What Safeword? or Why I Write Asshole Characters

Do not expect nice people when you read my erotica.

It’s fair warning and more than I get when I read books and realize that the people that I am reading about are idiots.

Power play is a constant theme in my work. In the first place, shifting power dynamics are a great thing to hang a narrative from. I use it in my speculative fiction work as well as my erotica, and I find that it amps up tension nicely. In the second place, I find power play to be sexy. I am interested in this idea and I subscribe to the newsletter.

So in real life, power play dynamics, whether they involve kinky sex or who does the dishes, need to be negotiated between two consenting adults. In my opinion, they should be negotiated exhaustively. Do it right and and it becomes a form of foreplay. (writes down idea for later)

In erotic fantasy however, I don’t necessarily want to write about getting out the kink list and going down it with a partner, and moreover, most of the people I write about wouldn’t do it in the first place.

I write about horrible people doing horrible things to each other. They are sexy things, or at least, the idea of them is sexy to me, but these are horrible things that ruin lives, ruin relationships and oftentimes cause property damage. I would not like to be in a room or even in the same building as most of the characters I write about.*

This leads to some interesting moments when people call my characters “sweet**,” “endearing***,” or “adorable****.”

Someday, I am going to write a piece of erotica centered around kind, loving people. And then, in all likelihood, my friends will tell me that I seem to have written a story about people who are about one bad night away from robbing a bank and going on a murder spree.

Because, well, I know what I like.

Coming Soon:
-5 Locations Where I Have Written Erotica
-I Am Never Leaving My Apartment Again
-A Mango Lassi (any minute now!)

*The exception might be Iskander, from Lord of Misrule. I could actually see him using negotiation as foreplay.

**Homicidal sword-ghost

***Cybernetically augmented information thief

****Sociopathic gangster’s girlfriend


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Madeline Elayne
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 15:15:19

    It’s funny that I’m reading this right now after just having finished writing my very first ever story that includes negotiation.

    Ironic that the point of the story is that being too conscientious sometimes backfires!

    I wonder, do you think it’s a gender thing? I often write characters that are far sweeter than I usually am in real life, and I know of several female writers who are the same.


    • kannanfeng
      Mar 30, 2010 @ 17:19:16

      I dunno, I know at least two other women besides myself who write erotica, and I think all three of us write characters that are far more horrible than we could ever be.

      On the other hand, I cut my teeth on splatterpunk and horror, and horrible people are sort of the stock in trade for those genres.

      The scene you described sounds like fun, is it for a longer work, or for your microfiction?


      • Madeline Elayne
        Mar 30, 2010 @ 17:42:26

        Maybe it is a genre thing, then. My first story was straight BDSM porn.

        Is it your cross-gendered characters who are assholes or the same gendered ones? If I’m going to make a character wicked, it’s usually a woman, and the men are often bottoms and pretty fucking… what was that word? Adorable.

        The story was a submission for a bondage anthology. It’s a bit non-traditional though so I don’t have high hopes for it being accepted.

  2. kannanfeng
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 19:02:56


    I’ve written characters of both sexes that are downright vicious. For me, I don’t know if it’s the sex of the character, I think it’s just that I like writing jerks. 😛

    There’s a lot of beating that needs to occur before anyone gets even vaguely sweet. Well, sweet, or they come down with a strong case of Stockholm Syndrome, maybe.

    And yay, submissions! Good luck with it. ^_^


  3. Trackback: Resurrecting the Dead (Projects) « Kannan Feng

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