First off, congratulations to everyone who got the pun in the title. Now, moving on.

I’ve primarily been a writer of romantic comedies because that’s the style and genre that comes most naturally to me. Yes, writing humor that actually makes a reader laugh comes with it’s set of challenges but from what I’ve come to realize, its not half as tricky as writing something that will tease a reader’s senses and invoke sensuality.

With my third, I’ve attempted to do that, and have found myself stuck on a single page for weeks. The book does not belong to the erotica genre per se – it would qualify as romantic intrigue – but there are significant junctures in the plot that demanded graphic descriptions of intimate encounters.

So, why is it hard? Let me list that out for you.

It is scary. Atleast it was for me. It was unchartered territory way outside my comfort zone and I had my personal inhibitions. I was writing for my characters but I still felt vulnerable, like a deep, intimate part of me was about to be bared before the world.

Fear of judgment. I wasn’t writing anonymously and while it doesn’t matter to me how people and the society perceive me, the awareness that my grandparents and inlaws will probably read this book and gift it to their friends threatened to hold back my expression. I’m so glad I didn’t let it happen. I constantly reminded myself that if I can’t write boldly and fearlessly, what’s the point in writing at all.  However, I would understand why any woman writer, especially in India, would want to write erotica under a pseudonym. While readers welcome good writing in any form and genre, the risk of being perceived differently by friends, family and colleagues is very real.

Linguistic dilemmas. It is reasonably difficult to describe intimacy without using colloquial words, and at the same time not sound like you are trying to shroud everything under euphemisms and symbolic evocativeness (remember the golden era of boiling milk, two flowers chest thumping violently with each other to a background score of strumming santoor vaadan?). Also, how to decide where to be graphic and where to go metaphorical?

Detachment of self from the scene. This might sound like a bummer, but the process of writing a sensual scene between two characters is anything but sensual. I had beautiful images floating about in one compartment of my head but I could not lose myself in them because the other compartment was in overdrive looking for the right words to paint that image on paper.

Being sensitive to sensibilities. Unless you are writing out-and-out porn and calling it that, there are audience sensibilities to be taken care of. Most of my readers are Indians and I wouldn’t want to write the kind of stuff I myself would not enjoy reading. With every passage, I kept asking myself – is this crass or classy? Sensual or overtly sexual? How does it reflect upon my characters? Should I step up the heat or tone it down? How much is too much? I haven’t found any straight answers to these questions – all I know is that it is damn difficult to strike the right balance between elements and I now have a newfound respect for writers of good erotica.

When I started writing this article, I wasn’t really sure where I was going with it, but then I realized that erotica isn’t about going anywhere, it’s about coming. Sorry, bad pun. I’ll show myself out now.

About the Author

Shuchi Singh Kalra

Is a writer, editor and blogger who has been writing since 2005, and has freelanced with major print and online publications including Femina.in, Good Housekeeping, Home Review, Women’s Era and Time ‘N’ Style. She also writes for several businesses from across the world.

Shuchi is the owner of Pixie Dust Writing Studio, a writing and editing firm that services a global clientele, and the Indian Freelance Writers Blog. Her first book, Done With Men (published in Feb 2014 by Indireads), has been on Amazon bestsellers list for two consecutive years. Her second book, I’m Big. So What?!released in Feb 2016 and is receiving rave reviews on all platforms. Shuchi’s short stories have appeared inLove Across Borders, Stories For Your Valentine and NAW Anthology 2013.

Twitter @shuchikalra

Shuchi is also a part of Blogchatter Writing Festival as an author mentor. One of the key successes of the Writing Festival is Blogchatter Ebook Carnival, world’s largest release of Ebooks in one go. You can also check out the thirty three ebook listings and pick the ones you feel will make great reads.