Tag Archive | erotica

Reblog: Should Authors Stop Their Characters At First Base?

Today’s reblog is a post by J. Boyce Gleason entitled “Should Authors Stop Their Characters at First Base.”

 

Here is Mr. Gleason’s post in full.  What do you think?  Let’s talk about sex in books!

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Why Not “Fade to Black?”

Authors make lots of choices. How much of the plot do we reveal? How soon do we reveal it? Should we follow one narrative point of view or many?

And then there is sex. How far do we let the characters go? Do we stop them at first base and fade to black? Second? Third? Is it necessary for the reader to watch them go all the way? How much detail is too much detail?

The choice I made was to be “all in.”

One of the reasons we read fiction is that it gives us the unique opportunity to delve inside a character’s persona. We see their thoughts and emotions. We know what drives them to make the choices they make. Like Toto in the Wizard of Oz, fiction allows us to pull aside the curtain to see what levers are being manipulated.

Sex (or the abstinence of sex) is an integral part of who we are. It shapes our personalities, our choices, our self-esteem. We may choose to keep the details private, but it shapes us nonetheless. Why should literature be any different?

The trick is to make sure you are writing it for the right purpose.

“If you are writing to titillate the reader – or yourself – you are writing for the wrong reason,” author Barbara Dimmick (In the Presence of Horses, Heart-Side Up) warns. “There are no generic sex scenes. Sex is so intimate that it changes with each partner. Couples create their own language for sex; they have their own signals for intimacy, their own rituals for foreplay. To be credible, a sex scene must reflect that level intimacy. It should give your readers insights into your characters, not into you.”

My first novel, Anvil of God, is a sweeping tale that chronicles the struggles that the family of Charles the Hammer (Charlemagne’s grandfather) face in the wake of his death. Based on a true story, it is a whirlwind of love, honor, sacrifice, and betrayal. It offers readers far more than a sex. But the sex scenes in it, hit that high standard. They present a unique window into each character’s identity. For Trudi, sex is an act of independence; for Carloman it is a counterpoint to the rigidity of his religious beliefs, for Pippin an expression of joy and respite from the violence of his life. The scenes advance the story in a way no other scene could.

About the Author:
J. Boyce Gleason With an AB in history from Dartmouth College, J. Boyce Gleason brings a strong understanding of what events shaped history. He says he writes historical-fiction to discover why. Gleason lives in Virginia with his wife Mary Margaret. They have three sons.

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Do you agree with Mr. Gleason?  Post your remarks below!

Shock Fiction: What Popularity of Horror and Erotica Genres Say About Our Culture

Next up is my look at why sex and violence seem to outsell more conservative fare.

 

cover art to Fifty Shades of Grey -- one of the worst written and most poorly edited bestsellers of all time

cover art to Fifty Shades of Grey — one of the worst written and most poorly edited bestsellers of all time

Shock Fiction: What Popularity of Horror and Erotica Genres Say About Our Culture

A Look at the Popularity of Sex and Violence in the Media

 February 8th, 2014

Sex and violence sell. For decades we’ve seen the connection between book/movie/music popularity and graphic violence/graphic sex. Can it be any wonder why Miley Cyrus bares all or why a song implying that women don’t mean “no” to sex when they say it topped the charts in 2013? We relish in treating women as bodies for male gratification; it’s shocking and therefore appealing to us, like some sort of dark sexual fantasy.

Except the fantasy does not match with our experiences. Rape is not fun. It’s not sexy. It’s an act of brutal violence that stays with us, often for the rest of our lives. Rape is about power, control and domination over another living being. In the real world, there is nothing fun about being on the receiving end of it.

Violence too is also not the fantasy the media we consume tells us it is. Speak to any woman or child in a battered woman’s shelter and ask her how “fun” it was to be beaten, raped, intimidated, controlled, or worse. Violence may be entertaining to hear about, read about, or watch on the big screen, but the actual experience is far from something you want for yourself. If it were, post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) would be as rare to psychotherapists as smallpox to American hospitals.

Given this disconnect, why do we need to consume these fantasy experiences that, ultimately, further callous us against the suffering of others? Why do we buy the sexually violent and poorly written “Fifty Shades of Grey” over better written books modeling healthy relationships between women and men?

Perhaps we have closed ourselves off to our emotions, to our ability to feel in our own lives, let alone sympathize and empathize with others. Rather than face the challenges in our own lives, we find it easier to wall our emotions away – much as the fictional Vulcans repress their emotions. Once repressed, our own emotions become difficult to access. We lose touch with those things that bring meaning to our lives and no longer remember how to relate the experiences of others to our own lives – a critical form of learning that other primates find exceedingly difficult if not impossible to attain.

If we cannot see ourselves reflected in other living beings, it becomes easy to ignore experiences we would never wish for ourselves. In essence, we de-humanize everyone else. Others have no real value. It is profoundly selfish of us.

We become completely emotionally disconnected. Can it be any wonder we seek to fill this void with whatever excitement we can find – sexual or violent?

