Saturday, February 8, 2014

Conformity and Questions

When I look at the romance and erotica markets, I see a whole lot of things that I'm not. Maybe I just see things that I desperately and delusionally hope I'm not. I don't know. On one hand, I hate the endless reproduction of what works. On the other, I totally get it. I want to live off writing one day, and there are people doing so right now. They're making a living off writing. Living their dream. The fact that a lot of what they write is in many aspects not just a retread but a conceptual copy of what is and has been popular in the romance and erotica genres should not, in the end, matter. What matters is making a living off what you do.

Yet here I sit, wondering constantly if it'll ever work out for me. For once, this is brought on not by fears about a lack of commitment or the like, but rather, the fact that I can't write something I'm not engaged in. I have difficulty believing that other writers can truly be engaged in this billionaire story, or that monster sex story, or that other totally-not-incest story (Which really is incest, but Amazon... I won't get into it), but they probably are.

To anyone who has read my work over time, it should not be news that what I write is a lot of the same. Futanari, and generally a big, muscled, powerful one. The brutal onlooker might remark that I have written the same character for several years, even. And yet, I continue to do so. I continue to be engaged. And this is why, intellectually, I understand that my reservations about more billionaire or monster stories make no sense. But emotionally, I feel like the people writing this stuff are simply catering to lazy readers, rather than writing what they want. I understand that that isn't necessarily the case, and I understand that I am effectively doing the same thing, but it presents an ominous future vision.

Will I have to write monster sex and billionaire BDSM if I want to "make it"? Both markets are vastly more popular than my primary interest. Do I even want to make it if that's what's required?

The answer to the first question is uncertain, and so is the answer to the second. I definitely want to be a writer, and intellectually I want to be a writer more than I want to maintain these emotionally-based principles. But you can't write fiction without emotion. And emotionally, I tire out very quickly if I force myself to write what I'm not comfortable with.

The reality is that I may not even be comfortable writing what I already do. It's simply an easy path to continue along. When I first started writing, I got good responses. I can't help but wonder if the erotica genre has become or will become some sort of crutch for me, a safe haven, because I lack the confidence in myself and my writing to try something that doesn't have the crowd-pleaser that sex is. Something where I don't have a good record. I know, at least, that I'm not comfortable enough about what I write to tell anyone in real life.

That, of course, brings on another question. Am I having these doubts about writing erotica because I feel a need for acceptance, and believe that writing "regular" genres would more easily give me this acceptance? I don't know. In fact, the more I question this, the less, I realize, I know. No one ever prepared me for this when I was little. Being an adult was supposed to be easy and awesome. No bedtimes! Candy every day!



  1. This is an issue I rub ill against a lot, and I think one thing that makes it more handleable is, at core, it's kind of losing sense of perspective a bit. Though now I think on it, sure, in such an open market where content in defines varying swings of results out, you'd be predisposed to aim for the highest hitter just out of desire for more money, but that's where principles and realism come in. Something people in any walk of life often lose the perspective for.

    Basically, you don't NEED to be some NYT bestseller making 5-6 figures to live, and a really small % do. Sure, there's too huge a range of people in the same pool to make anything worthwhile out of that %, but like any walk of life, you don't need to be a billionaire to be an fulfilled and interesting person.

    Personally I have a wide enough interest range that I can avoid being associated with tropes or predecessors widely considered terrible jokes and abusive, but even then if you keep consistent and passionate within a niche, you'll do alright. Expansion and experimentation is down to you, but you don't HAVE to try and sell it out to stagnant pandering to get by.

  2. Of course you want acceptance. We all want it more or less, and artists more than others.

    Yet, as for your choices for success, let's be honest: the genre is a factor, but not the only one. Reputation, quality of writing... Of course, a 'not so over-beloved' genre is making less easy to get a large fanbase, but the end is always the same: as long as you dedicate yourself to your work and your fans, you always will be growing bigger.