April 28, 2014

X Is For X-Rated

When I had first really started to get into writing, I pretty much didn't have a good grasp on how to write scenes of sex and violence. I figure that since a good chunk of action movies had over the top violence, then I should write like that. Ditto for sex, as in porn equals gratuitous and graphic sex, then I should write like that.

So I did.

I started writing gratuitous violence and sex into more stories because I figured that is what it should be. Little did I know how wrong I was.

First off, if I was going to have graphic/gratuitous sex in my stories, I needed to make it relevant to the story. Didn't matter whether I was writing a regular genre story or something else (if you guessed erotica, you would be correct), it had to move the story along.

But I did none of that. My first attempts at writing graphic sex scenes weren't that good. In fact, people started labeling my writing as porn, which was very touchy subject with me, then and now. However, one of those early stories did indeed straddle that line very well. Entitled "Audio Dynamite" {disclaimer: this link goes directly to my adult blog, which contains content that may be inappropriate/offensive to some. reader discretion is strongly advised} it was partially inspired by the song "Dani California".

Over the years, I've grown as a writer, and along the way I have managed to tone down the sex scenes to a level of acceptability when needed. Still, there has been some bad backlash over the years because of it. One very notable example happened at work in early 2013.

I decided to participate in the vendor program that we have at work so that I could do a book signing for my debut novel "Line 21". Everything was going fine and dandy until I got grilled by a fellow co-worker who was much higher up the food chain than I was. He asked what the book was about, asked about the person who wrote the blurb, what kind of stories he wrote, mentioned that he dealt with the issue of child trafficking (I work for a social services agency that specializes in dealing with children), etc. etc.

About five minutes later, I got a visit from our Affirmative Action dept. saying that someone complained that I was selling porn. Even though the plot had something to do with the adult entertainment industry, the entire book wasn't a porn fest from beginning to end. Nevertheless, they chose to believe this lie and I was forced to shut down early.

I should note that the fallout from the early closing was swift and brutal. All word of mouth that I managed to generate for my book instantly dried up and I no longer felt comfortable in talking/pimping my book, or any book for that matter.

So always remember that there is a very fine line between erotica/graphic/non-gratuitous sex and porn. Cross it and your reputation may not be able to survive the hit.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.


  1. There is a fine line between most things in life. Getting that balance between what is "acceptable" and what isn't these days is complex. When I watch some of the music videos nowadays which seem to me to be very close to, if not porn, and yet they have no ratings and no one appears to be stopping their 8 year old watching them either, I do wonder who it is that's saying what is and isn't acceptable anymore.

  2. Ouch. That really sucks. I'm just impressed that you can write sex scenes, to be honest. I can write a lot of things but I just could not write a sex scene. The inner 6th grader in me immediately comes out and gets embarrassed over everything.

  3. Wow - you are all the way to X! This month is going by so quickly.

    I remember when you wrote about that incident at work.

  4. Joey: I can definitely understand that. I've been exposed to that sort of fine line ever since my daughter started dancing ten years ago. Every once in a while, the costumes and makeup kind of make my jaw drop, especially since it's at a dance recital where all the students are under 19.

    ABFtS: That seems to the prevailing thought amongst a few of my writer friends. They can write certain types of scenes, but writing sex makes them a tad squeamish. I give certain writers a lot of credit for being able to write scenes of violence w/o it becoming cartoonish.

    Lynn: Yup. Coming down the homestretch with the alphabet, and let me tell you, it has been a real adventure this past month.

  5. That really sucked! What a crappy thing to do.
    I managed a kissing scene by my second book. Yeah, I just can't write that stuff.

  6. Alex: It really did. I had to jump through some serious hoops to begin with just to participate, and I was making some pretty decent sells that day. That year, I tried to get into at least two town fairs and got torpedoed for each of them, so to get into this one was a major accomplishment.

    Interestingly enough, I have quite a few kissing scenes in mine, although again, they're used more as a weapon of choice as opposed to something more loving.

  7. Like Lynn I too remember when that happened to you. It seems that some readers require some erotica and/or romance while others don't care for it. When I read a good story, I can skip the parts that don't appeal to me and still enjoy the tale. I'm not big on requiring sex but must have violence:)

  8. G.A.: Which I have no problem with. Not everything is everyone's cup of tea. Personally, I'm turned off by certain types of crime stories, and as one writer succinctly stated, if I don't like it, I don't have to read it.

  9. Interesting, as you write so well about both topics.

    I remember that and still think it was patently ridiculous.

    And I am still stunned that so many in this country let their kids watch movies where people get their heads blown off, but act all offended when someone writes about or films people having a good time naked.

  10. M: Thanks.

    More than a year later it still bothers me. I've moved on, so to speak, but I still won't speak/have anything to do with the players involved.

    And I definitely agree with your last statement. And at my agency, it seems to be very hypocritical, especially with them being at the forefront for LGBTG rights for children here in CT.


These days, the written word is to die for, so please leave a comment that shows me and everyone else the real you. All kinds of verbiage will be cheerfully accepted in the spirit it was written.