Erotic vs Traditional Romance--The Difference Isn't What You Think
I promised i'd share the rest of my talk at the RWA workshop last weekend. This time, let's discuss how erotic romance is different from traditional romance. It's not what you think!
Well, actually some of it is what you think. Erotic romance is a story about the growing love between well-developed main characters in which the characters have sex --very much like life for most people. In the case of erotic romance versus traditional romance, one difference is that the bedroom door is left open during those sex scenes and the reader gets to participate in the experience. Generally in erotic romance, the sex scenes are described in detail using non-euphemistic language. Not a "throbbing member" in sight. And there may be a lot of sex scenes, depending on the author and publisher. So these are the things you think of when you consider the differences between erotic and traditional romance.
But i would submit to you that the main difference between an erotic romance and a traditional romance is that the erotic romance is NOT so much about sex. What? Right. Erotic romance is not as much about sex as traditional romance. How can i say this? Angela Knight in her book Passionate Ink which talks about how to write an erotic romance, says that the job of the author in traditional romance is to keep the main characters apart for as long as possible. Through a good portion of the book in traditional romance the reader is fixated on "will they or won't they" and when in the heck will they have sex? In other words, the focus and the principal plot device is all about sex.
In erotic romance, the "will they or won't they" question is a forgone conclusion. They will and they do often. Depending again on the author and the publisher, they may hold off having sex for one chapter or half the book. During that time the erotic romance author can use the "when will they" plot device to good effect. But at some point, certainly no further than half way through the book, the characters do have sex. At that point the author no longer can tantalize the reader with will they or won't they have sex. Instead, the book has to be about something else. Will they or won't they fall in love? Will they or won't they be able to overcome the many internal and external obstacles that the author has created for them in order to have a happy ever after. Sometimes, the author is so successful in the creation of these obstacles that the reader may doubt for just a moment that the characters will be able to overcome them. And then, of course, they do. And we all take a deep breath and smile.
Anyone who ever thought that writing an erotic romance is easy or about stringing a bunch of sex scenes together has never read a good erotic romance. When sex scenes have another purpose than "to have sex", the author is writing on many levels. But that's another subject we'll talk about soon.
Thank you so much for coming by today. I have a special guest, Rosanna Leo, on this blog on Monday with a wonderful contest, so plan to comment to win. And 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”.