Over the last couple of weeks, the topics of writing erotica, and erotic romance in particular, keep coming up. Questions of what constitutes the different genres of writing--erotica, erotic romance, dark romance, and the like—are being asked and with good reason. Somewhere out there in the collective minds, even among some in the erotic genres themselves, the prevalent idea is somehow that writing erotica or erotic romance is not “real writing.” And that ruffles my feathers. I have had several interactions that led me to write this blog. Quite frankly, I’m sick of the stereotypes. Let me be clear: I. Am. A. Writer.
For those of you who know me, I’m a huge fan of Shakespeare. During a fun romp on Facebook, a Shakespearean insult meme made its way around, and we all commented and tossed about some insults and admitted how much the Bard has affected us all one way or another.
I sent a friend request to someone who I particularly enjoyed reading his Shakespearean wit and repertoire and he immediately responded with a (and yes, I will overindulge here): “Hey. You may be an okay person, but you write erotica. I write REAL books. Sorry. I can’t be friends with the likes of you.”
It wouldn’t be the first time something very similar has happened. “Sorry. I have to unfriend you. My girlfriend might get suspicious.” Or: “My circle of friends just wouldn’t understand that I talk to a writer of erotica.”
You may be laughing. But I’m not making this stuff up—that somehow I’m some horny degenerate who only thinks about sex or having sex with others, that I couldn’t possibly have a mind or a flare for writing anything but smutty, pappy trash, that I am going to share nude photos of myself at the turn of a dime. Because, of course, what else would an erotic romance writer possibly be capable of?
Let me tell you. We who write erotica or erotic romance care about the same things every writer cares about. Are there holes in my story? Does the dialogue work? Sound realistic? Do my verb tenses match? Did I use the right word choice? Does my story make you care about the characters? Does the imagery do it justice? Are there places that didn’t make sense?
But more than that, we ask: Can you see and feel my characters’ emotions? Did you feel their feelings as they were happening to them? Their love? Their lust? Their angst? Their sadness? Their anger? Is there pathos or hamartia in the protagonist’s or antagonist’s journey?
Yeah. Sounds like real writing to me. Don’t tell me because I choose to include graphic sexual content in my writing that it is now somehow subpar or without merit. Sex, love, lust, passion—THAT is part of feeling alive. That is part of living. You don’t get much more emotion or feeling than that. It’s really the point of life—to find love, to feel alive, to be brought to unimaginable feelings of both pleasure and pain, love and loss, desire and repulsion, sadness and triumphs.
A person may not like my genre. It may not interest them or titillate them for whatever reason, but it doesn’t make me any less of a writer. I don’t particularly like paranormal. So what? The person who writes that is suddenly not a “real” writer just because it doesn’t suit my tastes?
So let’s stop with the stereotyping. Please. Is there terrible erotica out there? You bet. Are there some erotic writers who are sexual deviants and only think about sex? Of course. But there are deviants and shitty writing in Every. Single. Genre. Don’t single out mine. And don’t judge it until you read it.
Read my books and then have an opinion. If you still hate my writing, so be it. I welcome constructive criticism. I care about growing, improving my craft, choosing that exact, right word, and creating characters who are round and alive, characters we know in real life, characters we relate to and want to follow along on their journey.
Wow. Holy shit. I actually sound like a “real” writer. Imagine that?
I LOVE to write and read. I particularly enjoy reading erotic romance that has tons of emotion in it. I hope you will ask me questions and share your favorite authors and novels. I welcome all feedback.