Sunday, April 29, 2012

You Are Good Enough

"I'm not good enough."

Those four little words are like a personal plague, something that chews me up from the inside out. I know I'm not the only one: I've been in any number of creative hobbies over the years, and that sentiment twisted through them like poison vapor. It's always there. Once you learn enough about something to realize how much there is to learn, how much you don't know, it can be crushing. If your self-confidence is weak to begin with, it could be too much, you might just give up - after all, you'll never be good enough.

I'm not a very confident person, truth be told. If I don't correct myself I'm shy, I'm quiet, and I have a tendency to wait so long for everyone else to have their say that I end up saying nothing. (I suppose I'm living proof of every warning you've ever had about how it's always the quiet ones that are... well, in my case, secretly a filthy pervert. But I digress.)
In short, I don't believe that I'm good enough, and maybe I never will. I deal with it. Self-doubt doesn't mean that I should give up, it means that I should try to prove myself wrong. The worst I can do is to meet my expectations, after all. Maybe some people are just naturally self-confident; I know that I'm not, but that doesn't mean the rest of the world has to know. You're the only one who knows what you think of yourself.

My point here is that even if you feel like a hack, a dunce, like all you've made belongs at the bottom of the Marianas Trench and that even there the eyeless bottom-feeders will bump into it, in the true blackness, and recoil in disgust... don't believe yourself. Keep going. Keep trying! You can only improve if you don't quit, and simple perseverance can keep you a step ahead.

You're not the best yet, but everyone starts somewhere. Give yourself a chance.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

On Research...

Erotica - at least as I write it - actually involves a surprising amount of research.

No, not just "research" (although that's my favorite kind, really), I mean more traditional research that could be expected for any book or story. What is this environment like? What kinds of plants do you find here? Is it reasonable to assume there would be an excess of coffee shops in a given setting?

To be fair, this is erotica, and you get your fair share of less conventional subjects. Let me use my most recent story as an example.

The story is about an ecologist who encounters a herd of wild horse-shifter men while she's out doing field work. She makes the decision to join the herd and become a shifter herself - and of course, in order to do this, she needs to take the herd as her mates. As one does.

I was able to pull some of the material for the story from personal experience, but other topics required further research. Some of these may or may not show up until later in the series, but I wouldn't want to give away everything at once!

Off the top of my head, I had to research:

  • Horse coat colors and name
  • Wild horse breeds: did you know that the breeds we think of as wild horses are actually considered feral horses? Before I wrote Taming Her Herd, I didn't! It turns out that the only surviving horse species that has never been domesticated is Przewalski's Horse, native to central Asia. All the others - mustangs and whatnot - are actually descended from domesticated horses, and are considered feral rather than wild.
  • Prairie ecosystems (because accuracy matters!)
  • From the above, prairie predators: while they're not likely to feature in the series, black-footed ferrets are adorable, and I had never heard of them before. On second thought, maybe I'll work them in. Ferret shifters, anyone?
  • The exact mechanics behind double vaginal penetration. Because this is still erotica, after all.
That's just for a single 6,000 word story - I have some longer pieces in the works that are taking much more effort.

This is really one of the things I love about writing. It always gets me thinking about new things, and I end up learning because of it!