My overwhelming impression of this year's Eroticon was that there were a number of people from other parts of the world, e.g., USA, Canada, Australia, Europe - and some had even flown in flor this event!
But I don't know why I say that with surprise because looking back at previous blog posts on Eroticon events I've said the same thing. In the light of this, my 7am train from York seems rather pathetic!
I've missed the last two years (clashed with other commitments) so I was looking forward to saying hi to authors I had met at previous conferences. There were a number of SMUT groupies, e.g., those of us who regularly attending Smut events held in the North of England, and it was great to see them. And even better I managed to catch up with several people I hadn't seen in a few years. But I was surprised to see so many new people - and at least three I spoke to were at their first Eroticon.
So Eroticon is under new management, and they did it very well. I attended some terrific sessions:
Auto (erotic) ethnography by Meg-John Barker. In other words, understanding ourselves through sexual fantasies or erotic writing. Whether we read or write erotic work we are doing so in a very safe environment, e.g., although I enjoy some aspects of BDSM, I don't personally get anything out of pain play. But I can vicariously enjoy it through mine or other writers' characters. There was lots more to reflect on in this session with an engaging presenter.
Sex in Flash Fiction by Malin James gave some very useful tips such as being sparing with adverbs and adjectives. That is a good tip for longer writing (and one I am very bad at as I love my adverbs) but even more essential in flash fiction. Lots more to consider such as use active words, choose nouns and verbs well, and so on.
Pitching 101 was by Girl on the Net who is a journalist. Very dynamic presentation and aimed primarily at people writing articles for magazines etc, but some good tips for authors such as, consider your unique selling point. I know one of mine is the humour in my stories. In fact, I seem to include it even when I don't intend to. One reviewer said they liked the humour in 'Submissive Training' - my thought on reading that was "what humour?" LOL. It is clearly the essence of me.
Plotting the Erotic Story by Ashley Lister was incredibly useful and I wrote reams of notes as he took us through the 8 stage plot device. He did point out that there is no wrong way or right way, but that this was a tool to guide us if we wanted it. So the eight stages were: stasis (the setting), the trigger (something beyond the control of main character which sparks the story), the quest (e.g., getting the girl/guy), the surprise (conflicts, challenges to getting the girl/guy), critical choice (protagonist needs to make a crucial decision), climax (the highest peak of tension in story. Could be final sex scene), reversal (change of status of characters, eg, realisation of climax leads to personal revelation), resolution (return to fresh status. Characters changed, wiser, enlightened, complete).
The final session (well, the final one I attended. The event was continuing into the evening and the next day) was my favourite. The topic was the History of erotic writing and obscenity in Britain by Kate Lister (no relation to Ashley, *slap my hand for making assumptions*) and was fabulously fun. I am an historian and I will go into any session that starts of History of....!
She showed tons of images/excerpts of Roman/Greek life/literature through the Middles ages and Victorian era and told us of specific dates in history in the UK where we started having issues with erotic writings through to the famous case of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ in the 1960s. But on a serious note she finished with the ‘about-to-be-implemented’ digital economy bill which may affect us all in the UK.
Well done to the organisers and all the speakers.