Monday, December 28, 2015
Writing my first erotica collection, A Bloom in Cursive
Today I would like to write about my first erotica collection, A Bloom in Cursive, and tell the story behind the book.
I started writing what would become the collection at the same time I launched The Unlaced Librarian, early summer of 2013. Up until that point in my life I had never written any erotica. I had read loads of it and had written even more scenarios in my head, but I never committed them to paper. I was too worried what other people would think and I was scared to put it out there with no way to take it back. Launching my blog was the plunge I took to finally writing about the things I truly was interested in and erotica was next on the list.
Because of this earlier censorship I felt a little odd at the prospect of finally actually writing erotica. I had kept it so private that I freely blended my erotic storylines with personal fantasy and I knew I would have to practice making my smutty thoughts structured and suited for an audience outside of myself.
I decided to begin practicing writing erotica on paper. At first I never planned to publish the stories and I intended to make them as simple as possible with a focus on the sex scenes, as I decided those must be the bits I would need the most practice with.
I soon realized I was not capable of being “simple as possible.” Several of the drabbles developed interesting characters and turned into structured storylines with a deeper texture than just a nice “pizza and a fuck” tale. So I started outlining stories that had promise and began fashioning the stories into a collection.
I originally held a goal of writing 15 stories and then deciding which ones to include in a collection. I wrote 12 and fought enough with the last three to toss them out before finishing. I’ll admit I began to get impatient at this point – my blog was shaping up well and I was itching to get a book out. I felt the stories were solid and put them together to begin the editing phase of the manuscript.
During this time I cut two of the stories that I didn’t feel met my standards. This left me with the final ten stories that are included in the manuscript. Looking back now, the only regret I have about the collection is that there are a few stories that I feel do not fit with the tone of the overall collection. They are good stories; I just should have submitted them elsewhere or included them in a different collection. Perhaps readers will not see this as it is a rather personal quibble, but there it is.
Most of the stories include snippets and fragments of stories I had started writing but abandoned out of shame or embarrassment. Over the years I began amassing a junk drawer of lyrics and scenarios that I never thought I would use, but could not get rid of. I had been carrying some of these pieces of stories with me since I was a teenager. As I began to reconstruct them, I had to fill in forgotten spaces with new ideas and bring new characters to life. I regard this book as a bit of a Frankenstein creation. I sewed all these long-static ideas to new, breathing ones and salvaged what my creative memory had been holding onto for so long.
A Bloom in Cursive allowed me to empty my junk drawer so I could move on to write the things I needed and wanted to in the here-and-now and shed those years of uncertainty.
A Bloom in Cursive also allowed me to make a statement: Yes I write erotica. I write about sex. I want to make a creative connection in the realm of arousal and the often scary arena of self-knowledge and relationships.
This collection is personal to me. No, none of the physical scenarios ever happened but it would be a lie to say that I had not experienced the emotional scenarios in my stories. The book is like a time capsule, mingling thoughts and feelings from my past with ones that I was feeling quite strongly during the time I wrote the book.
The time I wrote the stories was one of instability and change. It was my first year as a sex blogger and the first year I had really made a foray into the BDSM community. Though my husband and I had been in an open relationship for a couple years at this time, I was beginning to have experiences in that arena as well.
While my personal life was rich, my husband and I were broke. He worked full time for near minimum wage and I worked two part time jobs for not much better. We were barely making ends meet while looking for other jobs and I remember being ridiculously stressed out, and to be honest I don’t really know how we did it. I would wake up really early in the morning to drink tea and write on the stories before going to work and I did edits and re-writes on my days off. I know I must have been in some sort of survival mode because I have never woken up to write early since then.
The photo I used for the cover is one my husband took of me in front of our neighbor's fence. I used tools available to DIY the cover and format the interior.
I published the book in June of 2014, a fitting time as this was the first year anniversary of my blog.
Much has changed since I published A Bloom in Cursive. My writing and sex blogging has far surpassed my goals and expectations for the short time I’ve been at it. I’ve met and learned from many amazing people. I’ve grown as a writer and sexual being. My husband and I bought a house and are experiencing the most security we have had together yet. I have had some erotica stories accepted to anthologies. I am planning to write more sexuality non-fiction books and as for my erotica I am focusing on F/F and polyamorous pairings (A Bloom in Cursive is almost entirely M/F pairings).
I am so excited to see where my writing will take me next. But I know I wouldn’t be where I am today as a writer if I had not written A Bloom in Cursive. In many ways, I will never write the same way I wrote those stories. But they are a part of my journey and the book will always be the home to my earliest dirty thoughts and so many early mornings of uncertainty that have been worth more than I can say.