Applying the Research
Now I knew I could sell, and I had a good idea of what markets were out there and what they bought. I decided that I wouldn't try to sell to every available market; writing doesn't support my basic needs, it's something for the soul. So if what I wrote wasn't fun and challenging, what would be the point?
I made a start on trimming and altering the other sex scenes in that one fanfiction story, but I also wanted to write something from scratch. A call for submissions for something called Tough Girls attracted me. It paid the same as the anthology to which I'd already sold, and I quickly saw that, with a theme, a different kind of story like sf would be more likely to sell, so the editor could avoid repetition. (At the time, I didn't know that the editor, Lori Selke, liked sf; I didn't find that out until long after.) Thinking of tough women, I immediately decided I would write about a soldier. In Space! I love space opera.
I had a plot, and I finished a draft, but the story just wasn't right. It felt flat to me, unconvincing. My third person limited narrative voice didn't have the toughness and coldness I felt it needed, and I didn't know how to make it happen; my own personal voice is nothing like that. I needed distance. For once, inspiration struck. I didn't trust it at first, but it persisted. Make it second person present, my mind insisted. It'll work. At least, I finally decided, I would be able to say I'd tried second person present!
So I started rewriting, a few pages on in the same notebook. And it did work. I immediately noticed how much wordage I was able to leave out, how sharp and punchy the prose became. I was more distant, in a way, so I could write the character more as I meant her to be, hard and a bit isolated from other humans. What a rush! I titled it "Camera," thinking of the pov, and the weird voyeuristic feel it gave. I typed it, edited on paper, edited again, and mailed it off, both to Tough Girls and to the next Best Lesbian Erotica, which accepted reprints.
Both bought "Camera," and since then it's sold twice more. I'm still very proud of that story. I was so happy with it then that I decided experimentation and difference would be my approach to writing erotica from then on.
Stay tuned to this LJ for the next exciting installment of The Tale of an Erotica Writer!