May 272010

A pal of mine asked an interesting question once: what’s my definition of erotica, or of pornography? Other folks have been asked these questions, of course, and the answers have been as varied as those asked, but even as I zapped off my own response I started to really think about how people define what they write, and more importantly, why.

It’s easy to agree with folks who say there’s a difference between erotica and pornography. One of the most frequent definitions is that erotica is sexually explicit literature that talks about something else aside from sex, while porno is sex, sex and more sex and nothing else. The problem with trying to define erotica is that it’s purely subjective – even using the erotica-is-more-than-just-sex and porn-is-just-sex-analysis. Where’s the line and when do you cross it? One person’s literate erotica is another’s pure filth. Others like to use a proportional scale a certain percent of sex content– bing! – something becomes porn. Once again: Who sets the scale?

What I find interesting isn’t necessarily what the definition between erotica and pornography should be but why there should be one to begin with. Some writers I’ve encountered seem to be looking for a clear-cut definition just so they won’t be grouped together with the likes of Hustler and Spank Me, Daddy. While I agree that there’s a big difference between what’s being published in some of the more interesting anthologies, magazines and Web sites Hustler and Spank Me, Daddy, I also think that a lot of this searching for a definition is more about ego and less about literary analysis. Rather than risk being put on the shelves next to Hustler and Spank Me Daddy, some writers try to draw up lists and rules that naturally favor what they write compared to what other people write: “I write erotica, but that other stuff is just pornography. Therefore what I write is better.”

This thought process has always baffled me. First of all, it’s completely subjective. Who died and made you arbiter of what’s erotica and what’s pornography? It sounds like those drawing the line have something to prove to themselves, or hide from okay to hate pornography because what I write is erotica. More importantly, this little fit of insecurity opens the door for other people to start using your own definitions against you. Even a casual glance at the politics of groups out to ‘save’ us all from the evils of pornography shows that they will use any device, any subjective rule (otherwise known as ‘community standards’), any nasty tactic to arrest, impound, burn, or otherwise erase what they consider to be dirty words. You might consider yourself an erotica writer, and be able to show certain people that you are – or, more importantly, convince yourself that you are – but to someone else you’re nothing but a pornographer, just like the stories and writers from whom you’re trying to distance yourself.

So I don’t I’ll tell you that personally, I use all the terms pretty much interchangeably: Porn, erotica, smut, literotica, and so forth. You name it, I use it. Depends on who’s asking. If I’m writing to an editor or publisher, I use erotica. If I’m talking to another author, I playfully call myself a smut writer. If a Jesus Freak gets me out of bed with a knock on the door, I’m a damned pornographer. In my heart, though, I just call myself a writer because even though I write stories of butt-fucking bikers, lascivious cheerleaders, horny space aliens, and leathermen, I’m more turned on by trying to write an interesting story than what the story may particularly be about. Half the time I’m not even aware that what I’m writing is a sex story because I’m having way too much fun with alliteration, character, description, and plot! The fact that what I’m writing may appear in an anthology or book with erotic in the title has nothing to do with how I approach my writing: a story is a story no matter the amount or manner of the eroticism I may include. A good example of my commitment to writing, pure and simple, is that I use my M. Christian name no matter what I’m working on: science fiction, mystery, literary fiction, non-fiction, or even something with erotic in the title.

If there’s a point to all this, it’s that you’re in charge of your own definitions, but try and pay attention to why you define, or why you feel you should. Erotica, pornography, smut, dirty words – be proud of what you write but never ever forget that genres, labels, brands, and all the rest are meaningless. If you’re a writer, you write. And you get to call the fruits of your labor whatever you want because you created it.

May 202010

Although my partner in crime Ralph and I kiss each other’s asses during our conversations or when we actually see one another in person once a year or so, it is only to entertain ourselves an the others around us. In fact for many years I argued with Ralph over certain items when it came to online marketing and adult writing. As we have mentioned a few times, Ralph and I are actually about 15 years in age difference so there are some “new media” items which my partner will never listen to me about, and that’s ok. We agree to disagree and still manage to be honest with each other.

In the past two months I have been receiving phone calls and emails from adult websites who have gotten burned by other adult seo companies. Now I don’t know if the inquiries we are receiving for adult seo are because the adult businesses do not understand the time it takes to organically rank for their keywords and had higher and quicker expectations OR if the adult seo provider wasn’t straight up honest with the adult business.

I am finding that many in the adult industry do not want to give away their secrets. I just laugh! Why? Because all the self-proclaimed “secrets” are all over the Web! Yes, you have to find them and do research and/or be involved in Organic SEO for many years BUT if you REALLY want to DIY Adult SEO, there are a few ways to go about it. You can either find an SEO who will consult and teach you how to go about your adult seo campaign or start connecting to seo’s and read their forum and blog postings. Even attending local SEO meet-ups you can learn more about how to begin to organically rank your Website.

Honesty: Is there honesty in Adult SEO?

I know there is competition, LOTS of competition. The adult market is flooded with websites and trying to get a new website ranked can take time for your top targeted keywords. If you are told differently, then you need to rethink the honesty of the person you are speaking to. It is known that Adult SEO takes time hence why there are not many companies who will touch Adult SEO.

The expectations of the adult business owner also needs to be in check or reality. There are many sites which have been focusing on their organic ranking from the beginning of their site launch so just think about that competition. Ralph and I have been lucky to rank our own sites fairly quickly but that is also because we set up our sites. When working with a client, many times it could take days if not weeks for their tech department to switch and change items we ask for so that our “magic wand” actually works!

Til next time…

Thank you,
Lisa Weinberger, MAT
PearlyWrites, LLC

May 132010

When last we left with my lesson, we talked about sex and scene structure. To review, sex is an ACTION and should be written like an action scene.

