I started this blog maybe a week ago, shortly after the below referenced blog went public. Life intruded, stopping me from publishing the clever pithy phrases I’d written. In the interim I had several discussions with a close friend, and I found myself rewriting…
The start: A recent blog caught my eye, and that of many other writers and readers. It’s a bit spicy (some might see it as rude) but I think relevant to the thought’s I’ve had lately about Romance books. Smart Bitches Trashy Books presented 10 Things I Hate About Sex Scenes, and then sat back to watch the fun commence. There is a definite spew alert for this blog…put down your drink and cover your keyboard. Just in case.
You might be wondering about the relevance, other than the gut wrenching laughter. Some…okay, many, people think Romance books are nothing but sex prettied up. Porn with a lace parasol. Generally these people haven’t read Romance, or perhaps they read one or two books ages ago, when these ten things might be found in nearly every book. Especially the well read ones at the second hand stores.
How many times have we heard Sex Sells? Yeah, lots. Sex certainly helps sell some books, to editors and to the reading public. But how many people in the blog comments admit some of the situations in these books are not nearly as appealing as the authors might have thought they would be?
At this point something distracted me. Might be the wind, or an appointment. In the meantime I hosted some more blogs, went to dog classes, meandered around with chores. And had those conversations with my friend. Talking with this friend at length is not unusual, and we pretty much cover every subject possible. Eventually we got into the perfect body fantasy aspect of romance writing, a trope I do not like. My friend pointed out, for some readers it is all about the fantasy, the beautiful faces and hard bodies and over the top situations. A poorly written cheesy television show will succeed, no matter how weak the writing, if it offers enough gorgeous bodies .
This contradicts my own opinions but what good would it be if we all agreed? Or maybe I could say, how utterly boring. For me, the fantasy has never been putting myself in the place of a ‘perfect’ heroine, especially not one who bemoans her long flowing hair, impossibly large breasts, tiny waist, too long legs. YAWN. Reader, writer, and even within my own reality, it’s about the senses. The feel of a dry wind on my face, the stroke of bare skin against a hard muscled body…add in a bit of manly hair and ohhh, yeah.
Give me a minute.
Romantic means different things to each of us, and we all have our own level of comfort when it comes to what’s enough sexuality in books, and what’s too much. A friend’s wonderful, frothy, light hearted story of modern witches was just criticized as ‘too erotic,’ leaving we who have read the book scratching our heads. Several times I’ve seen writers try to ‘sex up’ their stories to make them appeal to a wider audience and it does not always work. To finally get back to that blog, and the continuing comments…what one person finds offensive another finds appealing. Writing is an art, and when you try to create art to please everyone…yeah, we know where that leads.