Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Sleeping Beauty Novels - Anne Rice

(I know, lots of overly long posts today. This is the last, promise.)

I would just like to state, for the record, so everyone knows, I did not buy these books. I did not request these books either. If memory serves, they were offloaded onto Mabs and I by his friend, who was to embarrassed to own them after reading them. I'm inclined to follow suit.

The trilogy follows the path of Sleeping Beauty, who is woken not just with a kiss, but with a kiss that came midfuck. That raised all sorts of "that's just wrong" flags, and those flags never went away, but for other reasons. The Prince claims her as his own personal love slave, and takes her back to his mother's queendom, where the training of pleasure slaves is pretty much all they do.

It is branded as erotica.

It isn't.

I learned an awful lot about how to write erotica from reading these books. To begin with, if something is there all the time, all the freakin' time, it fails to be noteworthy, and becomes very mundane. For instance, if the main character of the story is naked for the entire story, I kid you not, and if all the other multitude of slaves around her are also naked, then nakedness means very little. They're not going to be ashamed of their nakedness for particularly long, because they'll get used to it. They, and their masters, are not going to get turned on by nakedness, because they'll get used to it. And what's more, if you have female slaves running vigorously every morning, naked, then their breasts sure as hell aren't going to stay 'high and pert'.

Every problem in the story stems from this one thing; it never stops. The nakedness never goes away, so never becomes special. The spanking (bloody hell) never goes away, so fails to inspire any sort of fear or horniness. Eat breakfast, have a spank, whoopdidoo.

Perhaps I was reading it wrong. Perhaps I wasn't supposed to read it as a story, but read one chapter at a time, as turnedonedness was required. Bullshit.

I've come to the conclusion that the most important thing you have to do in erotica is take a break. Write the biggest, most mindblowing fuck scene in all the universe, but for fuck's sake go write about something else afterwards. Erotic tension is not about throwing boobies in the reader's face, page after page, chapter after chapter. It is about taking it all away, and letting it build up again, from scratch. Having it always there makes it pretty damn boring, and sadly I'm not exaggerating when I say it really was there page after page.

The reader should also care about the characters that're getting booty time. It's very hard to get interested in fooling around if the character's doing the fooling are wet hens. It makes a nice change from the spanking (bloody hell) but I still didn't actually care. Give them some redeeming feature, please. Or better yet, make them interesting.

There are, possibly, three chapters in the entire three books in which I was interested. These chapters didn't involve spanking (bloody hell) or booty time, but character developement. A pity there weren't more.

Lastly, and most importantly...learn to write consistantly. Pick a tense and stick to it. Stop starting every third sentence with 'and'. I know these books were originally slated as first person from the number of 'I' instead of 'she' typos made.

Verdict: read these books if you are a writer feeling down about yourself, because they will make you feel better. I feel great. (Having finally finished the damn books might have something to do with that.)
Otherwise, seriously, there's better erotica out there on the internet. For free.


  1. Anonymous27/4/05 14:12

    Speaking of free Internet erotica, I bet this post gets you some interesting google traffic.

  2. I should probably get some site stat recorder first. :P But it can't be any worse than the hits I was building up at my last one.

  3. You're too politically correct by calling this stuff 'erotica'. I call it S & M porn, but, on second thought, I think that might be insulting to porn.


  4. But they weren't gratuitous enough to be porn. Much as it was always there, it wasn't actually doing anything. :T

  5. Great rant. :)

    I agree, they're just ... boring. Dull, dull, dull. And unrealistic, and dull. And, oh, look, a bunch of wet blanket characters act like wet blankets again...