Sunday, April 27, 2014

Why I Don't Write Sex Scenes (And Other Abject Humiliations)

I'm not going to pretend that I don't care about reviews.  I totally do.  I'm sure there are some authors out there who are above all that and no longer hope for the approval and praise of others but I'm not them.  But that's all it is.  Just hope.  I don't require it to function. 

Oh, okay, you caught me.  It's mostly curiosity.  I'm nosy.  I want to know what people think about what I've written even if they hate it.  I want to know why.  We're not all wired the same and as a writer, I enjoy exploring how others view certain issues.

Where am I going with this?  Well, the biggest criticism I get about my books is their lack of sex scenes.  As in, there aren't any.  A reviewer has more than once taken away a star  (or 3)just because my characters didn't get naked.  They say they like the story and they can't wait to read the next one but they really wanted that "steamy" factor.

Okay, so readers want sex.  Good to know. 

Today I read an impassioned thread in a group I belong to with several thousand members.  Someone admitted to writing a "quick romance novel" in order to "help pad" their "bank account" and wanted opinions on the steaminess of her sex scenes.  What followed was a bevy of comments from several frustrated writers who are tired of competing with the blatant fact that "sex sells."  They're frustrated that with the massive influx of romance novels that focus on the sex and not on the quality of the characters, or the editing, or the story at all.

Okay, so other writers want less sex.  This is getting complicated.

So this is why I don't have sex in my books.  My reasons are my own and in no way am I saying that another author has to ever to things my way.  In fact, I hope they don't.  I hope they write what they love and that's all.

The silly stories I write will never have sex in them.  I have never, not once, thought that my book would have been improved with the addition of sex.  I enjoy writing.  I love it so much and writing sex would make me uncomfortable.  I like romance, so I write romance.  That's it.  Romance for me doesn't equal sex.  Romance is in the things people say to each other, the way hearts react to getting to know the deeper side to someone else, the way we respond in complicated situations.  Romance shouldn't be limited to or defined by how much or how often the two main characters get it on. 

I'm not trying to change the romance genre, I know there will always be books with "high steam factors" (and some of them are fantastic. Yes, I've read a few myself), but shouldn't there be room for books written by people who just like to write?  Who have a story (no matter how tame) that they want to share?

I think so.  I think there's room for all of us.  I believe that there's an audience for everything.  And that's all I want.  I want my little space with my faithful and brilliant fans who will read my silly stories and enjoy them right along with me.

That's it.  That's all I have.  I write because I love it.  I don't write to make money.  I don't write because I hope to be a best seller (HA! Never gonna happen).  I write because I really, really, really love it. I would much rather fail at doing something I love than even kind of succeed jumping through someone else's hoops. I can always tell when I'm reading a book that has been written with passion and intensity versus someone trying to make a quick buck.  So stick to your guns.  Don't sell out.  Be you.  Write what you love, be creative, be passionate, be steamy (if that's you), be excited.  But don't be something you're not.  I'll be over here, writing to the whacked out tune in my head, and cheering you on.