Thursday, March 31, 2011

Erotica Writer's Manifesto

by J. Lea Lopez

I write erotica. I don't mean "I occasionally write an erotic story," I really mean I. Write. Erotica.

It's where I plan to focus much of my writing time and energy. It's where the stories in my head naturally lead. It's the type of writing I'm good at, and that I enjoy writing.

You may not think it's a big deal to stand up and announce yourself as an erotica writer, but you'd be surprised at some of the reactions. Sometimes I think people want to ask me why I write erotica (as if the answer would be anything different than one they'd get from someone who writes SF/F). Sometimes I get the feeling they want to ask how I got into something like that, as though I've just admitted to a shoplifting addiction or secret life as a porn star or something else considered equally deviant. I'm sure when I tell some people I write erotica it conjures images of all the really bad sex writing out there, which is NOT what I write. It elicits giggles and blushes as much as blank stares and brows furrowed in confusion.

I want to let you in on a little secret. Lean a little closer so I can whisper it... A little closer...


Sshhh! Don't go spreading that around now, y'hear?

Seriously, though. People have sex. It's been known to happen. A lot of what's communicated—or not communicated—during sex is emotionally loaded, rich with meaning. People relate to each other through sex. People create and resolve issues with sex. They learn about themselves and each other. And aside from all that, sex is just plain sexy and fun, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with reading or writing about it!

So I'm putting it out there for any reader, agent, publisher, editor, etc. who might want to take notice: I write erotica, and if I may say so, I'm pretty decent at it.

I'm an erotica writer, and here is my manifesto:

  • I will not use ridiculous euphemisms for body parts or actions unless I intend them to be ridiculous.
  • I will portray realistic bodies and body images without being condescending, patronizing, insulting, sexist, or demeaning.
  • I will write characters who are realistic and easy to relate to. I will write characters you care about, who will stick with you after their stories have ended.
  • I will write sex scenes that arouse and excite.
  • I will write sex scenes that are thought-provoking and touching.
  • I will make the sexually explicit scenes relevant to the story. Even in erotica, I believe gratuitous sex is unnecessary and boring.
  • I will not write trash.
  • I will portray realistic sexual actions - including, but not limited to, mutual and solo masturbation, oral sex and all the hang-ups that may come with it, sexual dysfunctions, safer sex practices, birth control, sex aids, and much, much more. Furthermore, I will handle these issues with humor, tenderness, valid medical/scientific research when necessary, honesty, and passion.

What would you include in your personal Genre Manifesto (erotica or otherwise)?


Jordan K Rose said...

Very nice. I don't typically read erotica, but I like your manifesto and it makes me interested in checking out your work. Good luck. Jordan.

J. Lea Lopez said...

Thanks, Jordan. If I can convince even a small handful of people that erotica doesn't have to be embarrassingly cheesy, I'll be happy!

Jennifer Merritt said...

I do read erotica, and you are more than "decent at it." You are fantastic!

J. Lea Lopez said...

Thanks, Jennifer! [Looks like the J's are taking over this page! ;-)]

C. Margery Kempe said...

Let's get a K in there, and a C and an M! I write erotica and erotic romance (yes, there's a difference) and I love to see women who celebrate sex and give the importance in writing that we know it has in life. Criminy! Some people spend half their lives chasing it then turn their noses up at reading about it? They might learn a useful thing or two if they read us -- like what women want.

And it's not to give you a medal just because you found the clit!

Amelia James said...

I call myself a trashy romance writer, but only because I don't take it too seriously. Writing sex, romance, and erotica is fun for me. I hope my readers enjoy it too.

J. Lea Lopez said...

CMK - if only you could see the humongous grin on my face right now! Such sass, I love it!

Amelia - absolutely, I think there's something great about embracing some of the usually negative connotations of erotic writing and using them in a positive way. Do I write smut? Hell yeah I do, and I'm proud of it!

Winfield H. Strock III said...

Sci-Fi for me. I don't have a manifesto so much as I recall many groaning moments observing my chosen genre and saying, "I'm not gonna do that."
1. My villains will be understood, not mustache twirling black hats.
2. I will go to great lengths to prohibit putting forth a plot that a five year old can find holes in.
3. Time travel will not solve anything it doesn't make twice as complicated first.
4. My faith will not overshadow the story so much as be woven into the background of it.

Well, that's it for now.

Siolnatine said...

Oooh! I came here from where one of the authors blogged a link to your post.

You say "I'm putting it out there for any ... publisher, editor..."

If your manifesto is any indication, I'm sure FF would be delighted to publish your work!