Rachel Kramer Bussel, is an editor/author extraordinaire. It seems no project is too small nor too big for her to not tackle. If you have been following Clitical you will know that Jenne recently reviewed her newest book: Best Sex Writing 2013, you can read that review HERE. Despite her busy life, Rachel was kind enough to take some time out to answer some questions for us.
1: As you get to edit and read a lot of pieces regarding today’s sexual culture, where do you see the future as regards sexuality by the end of 21st century?
I think we’re moving toward a lot more sexual openness, in terms of everything from bisexuality to BDSM to varying forms of gender expression to nonmonogamy. It’s not that these are necessarily the norm, but they are all things that are becoming more known in the mainstream, combined with the fact that people for the most part aren’t as fearful about revealing this aspects of their lives. We’re claiming our sexuality as part of the rest of our life, and thereby forcing people to recognize that their friends, neighbors, family members, and coworkers are likely to identify some way outside the “mainstream.” And mainstream media is embracing things like feminist porn—see this recent interview with Tristan Taormino at Cosmopolitan —and BDSM, in light of the success of Fifty Shades of Grey. We’re reaching a point where what might have been seen as fringe subcultures are considered less freaky and out there. People are getting the idea that you can be, say, into BDSM and not necessarily doing it 24/7 (not that there’s anything wrong with those living that lifestyle full-time).
2: For those of us with ambitious of writing in the field of Erotica what advice would you give us?
I’d say think about setting a mood and a tone, and making sure your story has a beginning, middle and end. Think about who, what, when, where and why—often people gloss over some of the who in favor of the sexual action, but I like to know who the characters are and why they’re there and what they’re thinking as well. Also think about setting and using as many senses as you can—not just touch, but what do the characters look, smell, taste and sound like?
3: If there is one thing that bugs you when you are reading and perhaps editing a piece of erotic writing, what would it be and why?
Skimping on the sensory appeal. Sometimes authors rush to get to the sex scenes too fast and in the process lose out on the opportunity to savor the moment. Whether it’s 1,200 words or 4,000 words, you can tell a story with fully realized characters and action and intrigue and hotness and let the reader get to know what they’re about before they get naked.
4: As an editor, what constitutes an interesting story?
I am partial to stories that pull me right in from the first paragraph. That doesn’t mean every story has to start out with a bang, so to speak, but it should make the reader want to keep reading, it should pull them in and keep them invested in finding out what happens next. You can tease and string the reader along. I like stories where the unexpected happens, which doesn’t have to mean, say, aliens exploding from the sky, but just a little twist on where you might think the stories going. And the passion between the characters should leap off the page.
5: If you could only use one word to describe yourself, what would it be? Quirky