But we can do better than this. We can embrace our feelings better and learn how to deal with life’s challenges in ways that keep us connected and related to other people. One simple way to do that is to turn off our electronics and return our focus to attentive in-person and voice-telephone contact. Yes, this means we need to learn to listen again instead of constantly broadcasting everything in our heads. Yes, this involves more self-control. Rather than bullying from afar, we have to re-learn the humanity of others by keeping our remarks civil if not kind and spoken from much closer physical distances.

Once we achieve this we will find ourselves able to respond not only to the breadth that literature has to offer us, but the breadth and depth of the human experience. We will not need cheap and shallow thrills or instant fame anymore. We will grow to appreciate the subtleties in humor and plot. We will come alive once more.

Link: Shock Fiction

Horror and erotica are more popular than ever, outselling less explicit genres.  The more graphic the sex and violence, it would seem, the better a book, film, or song sells.  But what does that say about our society and who we are as individuals?  http://ow.ly/tr693

Ghosts of the Past shows a sexier side to Beinarian society

Ghosts of the Past digital cover

Ghosts of the Past is book two of my Peers of Beinan series.  Set three generations after “The Great Succession Crisis,” and spanning four generations, Ghosts follows the descendents of Princess Anlei as they struggle with terrorism and violence.  Readers of “The Great Succession Crisis,” will remember the revenge promised by Lord Janus.  Now Janus takes his revenge from the grave directly through his new incarnation and through his descendants in this story where you never know who or when someone will fall to terrorism or murder.

True to my narrative style, none of this violence is graphic; you don’t need to see every drop of Beinarian green-yellow blood to know someone is dead!

Sex too is an inevitable part of Ghosts of the Past as generation after generation is born.  None of this gets explicit, but there is a lot more sex to Ghosts than its prequel.

A reader or two has suggested that this sex is not necessary.  So this morning I would like to take a look at this sexier side.

Character building and sex:

As early as chapter one, we see our first hero, Lord Knight Elendir, seduced by Princess Cathryn, then by Lady Elita in the chapter of the same name.  Is this sex for the sake of sex?

Let’s take a look at what happens and why.

Early in chapter one, we watch the sixty yen-ar old Elendir elevated to knighthood.  This sounds pretty old, until you realize that Beinarians come of age at 50 yen-ars and live over 300 yen-ars barring accident, illness, or violence.  Ages 50 to 80 for Beinarians are therefore roughly equivalent to Earth humans aged 18 to 21 with all of the same habits for reckless behavior that comes with that age.

Typical of a such a young man, Elendir starts out vulnerable to his hormones, finding it difficult for him to assert mind and will over his body, especially when faced by attractive women who know how to exploit this flaw.  As a knight of Ten-Ar, he has been trained to resist his body, of course, but is far less successful at it than his ancestor, Lord Knight Corann, from book one. Elendir is therefore a flawed young man whose failings come to haunt him — and those he loves — later on in life.

Elendir’s best friend, Prince Kendric, also has some serious problems.  The treaty that “resolved” the Great Succession Crisis has forced him to marry a woman he doesn’t know and doesn’t love over the woman he is very deeply in love with.  But Princess Lidmila is not your typical nobleman’s pawn.  With secret connections to the same terrorists behind the healing center bombings, she abuses Beinarian fertility technology to drug and control her unwilling husband.  These drugs take a serious toll on the young prince who in time resumes his relationship with his sweetheart, Lady Aurnia.  As with Elendir, the sex described after the fact is used to convey key information about Prince Kendric, Princess Lidmila, and Lady Aurnia.

Finally, there is Kendric’s youngest daughter Constance who becomes the youngest ever Gurun dynasty queen after her father’s murder (celebrated in the song she sings at the crime scene).  Constance is in a tight place.  Both her parents are dead.  The terrorist strikes have now raged for over 100 yen-ars (300 Earth years), decimating her family, and the future of the planet is on her narrow, adolescent shoulders.  Attracted to Elendir’s son Corann, she marries according to her political instincts.  But time cannot erase her attraction and affection for Corann, setting in motion what comes later.

Ghosts of the Past IS a sexier story than its prequel, but for good reason as I hope I have demonstrated.  Far from erotica (most of it is done through metaphors and vague descriptions), it shows very poignantly the consequences of our choices and the impact of poor decisions from our youth on the rest of our lives — and others’ lives by extension.  In Elendir’s vulnerability to his body, he becomes more real to us than some cookie cutter knight from a storybook; whether we admit it or not, every single one of us has felt the intensity of that particular fire from adolescence.  Therefore in sharing this experience, we also feel his agony regarding the deaths of his parents by terrorism and feel his struggles more intensely.

This I hope makes Ghosts of the Past more than just a murder-mystery, but a story we all can relate to, even from a galaxy far far away from Beinan!

 

–Laurel A. Rockefeller

The Peers of Beinan series

http://www.peersofbeinan.com

http://www.amazon.com/Laurel-A.-Rockefeller/e/B008YVJJFE/