This article first appeared on http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/guest-bloggers/guest-blogger-elizabeth-cage/ in Feb 2013
The Truth About Being an Erotica Writer
When I am asked to give talks about writing erotica, I am still surprised at the myths surrounding the genre. Some people think (or prefer to) that I have to get dressed up in a rubber catsuit and heels to get “in the mood”. A nice idea, but not very practical. Do I fantasise about sex, or reach for my trusty vibrator before I switch on the laptop? Yes, sometimes. Or do I grab a notebook and jot down a few sentences whilst in the throes of coitus? Now that would be really bad manners.….
On the whole, writing smutty tales is just like any other kind of writing. (I wonder if horror writers are assumed to perform all manner of unsavoury actions before putting pen to paper? I doubt it). However, cultivating mystique around creating sensual prose does have a certain appeal.
When I decided to have a website for my erotic writing, I had a good look at what other erotica writers did (in the late 90s, erotica writers were nothing like as up front and public as they are now, and I am delighted that there is so much less secrecy around the genre). There seemed to be two opposite routes to follow. Either to use my own name and talk about my academic and literary qualifications and focus on the more scholarly aspects of writing erotica, or to promote my alter ego as a hot babe, and really market myself as an all-round erotic package. In fact, on one of the early blogs, an erotic writer described herself lying naked on her lawn on a summer day, typing her naughty prose onto her laptop, with the possibility of a neighbour spying on her. That made me smile……I tried to find a happy medium, although when I started, I did emphasise the “sexy” aspects of my personality (pole dance teacher, ex-glamour model and naturist, swinger, etc.) and I used a photo of my body from the waist down, showing plenty of pert arse (14 years on and I would no longer post my rather less firm butt for all to see!). Over the years, my confidence slowly grew and I gradually changed the emphasis of the site towards the writing.
All writing comes from the imagination, the unconscious. Whatever we are writing about. However, that isn’t to say that we don’t trawl our memories and personal experiences to provide ideas and research material. Generally, the kind of erotica I enjoy writing is fantasy rooted in potential reality, if that makes sense. The thought that it could happen is what can turn us on. The possibility, the potential. That is what is exciting. Or I might take actual events and characters and then ask, “What if?” That is a lot of fun to write – and, hopefully, to read. Occasionally, I go deeper, so to speak, and explore the beauty and complexity of BDSM relationships.
Will I be writing erotica 10 years from now? 5? 3? 1? Maybe not. There are probably a few more stories I need to finish and a trilogy of novellas I began a year ago but have not progressed. I am nowhere near as prolific as I used to be. Recently, I was in conversation with a composer who talked of some artists and writers who might only have so much to say, who may have already mined the vein of their particular creativity. A friend, who is one of the most amazing and exquisite dancers and performers I have ever seen, informed me that after 15 years, she no longer has the desire to dance. She has taken it as far as she feels she can and now wants to explore new creative avenues in different fields.
So ask me again this time next year……