Bryn Donovan, writer, optimist and geek, provides us with a fantastic blog post about ‘Sex-Free-Romance’. Thank you so much, Bryn! I love it!
Most readers of my blog know that I write some steamy romance. A few of you even know that in the past year, I got a new job editing “sweet romance,” which is the industry term for romance with no sex at all.
I’ve always enjoyed all kinds of romantic stories and movies as a reader and a viewer, so I don’t find it strange at all to work on both. I’m even in the middle of writing a sweet romance right now.
However, I’ve always known that lots of people, particularly people who haven’t read a romance in twenty years, treat steamy romance writers with derision. They make jokes about the goofy euphemisms romance writers supposedly use for sex organs, although almost all romance writers have discarded these in favor of more direct language.
They also behave as though writers of sexy romance must all be bad writers. Most romance writers are women, and there is some sexism at work here: a discomfort with women authoring sexual content instead of being the object in it.
I’ve known all that for years. What I’ve learned in the past year, though, is that plenty of people also deride sex-free romance.
A good friend of mine reminded me of something that happened a while ago.
He told me that life had given him some challenges currently and sometimes his head is full of thoughts about how to accomplish his tasks. At the moment he does have difficulties to write. He sits down, waiting for creativity to kick in and nothing happens.
Is this writer’s block? I don’t know, and since I’m not a too experienced writer, I would never presume to ‘diagnose’ such an excellent and gifted writer as he is. Much smarter heads and experienced writers have dealt with writer’s block before. I even published a post about it in February 2015 “Kiss Your Muse Hello.”
But what he said reminded me of something that happened a while back and made me laugh. And yes, I told him about it.
A while back when I realized my fantasy ran dry, I tried to tickle it by writing something I normally do not write.
As many of you know, I’m a writer of Paranormal Romance and Fantasy. But at this moment I decided, I would try to write a hot, steamy, and romantic, erotic scene. Occasionally I do read a sexy novel, and I was curious how I would do.
When I had finished the scene, I was quite proud of myself. I found it turned out to describe what I just saw going on in my head.
I set the few pages aside and went on to ‘daily business,’ whatever that was at this time.
I have to mention here: my idea did work. Writing in this unknown genre, in fact, awakened my ideas and fantasy, and I was able to continue with my new story.
I had nearly forgotten about my short trip into the erotic genre until I one day got the few papers in my hand while searching for some documents.
Sitting down and leaning back I re-read them…
… and started laughing so hard, I nearly choked. I screamed and howled with laughter. Earlier in this post, I said, after writing it, I was proud, I had considered I exactly described as the scene was in my head, right?
Re-reading these pages now showed me that I was completely wrong.
In my head, the scenery and what happened was perfect, yes. Including the smells, the sounds, the whispers… but on the paper, the entire erotic, sexy, steamy scene was about as erotic as the mating of gummy bears.
I figured, and I still do, that there must be a reason, why I picked ‘Paranormal Romance’ and ‘Fantasy’ my genres. Apparently ‘steamy hot’ is not for me to describe. I deeply admire every writer who can do it.
Now there are two questions at this point: Are the current stories I write that far off from my imagination as well? This would suck; even though my editor said no (which calms me a little bit).
And the second question: Have you ever tried to write in another genre, and how did this work for you? Thanks for sharing your experiences.
I’m a writer of paranormal romance, working on the sixth book in my series, currently, even though the first book still needs to be published.
Now lately I have realized that my romantic male protagonists are very attractive – all of them. (Of course, I measure my taste here, so please don’t hold it against me).
Then I started thinking: I’m an avid reader and occasionally read the one or other steamy hot romance novella. And I never even once read a description of an unattractive protagonist. They all were described as extremely good looking, and of course, they need to be. Otherwise, the entire book would be kind of weird.
A quick example. The Twilight Series. Edward Cullen was described as beautiful, breathtaking, Angel and so on. Would this series have been only half as successful if the protagonists had been merely mediocre or even having some obvious flaws?
Now, let’s be honest, which one below here is the ‘better’ Edward Cullen?
