Some of the things that motivate me to write erotica:

Exploring how people work.

I have difficulty with empathy. It's not something that comes instinctively to me; I can do it, but I have to make a conscious effort, and it drains my batteries. Doing it in real-time is especially hard, and often I slip up because I don't even realise when I need to be doing it.

Writing lets me explore human behaviour and motivations at my own pace. I'm not sure whether it helps me make sense of other real-life people, but it certainly helps me make sense of my own motivations. Quite often, after writing something that's supposed to be fiction, I'll look back at it and realise "hey, that's pretty much what's going on in my own life, and I've even come up with some thoughts for how to solve it". Somehow it's easier to do this through fiction than through more direct approaches.

Facing my demons.

I tend to be a bit of a worrywart at the best of times, and some time back I went through the death of a close family member, followed by a messy break-up that left me with a certain amount of emotional baggage. I'm a lot better now, but those insecurities still surface occasionally and leave me feeling wibbly. Exploring them in a fictional context helps me drag them out somewhere that I can look at them, make sense of them, and - most important part - NOT have them sabotage the relationships that I'm in now.

Connecting with others.

I write for myself, but I also write for other people - in particular, for my partner and my sweetie. The latter is a long-distance relationship and we don't get much time together, so writing erotica for her is one way to maintain that connection.

Posting on Literotica also allows me to make a connection with complete strangers. There's something wonderful about the idea that somebody who's never met me, on the other side of the world, stumbled across one of my stories and came away from it happier.

Speaking of which: I love feedback.

Writing the stories I wanted to read.

For me, sex is most interesting when it's depicted in a broader context - like a conversation, it should advance plot or character development or both. A lot of erotica misses that context; it puts the sex first and foremost, with just enough plot to carry it from one shag to another. I've got no issue with other people enjoying that (I try very hard to avoid policing anybody else's consensual fun) but it just isn't my thing.

I had difficulty finding stories that scratch this particular itch, so I had a go at it myself. I was pleasantly surprised to learn from the feedback that a lot of other readers are crying out for the same thing.

Another thing I don't see enough of in erotica is ethics and consent. I don't mean that every fictional piece has to showcase ethical behaviour, but it's an important consideration in RL and I'd be interested in seeing more fiction where people negotiate consent and boundaries. (This is a big point in chapters 3 and 4 of "Stringed Instrument", where Yvonne has to deal with conflicts between her libido and her ethics.)

Explore human frailty.

Classical tragedy is based on the idea of a hero who's ultimately destroyed by some flaw (often taking a lot of other people with them).

These stories can be interesting, but they're depressing. One of the things I love about Maugham's writing is that he's fascinated by human frailties but approaches them with compassion, and they're not necessarily doomed by their flaws. Every relationship I've ever had IRL has involved two flawed people - yet most of them managed to be rewarding and worthwhile all the same. I've tried to show something of that in "Stringed Instrument".

Explore ambiguities.

Real life is full of "it's complicated". Ambiguous semi-relationships. Love between gay and straight people. Complicated poly relationships. These things aren't supposed to happen, but they do. I find it interesting to read and write about those, especially when the story doesn't feel the need to settle that ambiguity. (Again, big theme in "Stringed Instrument".)

Sadism.

Because I'm a sadist, but an ethical sadist, and this is one of the very few morally-acceptable ways in which I can make strangers cry and then have them thank me for it!

To make the stories go away.

Because sometimes they just rattle round and around in my head, and the only way to make them leave me in peace is to write them down... until another one comes along.

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bramblethorn

February 2014

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