Stimulus > Reaction > Perception > Emotion > Response

This is the BEST way to keep your readers from tossing the book across the room. By writing this way we’re creating a mental movie that the reader sees in their head. If you’ll remember, the structure of a scene looks very choppy on the page and we’re left with a lot more white space than what’s typically seen in many novels.

Again, so what? The reader’s eyes do not notice this if you’ve done your job well by crafting deep scenes that take us into the action by using all our senses. Remember, erotica is not just about sex, it’s about involving all of the human being into the act of sex.

That means in our scenes we’ll show feelings, emotions, scents, tastes, sights, touch and more, over and over again until we’ve crafted the scene so well that we literally forget where we (or our hands) are.

What this looks like in action: (Piece from Dark Desires – my Total E-bound Ménage story out sometime this year)

Remember, we’re using the formula above to write the scene:

Romyn’s fingers slid down her arm until his thumb reached the pulse in her wrist. (Romyn’s ACTION)
Alex’s hand somehow found its way onto her stocking clad thigh. (Alex’s Action, also done TO Raven)
She squirmed and pressed her legs together. (Reaction) You could always say no.(Perception)
She scoffed at the idea. Raven never turned down a good fuck, especially if the two men were as powerful and capable as Romyn and Alex. A part of her realized she needed to feed off the lust, let it build inside her and contain it until she could get another fix. If she was truly human, which she was sure she was since only humans worked suck ass jobs and bothered with material things, then she would emulate her favourite demon, the succubus. (Emotion- with description to fill white space AND add to the story. Remember, we’re still in Raven’s POV and her head for a reason)
Alex looked questioningly at her. “Something the matter, Raven?” (Alex’s reaction)
His voice pulled her from her thoughts. She took another sip of her scotch and shook her head. “Nothing I can’t fix.”(Reaction, Perception, action, dialogue)
Yet she sat between these two men like she was the one up on the cross being ogled for sins she had yet to commit.
Romyn’s fingers continued circling her skin in a manner that sent shivers racing through her.
She shot him a glare.
He didn’t move from his pose, leaving his profile to her while that hand worked over her flesh in such a simple gesture that wouldn’t arouse a normal woman.
Raven was far from normal, she remembered.
She was so not normal that she was sitting in a gothic dance club with her boss and his partner, letting them both paw her like a pet.
She had to admit, this wasn’t a bad position. Perhaps she could have some fun at their expense.
Setting her glass down on the table, she took Alex’s hand and slid it higher up her thigh.

In the above example, I purposely extended the excerpt to show that scene is written in entirely Raven’s POV but we’re able to see Romyn and Alex based on their responses to her. Human beings often act before they think, just ask any marital artist. Unless the situation calls for tight thinking, like in a tense negotiation (which we’re not yet writing) then we’re going off our gut.

The tempting thing is to fill that white space so the pages don’t look so blank. If you must fill that white space (and I don’t see why not) then use DESCRIPTION.

Tell us, or take us there. Describe your sex scenes using all the purple prose you can throw in. This is the time for those words. Yeah, some editors don’t like euphemisms. Oh well. The language you use will match your style of writing and the language will flow more clearly.

Again I mention that this technique is not widely used by many of today’s popular writers. That’s fine; they’re more than established in many cases. This isn’t a pass for them, but an explanation. We’re not trying to write like them entirely, but we are trying to make a living from our writing. When readers see our books as enjoyable mental movies that hold depth, they’ll return to buy the next book. And the next one. And the next three after that.

The technique takes time to learn and really narrow down. So in future editions in my column we’ll break down the parts of this formula.

Next week, in our void we’ll have a special guest blogger. Lisa Wienberger, the cute half of Sensual SEO has offered us a guest post on; you guessed it, SEO tactics for writers. Until then, keep it sexy!

Sascha Illyvich

May 062010

You would think that self-torture and supreme penance would be something out of the dark ages. But I see it all the time, the guilt and suffering, the excuses and condemnation.

Writers do it all the time, they hit this wall where they swear they will never create another piece again. Then as an offering of proof they halfheartedly try or they try with every once of determination to write something worth reading. The results are usually awful.

That usually sets off curses to the heavens, self inflicted tortures and resignation that usually ends with tears for a lost muse.

Poor Muse she is often lost!

I encountered this from a writer I work with. I gave him an assignment and he didn’t make deadline. We pushed it back and again he didn’t have anything to show me. Finally I received a lengthy email on how awful his circumstances were, how he couldn’t find the words, how his muse was gone and how i should give up on him… but if i didn’t give up on him if I truly believed it was just a phase he vowed that he would work harder and produce what was needed. He only ask that I give him time. Time to find his muse.

At first I felt sorry for his circumstances but as each sentence droned on I realized that no matter how much I sympathized he felt sorrier for himself and with this sorrow came great guilt and with this guilt an even greater need to punish himself…. but lastly there was a need for him to feel justified for not writing because he felt this remorse.

It was rather twisted and well, boring.

So I took the bulls by the horn and wrote back.
“I am not your friend. I am your editor and publisher and you were given an assignment. I don’t care if the house burnt down or if your wife ran away with the mail main. I don’t care if you have to work 2 jobs. Do the assignment and keep the sympathy stories for your mother.

Then I told him as I would tell any creative, that the only way to get through a writers block is to WRITE!
You’ve heard the quote attributed to Oliver Stone “Writing = ass in chair”.

It doesn’t matter if it is good or bad or in between, just write.

So put away the hairshirt. You want to beat something up hit the keyboard hard. Create a war scene or a fight between lovers. Take a stake and drive through your boss’ heart.

Then after you get all that self loathing, frustration, envy out on the screen… you’ll find your muse.

Like the little lost sheep she will be waging her tail behind her.