Thursday, April 30, 2015

E.M. Bryant on Writing Graphic Sex VS. Family Readers

Occasionally, I take part in an online peer review group. This particular group is heavy on the sex and adventure, so obviously there'a a whole lotta graphic lovin' going down. And no doubt, it's much easier to have perfect strangers read your stuff vs. best friends (or FAMILY--oy).

The question no one wants to ask (but eventually comes up) is how to write steamy, nasty, GOOD sex when your family reads your work. After all, Thanksgiving dinner is always such a great time for Uncle Saul to bring up that bondage scene in your latest book.

Everybody has their own take on handling this. Some authors in the erotica world use a pen name and reinvent a whole new persona online. They don't tell family or too many friends. It's a bonafide alter ego for the purpose of writing without remorse, guilt, or the gruesome knowledge that dear mom and dad have read whatever freak nasty antics you've come up with.

And that's totally understandable. Maybe mom and dad don't need to know that you favor cock, member, or pleasure dagger over the word penis. And truthfully, how many times do you ponder in your head "and then he unleashed his manly looking penis and my heart went all a-flutter..." Yeah. I thought not.

There's a sense of unlimited freedom when you write for strangers. The cringe-worthy part is when family reads it. But only if you acknowledge it.

FACT: I had a dear friend approach me after reading Rapture. He asked rather nonchalantly if I took my own, ahem, experiences and transferred them to the book. After all, you write what you know, right??

There are two different ways to approach this. The first is denial: "Of course not! I'm quite virginal in real life! That's why they call this FICTION. Oh my gosh! Does everyone think this? Oh my goodness! I shall faint from embarrassment!"


Own it.

That's right. If someone thinks they're going to get under your skin or shame you by asking such a question, own it. You wrote it, so whether you thought of it or experienced it yourself, it doesn't really matter. It's still your book.

Those of us who throw caution to the wind and write pleasure for pleasure (pun intended) can't really get too tied into "what will grandma think?!" If every word every writer wrote was sensitive to every family member, books in every genre would be utterly lacking.

I write for the same reason I read--to escape reality for a few hours and embrace a dream. That's it. Bottom line. I don't expect Sr. Angela, dominant nun of my elementary school, to buy my books and critique them, but if she did...I would gladly sign the paperbacks.

Awake is probably the most graphic book I've ever written (as Lana Moon). There's a part of myself that knows I'm stepping onto the ledge. Books with heavy sexual content tend to brand you as a certain type of author. I tend to cling to that ledge--not quite over the cliff into the land of erotica, but definitely not the safe and sensual lair of mainstream romance. But the ledge is where I feel the most comfortable.

Whether or not you keep your writing career private, the content you write should be limitless--as long as it's in your comfort zone. Family opinion is wonderful, but if it's not supportive, it should be ignored. It's your time, it's your dedication, it's your book. Let go of your inhibitions so your characters can be. Don't be afraid to step onto the ledge. Or over it.


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