So as I was saying (yeah, I know – you guys thought I forgot all about it, right? no such luck), I think romance writers create the best erotica.
Oh, man, I can feel the eyes rolling from here.
First of all, if you’ve never read several romance books (and I mean read them, cover to cover, several different authors and types) then you don’t know Jack, and please hold your comments to the end of the lecture. Thank you. 🙂
Here’s my problem with a lot of modern erotica. Not enough character. Not enough sizzle between the two characters. Not enough pacing – here’s what she looks like (36-24-36), here’s what he looks like (6 pack, dreamy eyes), oh my god his cock her pussy pump pump pump. Kind of like het vid porn. Yawn.
On the other side of the scale…
My all time favourite romance book author is Elizabeth Lowell. From her, I learned probably 70% of what I put into my own stories. Or more, maybe. I discovered her when I was a teenager (at the time, she wrote for Silhouette Desire, the steamier imprint of Silhouette and Harlequin). She was incredibly prolilfic (and still is, though she’s gone mainstream fiction) with dozens of books. Took me most of a lifetime, but I own most of her older books now.
Her love scenes would last a full chapter sometimes, maybe more. But even before that, she had this incredible way of building the sexual and emotional tension between the two characters that would have you ready to scream before they even started getting close to the nasty.
Elizabeth Lowell was, in fact, a consummate artist of the tease (as with many other romance authors). To see what I mean, read this excerpt from one of my favourite Lowell books – Love Song for A Raven. Even today, reading it makes me so hot I just feel like tripping and beating Raven to the floor.
Go on. Read it. Really. Does it change your mind at all about romance books?
As a rule, I find romance authors excel at building tension between a man and a woman (pacing). They also know how to (because they’ve had to) write about sex without having to use four-letter words every single time.
(If you read my stories, you’ll notice I follow the same convention until the action gets very hot and heavy.)
And, sure, okay, I also like books like Lowell’s because the men are hard and unapologetically so, the women are independent and feisty but also just a wee bit submissive, and because I’m a sap at heart who somehow still believes after all the crap life’s thrown me that happily ever after can exist. For at least ten full minutes.
But I digress.
The true power, though, is when romance authors like Emma Holly make the leap to erotica as she did with books like Menage, The Top of Her Game and Velvet Glove. Because then we get the best of both worlds – like a goddess unleashed, she releases her kinkier side while still applying the delicious tension that she uses in her romances.
If you want to learn how to write erotica, I think you could definitely benefit from learning a little from romance authors.
If I’ve piqued your interest about Elizabeth Lowell, here are the books I most recommend (many of them have ben re-released lately):
Read the last three in order, if you’re going to read them… they’re part of a series.
What’s my point?
Oh, yes – you could learn a lot from a good old-fashioned bodice ripper, if writing erotica (or even reading it) is your thang. Go ahead, put the eye rolls aside, give ’em a try.