I’ve been writing more here for reasons.
The fact is, I need an audience. It doesn’t have to be a huge audience, and they don’t even have to be real—if I can convince myself there is one person who’s interested in what I’m putting out here, or if there is somewhere a distant receptor that could possibly pick up on my signal, then I can motivate myself to update my blog more frequently. Notes, stories, curation, whatever: I can produce content as long as I think there’s a point to doing so, a motivation beyond my own entertainment.
My stats, of course, tell another story, but hope springs eternal. Hope defies all reason and evidence.
Hope runs steadfastly contrary to common sense, logic, facts, demonstrable trends…
In conversation with a friendly giantess, I realize I’ve gotten a few things wrong. I’ve been calling myself a “giantess erotica writer,” but when I look at my oeuvre, very few stories actually incorporate the woman of titanic proportions. Mainly I write about tiny men, or regular-sized men who get shrunken, who are then subject to the vagaries and caprices of normal-sized women. That makes me a shrink-fetish writer.
For that matter, am I using “erotica” correctly? I read one woman’s opinion that romance was “sex + love” and erotica was “sex + danger.” But that may just be opinion…
I’ve dabbled, to be sure: I attempted Giga GTS with the Chronicles of Lovely Mari. The first chapter was a flirtation with hard science as I ballparked weight and velocity and estimated the damage done by a miles-high giantess in our world. There’s a sect of people very into that, and they began to register polite complaint when attention shifted from cataloguing the gross damage wreaked to the drama of the little Tinies who’d stowed away on Mari and taken up residence in her enormous home. Fair enough: I said I’d write Giga stories, and then Giga became tertiary to the plot I was actually interested in.
There was a period of time, in palaver with my Goddess, when I was challenged to write a credible Cruel story. I didn’t think I had any interest in this: I had no idea how I could create an interesting lead character who was a gleeful, soulless sociopath. But I wanted to develop my writing chops, expand my boundaries, that kind of thing. Within a week I had hacked out three rough drafts for three very different stories… one of which met the approval of my Goddess. I consulted with some Cruel writers of my acquaintance and got their opinions as well, which were valuable and edifying.
And if I look honestly at my own work, there’s more than a measure of cruelty in some of those stories. The feral Tiny taunted by the drunk husband in “Lords of the Ternakan”, the Tiny chewed in half by a Ukrainian webcam girl, and the means by which William Sowder is escorted off stage in “Special Arrangements”. I’ve written about cruelty often, I don’t know why I’m so precious on this point. Why can I write about it if I don’t like to read it? Maybe it’s related to how I take much pleasure in doing my own gory makeup for a zombie costume, yet I can’t look at a car accident or photos of surgery or autopsy.
So I claim to be a Gentle writer, but I’m fully capable of Cruel; I claim to be a Giantess writer, but most of my male protags are Mini, or my female protags have Shrunken men in their thrall. Anything else? Any other way I’ve falsely represented myself, or any other self-delusions I nurture? I’ll have to be on the lookout for any other inconsistencies: not only do I want people to know what they’re getting into, with me, but I want to send out the right signal for any birds of my feather.
8 thoughts on “Has the World Changed or Have I Changed?”
Your posts feature questions that can lead off in several different directions, but I’ll respond to what seems to be the core concern (and one that I’ve often shared): whom are you writing for, and why?
You clearly want to be read, as do most of us. Your experimentation in different (sub-)fetishes and concerns about misrepresentation indicate that you have goals beyond simple expression of your own fantasies, that you want to satisfy an audience of others. And in the past you’ve spoken of trying to achieve remunerative publication.
A writer can have different goals for different works; this one is for the Gentle crowd, this one could be a sci-fi novella, this one is just my own indulgence. But because (for most of us) quality writing takes planning, time, and effort, you want to lock down your audience before setting off.
The problem is that this is niche erotica, the audiences for which are tiny, anonymous, and generally shame-ridden. In my experience, almost no readers give feedback and most of those that do are very specific about how you captured (or failed to capture) their personal fantasies. Did she step on him or not? Was she wearing the right kind of socks? Please write a dozen more scenes just like that.
As long as size-smut readers view their consumption as lonely and shameful, they will have little motive to broaden their appreciation beyond their specific preferred sets of sub-genres and body parts, and it will be unrewarding for anyone to try to create a size-smut aesthetic featuring complex characters, plausible motivation, and coherent plotting. We have had talented and industrious authors in the size-smut scene, but their renown doesn’t begin to approach their due.
Do you want your audience to come to you, or do you want to go to your audience?
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Wow… that is an incredibly thoughtful reply. Thank you so much for speaking up. I’m heartened that these are not new issues, that others have wrestled with these long before I showed up. Not having anyone to really talk to about these, I’m not sure what’s gone before.
