blogging may more

Smut Marathon ~ My Journey

The Smut Marathon was quite a journey but one that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.

How I got through the Smut Marathon

So, I have never run a marathon but I have written one. I took the writing seriously. I am not going to pretend I didn’t work hard on my entries, I did. But mentally I was very easy going about the process and I think that helped me tremendously. My partner in crime, as far as that was concerned, was Cousin Pons. We reflected together, via DM, regarding the results of a round. Both being quite new to fiction we felt the pressure was off us and each time we remained in the competition was an added bonus.

An important factor is having a supporter, someone who is clapping for you. Mine was Elliott. He would mentor me after a round, looking back over my story and occasionally critiquing my work too – in a constructive way.

With these things in place, I made it to the final and ended up 5th in the competition, overall. Not bad out of 87 writers for a relative newbie like me.

Passing the Final Post

I thought my placing was more than fair. To be honest I never expected to get further than round 5 or 6 in the competition. And I do very much like my final World War Two story – Carless Talk. It is a romance, a little different for me. All the research I included was accurate but I didn’t give myself enough time to write it. Work and real life proved very stressful and it was a busy month. I even failed to recheck the brief. My fault, and sent it in just a few hours before the deadline 200 words over! Marie messaged me as fast as she could and I did a lightening speed edit and got it back to her in the nick of time.

I received some very nice feedback and was thrilled to see that Anna Sky from Sexy Little pages put it in her top three. She also pointed out that I’d missed a word out. Opps.

Improving

Saying all this I had a slow start in the marathon – if you had seen my scoring in the beginning then you would not have thought I would last. But the competition helped me improve.

I have said it many times, having to work to prompt and discipline myself with regards to writing meant I came along in leaps and bounds. I began to see where some of my faults were. Taught my self how to edit more efficiently. Practising between rounds worked for me too, using posts on my blog to explore writing in a different person, time setting and POV. I was learning fast and enjoying myself.

I got better and more efficient. My self-esteem grew. I don’t think that would have happened without the goal of the Smut Marathon.

How much sex should there be?

I actually came top in round 8 with Time Off – no sex took place. This is when the subject of how much smut/sex is needed in a erotic story began to interest me. I had really liked one of Cara’s earlier entries and noticed she hadn’t included any actual sex at all. It was the characters thoughts that were smutty. I learned from her story and decided two strangers in a lift were unlikely to get down and dirty so if any sexiness happened it would occur in the mind. I penned Time Off, with that thought.

Concluding, some erotica that involves copious amounts of sex is almost porn. I hastily add that I have nothing against porn but prefer it to be real-life rather than fiction. Such a story is often flimsy, basically leading up to, and including, the sex rather than having any other tale to it. The readers are not given licence to fill in sexual blanks, as each step of the sex act is labourously included.

I began to realise that my entries were always high on the story content. The sex that occurred was part of the storyline, not instead of a storyline. So sometimes they may have been a little lacking in sexual activity. But that felt right to me. I could have edited my final drafts to include more sex but I wanted to like what I was doing and am happy I didn’t compromise my work. The feedback would mention there was not enough smut in a lot of the entries but one thing I noticed about all the finalists – they could weave a good tale rather than just relate sex acts.

Julie has written a great post about smut. It is a subjective issue for sure.

My own favourites

The favourite entry of mine was Barefoot and Bitless about domestic abuse. It came 2nd in the round. I took a risk with this as the subject matter is a little taboo. Missy summed up what I was trying to achieve in her comment about the story.

your story was really powerful and stuck with me so I have been thinking about it. It was uncomfortable but also very erotic and I was drawn in to it straight away by the style of your writing. The line we walk is so thin between what we want and what we don’t and you have left me thinking about that a lot. Missy

I also liked Hand-tastic Masseuse Review, an earlier entry of mine. It was sci-fi and one of my lowest scoring stories. I always attempted to make each tale different from the last.

Advice on how to tackle the Smut Marathon

If you are wondering whether you should enter I would say absolutely YES – but understand it may last nearly a year. Although there is not any real writing pressure as you are given plenty of time to do your story.

This is my advice having completed the whole marathon 😉

  • Go in with a light heart. It is possible that even though you are a talented writer you may get knocked out in round 2. The nature of competition and happened to a few of my favourite bloggers this time.
  • Thicken up your skin, as the comments are written to advice but can hurt a little too. Remember what makes good erotica is subjective.
  • The main thing is that you are happy with your own entries. Don’t try to copy anyone else. Stick to your own style and try to improve that as you go.
  • Have someone in your corner cheering for you.
  • Enjoy being a part of such a fabulous competition.

I know my writing benefited enormously – I am getting more paid work and feel I have grown as a writer – Thanks to the Smut Marathon and Marie for putting together such a great competition and making it special.

Sharing the Stories from the Smut Marathon

Here are some of my favourite stories from the competition, starting in round 3.

Smut Marathon ~ My Story

25 thoughts on “Smut Marathon ~ My Journey”

  1. Thank you so much for the information, I’m definitely going to sign up and take a look at the posts you recommend. Thank you and well done on getting paid work.

  2. I’m glad Marie pointed to this post in her intro to the 2019 marathon. Lots of solid information here, as well as some great advice! I especially like your round-up of favorite stories. I am considering entering for 2019 – this post gave me lots to ponder.

