Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dirty Words - Guest Post from Erin Ward

Dirty Words 
Erin Ward

It’s really about character, not sex. That’s the first thing I explain to people when I confide that I write erotica. In my opinion, that’s the difference between art and porn. Am I communicating an act or am I communicating the development of my characters? For me, it’s always about people. Characters drive the plot. The act is secondary really—it’s the follow up. Humanity is at the root any good story, even a story steeped in sex.

I find it nearly impossible to incorporate anything romantic or sexual in nature until I know my leading lady. I almost always write from the point of view of a woman, because that’s what I am and what I know. My writing is so cerebral and so emotional; I’m not sure my style would convey a convincing masculine voice. When I begin a story, I start by building my heroine. I usually begin building around something that ends up being very central to the plot—quite often her most private insecurity. Though sometimes that insecurity is very public, while her feelings on it are not. Such was the case with Tinseltown—Veronica’s albinism is hardly a secret, yet her heart is full of them. She owns her appearance in every way possible, because not to do so would mean succumbing to a despair that would devour her, even going as far as choosing a home that would embrace her—Los Angeles. In the end, her sexual quest is not a series of fetishized scenarios; it’s about watching her blossom as she learns to trust… being present as she embodies the sensual beauty of her otherness.

When I was writing for workshops, women tended to love my work. Men would often comment that nothing happens. Perhaps this is because women understand the chaos of the female mind, the cavern we carry of tumultuous emotion, the pandemonium of our inner selves…even in our head and heart we know it’s all happening! A story is empty without a strong sense of humanity, and I do my best to make sure my women are human. I show their peculiarities. I make them vulnerable. I allow them to be strong. I spill all their secrets. I try to do so in a way that every female reading can identify with the arduous task of hiding—sometimes it’s quiet and subtle, sometimes it’s a fucking mountain. We come from a culture, a history where women mask and make-up, learn to manipulate subtly and embody a certain mystery, so it’s always fascinating to see beneath those many layers.

That isn’t to say that men can’t enjoy my writing, or won’t. It is of my opinion that many men would relish the opportunity to explore the eccentricities of femininity and learn how that can permeate the written word. There is always a struggle, it is ripe with tension, and that speaks to everyone. When my protagonist is known, fleshed out whole-heartedly in my mind, then the story is boundless. When she becomes real, then I can go about writing my men in a way that feels authentic for me. It took me years to discover that women find men sexy in a variety of ways, sometimes in ways that we ourselves find surprising. Attraction is in the details and the contradictions bubbling up, always under the radar. That being said, when it finally comes to sex, there are no holds barred. Why should there be? My characters have earned it. At this point, it becomes their story. They write it. They live it for me to put down.

Tinseltown is a story of self-discovery; it’s a peek into the idiosyncrasies of the female mind. And through understanding Veronica, you’re better able to understand a place—and that’s Tinseltown. I am Erin Ward and you can find my book at the following locations:

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