Friday, August 25, 2017

Phallic Friday - erotica vs steamy contemporary

I've often pondered, and been asked, this question (what's the difference between erotica and steamy contemporary romances) and in theory it's been quite easy for me to address but recently I had a very practical example of it.

I've always answered that erotica/erotic romance has sex as an integral part of the story. Without the sex, the characters wouldn't get together or grow/change. And you can't rip the sex out of the story...because there would be no story.

Steamy contemporary has the story happening, and sex is woven into the story but it's not integral to the story itself. If you could rip the sex out, the relationship would still develop, the story still happens.

In my other self, I write sweet contemporary stories. I was asked to be a part of a 'series' and they were to not be dirty (I initially thought it was Cate writing, which is I guess why this was said). So I left the sex out, submitted the story, and then got edits back saying, "Please add some sexy times." Throughout the story, there were places marked with comments like, "They could have some kissing here." And that's contemporary romance - the story is there, there's even spots to slot in sexy times if that's what's needed, but it's not a prerequisite for the story to unfold.

My latest Cate story, Team Player, doesn't even exist without sex. Charlie's not thinking about inviting Hannah into his confidence, until she has him hard and horny and she's begging to join in for a threesome. Take the sex away, there's no story. She could be a housemate, but the character growth won't exist because Hannah will remain isolated and her emotions almost non-existent. It's the sex that invites trust, that opens her heart to caring for others, that makes her want to understand the men she's with and their families and other relationships. It's the sex that gives them all the confidence to open their hearts and minds, to share, to develop.

Writing these two differently focussed stories is an interesting process as I come at my story development in the same kind of way (characters first) yet I think about everything after that with the completely different focus.

As Cate, I think about the sex and the emotions - how can I go from closed to open, from the unknown to the known, from scared to confident?

In the sweet form, it's how can the characters get together and what can be stopping them? So it's more focussed on the backstory and/or motivations.

And that's my pondering for today.

And just between us, I find the sex-driven stories much more fun to write and think about!! :)

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