Jul 092012

Lately I have been reading a lot of role-playing blogs.  For the past two months I usually spend about an hour an night reading blogs about old school dungeons and dragons.  Now D&D is like 5th on my list of preferred role-playing games but I am devouring these blogs like an addict.  I think I have read more gaming blogs than books on my Kindle.

Why do I do it?  Because the blogs I read are in a constant state of creativity.  They are constantly discussing influences, applications of those influences and making shit up.  A lot of the blogs will just drop a one page idea and walk away.  Readers can take those ideas and plug them into their own games.  Imagine that for a moment.  A guy can write some notes about a book that eats fingers and give some ideas of where it came from, and then a hundred other people can put that idea in their game with the inevitable modifications, adjustments and personal touches.

“But Shon, sex blogs do the same thing with writing prompts.  That’s when a sex blog tells people to write a story about threesomes and then everyone shares the stories they wrote about threesomes.  Same thing!”

Well no, it is not, imaginary voice.  Writing prompts give a bare tangent of an idea and send writers out into the creative wilds alone.  Role-playing blogs would give people three characters, their personal dynamics and their quirks and then encourage writers to plug those people into their stories.  That is pretty insane by most sex writing blog standards. 

I think the insanity comes from the fact that role-playing games are social.  You can’t play unless you have friends to interact with.  Writing is more of a one way process.  I write my story and then everyone reads it.  If I am lucky, I will get feedback.  That is a big if by the way.  Most of the time I write something and then have to wonder if people even liked it.  It can be lonely but thankfully I am a narcissist.  Role-playing on the other hand is constant interaction.  One guy is playing his thinly veiled knock off of Conan and he is interacting with the player who has created his imaginary perfect character complete with twenty pages of back story.  These two mingle their process and grow and edit their characters based on these interactions.  Eventually the knock of Conan will have an appreciation for dogs because of his role-playing with the other player who’s character trains dogs.  It is a lot of give and take.  Ultimately role-playing is an exercise in entertainment and wish fulfillment.  Which makes it a lot like porn.

This makes me wonder why I find dungeons and dragons discussion blogs more inspiring than many sex blogs, including my own.  I think I have an answer.  I read a sex blog and I read fiction, true life accounts and discussions about sexual politics.  I read a D&D blog and I read random rules for how to have a drunken party with bar wenches, discussions of fantasy books that inspired dungeon masters in the 70’s and theoretical questions about what a society that worships sentient plants would look like.  What is the difference between the two?  One concerns itself with presenting a product, whether that be stories, true life accounts or serious opinions about serious things, and the other concerns itself with making shit up and sharing the creative process behind making shit up.  One is more about presenting the end result and the other is about the actual making.

I wonder if we can change that.

Part of the problem is that writing is a fucking lonely process.  You got to crawl inside your own head and make your own things when it comes to stories.  I find that once I turn to people for their opinions on something that I am in the process of writing, it becomes crippled with doubt.  Writing by committee only works to create the blandest shit possible. 

Sex writers are also often trying to get paid and no one wants to come up with the idea for the next best selling porn book and SHARE that idea before we get our own story out.   I understand that and am guilty of it myself.  As writers we tend to think our original ideas are all we have and we hoard them like, well like dragons and their treasure.

I think that is a fallacy.  Ideas are not as precious as we think they are.  An idea is important but more important is execution.  The writers of Twilight and 50 Shades have the exact same idea; dominant all wise male and fainting wimp female.  One went vampire with her idea and the other went BDSM.  Same idea, different execution.

This example might not be the best because one is a fanfic of the other, but the principle stands.  Even if you want to argue that making a vampire a bdsm dom is an entirely new idea, then try this experiment.  Imagine your favorite tattooed, cynical BDSM writer who attends all the right workshops writing 50 Shades their way.  It would be worlds different from Meyer’s 50 Shades but it is still the same idea.  One would just be better written.

