Friday, October 13, 2006

The Art Of Love In Writing

I have recently tried to seriously understand what it is that both men and women look for when reading about love. We are all aware of the Venus-Mars scenario, the statements of "men are visual women are sensual" which all have their purpose and their truth. There is no doubt that a woman reading about love will be seeking things that will not usually interest a male and visa-versa. This is almost an axiom proven by the highly successful romantic genre which has grown by leaps and bounds to become a respected genre for writing.

Erotica too, at least in my research, is mostly controlled by women authors. Yes there are some men authors, some men authors who use women pen-names in erotica literature, but it seems by and large a female author market. In asking some fairly well established erotica authors at AW why this is so, they all seemed to point out that simply put the "sensual" aspects are just better handled by women writers.

I do not know if this is correct or not, since I am not an author in the growing erotica-romantica-and other "ca" markets. I do know that at first glance it seems to make sense to me, though it is also a challenge which makes me want to try my hand at such writing from time to time.

Since one of the most prevalent threads common in almost all of my short stories is certainly "relationships", in some of my published and to-be-published short stories I try to deal with relationships between the sexes based obviously, upon the male perspective. Some of the published stories as "Tenuous Webs" have actually received incredible reviews.

So recently I finished a story "Love In A Cafe" which beyond anything else I wrote, I just had an incredibly good time writing it. I set out with purpose. No great message. No punching the reader in the gut. No angst or pathos. Just a simple story of falling in love. Not romance. Not erotica. Just a simple love story. One to make the reader simply smile.

I thought, of course, it was pretty good. I kind of liked it. I thought it was "real" at least for me.

I guess deep inside I may have had reservations about the story so for the first time I asked a few fellow writers who knew what I usually write about to take a look. I was really shocked at the reactions which are divided straight down the "sexual" barrier. The females among the group all said - take it or leave it. One even berated me cause she "expected a lot more from me knowing my other published works". The males all said - "great story." "exactly how it happens."

Then I decided to let an old GF of mine read this story. Though there may be a lot of "unsolved angst" between myself and this woman, one thing I always respected was her opinion in literature and in books. She happily read it, and true to the sexual divide, said exactly the same thing as the other females. (Only one female said she "really really liked the story, cause it made her smile." And smile is exactly the reaction I want from this story.)

Writing about love is one of the most difficult things there is. POV's, tastes, expectations and chromosomes all take a deep meaning in such writing. Plus, in our day and age, I truly believe we have forgotten that there is a possibility of real love, without any of the great cynicism. I learned that making people "smile" is not something so easy to do if you want to cut across the sexual divide. I also learned the "love" comes in so many flavors and forms that it will be impossible to please everyone who is even interested in such a story.

Though I still love "Love In A Cafe" it has shown me that writing about love is a serious, painful business.  Look for it in the Feb. 2007 edition at The Deepening. Maybe, just maybe, you will walk away with a smile, even if you are female!

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Categories: short stories, writing, on writing series
Getting Wasted - Writing & Editing & Publishing Short Stories

Edited With Qumana

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