Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I was really shocked...

Last week I was shocked when, on a loop for published and aspiring authors, I noticed that there were some that didn't understand the difference between erotica and erotic romance. Not only that, thoughts were expressed that clearly showed many thought they were the same thing. OMG, NO!! I know there's not really an industry standard when it comes to a definition of these areas but I wanted to clarify at least here (and in my opinion) what those differences are. Because I think it's important. The below comes from the Passionate Ink website actually and I think provide very concise differentiators:

Erotica: stories written about the sexual journey of the characters and how this impacts them as individuals. Emotion and character growth are important facets of a true erotic story. However, erotica is NOT designed to show the development of a romantic relationship, although it’s not prohibited if the author chooses to explore romance. Happily Ever Afters are NOT an intrinsic part of erotica, though they can be included.

Erotic Romance: stories written about the development of a romantic relationship through sexual interaction. The sex is an inherent part of the story, character growth, and relationship development, and couldn’t be removed without damaging the storyline. Happily Ever After is a REQUIREMENT to be an erotic romance.

I really hate all the labels, but writing and books have to be categorized so that readers know what to expect. It's hard enough dealing with the preconceived ideas and notions of the 'general population' about what romance, erotic romance and erotica is I guess that I was just so blown away that there were authors out there within the genre who hadn't grasped these nuances.

So...I write romance first and foremost. There's no question of that. I write about the relationship between two people (M/F) who either have a HEA or a HFN. And yeah, it's hot and steamy, but it's an important element of that developing relationship. Could I write erotica? Sure I could, but I don't really want to. Could I write menages? Maybe, although there would have to be circumstances that would warrant that situation in my mind so that it would still be a 'romance'. Could I write M/M? I don't think so. I don't really 'feel' these relationships and I don't think I would do justice to them.

I've read some really great erotica, but for me as a writer I'm too interested in the dynamics and complexities and in exploring the M/F interaction. I love to get into the depths of the alpha male psyche, a guy who's finally found the one woman to crack that tough exterior and do things he wouldn't have ever imagined doing. That's what I absolutely love to write. It's romance or erotic romance, but not erotica!

Okay, I was kind of on my soapbox a tiny bit LOL. I'll climb down now. Carry on!!


  1. Keep on your soapbox Kaily!
    Personally I love reading a good erotic scene but like you I love writing about the developing m/f relationship and exploring the sexual side. When I first started writing I became incredibly inhibited writing the sex scenes, kept thing 'OMG my mum might read this!' It took a long time to tune that mental image out!

  2. I think no matter what anyone writers (yes, I write erotic romance, and have even tried my hand at erotica which are shelved), WRITING is a profession and must be treated so. Whoever wishes is welcome to purchase and read spicier romance, others, please pick the book of your choice and get going!

    Books aren't something that aliens leave here as a keepsake, it is written by people - who might or might not be known to you. Let them do their job, while others do theirs!

    I think I'll step off the soapbox now ;)

  3. Like you I'm not big on labels. I write both and realize there are many people who don't understand the difference.
    You've written a great post today. :)

  4. And there are those writers who do all of us a disservice by calling all erotic romance "smut". I'm sorry. I don't think that's what I write... :-)

  5. Thanks, Michelle! You know I write hot because I think so love/sex scenes are so critical to the story. It's their most vulnerable moments, you know? I just try to forget about who I know who might actually read it.

    Well said, Ju!!!!

    Hey, Amber. Thanks. You know, I kinda thought authors in the romance genre knew the difference. I guess these misconceptions are more widespread than I thought.

    Anny, yeah I don't consider what I write 'smut' either :).

  6. Great post Kaily, I think it's only been a year or so since I learned the difference between the two. Where exactly does Romantica fall do you think? Is it basically another term for Eroctic Romance? I haven't actually seen the term Romantica used lately though, so maybe it's not used anymore or Erotic Romance is the new term.

  7. Hi LC! Romantica is actually a great phrase that is trademarked/owned by Ellora's Cave. Essentially it means romance with sexually explicit content and I think it's a great description for erotic romance.