This past weekend at the meeting of my local RWA Chapter, i had the privilege of presenting a workshop with a group of other romance writers talking about the creation of the romantic arc in various types of romance--from sweet to erotic. I talked about some of the general issues people who are considering reading or writing erotic romance should know. Here's one of those things:
Erotic romance is different than erotica. This is a problem for erotic romance authors because so many people use the terms interchangeably. Even a lot of resellers use the term erotica to mean any book with erotic elements and this can make it very hard to categorize our books properly.
Erotica is a form of fiction which focuses on sex. Sex is the center of the story. The types of expression of erotica can range from porn on the one hand to highly evolved literary fiction on the other (think Anais Nin). And erotica has few rules. The main characters don't need to have a relationship. They don't even have to know each other. There's certainly no requirement for a happy ending. It can even finish tragically. Erotica is a perfectly viable form of fiction, it's just not the same as erotic romance.
Erotic romance is first, foremost and always ROMANCE. It abides by all the stringent rules which govern all romance. It is the story of a growing relationship of love between well developed main characters. See those words "relationship" and "love"? In a romance including an erotic romance, the growing relationship of love is the center of the story. If the book is scifi, suspense, or paranormal, it may have a hugely complex plot, but if the love is not the center of the story, it's not a romance. In my romantic suspense menage, Golden Dancer, i have three lovers, an art theft plot, a kidnapping and a ton of detail about ballet dancing, journalism and so much more. But people always talk about the love between the three men as the heart of the story. It's erotic as hell, but the story is about love.
It's also essential that an erotic romance have a happy ending. It can be happy for now (HFN), but mostly readers want an HEA (happy ever after). This is why people read romance. To see the world turn out right when it so often doesn't in real life.
So these are the differences between erotica and erotic romance. In my next post, i'll tell you how erotic romance is different from traditional romance. And its NOT what you think. Oh, well maybe a little what you think. LOL. Thank you so much for coming by. I love Blog followers! : )
Tara Lain never met a beautiful boy she didn’t love – at least on paper. A writer of erotic romance, mostly ménage and male/male, Tara loves all her characters, but especially her handsome heroes. A lifelong writer of serious non-fiction, Tara only fell in love with EROM in 2009 and, through perserverance and lots of workshops, had the first novel she ever wrote accepted for publication in 2010. After an exotic life of travel all over the world and work in television, education and advertising, Tara settled in Southern California with her soul-mate husband and opened her own small marketing business. She paints, collages, and started practicing yoga “way before it was fashionable”. Passionate about diversity, justice, inclusion and new ideas she says on her tombstone it will read, “Yes”.