Now that I got the prerequisite 50 Shades bashing that all erotica writers are required by law to do out of the way, let’s extrapolate on the idea that ideas are not precious gems to be hidden away.  What if sex blogs discussed ideas not in the interest of self promoting their own use of the idea, but just to toss that idea out there?  What would that look like?  Would you like to read that?

I am going to be giving it a try. 


  10 Responses to “Let’s Do Sex Blogging Differently”

  1. This is why I always wanted to do a play by post or by email erotica game. But I never quite got how to do those types of games, much less the erotica part;)

  2. “Workshopping” seems to be one approach, but that ends up combining not-terribly-social people in a semi-combative environment. At least for poets. Some excel, many burn out.

  3. I think everyone will come up with different ideas for the same prompt. Ms. Tyler’s contest pretty much proved that since she gave a prompt and what came out the other end was greatly different.

    My problem is that I come from a gift society (open source). My stories are out there, usually in the bare. My current one, Puppy Mill, will eventually hopefully be something I sell, but I still have it publicly on my site until then.

    Now, on the gaming side, I completely agree. I’ve created any number of house rules and posted them up. Some of them got some repute over in the White Wolf’s Exalted board. I also had an in-character sex journal on LiveJournal for over a year (Endless Gears). There is something about that creativity that just makes me want to *make* things.

  4. Joe- a play by post erotica game blows my mind. I will hve to think about that.

    Jason – Workshopping brings out the Hermit in me where I get really annoyed by the constant need of others to tell someone else how they wrote something wrong. I think my idea will be more of a “Here’s this thing, disagree or like it, but it is your’s now.”

    t’Sade- Gift society is what I am thinking of. It would require writers creating an idea and then letting it go to be used by others.

  5. You make a valid and fascinating point, Shon! I don’t read role-playing blogs myself, but my husband listens to and watches a lot of gaming podcasts and videos, and I suck up a lot of it by osmosis. (I’m about as involved as you can be in gaming without playing in two different games each week.)

    You’ve gotten me wondering if I can do more with a) my own creative process, and b) how I blog. I may go and hunt down some blogs …

    xx Dee

  6. I wanted to stop and say “Thank You!” for this post! I think, sometimes, we who write erotic works are stuck in how it’s been done, and because some aspects haven’t worked as well as we’d imagine, we’ve not explored how to really tell arousing (or even non-arousing) tales in new and innovate ways.

    The idea of breaking out of the blog erotica-as-vignette concept is something I’ve been contemplating, and also looking to RPGs for some inspiration. One big, long-standing example is pondering a “Sex Academy“-style RPG, as part of developing the same as a series of stories. I’ve fooled around with doing it in Inform 7, which is basically a way to write Zork-style games in something close to plain English, but I confess my programmer mind struggles a bit with the language, ironically enough.

    Currently, my thoughts are around making it as a card game, since that seems to match the times and mood of the sexually-charged populace. Such games can, I think, mimic the role-playing I’m really invested in, while allowing for the lower time/thought/equipment investment most people care to put into such a concept.

    Anyway, thanks for a thought-provoking post!

  7. Dee – I think what makes me envious of gaming blogs is they tend towards helping others be creative while erotica blogs tend to be focused on showing how cool they can be.

  8. le-grande-noir – I have toyed with making games as well. There is something rewarding with creating something that others can then use with their friends.

    I have toyed with the idea of doing a role-playing game but I always back away at the last moment. I may reconsider.

  9. If you’re interested in doing AIF (Adult Interactive Fiction), one good place to start and get support (and a lot of players) is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aifarchive/

    There are mods to help with Inform, TADS, and ADRIFT, if I recall correctly. I’ve got several partly done games, myself;)

  10. Interactive fiction is a brutal thing to program. It is like a choose your own adventure, but you have to come up with a bunch of different descriptions for every state possible.

    A lot of fun, just a lot of work. Kind of like a CYOA story.

    I’m fond of Champions of Corruption and Kindom of Loathing style games, but I’m waiting for the bandwidth to write one (which is much the same idea).

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