Fifty Shades of Grey inspires new chapter on erotic fiction in Bloomsbury Writers' and Artists' Yearbook


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The Independent Culture

A well-established handbook for writers and artists is to include a chapter on writing erotic fiction for the first time.

Following blockbuster sales of EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey last year, publisher Bloomsbury has added a new section to its annual Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2014 responding to the success of "mummy porn".

The chapter, titled ‘Notes from a successful writer of erotic fiction’, gives writers tips about how to cash in on the revival of S&M in literature, which has flourished thanks to e-readers.

However, the anonymous female author warns that not everyone can have an instant hit like James, and advises budding writers to focus as much on developing character as on writing graphic sex. 

“The success off Fifty Shades was as much to do with the characters of Ana and Christian and the fantasy of wealth and power as it was to do with sex.

“You still need the characters and setting, scenes and tension, dialogue and story arc. You want your reader to be inside the head of the character who is experiencing the fantasy and as turned on as you are,” she writes.

The author, who declined to be named, advises writers of erotic fiction to use a pseudonym because of the stigma surrounding the genre.

“Let’s face it, writing erotic fiction is not something that will make your Mum happy, or your friends proud. It’s likely to get you blackballed at the school gates and talked about behind your back. For, however much people like to read it and enjoy private pleasure, society is still judgmental enough to punish the writer, however good the story is.”

She adds: “As a feminist, I am cheering on this new development [in the erotica genre] because women deserve the chance to experiment and express their sexuality, and words are one of the ways we become aroused.”