kINKED is going to be available tomorrow. Before it comes out we wanted to give you a chance to hear directly from some of the contributors.

Performance Anxiety in “Begin Again”

By Tiffany Michelle Brown

I dreaded writing the sex scene in “Begin Again.” I had no problem writing foreplay or the flirtations between my two main characters, Melissa and Callum, an art professor and a tattoo artist who unlock a lot more than ink when Melissa gets her first tattoo. But when it came to the literal and figurative climax, well, I got a little shaky (and not in a good way).

This particular moment in “Begin Again” is where all is revealed, where everything changes. It’s the story’s turning point. Needless to say, it’s pretty important. And I was absolutely terrified I’d sit down to write it and all those cliché phrases—you know the kind, the completely unsexy expressions in erotica that make you cringe or roll your eyes—would come pouring forth from my fingers. An unstoppable wave of heaving bosoms and engorged penises. Oh God.

After days of high word counts and effortless writing sessions, I was stuck. My lovers were waiting for me, all hot and bothered, but I wasn’t ready to join the party. And the submission deadline for kINKED loomed over me like threatening rainclouds. Plagued by self-doubt, I started to wonder if I’d be able to finish the story in time.

“How’s the writing going?”

My fiancé and I had just finished eating tacos at a Mexican food stand and were strolling along the road in Old Town San Diego. I sighed and confided in him. I told him about how I was getting hung up on this one scene, a sexy scene.

His lips curled up into a smirk. And he promptly began quoting lines from 10 Things I Hate About You. He leaned over and whispered, “Tumescent.” Then, comments about bratwursts and quivering members. I laughed until I turned red and my stomach was sore. As we continued to stroll, our fingers intertwined, I felt a little better.

When we got home, I had this sudden urge to flip open my laptop. Half an hour later, I’d written the climax to “Begin Again.” And there wasn’t a “throbbing manhood” in sight. Whoo hoo!

Later that week, when I’d finished the story and submitted it to Pen and Kink, it dawned on me. That particular sex scene had stumped me because I’d given it too much power. I’d taken it far too seriously. I’d forgotten that sex is supposed to be fun and messy—in real life and on paper. My fiancé making me laugh had taken the pressure off. Really, it had been the perfect writing foreplay.

In writing erotica, I think there’s a fine line. Yes, word choice is paramount. Yes, we should avoid embarrassing clichés. Yes, our sex scenes should be more than just porn parties; they should serve a purpose and move our stories forward. But if we take it all too seriously, if we forget that writing erotica is supposed to be fun, and if we don’t have as much fun writing as our characters have between the sheets—there’s a good chance no one’s going to get off.


Tiffany Michelle Brown is a writer, Aikidoka, indoor rock climber, and whisky enthusiast with degrees in English and Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. Her writing has been featured by Electric Spec, Under the Gum Tree, Romance Magazine, and Shooter Literary Magazine. Tiffany lives in San Diego with her ninja fiancé and two fur balls, Biscuit and Zen. Follow her adventures at tiffanymichellebrown.wordpress.com.


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