“I could write porn,” she said, innocently.

That was me, a few years ago, at the end of a long coffee conversation with a writer friend, in the context of “How do we ever get ahead, financially, as writers?” I might have also said “I could write a formula romance.” I would have considered that the less attractive choice. I certainly wasn’t planning to write either, nor do I spend much time on the impossible math riddle of writing and income.

Now, I have finished and am preparing for publication a novel with romance at its core, and way more sex than was in the original outline. (Zero.) It’s still mostly about a family, an old lady with Alzheimer’s, the dear city of Seattle, some homeless people, a radio talk personality and her Nam Vet pharmacist husband. But the husband and wife are in love, sort of, on and off, conflicted. Conflict, the writing gurus tell us, is the heart of story.

I was charging toward the completion of the first draft of this book when the “I could write porn” conversation sent its long shadow across my plotline. I’d already begun to accept the horror that I was writing “a romance,” because, even though it didn’t conform in many ways to the genre’s standards, my story was about a woman and a man, the complications of love. Okay, it’s a romance. Following then in my own footsteps, obviously, given these complex characters I’d created, if there was love, there would be sex. I bravely put my pen to paper, key strokes to the page, mind in the gutter. Luckily I knew some smart people who had already written about sex or were writing about it. I took great swallows of courage from them, and even managed to ditch the gutter metaphor. I focused instead on my old radio friend, Dr. Ruth. Plus what I remembered of Penthouse magazine from my youth.

Not easy to write love scenes, sex thoughts, touching and body parts. Not necessary either, according to a few of my critical readers, who would rather not read about “that stuff.” In other blogs, letters, or stories, I have written about how I screwed up the courage to put “all the body parts, all the touching, kissing, screwing, hitting, screaming, crying, hugging, fucking love” in that novel. Aside from my fictional wife and husband, this new style of writing belongs to the ongoing story of my sexual awakening, which I’ve been flaunting on this blog since last spring.

One winter, I did some “research” and confirmed that in our internet wi-fi world, porn is four clicks away, often free, and as dirty as ever. Bad acting, bad politics, poor film techniques. Objectification, exaggeration, phony baloney. But the first blogs I ever got hooked into reading were women’s personal accounts of certain sexual experiences. I found my way to the photos/videos that made my lizard brain dance. Internet porn is addictive. Off-line at home, I’ve been re-reading my own uniquely steamy novel. That’s strange fun.


Comments

“I could write porn,” she said, innocently. — 2 Comments

  1. Turtle, I just wanted to tell you this story about watching porn and how truly boring it can be;
    My friend Claudia came to visit me in FL. It was around Christmas and the only decent bar open was at the local gay resort. I think that may be what started this;
    The next day she stated that she had never seen men only porn so off we went to the porn supermarket to rent a video.

    We started watching and after about 10 minutes of the same anal scene we fast forwarded to another scene which was about the same but the mailman or somebody had shown up.
    We continued FF (this was a four hour vid), only to be disappointed in the lack of plot or, really, anything of interest.

    We returned the video and the sales person stated that she’d never had anyone return a movie so quickly.

    I understand that If you’re really into porn, that a story line is not important but, still, my expectation was that there would be something!!

  2. It is actually part of the definition of porn, no story line, all “money shot.”
    “Literature” is all story without the sex shot. Erotic is more half and half.
    This is what I learned in my “writing naked” class in Oct.

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