Saitochan

First-hand experience

First-hand experience  

57 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you think it's absolutely necessary to know through your own experience what you're writing about?

    • Yes
      8
    • No
      33
    • Second-hand experience works for me
      19
    • I don't care, I just write whatever crosses my mind
      10


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Hey people! I was wondering the other day if imagination was enough to write about something totally new. I began wondering because I was trying to write an BDSM story in the naruto fandom, but stopped dead in my tracks when I had absolutely no idea of what I was writing about, and my imagination just wasn't enough for me to pull it off. Not only had I never had experience in that field, but I have never even read a BDSM fic. Why did I even think of a story like that in the foirst place? No idea.

But anyway, I want to hear about you guys. Do you think one must know first-hand about what you're writing, or is your imagination enough for you to create something decent? Maybe I'm just lacking in creativity... :hug:

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well, I've never had sex, but according to reviews, my sex scenes are really hot, so I guess imagination can go a long way. People say that everything you write comes from experience, but that's just not true. The problem is when your imagination creates something that plain isn't true. With BDSM, some people think that it's all about the pain and whipping or beating your lover, but that isn't true, it's about the nature of trust in a slave/master relationship, though pain can be involved. Even if you haven't experienced something firsthand, you still need to do some research, though try not to make that research fanfiction because a lot of people get things wrong. And even if you do write about a firsthand experience, it doesn't mean that you'll get it right, human memory commonly equals mistakes and confusion and even with these experiences, a lot of imagination puts some spice into it.

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Hmm... I've never done rape or consensual BDSM in real life, yet I've received differing feedback on those kind of scenes. A reviewer once said that my rape scene is believable. Another said that my SM scene is unconvincing.

Maybe some things are harder to imagine or portray. I'd suggest some research (read, watch videos, observe the local scene).

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I think first hand experience is best, but it's not always practical, or even possible.

If I'm writing about something I've never done or experienced, I research it. I ask questions (I'm the chick that posted the question about what it's like for a man to receive a blow job.) Of course some things are only possible in a fictional setting, but even there, I would seek out descriptions of the closest real world equivalents.

I do cringe when I come across stories where the author obviously has never experienced what they are trying to describe. I've read sex scenes that were anatomically impossible. Scenes where characters reactions to events were just preposterous. Scenes that just jarred me right out of the story, scratching my head and going "Are you kidding me?"

Experience shows more often than not, I think. I'm thirty five years old. I've experienced quite a few things and researched quite a bit more. I put real work and thought into my stories and I'd like to think others do the same.

Sadly, that's not always true. Thank the gods for the back button.

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I can usually just come up with stuff but as I get older I definately find it easier to write about stuff that has happened to me or that I've had in my life. It's all one big learning process I think!

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Even if you haven't experienced something firsthand, you still need to do some research, though try not to make that research fanfiction because a lot of people get things wrong.

Good advice. Actually, when I tried reading BDSM stories to get a general idea of what to write, I got even more confused. You're totally right, some people don't have a clue of what they're talking about, though I'm sure a few writers grasp the concepts just right. Now the problem is... how do I tell one from another?

Oh well... I guess I'll just keep writing good ol' fashioned Het, at least until some perverted muse feels like whispering in my ear.

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Do I think it's necessary? NO

Do I think it helps? YES.

Let's say we want to compose music. I would venture to say that assuming we have the basics down, the GRAMMAR of the thing so to speak, we can write out notes to our hearts content, and we will struggle with it until...UNTIL we actually play it. In that sense, then, we gain experience. Does it sound good, do others like it, does it have appeal....can it be promoted?

We learn by doing that's for sure.

Then we have those who are prodigies, who seem to have a knack for writing, for expressing themselves, for getting their point across in a most salient manner....for those people, I gnash my teeth and wish them into the deepest part of hell....er, I mean, I admire their talent and suck up to them shamelessly....

anyway, now I've lost my train of thought.

Dang Is there an emoticon for that?

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Research is necessary, experience is not. I would never advise a beginning writer to delve into any fetish just to find out how it works! I'm rather vanilla IRL and I haven't tried even a smattering of the kinks that made their way into my writing, but I tuck away little details for later fics. I have a swinger couple in one of my fics and they were very loosely based on a couple I was friends with (but not that way!) in college. Frankly, if I wrote sex scenes the way they go in my house they'd include the very married couple sweeping Hot Wheels and Cheerios off their bed before they could use it. :) Not exactly fantasy sex, right?

If we were only supposed to write about what we ourselves have done, the genres of murder mystery, horror and sci-fi couldn't even exist. And I'm not the first to say this, but some of the hottest smut has been written by virgins.

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Well, some experience of what you're talking about helps. Say if you're writing about sex. You'll at least want experience of what a real relationship is like.

