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Old 04-18-2013, 11:51 AM   #1
AMoveableBeast
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Who are you trying to please?

As a writer, is it more important for you to please the reader or yourself? While "both" seems like an obvious answer, there are times when sacrifices must be made, especially when writing erotica, which often works on a more primitive level where basic like and dislike, arousal and discomfort, can overrule factors like the quality or skill of the writing.

Recently, while writing a story, I came across several points where I doubted the direction of the scene I was writing because I worried that I was stepping too far out of line and entering territory that would "turn off" readers who expect stories--within each respective genre--to be more traditional, or, at the least, exclusive or isolated, untouched by other sections. While this is always an issue in literature (some people simple fall away at the first mention of sci-fi or fantasy, for example), erotica appears to be even more dramatic with it, to the point where certain stories are reviled because they veer just a tad off-course (the Loving Wives category bears witness to this quite frequently).

In the end, I proceeded as originally planned because it simply "felt right", like the story needed to play out that way. I felt that to do otherwise would jeopardize something worthwhile. In the end, however, all talk of puffed-up integrity aside, isn't that just me being self-serving, pleasing myself? I'm sure it will cost me some readers.

Does this dilemma ever bother you? How do you deal with it? what are your thoughts?
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:07 PM   #2
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Every human on planet Earth has her own crazy notion of what's what, and its folly to think you can ever please many of them. The most popular writers of all time hardly scratch the surface of all possible readers.

Write what pleases you and unchain your soul from the fool's errand of pleasing others, cuz its delusional to believe you know what they want. Most have no clue what they want or any sense of standards to evaluate you.
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAMESBJOHNSON View Post
Every human on planet Earth has her own crazy notion of what's what, and its folly to think you can ever please many of them. The most popular writers of all time hardly scratch the surface of all possible readers.

Write what pleases you and unchain your soul from the fool's errand of pleasing others, cuz its delusional to believe you know what they want. Most have no clue what they want or any sense of standards to evaluate you.
To paraphrase Mitch Hedberg who was paraphrasing Mr. Lincoln, "You can't please all the people all the time, and last night, all those people voted on my Literotica story."

I suppose that I just feel it is a little different in regards to sex, which is, part and parcel, what we are selling here. Erotica is writing, sure, but it's also something else, like a strip tease with words, where we peel off sentence after sentence hoping to get a rise. In truth, it's a bastard child of literature and porn, and, as such, the rules get a bit muddy.

In literature, you seek to take people out of their comfort zones. Even the most jaded postmodernist wants to do something different, something surprising. He wants to make the reader question or think, to come into the reader's day, and add something, or take away, to change a perception, even for just a moment

In porn, you seek to scratch an itch. The last thing you want to do is make someone uncomfortable and risk killing another innocent hard-on. When the consumer buys Barely Legal, Busty Asian Co-eds, the last thing he wants is something surprising. He wants 'em barely legal, busty, Asian, and he wants them, to the extent the poorly written script can deliver, to be co-eds. If one of them shows up with a dick halfway through, there's going to be some issues. The purchaser wanted a product, not a piece of art. When you buy hamburger at the grocery, you don't want the butcher to get all "creative" with you and mix some lamb in there, regardless of how delicious it might be. You don't want your horizons broadened. You want some hamburger.

In writing erotica, we are stuck somewhere between John Cheever and John Holmes, and it's an interesting line to walk, one that seems to demand a deviant soul and a commercial mind.
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:50 PM   #4
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As long as the completed story pleases me, I'm satisfied.

The problem is that often the completed story does not achieve the effect I wanted. Then I'm dissatisfied.

I'll still post it because once I have posted it, I can forget it, and move on.
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:51 PM   #5
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Myself--and, I hope, a growing fan base. Just about every time I get to the point of "they just hate me personally and so are going to shit on anything I post here for free read" someone e-mails me to please not stop posting. So, I don't stop posting--and them taking the time and effort to e-mail that is enough of a reward for me.
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
Myself--and, I hope, a growing fan base. Just about every time I get to the point of "they just hate me personally and so are going to shit on anything I post here for free read" someone e-mails me to please not stop posting. So, I don't stop posting--and them taking the time and effort to e-mail that is enough of a reward for me.
True. I get the same from readers who like my scribbles. Its like a taste for grits or blood sausage or cane syrup or whatever, those without the necessary tastebuds don't get it.
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMoveableBeast View Post
To paraphrase Mitch Hedberg who was paraphrasing Mr. Lincoln, "You can't please all the people all the time, and last night, all those people voted on my Literotica story."

I suppose that I just feel it is a little different in regards to sex, which is, part and parcel, what we are selling here. Erotica is writing, sure, but it's also something else, like a strip tease with words, where we peel off sentence after sentence hoping to get a rise. In truth, it's a bastard child of literature and porn, and, as such, the rules get a bit muddy.

