Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cycle Back, Move Forward

By: Craig J. Sorensen


Easter Sunday 2012, and I rested.

I’ve been working a lot lately and we’re still elbow deep in getting ready to move cross-country. But, little by little, I have found my way back into writing. In the last few weeks I worked on a short story for a submissions call. It was just a matter of sitting down to the story and finishing it. I could have done it Easter Sunday. The story was close to completion.

I rested, and remembered Easter morning eight years ago. It was a beautiful morning. A glowing sunrise ignited the budding trees in orange. Eight years ago, I had committed myself to writing regularly by working on a story I had started to develop in my youth, and worked on over the years. I had committed to finish this novel by the end of 2004, and by Easter I was going strong. I wrote a scene that day that I still remember: Both the scene and the writing of it.

Later that year, I finished the book, not erotica per se, though like most of the stories I write, there was erotic content. When it was done, I didn’t know where to go with it. It didn’t really fit the markets, and I was a total unknown as an author.

Momentum carried, I continued to write with an eye to getting published, and a natural taste for exploring things erotic emerged. A quick acceptance of a twisted short story, and I found a home here, in erotica. One thing led to another: Numerous short stories published and challenges taken, meanwhile I continued to write longer works.

Turns out, when it comes to getting published, I’ve had greater fortune with short works than novels.

To be fair, I haven’t submitted much of my novel length work. There are a number of publishers out there, but so many of them want romance. I like romantic elements, but my longer stories don’t qualify as romance. There are indeed publishers who accept erotica without romance, but often with a different rider: fantasy, horror, cuckold, etc. I don’t fit there either.

On the other hand, some publishers put out three titles a week. Click on the list of authors, and there are hundreds. I’m not a number.

Still, when I look at it truthfully, my home is novels. I commit to the long novels. I love the act of intertwining multiple characters, love the devotion to editing the work, finding problems and fixing them. Improving, growing.

I’ve been married thirty-one years, and my last day job lasted twenty-six.

Getting my short stories published over the last few years has brought me great joy. There is a more immediate satisfaction, and maybe there is a safety net in sharing the table of contents with talented authors and editors like Ashley Lister, Donna George Storey, Jean Roberta, Kathleen Bradean, Kristina Wright, Lisabet Sarai, Lucy Felthouse, M. Christian, Remittance Girl and others.

I’m sure I will continue to write short stories from time to time, but what I accepted on Easter morning is that I am a novelist at heart, even if it is hard for me to find a publisher that I feel excited about, and who feels strongly about what I write.

Between that Easter 2004 and Easter 2012, I have learned so much about writing. In the end, that book I finished back then wasn’t ready for publication, and so I’m glad I’ve taken the path that I did. I still feel passionate about the story and the characters from that book, so, for now, I’m going back to it, while I continue to look for a home for an erotic novel I finished in 2011, another novel I had worked on for years.

Two books that don’t seem to fit the current markets. Seems that is one thing I do consistently.

Somewhere down the road, I will find homes for my books, and I hope I’ll find a readership. Until then, I write.

For now, I’ll write them long.

7 comments:

  1. The market is changing all the time, Craig. Write from your heart first - then worry about finding a publisher.

    I'm heartened by the story of Jaimy Gordon's book LORD OF MISRULE. It took a decade for her to find a publisher. The book won the National Book Award.

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  2. Craig,

    There's a depth to your writing that shows you have the heart of a novelist - even when you're writing short fiction.

    There's not many writers can convey that sense of gravitas.

    Ash

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  3. Actually, I found your meditation on the process of writing over the long haul to be very uplifting. I believe readers can sense the dedication and caring a writer feels for his/her work in every word--and I sense it in your stories for sure! Some do judge success by the number of publications and copies sold, just as they judge the success of a life by how much money someone makes. But there are other ways to measure worth, and having the courage and fortitude to take an independent path is the only way interesting things have happened in human history :-).

    Enjoy how far you've come and know that your words inspire all writers who face uncertainty--which is, in fact, all writers!

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  4. Thanks Jo.

    Lisabet, I do feel that it is key to remain patient and find a publisher that I feel great about. I sometimes wonder if it will ever happen, but I've finally turned the corner where I can resist the temptation to just find "a publisher" and be patient.

    Ash, I'm very honored. Thank you.

    Donna, your encouragement of my writing has helped me to grow and develop since my earliest days of getting published. I feel we are on this path together, and that does my heart good. Thank you.

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  5. You are one of my favorite writers. Your books will find the right home. I believe that.

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  6. Oh geez, Kristina. What a compliment. Thank you.

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