***This is an original article I posted on Blogger last year. I thought I’d post it here. Hope it is helpful to you writers out there! – Manus***
This is a bit of a departure from my previous posts which center on announcing my new books. Just so you know, my short novels and stories are continuing to develop and I hope to publish some new work shortly.
However, besides a place to tell you about my novels, I also wanted to do some articles about the writing process. I know, I know. There a thousand and one articles about writing out there just as there are a thousand and one ways to a novel.
So, why write articles about writing? Well, I guess I just want to let people know what I have learned over my 20+ years of writing. Yes, that’s right, I’ve been writing 20 years and am only now publishing my stories. Why, you might ask? Well, it comes down to one simple thing.
I wasn’t writing what I loved to read.
It’s that simple. I have written everything from fantasy, sci fi, horror and porn.
NOTE: There are many arguments about what is porn and what is erotica. I have lots of feelings on this issue, but when I boil it down, I come up with one thing: Erotica = porn with plot. I could do a whole blog post on this and probably will, but for the sake of this post, I will use both terms, porn and erotica, interchangeably.
The problem was, I was ashamed of writing porn. I was afraid of what my family might say, or my friends if they found out. So, I put away the dirty stories and tried to write fantasy or sci fi. I even wrote a workable rough draft of a young adult book, but, to be honest, my heart wasn’t in it. I wasn’t doing it for myself.
Write what you know.
If you have ever researched how to write novels and stories, then you have heard this old chestnut. Most well-meaning authors will tell you to write what you know when you are coming up with a job for your characters, or describing a setting. I have a different take.
Write what you know = Write what you read
What do you read for fun? What book will you pick up or download because it is a genre you like? What are the stories you love, even if the writing is terrible?
The same questions go for movies. If you love old horror films, or you will plunk down your money on Saw 35, maybe you should think about writing horror. If you will stomach bad writing just to read a story, think about writing those types of stories.
So, what if horror isn’t selling at the moment? This argument is bullshit. Who really cares what is “hot” right now? If you are writing, then I count that as a win.
Besides, horror worked, and is still working, for Stephen King, so who are we to say what’s hot or not?
So, why do I write porn? Well, ever since I found one of my step-dad’s vintage porn paperbacks in a musty old locker in his den when I was fifteen, I have been fascinated by erotic writing. I have devoured lots of stories, good and bad, It doesn’t matter if the writing sucks, I’ll read it anyway, even if just for the dirty bits.
I cannot say the same for any other genre. I like sci fi, fantasy and thrillers, but if I am not engaged within the first few chapters, then I give up and move on. Only great (totally subjective criteria here) stories entertain me for the long haul. That is not the same when I read erotica.
Since I have taken the leap to writing what I love to read, I have published 17 works on Amazon, including short stories, novellas and a series or two. No, I am not making a lot of money, but that really isn’t the point at this stage in my life. Finishing and publishing my stories is the big win.
So, if you’re struggling with finishing a piece of work, ask yourself if this is something you would read even if there were spelling errors and purple prose. If it’s not, examine your reasons for writing the story. If it’s to impress your family or friends, I would advise you to stop it RIGHT NOW! Don’t write for your family. DOn’t write for your friends.
Write for yourself.