Thursday, November 11, 2010

In a Perfect World, the Difference Between Erotica and Erotic Romance

When my friends introduce me to someone, they inevitably say, “Cameron writes erotica.” Although I’m easy-going, I suppress the urge to clarify that discrepancy. It helps when I recall my first encounters with this candid genre called erotic romance. At that time, I too chalked it all up to erotica.

The more I read and write erotic romance, the more I discover how inaccurately I categorized it. Perhaps the industry is even to blame for some of the misconception because erotic romance really should be called progressive romance. Hang with me and I’ll explain.

Erotica is a very respectable genre. The best of the best is usually quite poetic and captures the essence of sexuality which is a driving emotion in us. Anything with emotion is worth reading. But make no mistake, erotica is about sex.

Someone will fall in love in an erotic romance. There will be the strong suggestion of a relationship beyond the end of the story. Every publisher that I’ve worked with expects this much. With love, comes sex. I always explain that when I write an intimate scene for my stories, the dialogue and sex is the same as between any lovers. We talk dirty to each other. We cast aside our inhibitions for the one we’re crazy about. The metaphoric prose of yesteryear that described a love scene in a romance novel is waning. Many romantics of the new millennium like to read an unadulterated love scene that mirrors the real world. Hence my suggestion for the word progressive.

Another thing that sets the erotic romance apart typically is a plot unrelated to the attraction between two characters such as in a suspense novel. One could almost strip away the romance and a story would still exist. That’s one of the things I love about writing these the most.

I used, “In a Perfect World,” in the header of this article because some publishers--not mine--don't observe the guidelines delineated here. One of the first titles I read, deemed as an erotic romance, was nothing more than a series of domination scenes. Nothing against that, but it was definitely shelved in the wrong spot.

I anticipate that in the near future, there won’t be an erotic romance genre, because romance is already erotic when done right. Instead, the romance style that proceeded this steamier genre will probably wind up with a new adjective in front of it. Classic.

E.C. Stacy

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