Editing my Horrotica Book ..

There’s a funny thing that happens when I edit short stories that I’ve written.

Maybe it’s not so much funny as it is aggravating. I perseverate on things. Sentence fragments. Run on sentences go on and on and on until I stop and deliberate on the uses of commas and periods only to find out that I’m either too trigger happy with the fucking things, or that I’m not savvy enough with them, and then it turns out that my friends are no better with commas and periods than I am, and don’t even get me started on the uses of semi colons and the like;

Whew.

In short, I am my own worst critic. You would think that this would make me an excellent editor for my work. You would think that I wouldn’t need the services of professionals.

But I won’t lie. I’m too biased, after a certain point, to know what I’ve missed.

Beta readers are important, in part, for this reason. I’ve got several loyal and wonderful writer friends who will help me in that department. YAY ME! And a big YAY should go to them all. You know who you are 😉

Short stories are one thing to edit. After a certain point, I’ve done all that I can do. I’ve listened to the advice of my beta readers. I’ve even read the darn thing aloud to myself and to others just to ensure the smoothness of my narrative. I find it easiest to catch errors this way. If it sounds awkward as I read, it will read that way to my audience. At least, I think this is true.

But now that I’ve gone and written a book, I find that the editing process is very different. In my mind, it’s a bit like dropping a pebble into a still pond. That pebble creates ripples, and these ripples can spread forever. They can, in fact, bump into other ripples created by other dropped rocks, or they can be blown away; fragmented by an unexpected wind.

But I can only see the ripples if I am under the sunlight. My book feels like the pond underneath the heat and the light of the sun.

The magnitude of my accomplishment is beginning to settle on me.

Editing a book of mine also makes me feel as though I am in a time warp. When I can go back to the beginning chapters of my book and ask myself questions like “Who the hell wrote this?” and “What the hell was I thinking?” I have to feel good. I feel good because I am a better writer who can catch many of these mistakes. My style has evolved. I’ve altered my use of American English (hopefully for the better).

The editing of erotica adds another interesting layer to this exposed feeling.

I am bearing my soul with my writing. I won’t mince words. I knew that I was going to try to get this thing published. I knew that I was going to finish this book, make some noise, edit the shit out of it, celebrate my greatness, and then allow a professional editor the smack the shit out of it (and my ego) if needed. I am capable of doing the forward, backward and side rolls I need to figure this thing out. I’ll put in the sweat. I’ll work through the tears and the desire to put my fist through walls.

What else is a warrior writer supposed to do, especially when they are trying to break into the business?

Erotica exposes a part of soul that I rarely share with others. People don’t look at me and assume “this man has sex on the brain.” Well, some might, but I either laugh at them or get their numbers depending on who they are. But we can all be honest with each other, right? People are probably better off not making more than perfunctory assumptions about one another on first glance.

But if I  am damned lucky and I work hard, someday, this part of me will be exposed to the world. I want to make people squirm at work. I want the husband who reads my stuff to go home and fuck his wife until the roof comes crashing down around their ears. I crave the knowledge that I caused someone to break into a sweat on an otherwise uneventful bus ride back home from work.

Now, my characters really ARE on a stage. It feels like there are cameramen and boom mic’s with them in each scene as I scratch out one word and use another. As I relinquish my use of adverbs, I zoom in on someone’s bare ass. As I add a description of the glint in my leading lady’s eye, I actually see her breasts heaving up and down in the heat of passion. My leading man is beginning to understand what a fluffer is.

Again, I ask, “What the fuck is going on?”

Throw in the horror aspect of my book, and what we have here is a recipe for double the pressure. I’ve got to keep the tension going on multiple levels. Horror must be a visceral experience too! Fear must build. Gooseflesh, thrills and surprise must be felt when this is all said and read.

Horror and erotica are two of the hardest things to write, and perhaps two of the strangest genres to combine. The thing they both have in common other than being so difficult to do WELL is that both must be shown with such clarity. I want everyone who reads my work to feel what these characters experience. I want grab my readers by the hand and leap head first into a hell of a ride. I want them to break into a sweat for one reason or another.

I don’t know if I’m good enough to accomplish this. But I am not afraid to do the work to find out.

And damn is it fun!

I don’t know all the unwritten rules of writing a book or editing it. This is something that I can only learn by doing it over and over again. I can go to the drawing board as many times as it takes. I can pour my soul into every word that you will ever see. But I didn’t go to school to learn to write fiction. My hat is off to those who have. I may even take a class on creative writing someday when I’m not creating something else to scream about. What I’ve discovered lately is that there are so MANY good writers out there, I can only guess at what defines success for each one.

For me, the appeal for writing always was and always WILL be the ability to use my voice to add something original, fun and beautiful to the world.

Look for it. Listen for it.  It’s coming.

I may or may not record these words later for my amusement and your entertainment 😉 Fear not! my dulcet tones shall return later this week!

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4 Responses to “Editing my Horrotica Book ..”

  1. Hey!

    Horrotica is an interesting genre, isn’t it? But just like the pleasure one might find chasing something sweet with something salty, the two work well together because. I think, they ARE so diametrically opposed to one another….as a result, one tends to enhance the other. The height of pleasure mixed with the height of fear…who could resist?

  2. Another good post, Voodoo.

    E.

  3. Yes, definitely both genre’s have a major element in common, descriptions, descriptions, descriptions. What the characters look like, facial expressions and body movements, where they are/settings/mood, and the signals that come to the senses, are all major factors in both genre’s. Good luck with the book editing.

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