    1. I love your blog Jade and think you would really enjoy the SM – it was a great experience for me writing and discipline wise. I really began to think about my style and what I wanted to write – Go for it 😉

  3. This is brilliant and really useful advice to anyone contemplating joining in. I totally agree about the smut factor too…I view these stories as erotic rather than pornographic not that there is anything wrong with porn just how I see the difference

    Molly

  4. May, this is a wonderful post, a post in which there is so much valuable information for anyone who want to enter in the Smut Marathon in the future. It makes me proud to read that thanks to the marathon you are getting more paid work, which is absolutely wonderful! You have done well and you are right to be very proud of yourself! Thank you for this testimony of the Smut Marathon 2018 🙂

    Rebel xox

  5. Bravo. I know there is always room for More May on my reading list. Thank you for providing . Excuse me. I have some reading to do. 🙂

  6. You were new to fiction? You fucking fooled me. You deserve every accolade and vote you got, May. And now you are a published author and getting paid! You must promise to name a character after me when you write your first book.

    Thank you for the mention, I really liked that story I wrote. Some people didn’t get it though, which I thought odd.

  7. This is a great exploratory, thought provoking post May. I think it may well encourage others to participate. It’s lovely you had Pons & Elliott to compare notes with – a post mortem after the results are out is very useful and your entries were consistently of a high standard to my thinking, although I didn’t always know your style well enough to recognise it – but that shows talent too.

    I like the way you have created a #SoSS out of the competition entries, I shall definitely use it to re-visit some of the erotica. You make a great point about less often being more in stories of this genre. To tune into people’s sexuality its often better to leave some space for their imagination: a constructive note I shall take away from your piece – thank you.

  8. This is quite a fascinating insight because although I only came to reading the entries in the later rounds, I always managed to pick out yours to vote for.

    I wondered why and I think you provide the answer. It’s that question of the tradeoff between describing smut or developing characters and storyline. For various reasons I’m rather at one end of that spectrum and the smut holds little interest unless it’s well woven in to the storyline. This is to the extent that wading through the entries could become very tedious for me when there was little scope for developing other things – yes, everybody’s mileage varies.

    Whilst everything blurs over time, “Time Off’ still stands out as one of the few that I really got in to.

    I can’t say that I can ‘spot’ a May story, just that you can write in a style that I pick up on.

    1. Thanks so much, Melody – so glad you like the style of my stories – I am a sucker for a good tale and sex by itself – or a piece that simply lists the acts – no matter how poetic, does nothing for me 😉

  9. Thanks for the mention of my piece and congratulations to you for going the distance. You did well – and deservedly so!

  10. A wonderful review of the whole Smut Marathon experience May. I love your list of favourite stories through the rounds. It just shows that there were some excellent pieces of writing throughout the competition. It’s just a pity that not everyone makes it to the end and for some people being kicked off it is a bitter pill to swallow. Some of the entrants had an air of mystery about them kept their thoughts to themselves but I think a bit of feedback on their experiences might would have been good to hear. Not that I’ve said much about it either so I mustn’t carp. I greatly appreciated the feedback from some very regular reviewers and the comments by the judges. It was a bit of a shock to the system at first to have my entries commented on but in the main there was a good balance in the reviews. And I soon realised that some judges liked my work and some didn’t. So if you can’t please everyone it’s best just to please yourself. I scored very low on the smut stakes and perhaps my lack of knowledge in certain areas told against me. Marie’s organisation of the whole competition was superb and with another one soon to start it’s time for some more smutterers to pick up their pens, gird their loins and enter the fray.
    I wish them all the very best. From you partner in crime, CP. xx

  11. I am pretty much in awe of anyone who does a marathon, written or otherwise so congratulations to all of you who made it to the end. That is a huge achievement. Your post is really helpful to those who have not taken part and any project which helps you to learn and improve has to be good so I like that while you acknowledge that it is tough, you also emphasise the value. ?

  12. I was so pleased to see you make the final as you did amazingly throughout. I agree that the Smut Marathon is a wonderful experience, especially for new writers, like me. I’m already looking forward to participating in next year’s marathon and intend to focus on one of the advice points you’ve given. To make sure I like my entry and stick to my own style. I think when I tried to change to please the voters it was really detrimental to my writing.
    Will you be participating again next year?
    Aurora x

    1. I am so happy you will be entering – no I am not as I cannot hope to do as well next year as this, but you were my dark horse and I think you will do very well – I will cheer you on Aurora – for sure x

      1. I definitely think you would, but I can also understand wanting to leave on a high. I’m not expecting to do as well as I did again, but it gives me a reason to write fiction. I find the time we have to do the weekly memes is too little for me, but the marathon gives a month, so suits me better 🙂 x

  13. A fantastic post May, and great advice for anyone thinking about entering. Thanks for linking to my post and liking my story. It was the one I was most proud of

  14. You were such a stand out star in the Marathon, May. I was so impressed with your work and attitude throughout. You definitely deserved your place and I’m so glad you competed.

    1. Thanks so much, Cara – it was a pleasure being alongside you – and more than once your stories made me think about my writing – such a good thing

Comments welcome Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.