Monday, November 6, 2017

The Writer's World: Topics, Writing & Inspiration

This blog post reflects the information I shared during the WPW FaceBook Event on November 7th, 2017. This event focused on authors and their world, including how they decide their subject matter, writing habits, and sources of information. You can find the entirety of the event here.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Angora Shade, American expat living in Europe and writing erotica & romance. You can find all my books on my Amazon author page, and many of my titles now appear on the Radish Fiction app. Feel free to check me out!

How does someone become a writer and where do all the ideas come from?

I’ve always believed that people who write do so because they have to. It’s a compulsion, a necessity. Imagine having a third arm and never using it. A person either has the predisposition for writing or they don’t. It’s true that some people at whatever point in time in their life might say, “Hey, that’d make a great story; I should write it down!” and they do; it sells and they get to call themselves “author.” But in most cases, I think people who tell stories can’t function or find some semblance of happiness, inner peace, or whatever name you want to give it, without writing.

When you’re a writer and you’re telling a story, you sometimes write for yourself, the reader, or both. But for whatever reason you’re putting words down, there’s a high involved. It’s not the after effects of too much booze or the chill sensation some people get when stoned, but something completely different and unique to every author. For me I’d say I feel satisfaction, accomplishment, or full. I’d go as far as saying that I feel whole.

I first began writing as a child. I was fascinated with creating my own stories and illustrations in grade school, and later became focused on poetry as a means of self-expression. Ideas for stories when I was a kid stemmed from retelling other stories I had heard in my own way, but as I grew, I drew topics from my emotions.

I didn’t have the typical childhood or teen years. My early life was tragic by most standards, and the safest outlet was through writing. The things I couldn’t outwardly express I found a way to communicate through paper and pen. Writing is therapeutic whether a person chooses to share their words or not, and I’m grateful I was able to work through issues with writing as my tool. I was able to heal damaged parts of my heart and mind through my writing.

As an adult, I still find writing to be a tool for expressing emotions, but not a must. I’ve grown up and I deal with communication of my feelings in an adult way. This has left a gaping hole in my reservoir of writing topics. I’ve had to search out new methods of inspiration.

Motivation and inspiration often go hand-in-hand.

This was a topic of fascination for me when I first began writing seriously and publishing or self-publishing my work. I wanted to better understand how I fit in with other authors, and did a series of interviews from the pool of authors I’d come in contact with.

Here is an interview on Motivation In Writing:

How do writers prepare to write? Here’s what numerous authors had to say:

Another interesting aspect of writing is how writers are affected by the concentration involved in creating a story. You can read about this here:

The research I’ve done also expands into the writing habits of other authors, specifically in the erotica, erotic romance, romance, and (let’s just call it porn) genres.

You can read interviews on how writing sex scenes relates to the lives of the authors who write them on my blog. If you’re familiar with these genres, chances are you know of or have heard of these fabulous writers, including the multitalented Wicked Pen Writers Reed James and Bryce Calderwood.

Part ONE          Part TWO

The journey into writing erotica, erotic romance, and romance...

I didn’t always write about sex. I didn’t even write about romance. Hell, I didn’t even read anything except horror, adventure, and science fiction until recently. So what happened? What drove me to explore these new genres?

After moving to Sheep Shit Nowhere, Europe, I was unemployed, had no friends, and didn’t speak the language. I was bored. So I poured all my energy into writing my first official novel under a different pen name. The story was a young adult dark fantasy that included a small element of romance, which picked up speed as the story developed. My climactic moment fell a little flat due to the fact that nothing more than a kiss took place. I began questioning traditional rules: can you put a sex scene into a young adult book, is sex allowed for minors, is sex necessary for my story and characters? 

I learned that no, you can’t have underage characters screwing in young adult fiction (traditionally. I’m not saying it never happens, just that it’s usually a big no-no). Everything has to take place “behind the scenes” if something more than legal happens. But it wasn’t satisfying!!!!! To this day, I still feel like there needs to be more for my protagonist and her surprise love interest.

Understanding the rules, I abandoned writing young adult literature and tried my hand at something completely new: smut. I spoke at length with another erotic author and discussed the basic elements of sex scenes, got drunk, and penned my own. I needed to know if I could do it. I needed to see if I was any good at it. Would I even be comfortable with it?

My story was fun to write and pushed me further creatively than I had ever pushed myself before. The original short story “Adventures In Plastic Wrap” ballooned into “Cat & Mouse” and eventually into “Cat Games,” published by my former publishing house. I learned that you can write a story that means something as well as write a story with steamy sex. I was satisfied.

This story is available on Amazon and is coming soon to Radish Fiction:

After writing my debut story, I struggled with what to write next

I don’t like repeating myself. I don’t enjoy tropes and have no desire to be “that author who writes only BDSM.” I wanted to diversify. So I asked myself: what interests you and what do you want to learn about? From there I took those topics and formed stories around them, asking myself what sort of character would be as interested as I am and what would they do?

I’ve explored gay, lesbian, and heterosexual fiction on my writing journey. I’ve dabbled in themes of revenge, BDSM, voyeurism, age diversity, paranormal, religion, and pushing against societal norms. Some stories are PG, some are XXX, others somewhere between. I’m not certain I’ll always write under the erotic, erotica, or erotic romance genres, but I’m going to exhaust all the possibilities I can before I move on to something else. Sex is as diverse and complex as life gets, is something most of us include in our lives, and makes for a wonderful mass of relatable, fantastic, and vivid story fodder.

My Writing Process

Every writer will have a different routine for writing. Mine is completely random, changing a lot between stories and even while working on the same story. Most writers would tell you that my methods are plain stupid and unproductive, and it’s probably true. But whatever. Works for me.

1) I find a subject that interests me.

2) I research.

3) I think about characters and how a story could come of my subject.

4) I start writing. I never outline. My stories fill themselves out inside my head, plot holes and all. When something doesn’t work I take a break and do something else. If for some reason I have to outline, it’s basically a note or two here and there, and not the detailed information authors go into.

5) I do more research when I get stuck, and speak through my ideas with my writing partners (you should have numerous. Very helpful. You can check out my blog post about writing partners here).

6) I kick myself until I finish a story. It’s a struggle for me to get the point of writing “The End,” and I’m sure it always will be. Writing is a labor of love, but it’s not easy.

Advice for other authors

Once in a while an author finds themselves in a rut. This is only normal. It happens. We push through it and get on with whatever. Sometimes we pick up an old manuscript that we shelved a while back, dust it off, and experiment with a new idea, or we sit down and spin a web of something new. 

It’s good to stay fresh. I suggest authors flex their writing muscles whenever possible, whether that means setting daily or weekly goals, participating in author circles and events, or researching and reading about the subjects they like to write about. Don't shy away from keeping up with your craft or you're going to struggle. You have to be a badass.

But even with the best intentions we can end up in a rut. Or maybe we just need a break from what we’re working on. Flash fiction can be a great way to flex sore or rusty writing muscles. 

I’ve participated twice in a Thursday Flash Fiction challenge hosted by author Siobhan Muir. Every Thursday a new prompt is given to authors taken directly the previous week’s winning story. Stories must be original, within a specific word count, and contain the prompt. 

Check out her blog for the latest prompts and stories, and ask to join the FaceBook group if you’re interested. 

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