My guest blogger today is friend and all around great author, Sloan Parker. Isn’t she a cutie? Sloan has written two fantastic novels. The first, More
, is a m/m/m menage that i adore and reviewed back in June (check out “You Need More” in my blog archives.) The new novel, Breathe
, i have just begin, but even in the first few pages a reader understands that the book is unique, challenging and amazing. Because i’m even newer to novel writing than Sloan, i asked her to share some of what she’s learned in creating these two fabulous works. Read her post, and then hurry to Loose Id to buy yourself a couple of holiday presents. (And look below for a really yummy present from Sloan.)
5 Things I Learned Writing My First Two Erotic Romances
by Sloan Parker
Thank you to the lovely Tara for inviting me to her blog today. To say thanks I’d first like to share one of my fav m/m pictures.
Isn’t it great? Now that I’ve set the mood to talk about m/m romance…
Tara suggested I share a little something about writing my first two books, MORE and BREATHE. I’m always happy to talk on the subject of writing (Tara, you may be sorry you got me started). In fact, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the craft of writing, the business of fiction, and what kinds of stories I want to write in the future.
Writing More and Breathe (both published by Loose Id) were in some ways very different experiences for me, but each helped me refine the process for how I work best and the types of stories I enjoy writing (erotic, passionate, suspenseful contemporary love stories).
Here are five things I learned along the way:
1) The sex comes easily for me (so far, anyway).
A few years ago (after many years of failed attempts writing romantic suspense) I found my way to erotic romance and m/m romance. A spark flared to life inside the creative part of my brain, and I began writing with renewed passion. Writing the sex scenes in More was one of the easiest parts of working on that book. When I started my next story, I was concerned that writing the sex in More was a fluke and that I’d find myself struggling through it in my other work. Thankfully that wasn’t the case. Breathe is a less erotic novel, but the sex scenes came just as easily (yeah, cheesy pun intended). With any luck (and hard work…yes, another shameless pun) I’ll continue to find the sex flows as effortlessly as it did for More, Breathe, and the three shorts I’ve written.
2) Editing one manuscript (with my editor) while writing the other was not as difficult as I’d feared.
If I wanted to have a successful publishing career, I was determined to learn to effectively handle jumping back and forth between different phases of projects. Surprisingly, this went well for me. Maybe it had something to do with focus. I can be extremely focused on the task at hand. Just ask my partner how many pans I’ve ruined trying to make dinner while writing. Or how many times the smoke alarm has gone off before I noticed the food in the oven had been charred beyond recognition.
3) Emotion is key and the emotional state of each character greatly affected that character’s voice.
More was written from one person’s POV, Luke Moore’s, while Breathe was done in alternating POV between Lincoln and Jay. At first Luke wanted to avoid anything emotional. He wanted to get laid, nothing more (or so he thought). He had been hurt once, and he wasn’t about to go through that again. That seriously affected his outlook on, well, just about everything. In Breathe, Lincoln and Jay were emotionally raw from the first page. Both unable to let go of their painful pasts. The POV characters of each book looked at the world in very different ways, and those emotional elements dictated so much of the story, including the character’s voice, the way he communicated, and of course the sex (where, when, how, how often, etc.).
4) Nerves take on a new meaning with book two.
I found myself with a completely different set of nerves while writing my second book. I had signed a contract for my first book. I was about to have people reading my work and possibly asking for more. Would Breathe measure up? Would it be of interest to the same readers as More? Was the sex hot enough? What about the theme, style, story, and characters? Were they too similar? Too different? All new questions for me. Which brings me to the next thing I learned…
5) Readers have varying opinions on what makes good fiction. My conclusion: write a book I’d like to read.
The best fiction (no matter the genre) is infused with passion — the author’s passion for the story and characters. If I stop and think too much about what people will think about my next story, if anyone will buy it, if I’m going to please or displease my readers, I’ll lose that passion. I want to balance what readers want within the genre with what I want to say. The way I hope to do this is to put my reader hat firmly in place and write the kind of story I’d like to read (and then hope it works for my readers too). Thanks to my publisher and the readers of More and Breathe, I hope to continue to tell the kind of emotional, erotic love stories I enjoy reading.
Related to #5, I have a question for you readers out there. Do you think you can tell when an author writes a book they were not as “into” as their other work? Do you think you know when they are writing in a genre that isn’t one they normally write or read? Can you tell when they have passion for their story? Feel free to comment with your thoughts or any questions you’d like to ask me. I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks again to Tara for asking me to do a guest blog. I had fun sharing about my writing experiences.