Thinking of Ewww

I decided to try reading a little erotica last night.  Strictly for research purposes, of course.

I’ve written here before about my difficulty in writing sex scenes for my romance novel.  I’m still waffling on which direction to go:  squeaky-clean or hot and heavy.  While I’m more comfortable with the squeaky route, it seems as though the sexier books are more in demand.  Besides, I’ve reached a point in my story where a chaste kiss just ain’t getting it done.

I’ve read my share of “naughty” books in my life; I’m not that naïve.   My friends and I used to pass around worn-out copies of Wifey, Seventeen, and anything by Danielle Steele.  I’ve blocked out the trauma of reading Lace and  A Sensuous Woman while still in high school, but most of Destiny is still locked in my memory.  Unfortunately.

My mother was addicted to those multi-generational sagas that were so popular back in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, and she really shouldn’t have let me borrow them.  I remember lots of descriptive sex scenes with heaving bosoms and swelling manhood and a definite overuse of the verb “thrust”.  Those books always seemed to have a heroine who was multi-orgasmic when deflowered, usually against her will, only to fall in love and live happily ever after with her assailant.

Those books were referred to as “Bodice-rippers.”  Mom called them “Crotch-wetters.”

Classy lady, my mother.

But I had never encountered full-out erotica until recently.  There is a huge market for writers of erotica, especially with all of the self-publishing options available today.  If I could write a really hot piece of erotic fiction, I could get myself published and start making money with my writing almost immediately.  It could be a great way to open some doors.

Or so I thought.

I bought a 99-cent erotic romance for my Nook so I could read it and see for myself what the fuss is all about.   Put the kids to bed, told The Big Guy what I was going to read, and made myself a nice hot cup of Chamomile.  I figured my “research” could be sort of fun.

Two pages in, I dumped the Chamomile and grabbed a beer.

By the end of the first chapter, I announced, “Screw the beer.  Do we have anything stronger?”

It was the most badly-written, God-awful, amateurish piece of crap I have ever seen.  It was like reading a sexual fantasy scribbled by a horny seventh grader hiding under his bed with a notebook, flashlight, and box of tissue.

I couldn’t even focus on the action in the story.  I was too focused on the almost complete lack of punctuation and the fact that the story kept switching from past to present tense.  I kept finding plot holes and bad characterization, poor sentence structure and physically impossible contortions that weren’t sexually appealing at all.  Instead of getting turned on, all I got was a desire to attack the book with a red pen and start proofreading the living hell out of it.

I think my eyeballs are bruised.  I can’t believe I read that.

I can’t believe I paid money to read that.

With the erotica market so big right now, and the success of books like Fifty Shades of Grey, I have to wonder if the average reader has standards set so low that quality no longer matters in fiction.  Are well-written books a thing of the past as long as writers can churn out a steady diet of smut?

Is it worth even trying to take the high road, or am I doomed to failure if my characters aren’t practitioners of BDSM?

There has to be a middle road between a Steeple Hill Christian novel that sings the virtues of virginity, and an Ellora’s Cave sex romp extolling the joys of double penetration with a dwarf and 7-foot mime while swinging from a trapeze under a chocolate waterfall.   Is it possible to write and sell a novel with sex scenes that just involve sex . . . in a bed . . . with just two people . . . no ropes or whip crème or furry rodents?

Or is that too boring?

Maybe I should write children’s books.  I’m  pretty sure Dr Seuss never had this problem.

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11 thoughts on “Thinking of Ewww

  1. I’ve never read that genre, but I’ve heard people complaining that the current crop of erotica novels are more shock and detailed sex over quality writing. It has to be possible to write good erotica novels without going over the top. Maybe authors of the genre are trying to rush out material before the 50 Shades wave is over and people go back to only whispering about erotic novels.

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    • I agree. It’s just discouraging sometimes to work so hard at writing something, only to see badly written work do so well. Maybe I’m a little jealous of their success, but it just seems wrong to see something sell millions of copies when your average chimpanzee could be more creative.

      Then again, it makes me question if I’m focusing too much on making mine “perfect” and squeezing all of the creativity right out of it in the process.

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      • I agree. There is a hint of jealousy because you wonder why they are successful and you’re still struggling. This gets really frustrating when you read stuff with hundreds of spelling errors and plots holes. Then there’s the whole ’50 Shades’ phenomenon that has me annoyed because it’s started a trend of people getting fan fiction published instead of original work. Yeah, that’s me being jealous. As for perfect, the perfect story is the one you’re proud of and not the top seller that looks like my 3-year-old son edited it.

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  2. I love what you said about the perfect story! I may use that.

    I have to admit that I have a dark secret past as a fanfiction writer. But I don’t have any delusions about changing it into original fiction and pubiishing it. I write my fanfiction for fun, as a writing exercise–sort of a warm-up. My original fiction is very definitely separate from my fanfiction, and never the twain shall meet.

    For the record, when “50 Shades” was “Master of the Universe” on Fanfiction.net, it got as many bad reviews as good ones, and it broke all kinds of site rules. It wasn’t the roaring success over there that everyone thinks it was.

    Actually, I posted about fanfiction when I first started blogging here: https://ajgoode.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/daily-prompt-guilty-secret/

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  3. Love it!! You are such an excellent writer ….
    I TOO have the English curse that you speak of….punctuation and spelling errors irritate me as well …

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    • Thank you — Makes it hard to find good reading material sometimes, doesn’t it? I do enjoy Nancy Gideon’s books; they have intricate plots, good characterizations, and the sex scenes are pretty hot without being ridiculous. She’s my role model.

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  4. There is no doubt in my mind that you could write anything you set your mind to. I remember your imagination. “snow days” was fabulus. It touched the core of feelings of so many kids experienced wating for the anouncement. I think you could put those those

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  5. same core feelings down on paper for many women too. your married so remember to write what you know and add some of your imagination and sence of humor. You my start a whole new trend, believable erotica, or maybe a how to book for

    men.

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  6. You are not alone! I don’t like to think of myself as a grammar nazi, but it seems in a world that could care less about correct spelling and grammar, that is what we have been reduced to.I was actually called a bigot once for insisting that it bothers me when people use incorrect spelling and grammar, because I was not being considerate of people who apparently have a rare disorder that makes it hard to spell correctly. True story. It’s hilarious to me, because, like you, I struggle with ADHD, so I am one who is least likely to discriminate against people. Long story short, keep trying your best to churn out quality work, because that is what will stand the test of time, not this two-bit crap that is passing for literature, recently. And if you are not comfortable with hot & heavy, don’t write that way, because it will have a contrived feel to it. Just write what you think sounds best.

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    • Thanks for the wise words and good advice. I think you’re right about good work standing the test of time.

      On the subject of correct spelling and grammar, I understand that everyone makes mistakes. But I do some critiquing and reviewing on another site, and it just annoys the &*^%$ out of me when people can’t even be bothered to run a spell-check. A mistake is one thing, but there’s just no excuse for laziness.

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