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Monday, January 2, 2012


Write What You Know?

“Have you tried all those things you write about?” they ask with a snicker. Such is the life of the erotica writer. Well I had fun answering that in my biography. But people don’t ask suspense writers that question. An author friend of mine who writes steamy stories answers, “Absolutely, I try everything I write about. When my villain cuts off someone’s hand, I make sure I have experience doing it.” And what about the paranormal and science fiction writers?

But on the other hand (the one still attached), you do have to have some experiences in life, some firsthand knowledge, to be able to write well. If you’ve never had a sexual encounter, you couldn’t write believably about it. Just as you have to have experienced some anger, heartbreak, and disillusionment to write a believable villain, you have to have been in love and felt lust to write about them. The bottom line is that it’s the emotions that have to be real for readers to identify with the characters.

But then there are the details. Personal knowledge is helpful, but there’s always research. Right now, the amount of information available to us all, writers and readers, is astonishing. I’ve written dozens of stories, many steamy, but this is the first one that specifically deals with sensual bondage. Although I’m not in the BDSM lifestyle, I’ve learned a bit about it. I’ve felt that marvelous sense of abandon that submissives feel. Anyone can try sensual bondage at home. And I’ve learned a lot from people I know, from non-fiction books I’ve read on the subject, and also from fiction.

Yes, I’ve learned about BDSM, and even about sex in general, from reading erotic romance. Sure, they’re fantasy. No doubt about it. But many stories explore sexuality in a way that allows readers not only to live vicariously, but to get an insight into other techniques and experiences. Writers like Eden Bradley (aka Eve Berlin) bring their real-life experiences from the BDSM world into their fiction. (And don’t you wonder if Angela Knight has had some personal experience with a sexy vampire?)

So instead of write what you know, some say to write what you know or are willing to learn. That’s good advice. I say read a good story and you can learn that way too!

Chellesie B. Dancer enjoys writing contemporary, historical, and erotic love stories with a sprinkling of comedy. The women in her books dare to ask for their desires, so they truly will be satisfied ever after. Be careful what you wish for...

Chellesie lives on top of a hill overlooking the smog of sunny Southern California. Other than writing, she entertains at parties as an M.C., a paleontologist’s assistant, and occasionally a dancing gorilla. She’s the mother of three beautiful boys and an assortment of other critters. Luckily her husband cooks!


Debby said...

Good advice. I am thinking of writing something but cannot make up my mind.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Chellesie B said...

Go ahead and write it! Nora Roberts always says, "You can't fix a blank page!"
Thanks for dropping by.

Maria Powers said...

Absolutely the best advice - write what you are willing to learn about and/or explore. If something squiggs you, then that isn't something you should write about.

Great post.

Chellesie B said...

You are correct there. Unless of course you're writing about someone with that same squigg-factor. In that case, you'd want to revel in the squigginess. (or is it squiggology?) :)
Thanks for your coloful insights Maria!

Robena Grant said...

I agree. You don't need the personal experience. I write suspense and live a very quiet lifestyle. : ) And with the research available on the internet these days it's amazing when any of us get any writing done. I'm always clicking on just one more fascinating link that leads me to another, and then another....

Ruby said...

When asked this, I usually like to talk about my the three-guy three-way in a gay leather bar scene.

Word verification: fricker

Chellesie B said...

Yes Robena, that's the benefit and curse of living in these times--the wealth of info available!
Thanks for your comment!

Chellesie B said...

Ruby, and your point is?
You mean you haven't tried that a bunch of times? LOL!
Thanks for making me laugh, I mean stopping by!

Roz Lee said...

All I can say, is research for my erotic romances is a lot more fun than researching all those academic papers I wrote in high school and college! LOL

Now...what will my characters be doing next?

Congrats on the release of Power Play!!!

Chellesie B said...

I agree Roz!
And it's amazing how people, men even, so generously offer to help with the research. ;)

Now you've got me wondering--what's gonna happen next on The Lust Boat? (And where so I sign up for that cruise?)

Thanks for dropping by!

Renald said...

Great interview.