Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, December 17, 2007.
Today I had this message waiting for me in my inbox, regarding A Picture's Worth—a story I have posted on Literotica:
I can't believe you have stooped to posting stories on literotica....fucking sex site. Is this the kind of writer you dreamed of becomming.
To think you have stooped so low.
It was sent to me via the anonymous feedback feature on Literotica, but I have a pretty good idea about who sent it. We won't get into that drama here. Who said it isn't important. What they said, however, kinda got me thinking.
What's the big deal about sex, anyway? Why is there such a stigma surrounding the subject when it comes to writing it? Authors who do tend to be looked down on by authors who don't. In the literary world, I get the impression that Erotica, Erotic Romance, and Mainstream Romance novels are ranked below Pulp Fiction. Indeed, these days Pulp Fiction carries a gritty sort of mystique with it, while Erotica will likely just get you a smirk and an eyebrow raise from the stranger you happened to run into at a party.
The stigma's not confined to strangers, either. A wide variety of people out there have no qualms about asking me when I'm going to start writing "real" fiction. And the person quoted above is yelling at me for "stooping so low" as to post on Literotica—a site that runs the entire gamut of skill/talent levels when it comes to writing, and a site that features some truly poignant fiction alongside the bizarre and hardcore.
And that's great because sex is all those things. It can be loving or vengeful, passionate or empty. There's nothing that captures the full range of human emotion so intimately, and putting it on paper so that others can experience those emotions is wicked hard. Bringing two people together so that readers will believe it and care about what happens to the characters also requires serious talent. All the skills needed to write "real" fiction goes in to crafting these stories. Everyone loves, everyone hates, everyone tries to work for that happy ending. Erotica can be more real than any book you might find in the mainstream section of the bookstore simply because it sinks deep and taps those whispering desires that didn't have a voice before.
I'd probably catch less flack if I wrote High Fantasy or Horror or War books, and there's no rule saying I can't write in any genre I want in the future. Except for the War books. I really can't see myself writing one of those.
Personally, what I'm crafting now are the stories I have to tell. I love writing Erotic Romance because, like sex, when it's hit just right it's a very, very big deal.