Thursday, April 26, 2012
Tiptoeing Through the Minefield
Sex or no sex, that is the question. Okay, I’m being ‘cute’ but today romance authors are thinking very carefully before they sit down to write that next novel.
Why? Because somebody sneaked in when we weren’t looking and moved the goalposts...to the great delight of readers and writers alike.
Nowadays, a reader can search online and find stories that run the gamut from literary porn to erotica, to “Mommy porn”, to romance with sexual elements, to sweet romance. And there are readers for every level of sexuality. We all know readers who enjoy several levels, and why not?
I have a writer friend who claims that a book isn’t a romance without some sex. “It’s bound to happen,” she argues. “When a man and a woman love each other sex is a natural result, so why not write about it?”
“Because it’s not necessary.” This from a friend who writes “sweet” romances. “It may happen, but do you have to describe it?”
They come to an impasse every time.
There are arguments to support both points of view, and when you get right down to it, it’s up to the reader to choose her preferred level of sensuality.
I write romance because it’s the genre that makes me comfortable as an author. By its very nature, romance is an emotional subject, and I like to develop the emotional side of my characters, along with the inevitable conflict that arises between them. I’ve written books with sexual elements as well as books where the two main characters go into the bedroom and shut the door. The constant is that there is sexual tension because I don’t see how a romance can be realistic without it.
Paramount over everything is the story. I’ve made up stories about people all my life. Does that make me a voyeur? Perhaps. I see a couple sitting in the park, or a man and a woman meeting at a coffee shop and my imagination takes off–sometimes without my permission. I also like a good story line with my romance. It’s not the main ingredient–the book is a romance after all–but I like to weave in a surprise, or a twist near the end that makes the reader smile. Maybe they’ve already figured it out along the way, but when it’s revealed, they can say “I knew that”, and finish the book with a smile on their face.
Because that’s what it’s all about, after all...entertainment. Enjoy.