Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fifty Shades of...Red

It wasn’t until some recent furtive staff room discussions on the Fifty Shades books that I learned I still, at this advanced age, blush. The joke began that I can turn Fifty Shades of Red. And after my Fifty Shades of Green post last week I found out I am not the only writer out there who gets nervous about the idea of writing erotica, or even just erotic scenes. I received several blog comments and was part of quite a few discussions on the topic of what I now call The Mother Factor.

Writing erotica is one thing. Making it available for the public to read is another. But the thought of having one’s mother read it, well, that is quite another thing altogether. The thought seems to be almost universally cringe-worthy. But you don’t even have to put it to the mother test, some of us don’t have mothers anymore, any person you know well can serve as the ‘mother’ in this scenario: a sister, grown child, co-worker, and most horrifying of all, a boss. For me, having it read by a co-worker or my boss wouldn’t only be embarrassing, it would result in the loss of my day job.

So that brings me to the point made by one commenter. How could I ever promote erotica? I would have to be under such deep cover, with a pen name no one could ever connect to me, that all but the most anonymous promotions would be out of the question. And as we know, no author can have a book published without committing to a lot of promotional activities, many of which are not anonymous.

I admit it. I am a nervous Nellie. My hat is off to the wonderful Cathryn Cade who was kind enough to leave a comment on last week’s post. She does it all with such aplomb. She is confident and comfortable with all her writing, including the erotic bits. And boy, I have to tell you, she does those well! But most impressive of all is the fact that she can talk about writing erotic WITHOUT turning Fifty Shades of Red. Even on the evening news. Wow!

Maybe in my next life I will be able to do that too. But for now I am doomed to turning Fifty Shades of Red.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fifty Shades of...Green?

Before I turn my attention to the report cards awaiting my marks, I thought I’d spend a little time discussing erotica. I figure, why not?

Regardless of what you think about the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, one thing cannot be disputed: the trilogy has lifted the taboo against women reading/admitting to reading/discussing erotica. If my school’s staff room and my circle of friends (ages 25 to 60+) are any indication, women of all ages and from all walks of life have either read one or more of the books, are currently reading one, or are seriously contemplating reading the books. Curious what all the hubbub was about, I downloaded the first one onto my Nook, as well as another unrelated book, also labeled ‘erotica’, for comparison’s sake. I’ve now read the first two Fifty books, and as a mere fledgling writer it isn’t my place to judge their quality, but I will say the writer can really create a steamy scene. I’ve read a little of the other unrelated book as well, and it too is plenty steamy. Okay, I’ll admit it: reading erotica is fun.

And it’s the new hot book genre. I’m sure we will be seeing many more erotica titles showing up on bestseller lists this summer and fall. There are people in my writers’ group who write erotica, and had been long before this new craze started by Fifty. They are way ahead of the game; writers who want in on this game have some catching up to do. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve asked myself if I want in on it. Can I write erotica?

I don’t think so. I can write, in fact I have written, steamy. Plenty steamy. But the level of graphic detail required by erotica is out of my comfort zone. I have a couple of great titles for erotic books, but I don’t think I could ever go beyond that. Those titles will just have to find their way to other stories.

So am I fifty shades of green…with envy… that this author turned what was once a fan fiction story into a global bestseller? Sure I am. But I seriously doubt that I’ll be jumping onto this bandwagon. I might, however, secretly hope that other writers will!