Interview with Sacchi Green

\"\"Sacchi Green lives in western Massachusetts, with occasional forays into the real world. She’s published scores of short stories and edited sixteen anthologies, eight of them Lambda Literary Award finalists, and two of them Lambda winners. Lately she’s blended the erotica genre with speculative fiction, her first love, whenever possible, and will even have an entire superheroine novel, SHADOW HAND, out next year. She will appear on the panel Writing Sex, moderated by Jupiter\’s Slut, who interviewed her.

How did you come to writing erotica and editing?

In my early teens, I became a fan of science fiction. I was a big reader as a kid and always thought I’d be a writer. In those days you could even make a living at it. However, that wasn’t really the reason. Maybe it was my idea of some sort of immortality, like Jane Austen. But what I did was raise a family and have a business, and so forth, still thinking I’d do the writing sometime.

Suddenly, in my fifties, I thought, wait a minute, if I don’t start now it’s never. So I started writing science fiction and fantasy short stories. I had some moderate success in anthologies and magazines. Then I saw a call for submissions for Best Lesbian Erotica, which had started in 1996. I thought, “I can do that.” My first erotica story appeared in it in 1999.

What’s been your experience writing erotica?

Many of my science fiction and fantasy stories had a lesbian undertone. I already had some experience in story structure, from science fiction and fantasy, and when my erotica story was accepted the editor said, “Yours is so different!” That wasn’t necessarily true as I went along, but the Best Lesbian Erotica series has always had good stories.

I hate to say this, but a lot of people still view erotica as having no plot. They just will not read it. There’s this attitude. There are some award groups where it’s hard to even find judges for erotica.

Do you think a woman writer of erotica is seen differently from male writers who write about sex?

Women writers are perceived differently in general. How many women writers still use just initials? In erotica right now, though, there is a huge market for gay male erotica written by women. Women like to read it. Whether many males like to read it is a different question. It grew out of the same thing that Fifty Shades of Grey grew out of, fan fiction.

As an editor, how do you approach helping people write sex better?

There are technical points, such as, make sure you know where everyone’s appendages are, so they aren’t trying to do things they couldn’t be doing, because it throws people out of the story, and you don’t want to throw them out at that point.

Another thing is vocabulary. Every now and then, someone will starting using a word that hasn’t been used before in that context, like delve. It’s not great, but not too bad, until everyone does it. Avoid overworked words or tropes. If you really notice other people doing it, it’s been done too much.

What are three of your best tips for writing sex successfully?

1. It’s a huge mistake to think of a sex scene as a single obligatory lump of action inserted into your story. Don’t think of it as a separate thing. Focus on your characters. You know what they do in certain circumstances. What do they do in this circumstance?
2. When it comes to building toward sex scenes, foreshadowing is like foreplay.
3. Sex has accumulated so much baggage in our culture that “dirty” words can carry an erotic jolt of their own, positive for some people, negative for others. You can’t predict how each reader will react. All you can do is be familiar enough with your characters to know whether they’d say (or even think) “cunt” or “pussy” or “vulva.”

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