Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Communication is Key

I'm awake here when I should be sleeping. It's my day off of work and I get off schedule, but tonight I've a pain that just won't let me rest, so while I wait for painkillers to kick in, I got to thinking... what is about words that translate into hotness?

Let me back up a bit. I was reading a bit about The Claiming of Persephone and why the author wrote it, why it was hot, and there was an excerpt. Read the excerpt and granted, right now I'm like "fuck sex, I want sleep" so I didn't find it arousing... but it's not because it wasn't hot (told you, paaaaaaain), so don't get me wrong there. However, it got me to thinking about why things, why words, are "hot" or not. This is a bit rambly, so bear with me. (Paaaaaain. :P)

All these words we use convey an image, or an idea. Communication is the key to understanding, and the vehicle we have for that is words. If you sit and consider each word individually, you'll get many different meanings for each word, and every person's interpretation of them is different. Yes, mostly the same, but we all add our own experiences to flavor it for us personally. When you put a single word in with a bunch of other words, it conveys a different context. We'll use hot for example... "The kettle was scorching hot." What does that say? Says don't fucking touch it, mother fucker! Now if we say "Her pussy was scorching hot." What does that say? Well, you're not going to burn your hand on her pussy, lol. Words and context. Communication. Conveying ideas.

What does all this mean for a writer? Well, first, you have to keep in mind that you are not your audience, and your audience is not you. The average person doesn't know what "loquacious" is, or "vacuous", "extrapolate", or (one of my favorites) "sesquipedalian". Mind you, that word is used so not often, the spellchecker thinks it's spelled wrong. I was reading at college level in the third or fourth grade... and I used such big words all the time my mother had no idea what I was talking about most of the time. Over time, I learned to modify how I spoke so that I could communicate clearly, even if it felt odd to me, and sometimes still does. I had to modify my speech for my audience so that I could communicate my ideas clearly.

Second, keep to your genre. If you're writing erotica, yeah, you want your throbbing, pulsating, warm, wet, hot, scorching, hard, rock hard, etc etc etc. to describe things. If you're writing horror (depending on the kind), you want your gore, blood soaked, creepy, noxious, sliced, crimson, hot coppery, and so on. Writing action, you want action packed stuff, like riveted, whirled, brandished, snarled, shouted, fiery, etc etc. Keep your vocabulary in line with your genre.

Third, keep to the basics. Don't fucking used murmured or whispered all the time for say tags. Use said. People's eyes just skip over said. It's tried and true. Only when you want to stress something use another say tag. Alter the flow of your sentences to match the scene. If it's frantic, use shorter sentences. If it's something surreal, use longer. Keep in mind the rhythm of the words as you're writing. Read it back to yourself. Does it feel right? Are you using too many fancy descriptors when a simple word would just do? Are you not using enough?

Last, if you can't connect to your audience, it isn't your audience's fault. I read a book not so long ago where there was a whole scene I had no idea what the fuck was happening. The writer jumped around, and didn't describe what was happening clearly, and as a result, it was a mess. I can read just fine and put words together just fine as well. So, it was the author's fault. They didn't go back and view their prose as a reader would and their message got lost. They knew what they meant, but they couldn't convey it clearly to me. It might have been the best fight scene ever, but I would have no way of knowing because their message got lost due to unclear communication. I've seen writers on the eroticauthors subreddit who are just like, "MY porn is the BEST porn... but it's not selling. People are stupid!" Well, no. You're not communicating your porn clearly, sorry. I won't admit I'm selling the most, or writing the best, or anything at all like any other erotica writer is doing... cause I'm not. I'm not just selling sex. I'm selling a story with the sex. If people like it, great. If they don't, that's great too. However, I communicate clearly that's what it's about... that there's a story there. Generally, for erotica, people want to just get off, or get to the sex right away. Plot is like window dressing. For me, it's the opposite. The sex is the window dressing. Hence, I'll never be super popular.

Well, not unless I go into more traditional erotica routes. My femdom series has come with some success, and that's kinda traditional. And that's cool... I enjoyed writing them, so I'll write a couple more, and keep that going... but they're short, and I just... I don't like shorts. I don't get into them. I much prefer my JKC because of the story. A friend of mine read them, and said, "I'm surprised how much characterization you got into your porn." It's because the characterization is a priority to me... and I don't expect to sell because of that, I expect to sell despite it in this genre.

I'm ok with that. If I wasn't, I'd change my style. These new authors, though... I don't know. They just aren't communicating clearly... because the last part of communication is listening, and that's on your readers. You have to speak your message clearly, but readers have to listen. That you can't control, but it is what it is. C'est la vie. Not that I've gotten any reviews yet, but when I do, I will listen to reader feedback and see what they thought. That's about the only way it applies to authors, I guess.

Yes, rambly. I think the painkillers are kicking in now though.


  1. I know I'll sound like a judgmental gobshite for saying this, but most of the erotica I read is cringe-worthy in many respects: bad grammar, misspellings, cliched expressions, boring, cardboard cutout characters. I'm sure there are people that like that sort of thing. Somebody's buying it, after all.

    And who's to say my writing doesn't sound like the stupidest in the world to other people.

    But yeah, communication. I think in erotica you can do so much with connotation and what words evoke and invoke in people. And even though we all come from different backgrounds as writers we know there's always a common currency in words so that the trade in meaning can take place.

    Otherwise how are you going to move beyond "He thrust his throbbing manhood into my wet center and sparks flew" sort of prose? The demons in my story have cocks the size of a pork tenderloin, but I'm not going to say that, because invoking that image isn't hot or sexy, it's ridiculous.

    How do you describe an orgasm in the age of five million erotica monkeys banging away on keyboards? If you get too abstract or wild with your metaphors, people won't relate. It seems to me that being a little better than average isn't too hard to accomplish. Being better than that? Quite a bit harder.

    I really appreciate you raising this topic and making me think, and I hope you feel better soon.

    1. Thanks, man!

      Yeah, I don't think I'm such a hot writer--I mean, I write, and it's ok, but I'm not doing a fantastic job editing so as to MAKE it great--in this genre yet, but what I'm offering in particular is story along with the sex. I think you're a bit in the same vein there, with the added kinks of futa girls, which is a very specialized niche market.

      I lol'd at five million erotica monkeys. It's too true though. I think everyone and their kid brother is trying it out. Some could be good, some could be awful, but how do you make your stuff stand out among the crowd? Hmm. That could be a post in and of itself, I think. And then once you grab their attention, the writing will keep them around.

      Hmm. You've given me something to think of as well, sir!