than a few times that I make sure to write down my ideas on Word documents. This way I don’t forget them. I have a few separate lists to store these ideas, depending on the kind of idea it is. One list is just for ideas that will likely be short stories or novelettes (assuming they don’t end up evolving into something longer). And today, I had three new ideas for stories, which I made sure to put on that list. This brings that list up to a thousand ideas.

You read that right. A thousand ideas. Some good, some bad. Some are very short, and others will end up longer than most novelettes. Some are horror or dark fantasy, others are science fiction or regular fantasy, or some other form of speculative fiction. A few are erotica, because as I said in that video yesterday, I think there’s an art to writing a story where the story is told through sex. It’s something I might want to try someday.

I’m not stating this to brag. I’m just stating a fact. And you know what? I’ll never write most of them. There’s just never enough time.

It’s the sad truth of writing. We creatives have many ideas over the course of our lives. But rarely, especially in the world of writing fiction, do we get to tell all of them. Hell, I doubt even big names authors like King get to work on all the ideas he has. But it’s especially hard for those of us smaller names. We work day jobs, pay bills, run errands, eat, socialize, try to stay healthy, and try to sleep enough to function the next day. And in-between all that, we carve out time to write.

I said a lot of this when I had my five-hundredth idea, almost exactly five years ago today (what a coincidence). In fact, I’ll say again what I said in that post (which you can click here to read): Time’s a quick bastard. And it’s all we can do to keep it with us so we can get the best of your work down on paper. And maybe then edited and perhaps even published.

There’s enough time in the day for this.

And how can you tell from the trove of your ideas which ones are worth spending time on? Hard to say. Usually I can tell from the idea phase, but occasionally I write a first draft and I realize this story is crap, why did I ever try to write it? I guess the best thing to do is just to go with your gut. If you’re really passionate about a story, it’ll show in the writing and in the story, and you’ll be able to work on it over and over again, until you’re able to share it with others (hopefully, anyway).

Well, I’m going to get back to an idea I think might be worth working on. I just wanted to talk about some of the things that went through my mind as I started nearing a thousand ideas. And I wanted to talk about something other than Rose for once.

Speaking of which, tomorrow is the last day to buy the ebook version of Rose at a discount price (I couldn’t help myself). So if you want to check out the Kafkaesque fantasy-horror story of a young woman turning into a plant creature (and that’s just the start of her problems), now’s a good time to do so. I’ll include the links below, including for the paperback and audio book. And if you end up checking out the book, leave a review and let me know what you thought of it. Helps me out in the long run, and it’s nice to hear what you think.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear, pleasant nightmares!

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible

After a year, a week, and two days, with twenty-six minutes before midnight, I am finally finished with the first draft of my fourth novel Laura Horn. I wish I hadn’t had to take so many breaks to focus on schoolwork (not to mention writing was nearly impossible during my study abroad trip), but I’m glad I was able to get it done. And even though it’s a first draft and obviously will need a lot of editing when the time comes for that so it can look something resembling publishable quality, I’m quite happy with the result.

For those of you who are not very familiar with LH, it follows the story of a girl with a very traumatic past who, through an odd series of accidents, stumbles upon a conspiracy that could destroy the United States of America. With a few good friends to help her, she sets out to save her nation from the threat that looms over it, and confronts her demons as well.

So it’s kind of like White House Down or Olympus Has Fallen, only it’s got less explosions and a little more character development. Actually, a lot more character development. Our titular character goes through a lot of changes throughout the book, and it’s astounding even to me, the guy who created her, how much she changes in the course of the story.

It’s also a lot more thriller than I tend to write, but my next big project will be some pure psychological/supernatural horror, so it all pans out in the end.

Anyway, I’m happy to announce that I’m finally done with LH, and that in a few months (schedule permitting) I can start editing the book and getting it ready for eventual publication. I’ll be setting up a page for the book on this blog with the notice “Coming Soon”. With any luck, I can have this book out sooner rather than later, and maybe work on a sequel or two (I have a couple planned out, I just need to commit to them).

So now for the page and word counts. I wasn’t actually too far off. I did say the three chapters that would make up the epilogue would be around five-thousand words and it turned out to be more like nine-thousand, but hey, it could’ve ended up much longer. Anyway, the Epilogue in total was 32 pages and the word count ended up as just under eighty-nine hundred. That brings the total page count to 356 pages and 94,774 words. About average for a Rami Ungar novel. Of course, these counts might change drastically by the second draft, but this is a good placeholder until then.

In the meantime, let me tell you guys what projects I plan to take up next (though they may or may not be in this order):

  • Work on the outline for the novel that’ll be my senior thesis (more on that at another time)
  • Edit Video Rage
  • Write several articles on writing for Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors
  • Write a few blog posts I’ve been putting off so I could finish LH.
  • Write several short stories, and hope I can get a few of them published in magazines
  • Start assembling a new collection of short stories
  • Experiment with writing erotic fiction (yes, I plan on doing that. I meant to do it earlier this summer, but things got in the way).
  • Try and get through the many books I still have to read for pleasure.
  • And just have a good time as usual.

Not too hard to do, right? At least, I hope so.

Anyway, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. It’s late, so I’m going to read a little and then sleep. It’s my day off tomorrow, so I’m going to find plenty of time to celebrate before I get back to writing (it’s a work hazard, I just can’t stay away from it). Anyway, that’s all for now. Have pleasant nightmares tonight. I know I will be!

