Writing Erotica: A few things I’ve learned so far…

Okay, so I’ve been at this gig for a while now and, since I started out, I’ve learned some helpful tips that I thought I’d share. I should point out that these are about independent, self-published books, so may not be relevant to everyone.

I’d also like to preface this by saying that, though I trained in writing at University, it was a very broad course covering all kinds of writing, not just strictly creative. So, I am in no way an expert, and I’m sure there will be things in this list that some of you will respond with, ‘Show, don’t tell? That’s amazing- write that down for me Strange!’ Before promptly slapping me in the face with your notebook.

With that said, here are my top (amateur) tips for writing erotica:

1) Show, don’t tell.

Just kidding! Though seriously, that shit is pure gold. Can you believe I only heard that phrase about a year ago? If you’re new to writing and haven’t been introduced to that concept, look it up, it’ll change your life.

1) Write what you know.

Sounds obvious, sure. But, if you’re anything like me, you’ll get through a few chapters of writing before you realise you actually don’t know as much as you may have thought. I’m not saying anyone here isn’t very intelligent, I’m sure you all are. But what if, for example, you decide to write a sexy story based in some incredibly exotic location, then you start describing the setting only to remember you’ve never actually been to Brazil and you can’t really draw enough information from the penultimate Twilight film to describe the setting.

With that in mind, write what you know. If you want to set a story in a really exciting location, try and draw on things that you’ve experienced in places you have been. Don’t limit yourself by needing specific details, build a story around the specifics that you have experienced and would want to experience again. Went for a great meal in your home town? Describe it as if you were explaining it to someone from another country who had never tried it. In love with the view from a local landmark? Write about it a if it’s the most unique and exotic thing in the world.

2) Research what you don’t.

Again, seems obvious. And, if we were talking about most genres of fiction, I would say it was. But I know when I started writing erotica I relied heavily on things I had already experienced as the broad basis for my stories. I mean, you’ve either had sex or you haven’t, right? It didn’t occur to me straight away that it was a good tool in my box (mind out of the gutter people. I’m tryin’ to be academic here!) to get some research to empower my stories further. For example, when I wrote the last instalment of Beast of Backar – The Hunt – I ended up doing loads of research about the Russian Revolution, stolen artefacts etc, and it didn’t even take me that long. But it gave the story so much more depth and the erotic parts were all the more enjoyable for it.

3) Literally everyone always judges books by their covers. Always.

Come on, be honest; we all do it. Before you publish anything, look at what books that are selling well have on the cover. What makes them stand out? Take notes, it definitely makes a difference. Also, think about what you look for when choosing a book. Would you pick up an erotic story if it had a picture of a giant penis on the front? Well, then don’t put one on your cover!

3) Brush up on your skiiiiiiiiiiills.

Not everyone who writes has had the money to attend loads of courses. That’s okay, but there are endless free resources these days that you can access for free to help you up skill yourself. I follow loads of blogs and vlogs from established and starter writers to learn as much as I can about my craft so that I’m always improving. This also comes back to the cover design- if you don’t know how to create a professional and appealing cover, look it up. I promise these things will be well worth your time.

4) Manage your expectations

So, you’ve researched your story, you’ve got well rounded characters and exciting settings. The sex scenes are hot and steamy. You’re ready to start your new life as an erotic author. Goodbye, grind! Goodbye office friends I never really liked that much!

Yeeeeaaaaah. Don’t print your letter of resignation just yet. I hoped I would be making enough money from my stories within about six months for me to quit work and write full time from home.

Stupid girl!

I made a grand total of £8 in the first month and the money just kept trickling in. Two years later, well…let’s just say I’m not living it up like E L James. There are several reasons for this in my case. (The writings fine, by the way. 🤨) BUT – first of all; who da hell are you? You’ve got to work up and build a name for yourself. Once you’ve had a fair few titles out that have done well, people start looking out for you, but that takes time. Also, if you publish through Amazon like I do, the percentage they take is, frankly, outrageous. But I console myself with the knowledge that at least my work is being read, where if I went through traditional means, it quite possibly wouldn’t. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use traditional publishing, you gotta do you after all.

5) Stick with it!

Following on from the last point, don’t give up!What separates the writers who can write full time and the ones that can’t (other than actual ability in some cases) is that they stuck it out. At first you’ll be like, well duh. I can write forever! But when you actually publish all those ideas that had been burning in your brain for years, that’s when the real work starts. Finding new inspiration, investigating what’s selling, keeping up the standards. Yeah, your hobby is now your job, and that changes things. This is when you’ll know if it’s really what you want to do. Me? I’m just now at the point where I’m making about three figures a month even when I don’t release anything, which I’m very proud of. And yeah, it’s hard, but I’m sticking with it until the AI’s price me out of the industry.