But if you're writing rape, that's something you DON'T want real experience of. Ever. So, second hand will do. Some research. Some knowledge of sex. Some common sense. Same goes for mental disorders. You'll want to get it right, but even Hollywood doesn't always get it right. Hell, sometimes they deliberately don't get it right because it's more dramatic that way.

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I think first-hand experiences vary from writer to writer; some will find it a useful tool where others won't feel the need to utilise it whatsoever. In any case, either is fine as long as the subject of your writing doesn't sound contrived or unbelievable.

I've read tons of stories that chronicle the 'stages' of a female orgasm, and most of the time I get the distinct feeling as though the author of the story clearly has absolutely no idea what an actual female orgasm feels like. That being said, there are some people who write about a climax that is so accurate you assume they are writing from a first hand experience, but the author could be abstinent and has relied solely on the power of the imagination.

When it comes to situations such as rape, for example, it's not so much about detailing the act, it's portraying what is felt, and as such a first hand experience isn't necessary because we all have the ability to imagine what it could feel like for someone to do something to us without our consent. Personally I think it's far more important to read something that provokes an emotional reaction as opposed to something that is trying to document an account of physical sensation, whether it is pain or pleasure. I think exploring human emotions and the human psyche is much more dynamic and engaging than writing about physical sensations.

I think if you can envision yourself in a situation you haven't experienced and can allow yourself to feel all the emotions you would typically associate with that situation, you can rely on imagination alone to write something convincing and powerful. But there will be some things you simply cannot relate to and can't imagine, so a secondary source is a good idea. If you do have first hand experiences of the subject you wish to write about, then it is simply up to you whether you choose to use it or not. I find it definitely helps to add substance to a piece of writing but it isn't crucial at all.

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With my lack of personal experience, I wasn't sure if I should even try writing erotic scenes at all. But hey, if everyone waited until they were experienced to do anything, nothing would ever get done, right?

And as a male, I doubt if I'll ever know what an orgasm feels like, but sooner or later I'm going to have to write about one.

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I don't think so. I write about a lot of things I've never personally done - I've never been with another woman, I've never had anal sex, etc - and the only reason that first-hand experience might be helpful is that I know I've hit miscues in some of those topics. But I'm not that much of a perfectionist, so it doesn't bother me.

There are some stories I've read where I wonder if the author has ever looked at a naked person before, just because they're so . . . strange, but that's a personal thing.

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There's always going to be an element of you in everything you write. Something that you'd enjoy, how you'd react to a situation, or even very minor things, like a particular object that has some meaning to you appearing in room description. But it's best if you don't "know" everything you're writing about, lest you create a fic that revolves around a fictionalized version of you.

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Experience? No.

Second hand experience? Useful, but not necessary.

Knowledge? Yes.

Since many of my literacy kinks are illegal to actually participate in; I go by research and use general personal experience as reference material when possible (other wise going by others accounts).

Experience rarely makes people experts, knowing doesn't make them better writers -but picking up a book or looking up a fact on the internet saves a lot of red-faced authors and head-desking readers.

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It's not necessary, it just helps.

I notice that my reviewers generally heap more superlatives on my yuri fic and say they're more emotionally moving/satisfying, more realistic, more vivid, better than other f/f fic they've read, and so on, whereas my het stories get few comments, usually along the lines of "that was yummy!" and/or "that was well-written!" I think readers are picking up on the stories in which I'm making use of past experiences. A couple reviewers have stated bluntly that it's a nice change to read a story in which the author clearly has first-hand knowledge.

Mind you, I'm bi, but my only meaningful, long-term relationships have been with women. I think experience with the emotional texture, the rhythms of real-world sexual and romantic relationships, the psychological aspect of intimacy beyond knowledge of the physical act and its sensations, shows through when writing erotica of any kind.

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Guest Majjic Mouse

As a newbie I use a mixture of real experiences, feelings, thoughts, situations, people and events and those that I know quite a bit about through hobbies, interests etc. But to hopefully make things more interesting I use elements of Gonzo writing which is record events exactly as they happened, change them in some form or exaggerate them wildly, depending on how the experience or event contributes to the overall story. I do also use situations/events etc that I have no personal experience or knowledge of and hopefully weave it into the story in a way that works.

Hopefully when I'm a little more confident I'll go way out of my comfort zone and explore and research things I know absolutely nothing about whatsoever. :samurai: Which'll probably be about fairies or flowers or nice things.

