FAQ - draft answer1. How did you get started writing sex stories?
It all started when I was an English major in college. My boyfriend at the time worked in the computer lab, on the late shift, and I would hang around the lab to keep him company. He spent a lot of time on the computer, and when I got bored and pestered him, he set me up with an e-mail account and access to the newsgroups. In theory, all of the students had such access, but this was 1990 -- the very early days of the net, pre-Web, and I think I was probably the first English undergrad at Chicago to actually use my e-mail account.
The newsgroups back then were these huge topic-sorted bulletin boards, where you could talk on just about any subject in threaded forums. It wasn't like today, where are lots of different places you can go to participate in discussions -- while there were other more private bulletin boards, the newgroups were by far the most well-known and popular. Everyone on-line stopped by there, and people being people, everyone stopped by the sex newsgroups eventually. Just to check them out, you know.
So, like everyone else, I visited alt.sex and learned a lot from the discussions there, like which brand of condoms offered the best combination of sensitivity and reliability, or what happens to the way a man tastes when he eats cucumbers. I visited alt.sex.stories and rec.arts.erotica too (I was an English major, after all, and loved stories), and was just stunned at how bad these stories were. Bad on a level I had never encountered before -- incoherent grammar, impossible spelling, and plots that made no sense at all. I found myself thinking, "I can do better than that!"
It was a very freeing experience -- I had spent so many years reading good stories and great stories and had never encountered truly bad ones. I had thought of writers as almost demigods, with these magical skills. Now I realized that at this level, writing was something I could do. And at least I knew how to spell!
So I wrote a story. A dreadful story, actually, "American Airlines Cockpit." It was just as predictable as it sounds from the title, but at least there was nothing wrong with the grammar. I posted it on the newsgroups and got some enthusiastic e-mail in response. Well, I've always responded well to praise, so I wrote another, "Season of Marriage" (a sweet little arranged marriage love story, which would later become the seed of Bodies in Motion). More raves in e-mail. I wrote more stories. In that first year, I think I wrote about twenty stories (most of them less than 2000 words long) -- probably the most prolific I've ever been. It was a sheer delight, and the wonderful e-mails I got in response were tremendously motivating.
I did try writing a few stories without much sex, and posted them to rec.arts.prose, but nobody seemed to actually read that newsgroup, so they didn't engender any response. I was hooked on those appreciative e-mails, so I kept writing about sex. :-) So in a sense, I really fell into sex writing, almost accidentally. But once there, I found other reasons to stay with it.