As for writing, I’m aware of several “right answers”. Some people do cast a broad net, in themes/contexts, to attract as many potential readers as possible. Others write their vision and stream their one-note samba into the universe, knowing (or trusting) that similar people will find them and be drawn to them, even if this takes much more time. The former writes for broad appeal and the latter writes for writing’s sake.
I don’t know what I want, yet. I know that even in a conventional literary market, it’s perilously naive to hope to make a living by writing. How much more stringent is this in the niche market of a sub-genre of erotica? I try to think about where I was when I was producing lengthier, purpler prose at the turn of the century: there wasn’t much of a community, and I was inspired by a few feverish, prolific writers. That was when I sat down and cranked out novellas without much revision, producing title after title.
Now I’m hung up on revision, style guides, themes and socially responsible messaging, to say nothing of marketing and social media scheduling. I’m not going to say the joy of writing has fled, but now the community is vast and diverse, many people are producing much material all the time, and it’s not a shadowy, shameful little secret anymore. It’s certainly not novel or underground… and I think that thrill of doing something risque or racy, in part, fueled my passion for writing. Or maybe that’s a convenient excuse for procrastination.
I thought, once, that I could diversify and attempt various neighboring splinter factions of size erotica, and it was fun but it’s not in me, and I fear the reader feels that. I entirely lack the confidence and self-possession to write my vision simply because I want to see it reified, I know that. (And I’m not even going to touch on moral relativism.) So if I’m not in it for profit and prestige, and if I’m not consumed by a manic urge to put my vision into print… why am I doing this? Why am I bothering? I really don’t know, and I don’t know how to work toward that answer.
Olo’s reply was phenomenal. I don’t have much weight to add whatsoever but it was a bit eye-opening, to be completely honest. I hope you’ll be able to manage yourself and find a comfortable balance with regards to your writing and readership.
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Olo’s always demonstrated himself to be very considerate and wise.
Thank you for speaking up. I’m just thinking aloud, and anyone who weighs in at all is helping. It seems that the main thing is that I need to sit down with a pen and paper and riddle out what I thought my goal was, how the landscape looks now, what some more reasonable goals are. And when I look at what my motivation is now, I should gauge it against what it was, way back in the beginning, when I was just a horny college student and there was nearly no GTS community at all. It seems my motives were purer, then.
I’m glad my reply was at least somewhat helpful. Of course only you can answer your questions, but if you’ll indulge me I can lay out what finally motivated me to write and what I’ve learned about myself and my motives since then.
Like many amateur artists, I imagine, I bothered to write down my first size-smut story because I didn’t see my precise unique-snowflake desires reflected anywhere in the poorly-indexed catalogs of GTS fiction. I didn’t have any ambition or training to be a professional creative fiction author, and I still don’t. I just wanted to say, somewhere, “Somebody liked THIS enough to write a story about it.” I didn’t have any expectations that anyone else would like it, I just wanted to put it out there.
Like most other freshman efforts, it took me a long time and it certainly (still) needs editing. Not imagining that I would ever exercise myself to write again, I put in everything I ever wanted to see in a size-smut story, whether it helped the story or not. I think it’s still my longest work.
Funny thing happened, though; I got off on it. I thought the sausage-making aspect would rob the story of any suspense for me, but it didn’t. Every time I re-read it I am reminded of the visions in my head as I had worked out the descriptions and the narrative, and I still find it hot. Years later, I can still get worked up over my own stuff, which is a blessing.
I also got a few nice responses after I posted it on Giantess City and Giantess World, and believe me I hung on every word, but I immediately grasped the limited character of reader feedback in a niche fetish such as ours. If a story pushes a reader’s buttons (or even comes close), the reader will lavish fulsome praise because this is one of only a handful of occasions where someone else seems to understand what they want. If a story fails to meet this very specific threshold, the reader will just ignore it. That’s why all the stories on Giantess World have 5-star ratings; it’s all or nothing. I can’t imagine size-fantasy is unique among paraphilias in this regard.
As I contemplated writing more stories, it slowly dawned on me that I did have an intended audience outside myself. I realized that I was also writing for a (mostly) hypothetical person who didn’t “have” macrophilia but who might come to understand its attractions by reading my work. It wasn’t enough to simply connect with like-minded size-fetishists, I had to justify my desires to someone who had never considered size-smut before. Talk about hubris. Recognizing this has made writing more therapeutic, because explaining these desires to myself is a necessary precondition to explaining them to others. I haven’t abandoned this goal, but I no longer let it drive my artistic choices.
So self-gratification and the praise of a few (sometimes only one) readers has been enough to keep me going. While I publish in installments for greater visibility, I never start posting until a story is complete, I don’t make forecasts or promises, and I don’t take requests. While there has been a dialogue with the wider size-fantasy audience (which is another topic), I try to take the advice I give to all amateur writers (which still includes me): Write for yourself first.
