While they both started out writing erotica “accidentally,” Tiffany Reisz (who first plotted her books while in seminary) and Roni Loren (a former Young Adult author) have quickly gained loyal fan followings for their sizzling stories. At the RWA National Conference last week, these ladies gave a workshop titled "BDSM: 101" and cleared up misconceptions about erotica as well as shared down-and-dirty instructions on some of the ways aspiring authors can write about domination, submission and more!

Authors Tiffany Reisz and Roni Loren discuss kink and how to write BDSM fiction

Tiffany and Roni started the discussion by explaining that there are endless types of erotica, but two main distinctions are 'erotica' and 'erotic romance.' Roni writes erotic romance which means her stories end with a happily every after, or at least a happily for now. While erotica (which RT labels erotic fiction) is about a sexual journey. Tiffany says she enjoys writing erotica because it allows her to break a lot of rules and explore taboo subjects.

So who should consider incorporating BDSM into their erotic work? Roni cautioned the audience not to chase a trend. Tiffany agreed, saying that this subgenre is really for writers who enjoy reading it and who are able to set aside inhibitions and judgments. And for those who think the types of characters who enjoy kink are all sick or must have suffered abuse, the author just shakes her head. "The damaged kinkster is a tired and sad trope that needs to be retired." Tiffany continued, "BDSM is all about a power play, the hunted and the hunter, a conscious decision to make your couple (or more-some) take on roles of dominant and submissive."

Once these clarifications were made, the authors listed some important terms associated with the BDSM lifestyle, including the fact that even the name itself stands for different things to different people.

When you think BSDM think bondage and discipline; domination and submission; sadism and masochism. And while this seems like a lot to take in (no pun intended), Roni advised the audience to pick and choose a character's kink to see what really works for that particular character. Perhaps they enjoy physical restraints, but not whipping; or maybe they are into meting out psychological rather than physical punishment. Even the seemingly clear-cut roles of dominant and submission depend on the players. Tiffany explained about a 'switch', or person who changes roles in a BDSM context, and a 'service top' who is seemingly physically in charge of a 'scene' (or sexual/sensual encounter) but really is there to take orders from the 'bottom.'

With literal endless combinations of characters, kinks and roles, research becomes key to understanding the variations that are available to erotica writers. (And the authors warn that if you get it wrong, you will hear about it from your readers!) While you don't have to be active in the kink community to write with authority, Roni suggests that you experience certain things personally in order to write realistically. She says that it is not enough to look at a picture of a BDSM tool or toy, but go to a store to get the look and feel of it. And you don't have to be conscientious because "at a sex shop nobody looks at you funny!" Other places to learn about the BDSM lifestyle are on the Internet, in research and fiction books and interviews. 

But while there is a lot of equipment out there to choose from including collars, handcuffs, rope, gags, clamps, etc., Tiffany says that a large part of your research process should be looking into safety issues. A writer needs to be responsible for their writing and incorporate Risk Aware Consensual Kink (RACK) or Safe Sane Consensual (SSC) principles into their work. This can be included when the characters, prior to engaging in BDSM acts, negotiate their hard and soft limits as well as safe words to signals, which can be especially important when a story includes erotic pain. 

However, if writing about pain just isn't your thing, you can still include BDSM because, as Tiffany says, "kink is as much in the head as it is in the body." BDSM is all about welding power. In fact, there can be whole scenes without actual physical contact. For this, the author suggests checking out psychology texts so you can understand what is happening in your characters' heads.

One last piece of advice from Roni is to always remember that you are writing about love and romance and/or relationships between people, so "don't feel bad and don't apologize."

Do you write BDSM fiction? Leave any tips you have in the comments below. And if you are interested in finding some kinky books to read, including Tiffany Reisz and Roni Loren's newest releases, check out our Everything Erotica Page!

Tags: Aspiring Authors, RT Daily Blog, Erotica
1COMMENTS SUBSCRIBE TO RSS FEED EMAIL PRINT SHARE PERMALINK