Today, we’re sitting down with George Miller, whose erotic/fantasy novel, Line 21, I recently reviewed on Writer Working. Click on the the title for a look at the review, and/or on the image of the cover (above) for a link to buy the book. I’ve written an erotic scene or two, but never a whole novel in that genre, so I was curious about how and why an author goes about such a project. George has some fascinating things to say about the whole process.
WW: What response do you want from your audience? Are you interested in getting them aroused, or do you have other objectives?
GM: It took me almost no time at all to get comfortable in writing sex scenes/sexual scenarios in my stories. Making them palatable for the masses took about three years of practicing and refining what I wrote and how I wrote it.
That being said, I shot for the goal of arousal with my sexual writing almost from day one. But after working on that aspect for a few years, I came to the conclusion that I really couldn’t craft/design my writing to arouse/titillate potential readers. Instead, I decided to gear my writing towards showing that a healthy sex life, no matter what it may entail, is part and parcel of life.
WW: Do you think graphic sexual narrative has an important place in the literary world?
GM: I do think that a graphic sexual narrative has an important place in fiction. A good example of this would be my book. While the basic plot may sound like a mediocre porn movie (main character in debt to a loan shark goes into adult move to earn money to pay off the debt), I chose to write it from a purely business viewpoint. I chose to show how a movie is developed, created and ultimately shot. I made the characters believable and treated the sexual aspect as a commodity to be bought and sold.
Plots of this nature fill a necessary gap in the literary world. Not all sexually flavored fiction should be written like a Harlequin romance nor should it be written as hardcore erotica. There needs to be a happy medium for the general public to choose from, and fiction like mine can and does provide that happy medium to choose from.
WW: You’re obviously a writer who cares about character as well as about sex, how do you think the sexual aspects of the story contribute to character?
GM: Early in my writing career I made it a point to write from a female point of view. I’ve met and became good friends/good acquaintances with dozens of strong and independent women, and I wanted to translate those various qualities and persons of those women to the written word. So I wrote all of my female characters to be strong, independent and to use all the weapons that they have at their disposal. This includes sex.
An underlying theme in almost all of my stories is sex being used as a weapon of control.”
For example, in my short story “Red Stripe”, I made the lead singer of a punk rock band into a semi-clone of Wendy O. Williams, in that she uses her voluptuous body as a weapon to control the audience on various levels, be it a simmering heat or a full boil headlong assault.
The key component to all of my stories is that the woman is fiercely strong, independent, and willing to use whatever means necessary to achieve her ultimate goal, whatever that may be. Without that kind of powerful personality to run/narrate the story, the story simply becomes nothing more than a scene of sexual excess.”
WW: When you write graphic scenes, do you have an idea about lines you won’t cross?
Most definitely. I write what I like to call ‘quirky’ fiction and early on I specifically geared my writing to adults. Therefore, all of the sexual encounters I write about are between mutual consenting adults.
Having said that, I would be remiss in not mentioning that certain types of fiction almost require that you not only straddle the line but some cases, wholeheartedly cross it.
For example, this past summer I had a seed of an idea about two serial killers who decide to turn one of their potential victims into an unwilling participant. I won’t go into great detail about the what and how, but I will say that for some of the scenes that I had to write, it took me on average about a week and a half to write each one. This was primarily due to the fact that the scenes in question bothered me a lot. I knew that they were necessary, but on a personal level, they were repugnant for me to write.
So to modify my original answer, I would say that if I was writing a non-crime fiction style story, there are lines I absolutely will not cross. If I was writing crime fiction, the line becomes blurry because I would have to work hard at putting aside my personal values in order to write the story. And I think putting aside your personal values to write a particular story is the toughest thing that you can do.