Have you ever told the story of how you actually started posting on Lit? I'd like to hear that, what prompted you to make that move. I assume that you had been writing long before your first story on Lit, as your voice was already in full force.
Ebony, my mother would say that I was a creative force right out of the womb. She showed me the first drawing that I'd ever done at the age of three and I was shocked; the eyes, nose and mouth were all in the right spot within a circular head haloed by hair.
Before I was a writer I was an artist. I used to draw people and create stories behind them and then it seemed that the stories were more important than the drawings so I started making short comics. I really liked that. After a while, writing began satisfying me much more than drawing and I began to do it seriously.
As an artist I was a perfectionist, but I couldn't always control my abilities the way I wanted. It became very frustrating. I couldn't draw well unless all the elements lined up correctly, it seemed (or at least I thought I couldn't). I had a difficult time completing projects although others saw very good work--I saw mistakes. My two loves; writing and art was soon transferred to ONE love; writing.
I was so painfully shy that I could get ill just meeting new people. I didn't WANT to have more than one or two friends or to open up to strangers. I was satisfied with writing. I could spend hours in one spot lost in creativity, lost in my characters. But this is the case with a lot of us, isn't it? We find ourselves lost in the characters that we read about or write about.
While I was a teenager I began writing short erotic stories.The problem is that I had very little life experience (being painfully shy) and I didn't want to really share those stories. Also, I was being a very good girl in those stories.
While I can say that I wrote a lot, it was just basically perfecting the same work for years and years and never being satisfied. My stories were good--but they didn't read like REAL books. I began to analyze what I liked about my favorite author's writing styles and adopting it. What I mean is that there is a cadence...a rhythm to a story. There is also a formula. No I don't keep to a formula, but YES I respect the formula. LOL. It is very simple and a lot of people miss it;
Create characters that people care about.
Don't just write a story saying Jane Doe was going to miss the bus again. Jane Doe didn't want to run for the bus because she was fat and didn't want people to see her running. Jane Doe saw a handsome guy on the bus and began to fantasize about him. Who in the hell cares about Jane Doe???
As time went on I became interested in MMORPG where it requires you to create a fictional history for your Avatar. And that is when I broke out of my shell; both in my writing as well as my shyness. It's hard to be shy when you're not really you, right?
I became fairly popular at a site called IMVU and was asked to join many different role playing groups due to my detailed writing. I began meeting (through my avatars) many people like myself; people who loved to write--many of them so talented that it put my writing to shame! This is where I discovered a love for writing in a group. Hence; Vampiric Charms and several others role-plays.
I stopped 'holding back' in my writing due to my shyness. I became very open in my stories. But it began with an experiment. Four notebooks that pretty much changed my life.
I liked interracial stories because I had found myself in interracial relationships and wanted to explore it in the stories that I read, maybe even compare myself with others. But many of the IR stories of that time sucked. They had weak characters that were afraid to commit due to some outlandish self preservation bullshit. Or they cared what the outside world thought. Why does the conflict always have to do with racism? What about exploring cultural differences? Or admitting to an interest in dating outside of your race just for the sheer fact that the difference is interesting?
I decided to write a new kind of IR story--ones that didn't irritate me because their conflict was something I couldn't/wouldn't identify with. I can't identify with people who care what others think because they are walking around with someone of a different race. Or who reject the one they love for something as inconsequential as their color. Religion, understandable. Cultural differences, understandable. The world won't accept our love, not understandable.
I bought a notebook and decided that I would write a new type of IR story that showed differences more profound than just color. It was easy because these topics intrigued me and I wanted to explore it through writing. It wasn't that I sat around thinking of unlikely characters. No. My imagination would kick in with; what would happen if...
If a crazy black lady that hates white people finds herself depending on a white man that she looks down her nose at.
If a girl is scarred on the outside and meets a guy that is scarred on the inside.
If a woman's car breaks down in the center of a redneck town and she spies people walking around in Klan attire.
If a pretty divorced woman realizes that her husband left her for a ghetto-fabulous woman because she was boring.
If an insecure black woman meets a very self-assured man that happens to be blind.
Or if a drug addicted ex-prostitute falls in love with her pusher.
All of these topics intrigued me--and many many more. Before long my experimental notebook was 4 notebooks, crammed with stories. My idea was to shop it around as a collection but at the time the criteria was more confining and not all of my stories fit what publishers were willing to take a chance with. Genesis Press was the closest fit. But could they be interested in what I just described?
Before that could happen I lost interest in writing (for various reasons that I can go into at another time). For two years I didn't write outside of my role play groups. In my own group I started a thread where people could submit their short stories for feedback from the other members. A woman invited me to read a story that she had written and posted on a site called Literotica. I had told her how difficult it was for me to find IR stories and she said that there are hundreds upon hundred of IR stories there and they are all free if I didn't mind the lack of editing for many of them.
Free??? That's all I heard.
So I checked out her story as well as other stories in the IR category, but only with the intentions of reading them--not with the intent of posting any of my stories. I found that I really liked it. She told me to read a story called Damn Dress but I was like a kid in a candy store and I forgot about Damn Dress for many weeks. I began telling other people interested in IR stories about Literotica but many already knew about it and several of them asked me if I had read Damn Dress. Intrigued about why people kept talking about that story I read it. I really liked it and began reading other stories by SOULAR.
And then one day I found a writer by the name Nerd4Music. Her stories felt very personal to me and her use of music opened my mind to even greater possibilities about exploring the emotional depth of my characters instead of just their conflict. I'm not sure if I'm making myself clear here but it is the subtle difference between reading a good story that keeps you enthralled and a good story that makes you weep. Then I found that she had a blog and I enjoyed reading it as much as her stories. I decided then that I would try with my stories. Her stories had their own distinct voice that also did not follow a true formula. I felt as if there really would be people that would 'get' where I was coming from.
So there you have it. That is how I began writing for Literotica. When I submitted my first story I had no idea that there was a way to vote, that there was a ranking, that there were contests with the possibility of winning cash. I just wanted to share my stories and to see if anyone thought they were interesting or if I was just wasting my time. My mentality was of a blogger due to my MMORPG days at IMVU and so interacting with my readers became a necessity. I viewed comments as a learning experience because they come from my audience. I need my audience's feedback. I realized that not all authors on Lit feel that way. Not all authors take criticism and learn from it. Not all authors even seem to care about their readers.
One day when I was stalking Nerd4Music, I saw that I was on her favorites list on Literotica. I almost blacked out! Soon I discovered rankings and I saw Juicy listed at 35 in the IR category and I beamed in pride that I was on the list! One day I was voted most popular story for the month and I hyperventilated. And then I was in the number 1 spot. My desire to be published faded because I knew that I had reached people with my odd stories and that satisfied me.
Will I stay with Literotica? No. Unfortunately I need Literotica so that my readers can find my stories. But Literotica is not for me. Will I continue to blog and host free stories on my site? MOST DEFINITELY.