Edited by Majjic Mouse

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first hand experience isn't necessary when it comes to writing. sometimes, really good research and a bit of imagination are all you really need.

let's say you're writing something painfully distressing like abuse. you don't want to have first hand experience. you want to be able to say that you are thankfully distanced from that and your imagination and research are more than enough to write something convincingly enough.

with BDSM fics, the important thing to remember is to think about what you're trying to convey through the story. do you want the shock value that comes so easily with it or do you want to actually try to explore the emotional resonance that completely submitting to another person, or on the flip side, completely controlling another person brings to a relationship. BDSM is more than just tying somebody up and whipping the hell out of them until they say 'Master!'/'Mistress!'

first hand experience in the BDSM world would be most helpful. however it's not necessary. there are a ton of open sites that explain various aspects of the lifestyle. and most of the times, you get opinions from both sides, from the submissive, the slave or the Dominant. you just have to keep in mind that there is more than the 'scene' when it comes to a BDSM relationship. there's more than just beating another person (no matter how consensual). BDSM relationships can be some of the most rewarding relationships available, but there's a lot that has to be sacrificed on both ends.

not everyone is capable of living within the BDSM lifestyle. but that doesn't mean that you can't write about it. imagination goes an incredible distance in crafting a great story.

personally, i use a lot of personal, first hand experience in my fics. but i also use a lot of research and studying. there's a ton of wonderful things, a lot of scary things available out there, but at the same time, there's a lot of interesting things to explore. and you can never learn anything about something new without a little bit of research. (if that makes sense!)

that's my opinion, and i'm sorry i rambled a little bit!

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You dont have to have first hand expereince for everything- but you have to at least have a good undertsnading and basic knowledge.

Ive never been in a gang but ive written stories about someone in a gang- I had to do a lot of research on gangs, the fighting, the drugs and what not to make the story believable.

Experience always helps but it is not manditory - you can write a good story about something you have never experienced- you just have to do a lot more work to make sure it is worth reading!

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You dont have to have first hand expereince for everything- but you have to at least have a good undertsnading and basic knowledge.

This pretty much sums it up. I'll add that in most cases, even having read other fiction dealing with what you're writing about is enough. Not fan fiction, of course, since a lot of unpublished writers have no idea what they're writing about. Some people who write about sex don't even know what the body parts of the opposite gender are like. But reading published novels and literary magazines can really give you good background for what you want to write.

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my entire fiction archive is just me spewing boatloads of hallucinatory crap that never happened or is probably batshit inaccurate to the best of my sober knowledge. And as far as the reviews are indicating, people are eating it up. Even the self admitted girls have given approval, despite the fact that they know better than me now much of my writing is horseshit

Examples:

Multiple orgasms for men - good for sex scene, bad for realism

Hymen - half the authors on AFF probably don't even know where the hymen is located or what it looks like. I for one was clueless about its location and physical attributes until I actually did a little wikipedia read through

Physical Durability - For BDSM, in real life the stuff my characters go through would almost certainly be fatal. In fiction...less of an issue.

Female Orgasm - I'm a guy, so fuck me if I know the first thing about how a female orgasm feels like. I know how mine feels like, and extrapolates it to assume that girls feel something similar.

Sex in genera l- I read somewhere that on average it only takes 3 minutes or less of sex to get a guy to climax, while a girl could take as long as 20 minutes. Well, that makes for a boring read...so fuck it.

Girls reaction to rape - more erotic if they end up being forced to orgasm, although that shit isn't really what real life is like.

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Research: What to do when your first hand experience isn't enough.

You can't know what it's like to be another gender, another race, another religion....but you CAN talk to and read about people who ARE, and learn that way.

So if you want to write a BDSM story, and aren't involved that sort of thing yourself in real life, I suggest you read about it...particularly from people who you know are involved in that sort of thing. That way you'll avoid unrealistic silliness and be able to write a story that feels genuine, even if you don't have first hand experience.

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Guest StSE

Ok, I write about Transformers and/or clones of Transformers. Obviously there's no way for me to HAVE experienced what they experience. I read many other authors interpretation on how it goes/feels, and then combine different 'theories' depending on characters/scenes and what I want the reader to feel.

Now, when I write about a human male. Easiest 'research' is to just ask my husband. It also helps that I was single and dated many different types of men until the age of 26. I've found that they actually yell/scream/grunt/moan and 'work it' slightly different depending on their personality.

Also, being an (ahem) experienced woman that is secure in her sexuality, and not ashamed of it. (yes, hubby has caught ME enjoying myself! I'm still working on catching HIM... **snicker - we all do it! It just becomes a game of catching the other in the act... And joining in) Gives me a wide range of experience to write about human female reaction/sensation.

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Well, Karl May had never been to America :shifty:

As long as you can make people believe your story, it's okay. Unfortunately, many writers don't have even the basic knowledge about what they try to put in their stories.

Research + imagination + general personal experience (let's call it "a general knowledge and awareness - yes, this is the crucial part - of life") = good content :lol:

If an author lacks any of these, their fable lacks... something ;)

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