Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ryan, April, Shy, and all Washington State Residents

I'm talking directly to you. This is important. Please vote Yes on Referendum 71.

This is why.

It's easier to do nothing than to do what's right, but every vote counts. Your vote matters. Your voice matters. If you don't vote yes, you're saying what these people did, and hundreds of people do every day to gay couples, is okay.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Erotica Fail

I read a lot of erotica. Sometimes, it's wonderful. Occasionally, it's dull. And then there's the truly dreadful stuff. TDS makes me grumpy, and since I'm suffering through an anthology full of it, I'm going to vent.

People write erotica for many reasons. Many write their personal fantasies. Those stories have a sense of urgency and raw lust that I love. But if you're writing for publication, please follow a few simple rules.

1) Read a lot of erotica. That way, you'll be aware of the cliched plots. The one that's driving me nuts right now is the old "man/woman picks up a stranger for hot sex, but in the end, the stranger ends up being his/her wife/husband" plot. It's not a clever twist. It's stupid. Worse, it's unoriginal stupid.

2) Misogyny isn't sexy. That includes women writers hating on other women. Quit showing women as gossiping, jealous, hateful biddies. It does nothing for your story, and it doesn't make your character fascinating by comparison.

3) Dudes - women generally do not get turned on by feeling up their own breasts. Women do that in porn because their hands are standing in for the viewer's hands. In real life, women do not go around groping themselves. It's not the same feeling as stroking your cock.

4) About 50% of the population in erotica have flashing emerald eyes. In real life, no one does. Knock it the fuck off.

5) Have you ever worn stockings for a romantic evening out on the town? There's a reason pantyhose were invented. About the time the salad is served at that dimly lit romantic restaurant, the garter is digging into the back of your thigh. The reason you're squirming through the main course isn't because of your wet panties or his fascinating discussion. It's because you're trying to figure out how to move the garter without hiking up your skirt to your waist. After you go powder your nose, AKA go to the bathroom and move the damn garters (when you also realize that the bulk of the garter belt below your waist makes you look like you added ten pounds of belly weight), you realize that the pressure mark from the garter feels as if your skin has been sliced open. Then you go back to the table and sit down, which is like rubbing salt into that cut from the garter. Sexy? Not exactly. God help you if you're headed to the theater after dinner. No wonder women in stockings peel off their clothes so quickly.

6) If you're writing a fetish piece, then please, lovingly describe the piece of clothing that inspires the fetish, but spend more time talking about how the character reacts to it. Otherwise, the full back story about how she went shopping with her bff and bought the sexy little dress and push up bra that cost too much and really she shouldn't have, but she has no spine and her bff dared her to so she couldn't say no has no place in your story. So give us all a break and back off the fashion report. It's how your character feels that's important, not the color of the panties.

7) If you have to tell readers that your character is sexy, you haven't written a sexy character.

8) Does you character have amnesia? No? Then why the hell does she have to spend two paragraphs in front of a mirror describing what she sees to herself? Doesn't she know she has flashing emerald eyes? Does she need to remind herself? Does she need to verify it by looking in a mirror? "Why yes, I do indeed have flashing emerald eyes." No doubt she's going to spend a third paragraph describing that push up bra her bff made her buy. I'll be skimming by that point, as will many of your readers. Soon, I will fling the book.

9) No real live human being says, "I feel vulnerable." Few even think those words.

10) Anyone who lets a complete stranger tie them up without telling friends where they're going - at a minimum, a chaperon is better - is an idiot and deserves to be featured on the ten o'clock news after the police find the body.

I feel so much better having ranted. Now on to the second story...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Flesh is Willing, But the Bank Account is Weak

I missed Gaylaxicon this weekend. I've wanted to go for several years, but simply can't afford the time off, or the hotel bills. I'd also love to go WisCon, and LitQuake (which was also this weekend), YaoiCon, ComicCon, and several others.

The problem with science fiction cons is that I'm a bit intimidated by the hardcore fans out there who can recite chapter and verse from Farscape universe and Alan Moore graphic novels. I've never been able to immerse myself in anything to that point. There are millions of fascinating worlds. I'd rather gaze at a thousand of them through a telescope than at a drop of water from one world through a microscope. Or you could say that while I recognize fandom as a social construct, I've passed by too many drunk boys wearing fetish offworld military gear in hotel hallways having heart-to-heart talks at three in the morning to find it enchanting. Plus, I truly hate that horrified gasp when I admit that I haven't read any of James Tiptree's short stories. Or know the name of the planet Ripley was on in Aliens 3. Or are familiar with the other works by the director of Ghost in the Shell. But I'll admit I truly enjoyed the Klingon wedding I attended. Didn't understand a word of it (being the only person in the room not fluent in Klingon), but still had a blast. (Word of advice: Blood Ale stains your gums for a couple days, so sip at the toasts, don't guzzle.)

I'm in search of an Erotica writers conference though. I've worked with several groups interest in starting one, but no one has been able to mesh visions enough to get one going. If you've heard of one, let me know. For that, I'll make the bank account submit to my will.