6) Try not to take reviews to heart.

Unless they’re good. Then let them inflate your ego to totally disproportionate expanses!

Seriously though, I’ve had a few reviews that stung. I’m not pretending that I’m the best writer in the world. I’m not saying my books will change your life. I had an idea and I just put it out there in case someone else might enjoy it. Problem is, if you put something into the public sphere, you have to accept that people are going to comment and may be quite harsh: it just comes with the territory. If you can’t handle the heat, best you get out of the kitchen. Also, there have been times when I’ve learned something from my less than glowing reviews, and I take that as a positive.

Well, I think that’s pretty much it from me at the moment. All in all, I love what I do because I get to be creative and saucy all in one outlet. I hope this has been even a little bit helpful for some of you.

Check back again soon for more ground-breaking revelations from a somewhat established indie sex-writer.

Take care,

Strange

Creative Explosion!

Hello, readers!

This is more of a quick update than anything else, but I’m finally in a headspace for writing again and I’m so excited that I needed to share!

Since starting my new job role in the later part of last year, I’ve been a lot busier at work. This is something that I’ve been wrestling with; I never expected to progress in that job, I mostly just show up so I can support my family and pay for a house to write smut in.

Secretly though, I am passionate about certain aspects about my job, and I was offered an opportunity to have an impact in an area I really care about, so I took it. I’ve mentioned before that the role comes with longer hours, extra responsibility and a Masters level training course. As a result, my stress levels have been through the roof and my writing capabilities have been almost zero.

This weekend though, I submitted my first assignment, and it’s like my brain was suddenly freed of a massive weight. I had a clear direction for my story, and banged out 1,000 words in less than half hour. I’m now really excited about the way it’s going.

I also designed my entire kitchen remodel, new garden landscape, loft conversion and created a state-of-the-art Pokemon Zoo with Playmobil for my son. The last one was the most impressive.

What about you, dear readers? How are your ventures coming along?

Joseph Chiltern Pearce said, ‘To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.’

Never been an issue, JCP.

Take care,

Strange

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Just a quick note to say I wish all of you out there a very happy new year!

My Grandparents were from Glasgow, so I have an endearing relationship with Scottish New Years traditions, particularly the loud, passionate chorus of ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ at midnight. As closely as we can translate it, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ means something like, ‘For old times sake.’ I love that song, as do so many of us.

That been said, I’m very much up for whatever new times are waiting ahead. May 2023 bring each and every one of you new, and gloriously sexy adventures!

(Which you can then tell me about so I can market them.)

See you all next year, and as the famous song goes, ‘we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.’

Ah, the Scottish brogue. As clear today as it was in 1788.

Take care,

Strange

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I just wanted to wish anyone out there reading this a very Merry Christmas.

There can be alot of pressure at this time of year to be deliriously happy and get swept up in the spirit. For most of us, that’s fine, wonderful even, but for others, Christmas can be anything to moderately annoying to severely painful, depending on what you’re going through at the time.

To those of you out there who know what I’m talking about, I get it, I’ve been there. Trying to grind out a smile while it feels like your world is collapsing. To you, I wish you love, compassion, warmth and friendship.

Remember, keep your head up and keep believing. As Grandsanta said in Arthur Christmas, ‘They used to say it was impossible to teach women to read.’

Take care,

Strange

How to Balance Everything and Look Flawless Doing It…

Riiiiiiight.

Hello again, Readers!

It feels like it gets longer and longer between posts at the moment, but that’s largely because I’m moving slower with my writing too.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve got a new job which actually comes with a massive training course alongside it, so I’m pretty damn busy at the moment.

And let’s not forget that we have officially entered the craziest time of the year: Holiday Season! My family celebrates Christmas and I’m sure we all know just how much that gets in the way of everything else. Have I done any writing today? Nope; I’ve been busy wrapping presents for neighbours I don’t know and relatives I don’t like. Ho, ho, ho!

To be honest, I’m so charmed by the season since I became a Mum that none of the annoying aspects of it bother me at all anymore. I was even blasting the Christmas radio station (oh yeah, that’s a thing) in my car the other day. When I see my boy writing letters, looking out for reindeer, decorating a tree, baking cookies…frankly, you’d be hard pushed to sour my eggnog.

