♦ Soon, Sunday morning at Eroticon 2014 became Sunday afternoon. Deciding that my voice is not made for erotica, I headed to what looked a very interesting session, one by Josephine Myles and Anna Martin called Queer as Fuck: writing convincing gay erotica whatever your gender and sexuality.
I got a bit of a disappointment when the session started, learning that it was to focus almost wholly on male/male erotica as opposed to a selection from the LGBT+ spectrum. The speakers did say that they’d try to include some information on it, but that their expertise was in M/M writing. For a girl like me who’s coming each time closer to believing it’s personally easier and hotter to write about two women than anything else, that was a bit of a blow.
Still, although I neither read nor write a lot of M/M fiction, I resolved to learn more about it. After all, just because I haven’t yet, doesn’t mean I can’t. We learnt about how writers of different genders are perceived and some of the stereotypes and marginalisation (mostly of effeminate male characters) in gay fiction itself. Plus, there were some tips on masculine language that were interesting, even if me with my “we’re not so different, you and I” approach couldn’t fully endorse them.
Further, to add to my mope, we were told that gay male erotic novels are by far the biggest chunk of the LGBT+ market and that trans* and lesfic have the smallest share. At the end of the session I went up and asked Anna what she thought of why F/F erotica is so small considering same sex experiences are so high in the lists of top women’s fantasies. My own theory is that, given the amount of non-LGBT-specific calls for submission I’ve seen that want mostly hetero stories but will happily take a few lesbian stories, perhaps the market for girl on girl is getting subsumed and fulfilled by the generic erotica market.
Either way, it’s a subject very close to my own heart and I’m desperate to find out more and write a proper post about it, so do leave a comment if you’ve anything to say about it.
At some point in the day, I was gifted a very thoughtful copy of the sexy boardgame Tie and Tease (a BDSM version of the game Tease that was doing the blogger rounds a little while back) by DomSigns and Molly because they knew I loved three things: dice, games and kink. Thank you, both! I’m sure it’ll be something to write about once Crush and I have given it a few goes…
The final education session of the day saw me heading to Molly’s Powerful Post Writing: Writing & Editing for better blog content for a few always useful content tips, countless of which I’m probably breaking throughout these write-ups! But, as Molly herself told us, “Do what you do, not what I say.”
There was a lovely balance of considering the reader and considering SEO. You should know your most popular topics and write more about them, but you shouldn’t narrow down too much just to boost your stats. Stats, at the end of the day, are only so much and they don’t always want what readers want.
We were given tips on hooking the reader in and making them want more which actually mirrored a lot of advice I’ve heard before about fiction writing, so it was interesting to see the common threads. Perhaps the best advice we could have been given, though, was give something of yourself and be honest, warts an’ all. That’s one of the reasons I started this blog and, although I try each post to stick to it, I’m sure there’s more I can do. I’m looking forward to trying.
The day drew to a close with High Tea and Erotica Readings, of which there was a generally awesome selection along with a few I didn’t personally care for. It ranged from deadly serious to supremely silly with everything in between. Plus, there was cake. Of course, each word drew us closer to the close of the day and the breaking of the spell. I said my goodbyes to those remaining (a fair few had had to leave for trains and the like during the readings) and made my way back to reality and Cardiff. And, happily, Crush.
While the sessions, being structured, are clear in my mind, I can’t remember well enough all the little moments I wish I could share with you: meeting personal heroes and new awesome people, gossip, hearing kind words, sharing thoughts, revelling in the commonality of sex writers, inside jokes, stolen chats and even just feeling comfortably silent and at home in a room of your peers.
I am beyond sad that there won’t be a UK Eroticon next year. I’ve come to need it. But I feel absolutely sure that if there’s a community that can pull together and arrange something, even just a social meet-up, it’s this one. If there are any efforts in that vein, I’d love to lend a hand. And if any Eroticon or sex writer folks are ever near my neck of the woods, just get in touch. I’m shy, but I’ve learnt one major thing over the years at Eroticon: meeting other sex writers is amazing and together we can do amazing things. ♦