Until You’ve Walked in My Shoes

The ignorance of some with regards to erotica astounds me. Just like I stated here, what I write isn’t a lifestyle I indulge in. I am, however, very comfortable in my sexuality and monogamous relationship with my husband. I don’t dive into erotica because I’m looking for a shock value either, or as this ‘wonderful’ blog post says:

Readers have their own imaginations and each will interpret events in the most perfect way imaginable without a writer needing to act as a voyeuristic intermediary and spell out every little detail for them. Readers shouldn’t be passive observers in the story-telling process – they should be active participants, using their own wonderful imaginations to fill in all the details and enrich their reading experience. I believe writers have a responsibility to encourage this, not take it away. There is a visual medium that does that perfectly well – it’s called film.

I didn’t choose to write sweet or mild romance because I radically disapprove of erotica. I chose it because I wanted to see if I could capture intense emotion without explicitly describing what everyone knows happens between couples at a time that most people would generally prefer a little privacy. Just as I wouldn’t spy on two people making love in real life, I prefer not to do so in my stories.I feel very clear in my mind about what I want to write – basically, it is exactly what I would want to read myself!

Wait…what? No, no… take your time and read that passage again. Better yet, get the bigger picture and read the whole blog post. It’s mind blogging and about the most misinformed diatribe I’ve ever read to date.

As a person who has published works on the erotic side AND the sweet romance side, I find the above block quote insulting and way off base on ‘what readers want’. It’s been my experience that readers come in various shapes and sizes. There’s a niche for every type of genre out there and to put down one of them as slew of un-imaginative voyeuristic intermediary… really? If you don’t like something, it’s your right to not like it but please please PLEASE stay off your holier than thou soapbox River Dance. Not every book buyer is as close-minded as you are and no one writer has a finger on the pulse of the reading nation. All one can do is speculate or *gasp* give an opinion. Which, by the way, neither is ground in any factual data.

It is the responsibility of the writer to draw the reader into their world. To describe the scenery that the main character sees in their travels. Not describing sex in erotica would be like not displaying the universe in a science fiction flick, leaving out the lasers set to stun. High Fantasy, especially, gives grand descriptions that don’t make me feel like a mindless troll thinking “wow this would be so much better as a movie so I didn’t have to read about the poisonous Yuk plant. Someone could trip and face plant, dying on impact. Then I’d totally know that’s a lethal plant. Gosh darn it. Geesh, this author must think I’m a passive twat”!

The thing with romance is it can vary from just an emotional bond to sensual exploit. I don’t expect dirty language in a romance nor do expect harsh language like (AVERT YOUR EYES, YOU PRUDES!) cock. No matter what genre you write, the emotions must be present to draw the reader in. However it’s my OPINION that when the emotions are overly exaggerated, my eyeballs will roll up into my head as I do my best Linda Blair impression. I also find head hopping, as a reader, quite annoying and amateurish.

In summary, just because someone decides to write out a sex scene instead of a wink and a closed door, leaving the reader hanging on whether they’re playing Scrabble or ‘hide the sausage’, doesn’t mean they are thinking less of their audience.

Hey there’s a word for you.. Audience! Definition:

      a. The spectators or listeners assembled at a performance, for example, or attracted by a radio or television program.
      b. The readership for printed matter, as for a book.


The second one pertains to the author’s audience. Is someone who goes to Halloween 20½ going to be lined up to see some quirky romance about two lovebirds discovering their feelings? Most likely, I would answer no to that question but I’m not so narrow-minded to think that those people don’t exist.

Give readers some credit and don’t belittle their choice of reading material. It’s bad form. Dip your feet into the shark tank for more than a mere nibble to get the feel of the world. There’s too much to experience out in the world. Give a little respect to those who work just as hard as you for that first publication. They deserve it as much as you do.

Also, please note that I allow comments on my blog posts. Novel idea, right? …or should it just be a movie?

4 responses

  1. I did think of turning my comment into a script so you could better visualise it as a movie, but I thought telling you how shocking I find it that you’ve used the words cock and twat in a blog post would be far more fun. :P

    However, aside from your wayward crudeness ( :P :P :P ), I believe you make a very good point. :)

  2. Very well said indeed! And a much more measured response than I was capable of, after initially reading that blog post. ;-)

    We’re all entitled to our opinions and we have all different tastes, but alienating an entire readership is perhaps not the best way to go about it.

  3. i can only echo the above comment. Do not presume to tell me what I want in a book, just like I don’t presume to tell anyone else. No one makes you read anything, you have a choice. But that choice should be wide ranging, not stultified ( if that’s the tight word, I hope so cos I love it)
    I write as I wish, I don’t do everything I write, but I enjoy reading about it . My. CHOICE. my readers choice.
    There’s that word again… choice!

  4. Paragraph 2 of the quote I had no problem with. A writer is always entitled to write whatever he or she enjoys and is most comfortable with. Ab-so-lute-ly.

    It’s paragraph 1, that’s doing exactly what the author is telling us a writer shouldn’t do–fill in details, details that (s)he has deemed private. The author is presuming to tell us WHICH details we may fill in–the sex act–and which we may not. Maybe the detail I want to fill in is ME. Maybe I want a clear, visceral description of the act to provide a better canvas to imagine myself in the role. Maybe I DON’T want to be told the color of the protagonist’s hair or her eyes or what she’s wearing. Maybe I DON’T want to know what kind of car she drives or what her boyfriend’s name is. Maybe I DON’T want to know private details from her past. Why is it okay to fill in those details for the reader but not physical actions?

    Lastly, not everyone views bedroom activities as 100% private, maybe not for public consumption, because there are laws after all, but for consenting consumption.

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