Anyway, back to writing. Because I’ve had to slow down in pretty much every aspect of my life to balance it all, I’ve actually had to look a lot more closely at my writing to make sure I’m using my time effectively. As such, I’ve found another weird niche that I’m quite good at; erotic horror/sci-fi. I’ve done a few stories in this genre before, mostly because the occasion (Halloween) called for it.

But having this time constraint has meant I’ve had to write what comes the most naturally to me, and it seems that the weird stuff is just pouring out of me uncontrollably. It’s my first high school party all over again!

So, I’m currently working on my new Erotic short, tentatively named, ‘Slime Lake.’ Though the title may yet change. It’s an erotic horror and a loving homage to the films I loved in the 90’s. It’s a little tongue in cheek, and a little tongue in anus.

Sorry, I’m in that kind of a mood.

On that note, I leave you with a quote from a British politician who absolutely would not have ended up starring on I’m A Celebritity…

‘Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.’ – Winston Churchill

It should be noted, he was a big drinker, and ‘failure’ may have been code for ‘pub.’

Take care,

Strange

And we’re ready write…

More of a post than a blog post a suppose, I just felt like sharing this incredibly important part of my writing process. You know, in case it helps any of you other writers out there.

1) Make a hot chocolate.

2) Don’t skimp on the whipped cream and sprinkles.

3) Write the next Jurassic Park with your new found, hot chocolate fuelled inspiration.

You’re welcome 😎

Take care,

Strange

I guess I’m selling… in?

Hey Strangers!

So, remember a little while back, I said I was considering expanding my horizons somewhat? Well, I’ve decided to take the plunge: I’m writing a full on, in-one-piece, romantic-rather-than-erotic novel!

And, to top it off, I’m actually going to try to submit it to a publisher and see if I can get it published traditionally.

I should note that I have a few pros and cons for this decision. The pros are mostly that it’s going to serve as a milestone for my writing: it’s mainstream, full length and I may actually get critiqued (rejected) by someone in ‘the biz.’

There’s also the obvious pro that in some wonderful universe where I need to buy a lotto ticket, I might actually get published! Live the dream: book release…public appearances…a movie? Dinner with RuPaul? The sky’s the limit.

Now for the cons. The genre of the book is paranormal/ adventure/romance so I still get to be a bit flirty and dirty in my writing, but it’s much more vanilla than the Strange brand usually presents. Not that I mind that, it’s just going to be a learning curve for me. I mean, I find whips and chains super romantic, but where’s the line for the rest of the world?

Also, it means a lot of my energy is being put into one place. I’ll still be writing my shorts on the side, but they won’t be as regular and that worries me because I don’t want to lose the 5mph traction I’ve built over the last year and half.

The scariest thing for me though, is I won’t be writing under my pen name, I’ll be writing under my real name. Because this isn’t erotica, I don’t have to hide my identity. Which is great for the most part, I can actually stand up and take credit for my work. But I’m actually a little sad to shrug off K M Strange. I feel like I’ve grown so much with her, the writing style, the colours, even the colour scheme. It’s all very me. I know I can apply the same style to my real name, but I still can’t risk being connected.

Of course, if I hit the big time I can quit my day job and come out of the stationary cupboard once and for all. Then there will be no shutting me up! Muhahaha!

Anyone out there had any experience in traditional publishing, I’d be very grateful for your tips, tricks or even just your stories.

(Sorry, not your stories; I’m not trying to steal your work. I meant your experiences. I swear…)

Saul Bellow said, “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”

If someone wakes me in the middle of the night to write they’ll have to redo it completely because I’ll have made them eat it. I’m a Mum.

Take care!

Strange

No Pressure, 2022

Hello, readers and a very Happy New Year to all of you!

(I know I’m the last out of the gate with this, but hey, fashionably late is how I roll.)

So, I feel like most of us can agree the last few years have hardly been the best. You know, globally. I daren’t even say, ‘I didn’t have a great year,’ because I fully expect to hear a roaring, ‘No shit, Strange!’ from the world in response.

I did actually have a few personal, non-COVID related grievances though. I mean, it’s still not a competition, but let’s just say I’m now the oldest living woman in my family at the tender age of 30-something.

Closer to 30. #justsayin.

Anyway, in a truly unique and unpredictable manner, I’m writing this post with the intention of discussing my plans for New Year and my hopes that it, and I, will be much improved.

Are we talking about resolutions, Strange? Yes, dear readers, I’m afraid we are. As well as general plans and ideas.

…still there? Anyone?