Normally I don’t wade into censorship debates, but this story caught my eye and I thought it would make for interesting discussion. Now, a lot of authors, especially self-published authors, have noticed that in the past couple of years there’s been an explosion in demand for erotica titles, and many self-published authors are making a lot of money by writing these works, which sometimes involve violent encounters between the characters. And lately there’s been a rising trend in what is known as cryptozoological erotica, which is sexual encounters between humans and legendary beasts such as Bigfoot and others (I know, right?). The example used in the story I’ve linked to is Virginia Wade’s Bigfoot series, which has been downloaded and read by enough people to make me wonder whether I should at least dabble in the erotica genre.

However, authors of these and other erotic works have been finding their works taken off the digital bookshelves by Amazon and other sites as of late:

In October, the online news site The Kernel published an incendiary story called “An Epidemic of Filth,” claiming that online bookstores like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, WHSmith, and others were selling self-published ebooks that featured “rape fantasies, incest porn and graphic descriptions of bestiality and child abuse.” The story ignited a media firestorm in the U.K, with major news outlets like the Daily Mail, The Guardian, and the BBC reporting on the “sales of sick ebooks.” Some U.K.-based ebook retailers responded with public apologies, and WHSmith went so far as to shut down its website altogether, releasing a statement saying that it would reopen “once all self-published eBooks have been removed and we are totally sure that there are no offending titles available.” The response in the U.S. was somewhat more muted, but most of the retailers mentioned in the piece, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble, began quietly pulling hundreds of titles from their online shelves — an event Kobo coo Michael Tamblyn referred to last month as “erotica-gate.” 

The crackdown was meant to target the obvious offenders — ebooks like “Daddy’s Birthday Gang Bang” and others that fetishized incest and rape — but in their fervor to course-correct, the online bookstores started deleting, according to The Digital Reader blog, “not just the questionable erotica but [also]…. any e-books that might even hint at violating cultural norms.” That included crypto-porn. Wade’s sexy Sasquatch, not unlike the elusive hominid beast of legend, vanished without a trace.

Now, there’s been a lot of talk about censorship such as this over the past couple of months. Authors of a lot of works that have been taken down have accused Amazon of not taking a good look at their works and using very vague criteria such as the titles of the books to judge whether or not they are offensive. Amazon’s wording of its policy as to what constitutes “offensive” doesn’t seem to help its case: “What we deem offensive is probably what you would expect.” Giving that people generally have different expectations on what is considered offensive, there’s been a lot of cries that Amazon is only answering to the expectations of a certain segment of its customers. And by having to modify titles or edit their work to be acceptable to these vague standards, they are losing customers and revenue. As one author complained:

Author Emerald Ice (a pen name) — who lives in southern Illinois with her husband, a Catholic high school teacher — is less concerned about offending Amazon browsers than being overlooked by potential paying customers. The first three books in her Alien Sex Slave Series — “Alien Love Slave,” “The Sex Arena,” and “Alien Sex Cove”— were runaway hits, she says. At least until Amazon pulled them from distribution and requested changes, once again citing content guidelines. That’s how “Alien Sex Slave” became “Sidney’s Alien Escapades.” “I hate it,” she admits of the new title. “I came up with it because I was in a panic about the books disappearing.” Her sales have since plummeted, and she isn’t surprised. “If I was a reader searching for hot alien sex books, I wouldn’t look twice at something called ‘Sidney’s Alien Escapades.'”

On the other hand, Amazon and other bookstores like it are private businesses. They can decide what items to have on their shelves and what items they want nothing to do with, especially if a large enough percent of their customers threaten to boycott the site if they hold items deemed “offensive” by whatever criteria these people use. So if Amazon deems a work or works unacceptable and uses no other reason than it threatens their own revenues, then that’s their choice, and there’s not much an author can do to fight back (unless you start a humungous letter writing campaign with a lot of your close author friends and a ton of fans, but that might be difficult to pull off).

Now, my own views on censorship is if a creative work isn’t blatantly encouraging hatred, violence, or other despicable deeds or beliefs, then it should at least be considered as a work allowed to be sold, distributed and enjoyed like any other work. And as much as I don’t like to speak badly about Amazon (mostly because it’s where most of my sales and reviews come from),  I have to admit that they should take a deeper look at their work in order to decide what is offensive and maybe revise their content policy to something that’s not so vague. At the same time, I should advise authors to be careful that the work they write might not be accidentally encouraging rape, incest, or other objectionable acts or could be misconstrued as encouraging those acts. I’m not trying to stifle your creative work, but it might avoid some grief later on if you make sure that someone can’t point to a particular passage of your work and show that it is terribly objectionable.

If you have anything to add to the discussion, please let me know. What do you think constitutes as an “objectionable work”? And do you think what Amazon and other booksellers is doing is justified, or are they overstepping their bounds or being unfair in their attempts to filter out unacceptable works?

Also, that comment I made about dabbling in erotica, in case any of you were wondering: I don’t know how I’d feel about writing an erotica story. If I did though, I’d be honest about it if I decided to publish it, even if I published it under a pen name. Anne Rice did that, and if she can do it, why can’t I? Besides the fact that she’s a huge force in the world of writing and I’m still trying to claw my way up, I mean.