Erotic romance is hot right now. It sells. Lots of people are trying their hand at it and some of them are doing pretty well, some have decided it’s not for them and others? Well, the jury is still out.
A few weeks ago, JERR emailed me and asked if I’d do an article to go along with the interview they were doing. I said sure… if I can think of something. Well, I thought of something. I can’t remember if I was reading a book or if I saw a blog post somewhere. But something I saw somewhere got the idea for the article a-brewing.
LoveSex Isn’t Enough.
Sex isn’t enough. Not for any book. Not even for erotica, I wouldn’t think. I don’t read erotica, but if erotica is about a personal’s sexual exploration or a personal sexual growth, there’s got to be something else besides the sex. A person doesn’t grow through sex alone.
Likewise…two people can’t fall in love through sex alone. But lately I’m seeing so many stories where the plot acts as little more than to give the H&H a reason to jump into bed every five pages.
If we don’t have sex, the world will end.
If we don’t have sex, the villian will kill my mother.
If we don’t have sex, my boss will fire me…
If we don’t have sex, the pack will think we are weak and they will kill us…
Whatever. I don’t much care for any kind of plot twist that hinges on whether or not the hero and the heroine have sex. The sex should be a time to further the relationship between the hero and the heroine. They are falling in love. Ideally, I do like to have the hero and the heroine already in love, or close to it, before they tumble into bed, up against a wall, on the trunk of a car…that’s my personal preference and not everybody may share it.
However, we are talking about romance here. There has to be love somewhere in the equation. Preferably the strong, undying kind of love that makes you almost wish the story wouldn’t end.
Erotic romance or not, it’s still a romance. Take time with the sex. Make them love scenes. Not sex scenes. Look back at the book. If you lift out all of the scenes with sex in them, do you have a cohesive story? Or is it just nonstop shagging?
If it’s nonstop shagging, or you have a 150 page story and more than half of those 150 pages are engaged in some sort of sex act…chances are you need to develop the plot and the characters a little more. Develop the characters. What are their reasons for what they are doing? Who are they? What’s going on in their lives that makes you want to tell their story?
The romance part is as big a part of erotic romance as the erotic part. It’s a romance. Not a sex how-to guide. Erotic romance is a trend. Right now, it’s a popular trend and I don’t know if it will die down any time soon since more and more readers are just now discovering it. Unfortunately, even with all the new readers, we’re losing some of the tried and true readers. Some of them are getting a little soured with the books they see lately. I hear it all the time, at signings, in emails, on blog posts. The reaction to the article I sent to JERR was just more proof.
It seems that erotic romance is losing sight of the romance. If you want to establish yourself and keep writing past the trend, you’ve got to make sure you’re telling a romance, first and foremost.