In literature, you seek to take people out of their comfort zones. Even the most jaded postmodernist wants to do something different, something surprising. He wants to make the reader question or think, to come into the reader's day, and add something, or take away, to change a perception, even for just a moment

In porn, you seek to scratch an itch. The last thing you want to do is make someone uncomfortable and risk killing another innocent hard-on. When the consumer buys Barely Legal, Busty Asian Co-eds, the last thing he wants is something surprising. He wants 'em barely legal, busty, Asian, and he wants them, to the extent the poorly written script can deliver, to be co-eds. If one of them shows up with a dick halfway through, there's going to be some issues. The purchaser wanted a product, not a piece of art. When you buy hamburger at the grocery, you don't want the butcher to get all "creative" with you and mix some lamb in there, regardless of how delicious it might be. You don't want your horizons broadened. You want some hamburger.

In writing erotica, we are stuck somewhere between John Cheever and John Holmes, and it's an interesting line to walk, one that seems to demand a deviant soul and a commercial mind.

With some readers it's like wearing a turtleneck sweater and a backpack. It feels like there's a midget on your back trying to take you down.

Mitch Hedberg references aside, I write primarily to please myself. I send my drafts to a beta reader who gives advice as to which parts are good and which ones need more work. The goal is to produce the best possible story I can write, but the story is written and conceived without consideration of readers' desires for content. I try to meet readers' expectations for quality, but at the same time confound their expectations for story lines.

It doesn't always work.
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Old 04-18-2013, 05:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMoveableBeast View Post
As a writer, is it more important for you to please the reader or yourself?
If it's a paid gig, obviously I have to consider the market. And sometimes I start out writing a story as a gift for a lover, in which case I'll try to pick a theme that's to both our tastes.

But beyond that, I mostly work on the assumption that I'm not a unique snowflake; if it satisfies me, there ought to be somebody else out there who enjoys it too. Doing market research to optimise the content for maximum readership - too much work, and not the fun kind.
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMoveableBeast View Post
As a writer, is it more important for you to please the reader or yourself? While "both" seems like an obvious answer, there are times when sacrifices must be made, especially when writing erotica, which often works on a more primitive level where basic like and dislike, arousal and discomfort, can overrule factors like the quality or skill of the writing.


In the end, I proceeded as originally planned because it simply "felt right", like the story needed to play out that way. I felt that to do otherwise would jeopardize something worthwhile. In the end, however, all talk of puffed-up integrity aside, isn't that just me being self-serving, pleasing myself? I'm sure it will cost me some readers.

Does this dilemma ever bother you? How do you deal with it? what are your thoughts?
I write purely for me (which is probably why my output is low).
I write to see if I CAN write and string a story together.

If it costs you a few readers, don't sweat it. You'll probably gain few more, anyway.
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:30 PM   #10
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I write for me, I guess, because I get an idea and want to write it out. I've been lucky in that many people have liked my stories. But I don't think I've ever sat down to write and thought, I need to do X or Y because of the readers.

I have, though, known that when I do things in stories that are not the usual, there will be some dissatisfied reaction. However, since that's what I felt was best for the story, I did it.
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Old 04-18-2013, 07:38 PM   #11
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For pay, I write what I have to write to draw an audience.

For free, I wrote for me.
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:33 PM   #12
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When I write, I write for me. If I donít like the story than whatís the point? Iíd rather have people like what Iím writing than have my writing be what people like.
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:36 PM   #13
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A mix. I started here writing incest stories and created a big fan base with them.

Lately I've mixed it up with some other things and have been writing a lot of BDSM for the paying crowd.

But in between I always remember the fans that encouraged me to keep writing and when I post a mother/son story these days its pretty much for them.

Anything else I post is for me.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:11 PM   #14
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Everything I write I write for myself. I chose not to share for a long time and I still don't. I write to express ideas, memories, or fantasies, both my own and those who have shared theirs with me. I am not above writing something commercial, but I have the luxury not to seek out pay so I am free to indulge myself. I have the utmost respect for those that must earn with art, I do not envy them. As much as I like pleasing others with stories, I please myself first, I enjoy a little selfish joy in the hobby of writing.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:16 PM   #15
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The fact that I'm not interested in writing for myself OR others is the major problem I have with getting motivated to write. For myself, I don't see any need to go through the work of putting words on paper; just daydreaming is easier and equally fun. I also think it's impossible to ever really read your own writing the same way you would enjoy reading someone else's. For others, I don't really feel a desire to communicate with them; most people aren't particularly enthusiastic about what I want to write, and the few who are still don't interact in any meaningful way with me during or after reading my stuff.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:19 PM   #16
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If someoneís paying, Iím writing for that someone. If no oneís paying, Iím usually practising for when someone is paying, which I guess means that Iím writing for me Ė although I still appreciate constructive feedback.
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Old 04-20-2013, 12:30 PM   #18
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I find when I write for pay it's completely for the market first and reader second which detaches me from the work; I never mind an editor completely ripping a piece a part and changing it all around for the publication; doesn't bother me in the least as I feel it's their money they can do what they want.

When I write for me then the work becomes my baby and no one better touch it. I can't stand editors messing with my words in this case.

weird really.
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Old 04-20-2013, 12:51 PM   #19
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I nearly always am just writing what I want to write and go looking for the market afterward. Sometimes I write to fill a hole, though, as now, when I'm dreaming up stories to fill out a couple of thematic anthologies.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:31 PM   #20
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I just write, then decide what to do with it later . . . unless it's something specific for a publisher.
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