Open. Shit. Up. – The Eroticon Diaries – Trois

So put another record on
Play it on repeat
Nothing really matters when we’re dancing
All you ever have to know, is what you do to me
And everytime we come this close, my heart skips, skips a beat

*Olly Murs ft. Rizzle Kicks – Heart Skips A Beat*
Day two started with Ruby opening. She had prepared a talk titled “I’m In Love With Henry DeTamble”, referring to the lead character from The Time Traveller’s Wife. With her usual hesitant passion, she told us about how this book was completely impossible in real life, but worked because the characters were so strong. Story and characters need to be believable because otherwise the readers won’t be interested in what you’ve written. No-one is taking risks, pushing boundaries, because traditional presses seem quite conservative with erotica and don’t like to be challenged. It’s about carving out a niche and developing a voice. We as bloggers should be proud and push boundaries. Be different.
All I have to say about that is FUCK YES. That seemed to be the theme of the day, things that made me say FUCK YES.
And thus, the sessions.
Anthologies Panel – With Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Lucy Felthouse, Victoria Blisse
The first panel was the one at the top of my list, because it included four of the people I admire in the business. It was an excellent panel, proving a good insight into the different things editors tend to go for. I was especially amused by Maxim’s insistence on having his manuscripts sent to him by post, but I can absolutely understand that reading over a thousand submissions on a computer is not the most pleasant way to spend a month.
Anyway, I learned a lot from this panel. And if you want to try your hand at submitting fiction, check out the ERWA (Erotica Readers And Writers Association) website. Nearly all calls for submissions are up there. Otherwise, hunt on Facebook, Twitter and even Fetlife for something that might suit you. I’d add keeping an eye on several editors’ Twitter feeds, because they usually post their calls on there too.
Finessing Sex – KD Grace
Again, one of those people I am enormously biased about. I met KD at last year’s inaugural edition of Eroticon and since then, we’ve kept running into each other. Last October, I attended a reading at Sh!, where she was reading from her Lakeland Heatwave series. I had brushed up on my KD a bit, having read her insanely and weirdly hot story Vegging in BWE 2010 (seriously, the things you can do with a carrot) but that night, the woman herself got me on the edge of my seat, trying to control my libido as she read from Riding the Ether.
Yeah, I’m a fangirl.
So naturally, I attended KD’s session and, again, I learned an awful lot that I wouldn’t learn anywhere else. She challenged us to write a ten minute ficlet, the results of which I posted earlier in the day. It made me do the one thing I didn’t even dream about doing in my writing (other than resurrect Red) and that was to resurrect Elin and Jase from the Little Stories series. I gave them a quick make-over and let them “create chaos” (as KD said) and the result made me very very proud. I see KD as a sort of mentor (although we rarely meet). Through her books, I learn a lot about my own writing, and to learn from her own words was a joy.
Porn Challenge – Justin Hancock
If you’ve never met Justin before, he is instantaneously noticeable by the size of his beard. He’s also a pretty damn cool dude who knows a thing or two about sex education. If you’ve never heard of him, he’s the brains behind BishUK, a sex ed site for the under 25’s. I’m obliged (not really) to say that he’s got a book out soon, so go and get it when it’s out or he will eat yoooooo. (also not really).
It was a change in format of sessions, because this one had us sit in groups, brainstorming on how to make porn more inclusive. Our group ended up drawing out the story of a paraplegic man, sitting in bed, having his friends have sex in front of him. It also involved a male nurse giving out meds and a pizza guy who delivers pizza.
Storytelling And Sex – Alison Robert (Brook), Justin Hancock (Bish), Emily Dubberley (Cliterati)
Another brainstorming session, this time about how to include a positive, pleasure-focussed message in our writing. I must admit that I keep forgetting to do that, so I will keep it in mind in the future. This session was also notable for two things. One was the creation of the “Imagine There’s No Penetration” meme and two was me finally getting to meet Emily Dubberley, who I’ve been working with for a while.
The main message in this session was to keep sex real. Write the good, the bad and the ugly bits and don’t gloss over things. Do research, challenge oppression. Yeah, I like that.
Sex And The Media Panel – Zoe Margolis, Nichi Hodgson
Sex and The Media was without a doubt one of the best sessions at last year’s edition, so I was keen to see what this year would bring. I love Zoe and Nichi, so I wanted to know from them what was going on in British media. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the most positive of sessions. Last year’s edition benefited from having more people on the panel, and although Zoe and Nichi are wonderful women in their own right, I wish they could have presented us with a more optimistic and less biased view of what we can do to challenge the perspective of the media. Having said that, lots of things were learned.
On a sidenote, I would love for this panel to keep coming back every edition. But I would like a more varied selection of speakers next year. Maybe someone working in the media, so we can get a lively discussion going?
Closing Plenary – Cindy Gallop
Cindy Gallop joined us live from her Black Apartment (which, do invite us all for a sleepover, plz) via Google Hangouts. She was a wonderful, natural speaker and ideal to lead us out. Also, I had no fucking clue she was British.
She talked about the power of the written word, how we should challenge the norm in business today and write our own business plan because there is no one way to do it. Shared values plus shared action is shared profits (or did I get this wrong?)
Open Shit Up (which appeared to be the message of the day) was her advice. And I am going to. I am going to blow shit up.
But please to let me recover from this weekend first?
All in all, Eroticon 2013 was a mind-blowing experience. Between this and last year’s edition, I feel like I’ve seen the light. I feel like bits of the old me are getting chipped off and I’m turning into a new person.
Thank you Ruby. Thank you thank you thank you. For everything.
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