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More than “at least somewhat helpful”, you modest guy. You’re very thoughtful, always have been, and I’m grateful you share your thoughts with me.
I’ve talked with a couple size-fetish video producers, and they said the same thing you did: they started making their videos because they didn’t see what they wanted on the market. I’m reminded of the old adolescent radical motto: “If you don’t like what’s on the news, go out and make some of your own.” It’s good advice, especially for us creative types. And right now I find myself in a teeming river of Cruel writers, where I’m the only Gentle writer, and what I write doesn’t appeal to them, will win no praise, but… what does that mean for me? Do I force myself to eat a dish I’ve never liked? Do I learn to cook meals I myself cannot eat? And if I don’t like it, will anyone else?
Of course not. My heart has to be in it, whatever I do. It’s impossible to set myself up as a writing-machine that cranks out technically correct material. Something will always be missing in that.
You bring up such a good point, an important point about readers: I’d assumed we were just getting more self-absorbed and entitled Millennials who expect everything for free and don’t appreciate their social responsibility, just want stories and pictures for free and feel no obligation for comment. Your perspective is much deeper: shame, self-loathing, embarrassment. Even with an anonymous handle, they don’t want to “out” themselves, as though this is a confession, crossing the point of no return. It had never occurred to me that these poor suffering souls are using all their strength to overcome their apprehension to consume this stuff in the first place.
It should have: I run a lewd GTS Instagram account, and I smile every time an Arabic-speaking account follows me, someone whose photos are full of imams and scripture and conservative dress. I should have pieced this together.
The hypothetical audience-of-one is enough. I have to have some hint of that, to produce. Passion gets me started, but deluding myself that somewhere, someone’s enjoying what I write (or will, some weeks or months later) is what keeps me going.
Very insightful. I’ve read it all and made my own little introspection.
I plead guilty. Though i consider myself an open-minded person,
I was definitely triggered by what appealed to my senses at the moment.
Only then, would i bring up a comment or an appreciation.
Then i wrote. Or tried to.
What looked like a weakness first now seems like a blessing.
So, in a way, I quite never asked myself the question of legitimacy.
I’m so focused and mesmerized by the sound of foreign words
in my mind, on my tongue and fantasy that…
I just don’t think.
It just happens.
I’m not able to access this world of self-reflection on my work in other terms
than sounds, metaphors, fluency, concepts, smells… and reading your comments,
i do realize this saves me from the dreaded “for what purpose” paradigm.
Yes, it’s a cliché that one has to write for the sake of writing.
But it still holds true in the face of the many false paths leading to drought.
Think too much and you can’t act.
Don’t and you end up with yet another fan service work.
Let’s walk this thin and cutting line.
Let’s laugh while we do it.
Let’s cry and call us fools for even daring walk over the precipice,
magnificent to live so frail in the wind of our times.
We’re mad to think this ever mattered to anyone but us.
And, when we see this ambiguous grin on a fellow face,
we’ll know for sure this path never led somewhere,
but our hearts.
Finally, it all comes down to this single question :
Does the writer exists if there’s no one to read?
*smiles heartily* I feel good here!
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The answer for me is coming clearer. It was a good idea for me to howl into this particular void (and cross-howl into the voids of Twitter and Tumblr, &c.). I’m delighted that people are weighing in, because I’ve been trying to work this out in a vacuum for too long.
It’s good to aspire to open-mindedness, but it’s also good to know oneself and have personal tastes. I thought that I would become a successful writer by shotgunning for splinter factions and subgenres; instead, I quickly discovered what I can’t do well, what I don’t believe in, and what doesn’t please my palate.
You have a distinct and uncommon advantage, in that you’re breaking into another language (and coming from another language). You have perspectives and insight that I entirely lack, that I can only gain by talking with you. Maybe someday I’ll learn another language sufficiently to talk to a native-speaker, and then maybe I can explore another country and pick up on this new vibe, and then my personal graduate work would be to translate my own work faithfully into this new tongue… but that’s a long way off. That’s not going to happen this year or the next. So I’m fascinated to witness your fluency as well as all the alternative thoughts and attitudes you carry into this scene and our interactions. (As well, as an editor, I’m delighted to answer all of your questions!)
What these conversations show me is that I knew all the right answers, but I have to choose one, and among them one is righter than the others. Maybe it means I have to retreat, to pull back from these soi-disant “communities” where we have one thin point in common and many things in opposition… Because where was I doing my best writing? When I was alone, when I knew of no one else… when I was writing not to impress or win popularity or affection, but when I was writing because I had to get these thoughts out of my head. I had to reify my visions solely to extricate them and see them on paper, even if I was the only person reading them.
That was a good time, even if I didn’t know it back then.