Erotica vs. SF

While I know that it is not surprising in a global sense, I do find it surprising that among my readers 250 of you read the Erotica homework I posted and only 40 of you went for the SF murder mystery. Note: those are just the numbers for the first day each was posted.

I mean, I know that there’s the curiosity factor with the homework and that it’s shorter, but still. I was surprised.

What are your thoughts on why? The novelty? People like sex? One is a novel?

EDITED TO ADD: Someone suggested that it was the fact that one required filling out a form to get the password for the novel. Ease of access. Fair enough. So, out of curiosity  I’m going to remove the password from the first three chapters of the novel. After that, you’ll have to ask for it. I wonder if it will make a difference

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19 Responses

  1. Nina Niskanen

    For my part I’m more interested in the SF murder mystery but I’m doing NaNoWriMo myself and expect my novel writing to go on probably up to Christmas at least. Last time I killed my own story by reading too many other new stories so now I’m only reading very short things or, mostly, nothing at all. I’m actually really looking forward to the day that I can read Kiss Me Twice. </3

  2. Ell

    Just went back to the original post to try to recall why I decided against. Basically:

    1. The form, with a request for a message, felt a little like I should explain why I would be reading it.
    2. NaNoWriMo means waaaaaaaaaaay too much material to keep up with.
    3. The description made it seem like it might not be a good idea in the first place – you cut a longer story down to a tighter story, then other people told you you should expand it again. I got the feeling you were okay with it as a learning exercise, but I didn’t get the sense you were doing this because *you* thought it was the right thing for the story.

    Although an SF murder mystery is way more up my alley than Austenian fic, so yeah, I’m actually pretty interested on that basis. Except the formal form also made me think, would I feel like I *should* comment? I’m sometimes happy to, other times not at all.

    Seriously, though it baffles me that something so relatively minor should carry so much weight, the form really was the deal-breaker…

  3. Susan B

    I’d love to read along, but failed miserably at giving constructive criticism during the LAST read-along, and so decided not to waste your time. 🙂

      1. Serge Broom

        Glad to hear that such feedback is also appreciated. There’s always something getting in the way so that any comment I might make has already been made by others, and everybody has moved on a few chapters into the future.

        1. Mary Robinette Kowal

          Ah… but see, I make adjustments as I go, so sometimes you may be the first person to read that draft of a chapter. If I’m still getting the same comments that means I haven’t fixed whatever the problem is.

  4. Mary Alice Kropp

    Hmm, interesting question. And difference in numbers. I’m one who is actually reading both, and doing NaNoWriMo, too. Never said I wasn’t crazy. LOL

    I didn’t even think twice about the form for the password. As to why I decided to read along-
    For the erotica, it’s something I have trouble with myself, and haven’t found a class like you did, so I thought maybe I could pick up some tips.
    For the novel- I liked the novella, and was curious how you would go about lengthening it again.

  5. BenjaminJB

    Besides answers already given, here are some guesses:

    A) I wonder how many of the readers of the erotica were previously familiar with the characters from your novels (and so saw this as a “deleted scene” bonus)? If you’re already invested in characters, you might want to see them do more stuff.

    (Which doesn’t quite hold for the novella-to-novel transformation: a bonus scene of characters you like is different than, say, a rebooting of the franchise or the American version of a foreign film. Help, my metaphoric comparison is getting away from me like an unspooling film!)

    B) Not only are the erotica pieces shorter, but there’s a commitment to respond: if I read your homework, I can get away with an “I liked it.” But if I’m responding to your work-in-progress, I’m going to feel more pressure to say something helpful.

    C) Writing romantic/erotic scenes is hard, which many of your crafty readers would know–after all, there’s a “Bad Sex in Fiction Award” but no “Bad Mystery in Fiction Award.” So if any of your readers wanted some help with their own romance/erotic writing, that homework would be more compelling.

  6. Paul Weimer (@princejvstin)

    I am shamefully not finding the time to usefully comment on the former, and so didn’t sign up for the latter because I wasn’t sure I could offer constructive criticism. That IS the point of “Kiss me Twice”‘s read, isn’t it? I assume you don’t want me as a mostly lurking reader.

    (Although I really did like Kiss Me Twice and voted for it for the Hugo Award)…

  7. Laura Christensen

    A follow-up note to comments above:

    There’s a difference between alpha-reading and editing. She’s not necessarily looking for “constructive criticism” she’s looking for your reactions as you read. Which means that whatever you say, whoever you are, whatever qualifications you think you do/don’t have, your feedback is welcome.

  8. Dave Hogg

    In my case, it was mainly being behind in everything I want to read. I’m really curious as to what you do with Kiss Me Twice. I nominated it and voted for it for a Hugo, so I want to see the novel version.

  9. MrsDragon

    Many of the reasons mentioned above are true for me too (the form, the length, the not feeling useful) but one other thing came into play. I came to your blog having read Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass. So, follow ups to those stories naturally interest me more. Moving to a SF is also a bit of a leap of faith, sort of like finding your writing all over again. (I can’t be the only one who is always skeptical of new authors/shows/movies/music/etc even though I very often love them. It’s that first jumping in that I’m always reluctant about. More so with fiction than anything else.)

  10. Matthew

    The other thing it could be: your erotica homework is set in an established universe, with familiar characters we already love. The murder mystery is entirely new.

    (Or that is my perception, at least, having read neither.)

  11. Grant Gardner

    For me, I read your works as a way of learning, of seeing how someone who is successful and established writes to try and learn how to do it better myself.

    For the erotica, you had said you were taking a class, learning something yourself. It just seemed like an opportunity to learn more about the process and see what things carried over from the skills that you already had.

    As for the rest of the world, I have no idea beyond the knee-jerk.

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