I was having a discussion the other day about what makes my writing any different than a screenplay for a porn movie. I jokingly replied that my stories have a plot.
Seriously, it got me thinking; if you don’t typically read well put together erotica, is it just sex in words? I insert the caveat of ‘well put together’ because let’s face it, there are some books out there that is just plain trash and makes you want to grab the oil barrel and get an old fashioned book burning going on… but I digress.
Erotica (from the Greek Eros—”desire”) or “curiosa”, are works of art, including literature, photography, film, sculpture and painting, that deal substantively with erotically stimulating or sexually arousing descriptions. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotica). So how is that different than porn? Pornography: creative activity (writing or pictures or films etc.) of no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire. (wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn)
I know, this is a topic that has been flushed and probably beat into the ground, but it still applies and is still relevant because I still get termed ‘smut writer’ by those who prefer literary greatness. To those people, I give the one-finger salute because I don’t write to please those that are looking to find the second coming of Rene Descartes in my writing.
I don’t write just to give any reader sexual gratification, but if they get that from reading one of my scenes, I’m going to pat myself on my back and do a happy dance. If, however, you read my work and can spy the romance that is involved, then I can say my mission is accomplished.
In the real world, many of us can have stellar relationships without sex. Yet, how many of us can admit that the sex in a good relationship is important as well? I am not talking about what equipment you have either. I’m talking about do we stimulate each other’s senses in the way that a well written erotica does? Sex is the cherry on top of a good relationship. Just as sex is the cherry on top of a good romance book.
There are some readers out there that prefer a good old fashioned romance where the sex is ‘behind closed doors’ and implied. I started off that way. My first erotica book, which came at the ripe age of 17, was supposed to be in my mind, a basic collection of short stories. I didn’t know at that time or age what Black Lace Omnibus was. Before that moment, I mainly read historicals, Regency romance, contemporary Harlequin novels and so on. My eyes were definitely opened and so were my tastes. I blushed and hid the book under my mattress for years, only to be dragged out after a break-up or a really bad day.
Yet, every romance that I read after that collection of erotica seemed to be lacking. I wanted more, needed more from the characters. I wanted to know if the characters were explosive in bed as they were out of it. However, that is just me. If you like your romances squeaky clean with no cussing (swearing for the rest of you), I am probably not the author for you. I can admit that, but as the saying goes, you can only please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
So what is the “in-between”? It is that murky gray area that makes you wonder if your book is a) Erotica b) Romance with a little sex thrown in, or c) none of the above. Books written by me, by choice, have one sex scene namely, but sexual tension is apparent through the whole story. I wouldn’t classify my actual published work as erotica, but some would due to the graphic nature of the scene. I would say that my short stories that are peppered around here are erotica, period. So I am happy to be the in-between. I don’t write porn, but I just don’t write erotica either.
I am always interested in knowing what the readers want from what they have paid their good money for. Leave a note, drop an email…every author wants/needs/craves feedback.