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Writing the plus-sized character.
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Written by Amanda Gannon   
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 00:07
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a fat girl, and knows that I am committed to the principles of size acceptance.  It's very important to me.  So, in my stories, I try to make an effort to include women who are definitively not thin.  There's trouble with this, though.

How do you write about a person's size so that the reader knows that they really are supposed to be capital-F Fat? A lot of sexy fiction (and unsexy fiction, but that's not our trade here) written from a woman's point of view has some version of this in the first fifty pages:

"Sexerella knew that she could stand to lose a few pounds, but nobody had ever complained about her voluptuous womanly body, and she knew that her new super-tight velveteen dress was going to look like leopard-print dynamite over her dangerous curves at the fuckerware party later that night."

Yeah.

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The White Writer's Burden
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Written by Paul   
Thursday, 04 August 2011 03:32
One of the first things a writer learns to grapple with is writing about characters who are of a different gender, and trying to put yourself into the mind of a man or woman when you are the other one is one of the first great challenges an author faces.  Let alone the issues that arise when you factor in gender as a continuum rather than a binary, which many people never even acknowledge exists, let alone attempt. Some get quite good at it, some not so much, but we all have to try.  Unless you are willing to forego characters who are not whatever you are, blanking out half the world (not to mention disappearing literally everyone who falls in between that binary.) then you are going to have to try it.  It is so common that we don't even really see it anymore.  Oftimes a writer reveals more about him/herself in the process, and this can be quite illuminating, but no one is likely to call the author a sexist for trying. Maybe for doing it badly, yes, but not just for the effort.  What I mean is: writing about women is not considered the exclusive province of women, or vice versa.

We do not have quite the same thoughts about race, at least not yet.  Feminism has made a lot of progress, but different races remain largely unimaginable to a depressing percentage of the white population.  There is a great deal of difference between how women were handled in, say, the Pulp Era as opposed to now.  Race has made some inroads in this regard, but writing about a race you do not belong to can be sticky and a white writer who writes about a different ethnicity - at least a living, real-world ethnicity (or imaginary ones standing in for same; see: Avatar fail) - is in for some trouble.  When said author is writing porn, then that can become a lot of trouble.  How to treat non-white characters when you are a white writer is a knotty problem, and when sex comes into the mix it can get downright thorny.

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Erotica vs. Pornography.
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Written by Amanda Gannon   
Monday, 01 August 2011 22:24
People have been asking me for years to write this piece, and I think it's a perfect topic to kick off our non-story-content updates.

What constitutes "obscene?"  What constitutes something that's "pornographic" as opposed to "erotic?"

Answer: it's entirely subjective.

I personally use the terms "porn" and "erotica" interchangeably.  I think that because the difference between them is entirely subjective and unquantifiable, there should be no greater stigma attached to one than to the other.  I don't use the word "porn" solely for work that I find gross or exploitative.  I don't use the word "erotica" to apply solely to work that I like.

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