Wednesday, July 24, 2013

On Erotica, part 2.

Sometimes, it just so happens that book fans as big as me get to meet some of the authors that they most enjoy reading. Even when those fans live in a place so far away as Australia.

As it happens, I met Tracy O'Hara for the first time during the WorldCon held in Melbourne a couple of years back. She was excited to see her books featured in our book store, happily signed them and then stuck around talking with me and my co-worker for around half an hour before she went to the next panel she was in.

(I also got to meet writers Erica Hayes and Catherynne M. Valente!)

((This was also the con where I managed to score a signed copy of Charlaine Harris' Dead in the Family the year that it came out and before there was quite so much drama about her writing.))

Her 'Dark Brethren' vampire series is my most favourite, written in a style similar to Ms Harris and Patricia Briggs.

Tracy O'Hara herself is a lot of fun to talk to, and we've kept in contact over the years on Twitter as Australian writers and aspiring writers sometimes seem to do. So when I saw this interview reblogged on her feed, I knew it was bound to be good.

Erotica is not Porn: Novelist Encourages New Erotic Writers.

“Fifty Shades of Grey is not the best example of erotica. It's just the one that managed to break through here. Erotica is only a new publishing phenomenon here in Australia. In the US, it's been a best-selling and profit spinning genre since 2000,” Ms O'Hara said.
(Read more)

Now I've written about erotica on this blog once before. Then, it was to quote Julian Barnes' Telegraph article, in which he stated most modern authors feel obliged to write sex scenes if they want to see themselves published. I myself could certainly relate to this in past publishing experiences.

But Tracy's post is another side of the coin, if you will, an empowering view of the writing of erotica and separating it from the more derogatory title of "porn".

“They are stories which contain graphic sex scenes but narratives also centre as much around the mental and emotional journey of the characters as they do about the physical side of things.”

What Tracy suggests seems to be that physical aspects happen in real life and if your story is about the goings on of romance and real life characters, why not include erotica as a segment of that story? It doesn't need to be gratuitous, it doesn't need to be there, but it's an option to be considered.

Earlier in this month, I read one of Francesca Lia Block's books called The Elementals which had some graphic content. It forwarded the story, the relationship between two characters. I've also enjoyed reading her short story anthology Nymph, though that is a collection of erotica, which is not exactly the same thing.

Just before posting this, I reblogged a comment on Twitter stating that the only hard thing about writing erotica is figuring out good reasons why the characters are engaging in smutty activities.

My latest project is a joint anthology of m/m retold fairy tales, which is fantastic cause it's been a long time since I wrote anything other than het (hetrosexual pairings), but it's fun as well because some of the tales are heading towards erotic content. But they also centre as much around the mental and emotional stories of the characters, so I guess that's okay. ;)

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