Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Want some STORY with that SEX?

More and more lately, the primary thought when I'm writing a story is...okay, where will they have SEX? I swear, it's driving me crazy but then, I should have known this would happen when I embarked on a career as an erotic romance author. Now, the key word in that job description is ROMANCE. No, I don't write straight erotica, I have romance in my stories. I have to say though, it's becoming harder and harder to strike a happy medium between story and sex.

Everyone has rules it seems. I was never much of a rebel. Always thought, I was the sort who wanted to get along and not make waves so if a publisher wants MORE sex, I try to give it to them. If they want more STORY, I try to do that too. Easy that way, I reckon.

Lately though, this more sex than story thing has been bothering me. I find myself thinking...hmmm, maybe they should have sex right HERE. It has become a planned out thing that I just don't like very much. So I have become a rebel. Can you believe it? Wait! Where's my bike and black leather motorcycle jacket? Several months ago, I decided I just had HAD IT. I was going to write my story and yes, have a STORY. My characters would hop into bed when I wanted them to. Oddly enough, this whole thing began when I sat down with a plot idea thinking I would make it a menage. Mainly because menage sells like gangbusters and who doesn't want to make money, right?

I wrote the first little bit and sent to my critique partners careful to say...this will be a menage. One of my critique partners said...WHY? Your hero is so alpha. I just don't see him sharing.

Funny thing was, that's pretty much how I saw him too. Big, rough, tough and alpha. No, I realized, he wouldn't share the love of his life with another man. So I kind of threw my hands up in the air and gave up. No longer was I going to try to fit a square peg into a round hole, trying to make something work for the sake of sales. I was going to write the story of my heart, adding sex where it needed to be and not forcing things. This philosophy made me feel brand new, whole. I began to feel more like a writer than a machine that cranked out reams of sex scenes. WHEW. I'm reborn!

The product of this effort is in my new shifter series, the first of which came out mid-May. The second comes out July 10 and the third is awaiting edits. So far the reviews and reception from readers has been so positive, I have to wonder if I'm on to something. Writing the story I want and adding meaningful but ultra hot sex seems to work for me. Yes, I think I'll stick to this because, as a writer, I must say I'm happy again and happy is good. Right?

Right now I feel I'm a better writer. Does that mean I'll never write another menage? No. In fact, I'm working on one now but the menage action works with this story where it just didn't with the other. I'm concentrating more these days on the story and letting the sex happen where it's MEANT to happen.

16 comments:

Julia Barrett said...

So, joining my club, eh? I like my characters to have sex when they decide, not when I think they should or an editor thinks they should. Can't compromise because then my writing rings hollow. Good post.

Madison Scott said...

I agree. It stifles your imagination and will to write when you're trying to fit your story in a certain mold. We need to tell our story the way we feel it. I try and do the same thing. Your books rock my socks so just keep doing what you're doing.

P.A.Brown said...

I think a story that comes from your heart shows. One written to make sales or to some formula, imagined or real also shows. Readers can see these things, even if they can't analyze why one story rocks and another falls flat, even if the latter has oodles of hot sex. I always strive to write what I want, and what my characters dictate to me. So far I've never had a publisher demand more of anything, except good writing.

Teri Thackston said...

Good for you. The story has to flow along its own course. Like life, the sex will happen when it's supposed to.

Regina Carlysle said...

Yep. I've been quibbling over these issues for about six months now. Seriously. Got to where I HATED sitting down behind my computer. Writing wasn't fun anymore. So it makes sense that if it's not fun, you can't get into it.

Regina Carlysle said...

Hm. Also wondering if it's not a bad idea to occassionally write something non-erotic?

P.A.Brown said...

That I'm not sure I could do. Even when I wrote books that didn't have any sex on the page, I always knew what the characters were doing. And I can't put 2 people together without one of them imaging what it would be like to have sex with the other one. The sex is there in all my stories, on paper or not.

Paris said...

Really good post. Sex without some kind of emotional tie that the reader and myself as an author can relate to isn't going to make either of us happy, I'm afraid. I'm a newbie at this but so far, I've tried to make the sex reveal the story. If I can't do that, it's not going to get past my trash can.

Regina Carlysle said...

Well, I didn't actually mean by non-erotic that it would be non-sex. I've actually NEVER written a story that didn't have pretty hot sex. LOL. Mainly talking about the over-the-top stuff. :-)

Rynne Raines said...

I often find myself trying to fit the square peg in the round hole...lol. Can somebody say "scream"? I think getting back to basics and letting the sex unfold at its own pace is the formula for a winner. Fantastic post.

Anne Rainey said...

Great post, Regina. I pretty much agree with everyone here.

Melissa Bradley said...

A few months ago I tried to fit a square peg into a round hole and ended up scrapping the story and going at it from the way it felt rather than how can I get my characters to have sex. It turned out so much better and I am happier. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Regina Carlysle said...

There's just nothing more frustrating. I mean, really, when I'm sitting here trying to come up with sexual positions and the location in with to do them, the story just gets LOST. Everything feels so mechanical.

Losing the heart and soul of the characters and story just isn't worth it.

Writer and Cat said...

The whole round/square issue and my opting to stay square has not been kind to my sales, but at least I have SOME sales! I guess it's a balance for every writer.

Fran Lee Romance said...

You are right! I write by the seat of my pants, and go where the characters take me. If the characters want sex, I give it to them. If they just want to hang out, that's where we go. If a third party comes in and fits the story, then there might be a three-way affair. All depends on the muse.

Regina Carlysle said...

This isn't just about writing or not writing erotic romance. I love the genre I write. Just really want more story, ya know? Sales for erotic romance are through the roof and I won't quit writing it because it's just TOO LUCRATIVE.