In my experience, readers of online erotica would rather read stories about college students and horny housewives over stories involving elves, faeries and robots.
Which directly contradicts all of the pseudo porn vampire, werewolf and fairy novels I find in bookstores.
This contradiction often gives me headaches. I grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons and reading Tolkien, David Eddings and any one else who wanted to stretch an epic quest into a trilogy. My teenage masturbation fantasies had equal parts of high school crushes with mermaids and slutty witches. I know I am a geek but I also know that I am not alone as television has managed to keep up with my interest. My generation has deconstructed our high school lives through the supernatural prism of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and indulged in hot AI love in ‘Battlestar Galactica’. There is all sorts of geeky sex happening in televisions, movies and books, but online erotica deftly avoids it.
Again, this is personal experience from my own writing. My stories of house wives and college students are far more popular than my stories of haunted houses and erotic fantasy lands. This becomes a deterrent in the sense that as much as I would like to write a 16 part epic werewolf story, I know that my readers would prefer an 8 part story about a college student and be twice as happy. I know as a writer that shouldn’t stop me but it does. It is why I treasure my Island princess and Dr. Von Madd stories so much because for whatever reason, people accept those.
It may be simply that I am a better writer of ‘real’ erotica than I am of fantasy. I can accept it though I find it a little odd because trust me, I think I know more about witches than I will ever understand about human women who date men that are bad for them.
So pushing away my experiences writing fantasy erotica, I turn to my experiences in trying to find it to read. I just can’t seem to find it. I find highly specialized fetish sites like mind control oriented stories but I am surprised that when I open Sugasm, I don’t see at least one story about a young wizard who gets seduced by a band of traveling minstrels.
It confuses me in the sense that when we blog, we can write whatever the fuck we want. There is no editor rejecting stories. There are no bills that need to be paid with popular stories. We can write whatever we want. For some reason, whatever we want appears to be endless stories about suburban romances.
And yet publishing companies keep filling my bookstore with more vampire porn.
I have a sad suspicion that I know where the online geeks erotica writers are. Those poor bastards are writing fan fiction. When I first started writing online, the web sites dedicated to slash fiction were insanely popular. Any permutation of characters from Star Trek were being written about in exhaustive terms. The same enormous output was applied to Xena, and then Buffy, and now Harry Potter and Heroes. Fan fiction continues to grow and will most likely never stop.
And that so pisses me off.
One friend explained fan fiction to me as this- “The characters are already there. Every one knows who Harry is, and they all want to see him knock wizards hats with ____, so I can give them what they want and every one is happy.”
Did I mention how much that pisses me off?
I feel like fan fiction is this giant vortex that sucks potentially good writers into some sort of hive collective. Instead of creating their own great characters, they are busy raping some other writer’s creative output. Harry Potter was never created to have sex. He was created to be a hero in a prophecy story. As writers, we have the ability to make characters who were meant to get laid and have gangbangs with werewolves. Instead of forcing someone else’s character into a porn story they don’t fit in, we can make a character who will fit in a sexy story.
Sometimes I feel like fan fiction writers are afraid. I have anxiety that some days prevent me from leaving my apartment but man, I feel like Conan compared to fan fiction writers. Creating your own characters can be scary. Making characters people care about can be hard work and when readers reject your characters, it can be devastating. So I see the appeal for fan fiction writers to use characters that are already popular. It is easier to ride on another writer’s work and rape it then to do your own work. And if people reject your story, well they are really rejecting Ron and Hermoine’s broom sex, not you.
So that is my theory in a nutshell. Even though book companies realize how large a potential market there is for fantasy/sci-fi erotica, the online writers would rather chase the cheap satisfaction of easy fan fiction writing.
I hope I am wrong on this. I hope that after I post this, my comments fill up with links to blogs that will blow my mind. I want some good original adult science fiction and fantasy. Is that so much to ask for?