I don’t want to be unfair here. To each her own, right? What I find attractive is not necessarily attractive to another woman.
But what all these men in books have in common is the fact that they are well groomed. It’s always refreshing to read about a man who showers. And who knows that a nose hair trimmer is not only good to foam up milk for the cappuccino. (Not to talk about the fact that a nose hair is only a nose hair as long as it’s inside the nose. When it grows out, it’s a mustache).
Men should, in fact, be trimmed. It’s every woman’s personal taste to find a man with either more or less hair attractive. Let’s see. I consider armpit hair that can be plaited not particularly sexy. But hey… if it can’t be trimmed, for whatever reason, at least the guy should use conditioner. But that’s only a detail.
Having a look at a hairy chest, who can say which one of these would I consider my protagonist?
In my case, it would be the right one – probably because that sexy hairline from the belly button down South would drive me crazy. But not the too much hairy chest, just the right amount. I wouldn’t be too happy caressing my man’s chest and finding dried ice cream from the last beach trip, croissant crumbs or Lego stones in there… Trim or waxing once in a while wouldn’t do any damage. At least some guys knew then what we women are going through to be beautiful for them.
Or what about a trim in the ‘Southern Region’? And I don’t mean the thighs or feet. I’m more talking about the – uhm – bell tower. I think to keep it carefully trimmed, and in order, isn’t asked too much, is it?
I mean, rainforest aside, it doesn’t need to look like a bare-nosed wombat. Just sexy and clean.
I mean, after all, I knew one man, Holy Smokes when he took his undies off I thought he was smuggling a beaver!
Okay. I think I have been pretty open about my imagination of sexy protagonists. But now I’m curious. I’m sure there are characters on the evil side, the bad ones. Do we always describe them as unattractive? What are the features to ‘make’ them unattractive or the antagonist? How are you doing this in your book? Thank you for your advice.
When I wrote the blog post about Modernizing Grimm’s Fairy Tales I have been thinking about whether the old tales would still work in our modern time. I was not considering to change them in a matter of sense. And of course I would not dream about literally “laying hands” on them. Today I found out someone already had.
I’m talking about L.A. based artist Andrew Tarusov who “re-created” our amazing Disney princesses in a unique and most “adult way”. Seeing his artwork and not starting to plan how the Fairy tales could be re-written around these new personalities was absolutely impossible for me. (And yes, I did blush a little).
Eventually writing the re-vamped (pun intended) stories around these newly bloomed beauties might more be something for a real erotica-writer than for me. But I still find the artwork irresistible and felt like sharing it.
Have you ever seen Anna and Elsa hot and sexy – instead of “Frozen”? Even Olaf threatens to melt…
I figure this Prince is quite enthusiastic finding a PinUp goddess in this bed. The way she’s dressed is giving the expression “laid out” a whole new meaning.
After Merida was re-created by Disney some mothers and even daughters started to complain how much her new hairstyle was more accurate for a Victoria’s Secret model her waistline was too thin, her cheekbones too high, her neckline too low and that she got too sexy… I cannot resist imagining what these people would say seeing her cleavage now! Even the bear seems happy.
Whoo hoo! Jasmine seems quite comfy with her cuddly kitty…. What a hot presentation.
I wonder if Peter Pan ever had imagined his Tinker Bell taking a “cup-bath” with nothing on than a huge smile.
Does Tiana really need to kiss that frog? I would guess one look at her garter belt will be enough to line up the princes.
Arielle has even sacrificed her fishtail to look sexier. And her good friend Sebastian helping her covering up… with his shears – and a wide grin.
Didn’t Belle always seem to be so cute, nice and a fervent advocate of non-violence? Now we know better. She really knows how to tame the beast, doesn’t she?
Rapunzel’s strategically placed hair. I fear for any prince seeing her like this, a heart attack is in sight…
Okay – here we go… Hot, hotter, Snow White. All I see at the moment is one really, really happy dwarf.
In my opinion Andrew Tarisov did a great job with his artwork. And please, should any author decide to re-write one of these fairy tales around the new sexy protagonist, don’t forget to tell me. I’d love to read it.