Mary Anne Mohanraj has a Kickstarter project to raise funds for Demimonde
, an erotic science fiction novel in stories. I think it's a pretty intriguing project, with a concept that works really well both as science fiction as well as smut. I encourage you to go check it out, and consider backing the project if it seems like something you'd be interested in.
Mary Anne has been posting some interesting updates over on the project page, including this one about why writers should write about sex
Actually, Mary Anne inspired my first attempts to write erotica. (Oh, the places you could go with an opening line like that. But no, not in that way, alas.) We were in a writing group together, and I was writing a lot of comic fiction, and she remarked to me that I should try writing some erotica, because editors always wanted more funny erotica.
Possibly I can do funny, but it remains to be seen whether I can do hot. I messed around with various story ideas, but never completed anything that I thought was worth submitting. Even my one attempt to write a really smutty piece of fanfic came out in its actual realized form as something that provokes reactions more along the lines of, "Aw, that's so adorable!" I fail at porn.
Nevertheless, I do think that experimenting with writing erotica has been useful for me as a writer, for a number of reasons, including the following:
- Sex happens. Even if you're not writing smut, you're probably eventually going to write a story in which some characters have sex. Depending on the story, the right way to handle that might be anything from a discreet scene break to a fairly graphic scene. It's a lot easier to decide where along that spectrum you should go if you've got enough experience writing at the graphic end that the mere idea doesn't freak you out.
- It's a great way to learn to write descriptively. If you want a sex scene to be neither cheesy nor monotonous, you've got to choose details carefully and use all the senses at your disposal. These kinds of skills transfer really well to other types of description.
- It's a great way to learn to create atmosphere. Atmosphere is really critical to making erotica stories work, but it's also pretty key to genres like horror and suspense. I think that the most successful stories I've written were ones where I was not only had interesting characters and plot, but managed to create an atmosphere, and I think my failed attempts to write erotica helped me learn the skills I needed to do that.
Anyway, I recommend checking out Mary Anne's post, because she actually talks about all of this much more eloquently and authoritatively than I can.