Fifty years ago, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. The Russians have still never done it, the Chinese haven't done it, but the U.S. has done it a few times.
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”...John F. Kennedy
That was an attitude that proclaimed America's greatness. There was no need to boast about making America great...What America accomplished would prove it without boasts, without swagger, and without the President going out of his way to be a butt head.
On a completely different subject, I read, and write, erotica. Or is it pornography? There is a very thin line between erotica and porn. Not only is the line thin, but it is blurry and mostly subjective.
One opinion is that if the sex is about the story, it's erotica. If the story is about the sex, it's pornography. I'm not sure I totally agree with that, but it is certainly a legitimate point of view.
I'll offer my own take on the matter. If it's romantic; if the sex is an expression of romantic love, or even just strong affection, then it's erotica. If the story is obsessed with size and bodily fluids, it's probably porn.
Back when I had time to write I enjoyed writing erotica and used it as an outlet when I was having trouble with the many facets of my serious writing. Sort of like a pianist working on Chopsticks when he needs a break from Chopin. Not that my serious writing is comparable to Chopin as far as quality is concerned.
But what's the benefit of reading it, beyond whatever personal entertainment value it might have?
It's like this: one way to learn how to do something right is to see it done wrong. In athletics this is easy. Coaches will often show film of players' mistakes as a learning tool. Viewing mistakes is a useful tool in acting classes, art classes, and writing classes.
If you are trying your hand at the writing craft, and for whatever reason there's no organized class specifically for writing available, you have to use the tools you can find to help you. And finding good clear examples of bad writing is not easy. Even the amateur writing on Fan Story is pretty good, usually.
One example of bad writing that nevertheless hit the best seller list is one I've mentioned before: Fifty Shades of Grey. That book is a perfect example that sometimes content trumps quality. Also, as I've written before, her fourth book, Grey, is much superior in quality.
And the free erotica/porn stories often offer examples of really poor writing. They tell instead of show. That is probably the most common example of how not to. They spend the first few paragraphs describing the circumstances of the story, the appearance and characteristics of the characters, and then finally getting to the "nitty gritty" of the action.
Another characteristic of poor writing in the erotic stories is character movement, and that's what I want to dwell on a little bit.
Some writers of sex scenes, especially in a group sex setting, get sloppy about who is where when. Suddenly a participant who is last seen standing in the doorway dressed is suddenly, without transition, on the bed, naked, and engaging some part of his (her) anatomy in intimate activity.
And sometimes you have two or three people in physical situations that would require world-class contortionists, if you can picture exactly what the often unclear descriptions are trying to convey. For the most part these stories are unedited for quality and clarity, though reviewed for content.
These are good examples of how not to.
When you are writing any kind of scene, whether fiction or non-fiction, if you have any movement of characters you need to make it clear to the reader what those movements are. You may have the picture clear in your mind, but the reader can't see that. You must use words to convey the situations and movements. I find constructing action sequences as one of the most challenging and satisfying parts of writing.
About forty years ago I wrote my first novel. It was terrible. But it did serve as a learning experience. I had one scene where the hero, sword in hand (yep, it was fantasy) had to fight his way against perhaps a dozen foes while he worked his way through connecting rooms furnished with chairs, tables, couches, windows, doors, etc. I tried simply writing it as I envisioned it, but found that I wasn't clear even to myself.
I'm a lousy artist but stick figures and labelled squares are adequate. I sketched out the entire setting and the action sequence so I could see the sequence of events and how the furnishings affected the action.
Then I rewrote the scene, frequently consulting the sketch and using lines and arrows to show character movements.
I've only had to do that once since, but for every complicated scene of character movement I still draw a mental picture of the setting and characters and make sure I've written it in such a way that the readers will have as clear a concept as I do of what's going on.
And that'll do it for this time.
If anyone wants to know the internet site that I read and contribute my naughty smut to, ask on the contact page or in the comments and I'll tell you. If you want to know specifically which stories are mine, I might tell you that too, if you ask. Or I might not.
Thank you all for reading. I hope I'll be able to contribute the next blog post in less time than it took to post this one.