Well, for those of you still with me, let’s start with resolutions. When I was younger I used to make a list of like ten that never came to fruition. As I have grown wiser, (I think I mentioned I am the matriarch and therefore automatically the wisest woman in my family now) I make fewer, much more achievable goals. This years are as follows:

1) Eat healthier. No, seriously. Not like, eat less chocolate or whatever, I’m actually pretty healthy as it is, I’m just trying to level up. My rule of thumb is, if I can’t honestly say it’s good for me, it’s not going in my mouth. -Insert fellatio joke here.-

2) Learn a language. I love languages and I can make very polite observations in about five. For example, ‘Eyeh, Baka, ei-tai!’ Is ‘No, idiot. That hurts.’ In Japanese. Spelled phonetically lof course. But I’ve decided I need to finally be fluent in at least one.

3) Make significant progress to making writing my career and giving up my day job. That ones fairly self-explanatory. So long, London Underground!

And that’s it. Nothing too major. But all of it (barring maybe the language one,) is because 2021 taught me one thing above all else; my life isn’t of value to me as much as it is to my family. I owe it to them to live as long and as fully as I can so that my son is not left without his parents in his early-thirties.

In the short-term, I’m currently working on the third and final Sophisticated Beasts story, and it’s flowing easier than some of my previous stories already, which I feel must be a good sign. I’m working hard to apply the feedback I’ve gotten from last year, (particularly from Priscilla Bettis, a horror author who is far too talented and well-known to waste her time giving some newbie erotic author a full and thorough review for every book and yet always takes the time to, anyway. Do check out her new book, The Hay Bale, if you feel like being chilled to your bones!) to improve my writing as much as possible.

I’d love to know, readers, what are your resolutions or projects for the new year? Anything I can check out?

So, here’s to 2022. It literally can’t be worse than 2021, right? Right.

“Celebrate endings—for they precede new beginnings.” Jonathan Lockwood Huie coined that phrase, and the makers of the Matrix swear by it.

We’re Going Through Changes…

Truth be told, I do not love that song. If I had to choose though, like gun to my head, I’d probably listen to the Osbourne’s version over the original. Don’t judge me!

Quick disclaimer; this post is not really about writing, more an update/life musings post. If you’re not in the mood for that, feel free to close this and read a more relevant post. It’s cool, I feel ya.

Thank God you’re still here. I mean, I was playing it cool but honestly my self-esteem is entirely hinged on your continued interest in this post.

Aaaaanyway…lately I’ve had a lot of stuff go down. Real stuff. I mentioned a while ago that I lost a relative recently, I don’t want to go into details, but it was someone who I really feel like I needed more time with. I’ve been working through the ole’ grieving process with my usual grace and resilience (cut to me sobbing under bed while muffling my cries with cinnamon buns) but I’m learning a lot about myself as I go.

The biggest impact it’s had is that I’ve had to seriously reassess my self-image and understanding where I fit in this crazy world. As a result, I’ve been hella insecure lately. Which has made me massive amounts of fun to be around.

So far though, as I build this new chapter/version of myself I’ve found a few things: 1) I want to be a writer more than anything (career wise) and I’ve thrown myself into it as a result. My short story collection for Halloween is coming along at breakneck speed. 2) Being a mum was always at my core, but now I really understand the gravitas of the relationship for the child. There is no other job that could possibly compare. 3) I’m funny even when I’m sad. Ironic win.

So, there you have it. I’m slowly emerging as a new version of myself and I’m excited to see how it progresses. If any of you can relate, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Faraaz Kazi said, ‘No matter how bad your heart is broken, the world does not stop for your grief.’

Well, fuck you too Kazi. 😒

Take care,

Strange

A Work in Progress…again.

Hello, readers! How are we all?

So, I wanted to mention that things may be a bit quiet in the Strange warehouse at the moment, it’s going to be a little while before a new title is released.

Not that I’m not working on it…I am! But the last few months I wasn’t up to my best. I lost a family member in March, so I was busy grieving and organising the funeral etc, while also trying to write. The writing was a welcome distraction to be honest, but I realise now that it meant that some of what I released wasn’t up to my usual standard.

Anyway, I went back and re-edited some of my more recent titles to bring them up to scratch, and then I figured, in for a penny, in for a pound! So I’m now going back over my older work too, just to make sure everything is as good quality as possible.

That’s it, really. Not that I think you’re all out there watching your computers obsessively waiting for my next title, I just didn’t want you to think I’d faded in to the oblivion of lost writers. I did visit there once for a holiday, wouldn’t go back; the service was awful. Great food though…

Salvador Dali said, ‘Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.’

Well, ill show ewe Mr Dali!

Take care,

Strange