Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Viscious Circle of Man Fancying

The reason I picked this topic is because lately, all I seem to feel is pressure. Pressure to write, pressure to produce a book people really want to read, pressure to meet deadlines, pressure to not use the word "was" in a sentence, pressure to stop fancying Ed Helms while watching The Office and eating jellybeans.

And yes, I know how that last one probably sounds. LOL, you're likely thinking - that Charlotte. What a buffoon!

But the thing is - that last one's real. I didn't just throw it in there to be ridiculous. I threw it in there because one of the main pressure problems I have is avoiding a crush on some weirdo because I'm supposed to be writing a book about some other weirdo.

And yeah, I know it's just my brain trying to procrastinate. My brain doesn't want me to finish my next book, because it hates my next book and is convinced no-one will like it, and really, what's the point? Even if it gets published by some miracle, readers won't buy it. Or else they'll buy it and hate it and give me a series of soul-crushing reviews that paralyses me for another month and makes deadlines loom up like a kraken from the depths while I lust after Ed Helms from The Office and eat jellybeans.

It's a viscious circle. No really - that's what pressure is. Pressure to write the perfect book becomes pressure to get it in by deadline and then pressure to get it in by deadline becomes pressure of reader expectation and then pressure of reader expectation becomes pressure to write inspite of reader expectation and then we're just back around into pressure to write the perfect book.

God, remember when things were so simple? I used to actually enjoy writing. And you know, half the time I'm not even sure if I do anymore. There are too many rules, and I don't meet any of them. I write beta men, I love femdom, I'm not a big fan of BDSM or spanking or any of that stuff. The things I write about are unpopular from the get-go, within both the erotica community AND the erotic romance community.

And then I have to go and add weird writing on top. Because I know my writing's weird. One reader described it as "uncomfortable" recently, and I'm not the kind of writer who's going to go - oh no they're probably an idiot and totally wrong. In truth, they're probably right. I write in the first person, present tense and even when I don't I'm pretty deep POV. I'm right there in your face, demanding you get in the skin of my characters and giving you absolutely no distance at all.

People like distance. So I feel pressure to give it. I feel pressure to please all of the people, all of the time, and I can't stop. I'll never stop.

Did you hear that, universe? I'll never stop. I don't care how big the pressure is or what the publishing world throws at me, I'll never stop. Because that's the thing about pressure. You can't fight it, or beat it, or pretend it isn't there.

But you can leap right over it and keep going. Which is what I'm going to do, right now.

P.S. If you fancy reading my latest novel, Reawakening (about people indulging in sexy fun to take away the trauma of the zombie apocalypse) you can find it here: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-reawakening-550153-140.html


  1. Oh, the pressure! You be you, girl! I like you're style. :)

  2. Awww, thanks. Am trying my bestiest to come to terms with my own weirdness!

  3. I don't like distance. Limited 3rd person is my absolute least favourite point of view. Even after second person. So can I be your partner in weirdness? (Lately I'm a bit off all the spanking and bang on my creepy man fetish, which is not exactly a winner in the erom popularity stakes either *sigh*).

  4. I think for writing of this kind also its important to be as immediate and personal as the POV lets you.


  5. Justine- you can always be my partner in weirdness. We may not like to write about the same things, but we sure do have the same taste in creeptastic men. Hooray!

    Garceus- my thoughts exactly!

  6. Charlotte, I resemble that remark! Yeah, beta men, femdom, that's me. Definitely not popular in erotic romance, but then I don't write erotic romance. There is, however, a small, loyal following for femdom. They're like us. Well, some people had to be, right?

    Just keep on being you!

  7. Sometimes I think it's just you, me and, like, one other person writing it! Even within the erotica community, femdom doesn't seem half as popular as all of the Masters hanging around the place. But like you, I don't care. I'm gonna do what you've suggested and just keep being me!

  8. Hi, Charlotte,

    (I tried to comment before but Blogger was being particularly recalcitrant.)

    This excellent post might be the most serious you've come up with so far, despite the throwaway funny lines. You have a lot of insight into your own style:

    "I write in the first person, present tense and even when I don't I'm pretty deep POV. I'm right there in your face, demanding you get in the skin of my characters and giving you absolutely no distance at all."

    I think you're dead wrong when you say that readers like distance. I believe that readers want to be pulled into the characters' heads, to feel what the characters feel in all its glorious messiness. And I've never read anyone who does that better than you do.

    I get bored with so much of the erotica and erotic romance I read. It all sounds the same. You have a unique voice and you should cherish it, not suppress it.

    You can't be anyone but the inimitable Charlotte Stein in any case. So why feel pressured to try?


  9. Hey Lisabet - no worries. I've commented a few times on this blog only to find my comment gone when I returned. Weird!

    And I hope you're right. Both about me having insight into my own style and about readers liking a bit of closeness! Personally, I love closeness in writing. I love first person present tense stories, but I know a lot of people don't.

    I'm not going to give up, tho. Ever hoping that people will like me the way I am!