Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Humour Me

I've been having an internal tussle lately over whether I'm putting too much humour into my stuff.

Obviously I'm not against humour in erotica - I don't much like writing that is dour or takes itself excessively seriously. But where is the tipping point at which a little bit of sassy attitude becomes tiresome and detracts from the sexiness? I can't seem to locate it, and I'm fretting a little. I don't want to fall on the wrong side of the divide.

Stylistic concerns aside, I also wonder if I'm being a little dishonest with myself. Am I trying to imply that I am somehow 'above' the earthy preoccupations of my characters? Am I, when it comes right down to it, embarrassed by what I'm writing, trying to laugh it off?

At this stage, it's more than likely. I haven't been doing it long, and I have years of irksome conditioning regarding what 'nice girls' do and don't do to unlearn.

So I want to leave in the humour that is inherent to the characters and situations, but avoid that which tries to interfere with the erotic content. I think it will be a long process. Is there a pill I can take or something?


  1. We really do have similar problems! My God, it's weird.

    I have to train myself like a dog to not put too much humour in. And I think I do it because of some of the reasons you've outlined. Funny is my defence mechanism- no-one can laugh at my giant cocks flinging about the place if I'm funny about it first.

    I combat it with my old friend, Fairly Distant Narrator. She's cool - even cold - and considers everything with one eyebrow raised- but no smirk!

    Another trick I use is to actually leap ahead in the story, and just bash out the bonking I want them to indulge in. So they can quip and flirt and giggle all they like, but a marathon bonk session is waiting, regardless.

    I bet you have processes and tricks too. Ways to get around any lingering embarrassment or secret shames. And if you don't, they'll come. Have you read Emma Holly's advice on her website? I defo liked what she had to say.

    But most of all: don't worry, bebes. You write red hot. It will be red hot.

  2. This is a really interesting question, and you're right - humour has other functions apart from entertainment, distancing yourself from the action/emotion being one of them. I know some people (NOT erotica fans) who will only watch sex (or violence for that matter) in a humourous context - "Carry On" films being the obvious example - or feel a compulsion to mock it, and I do think in their case it's a symptom of fear and discomfort.

    My own writing tends to the dour and grim side. I don't take my literary pretensions very seriously, but I do take the sex seriously, which can mean I tend to the sort of purpley prose you get in bad Romance novels.

    I think I'm coming to the conclusion that you can't win! Whatever you write, some critic (including your inner critic) will deride it for being too po-faced, or too silly, or too something. So ignore them and, like Charlotte says, don't worry.

  3. Charlotte, you are very wise - great tips, and I'll check out what the great Ms Holly has to say too. It is a defence mechanism, I think - you can't laugh at my stuff, because I laughed first, so there, ner!

    Janine - I wasn't thinking of you as a member of the Dour Brigade by any means! More along the lines of those books that bung in a five page philosophy dissertation amongst the writhing bodies. Your stuff is perfect as it is, for my money. But yes, I will try and stop fretting and just Get On With It. Sterling advice and thanks for your kind words.

  4. No probs, hon- that's what blogging and emailing and the like is all about, eh? Sharing stuff and fears and what-not. I ain't so wise, but you never know when some little thing you do might help someone else.

    And Janine- whut? You, purpley? Ahahaha! Your writing is the least purpley purple thing, ever. It's like, green, or summat. The opposite of purple. Your stuff is what I like to call "clean"- writing that never over-explains, rambles, gushes, etc. Clean economical prose. Heh- it's like the Janine Ashbless fan club up in here.