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Thread: When does romance become erotica?

  1. #26
    practical experience, FTW Noizchild's Avatar
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    When your sex scenes get hotter and people can see them.
    "You ask me what I thought about
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    Before I met you
    I didn't have anything to think about."

  2. #27
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    This post helped alot! I feeling its a rather grey area, I am at an impasse as to label what I have been working on Romance or Erotica. This helps find what genre would best fit it.

  3. #28
    Thick Skin Pre-Installed Zombie Fraggle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noizchild View Post
    When your sex scenes get hotter and people can see them.
    I disagree.

    Scorching hot sex scenes written in graphic, explicit terms can still be in a Romance (capitalized to indicate genre rather than a plot element) novel as long as the requisite structure of Romance is present: individuals 1) fall in love and struggle to overcome some obstacle in order to stay together, and 2) are happy and looking forward to a future together at the conclusion of the story. The presence of panty-melting, toe-curling, explicitly written sex (even lots and lots of it) does not make it any less a Romance. It's simply sub-categorized as an Erotic Romance. Still a Romance.

    Contrast with Erotica, where the sex (not the relationship) is the core of the story as part of the protagonist's personal journey, and the people having sex don't even have to like each other if that serves the narrative.

  4. #29
    practical experience, FTW Noizchild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zombie Fraggle View Post
    I disagree.

    Scorching hot sex scenes written in graphic, explicit terms can still be in a Romance (capitalized to indicate genre rather than a plot element) novel as long as the requisite structure of Romance is present: individuals 1) fall in love and struggle to overcome some obstacle in order to stay together, and 2) are happy and looking forward to a future together at the conclusion of the story. The presence of panty-melting, toe-curling, explicitly written sex (even lots and lots of it) does not make it any less a Romance. It's simply sub-categorized as an Erotic Romance. Still a Romance.

    Contrast with Erotica, where the sex (not the relationship) is the core of the story as part of the protagonist's personal journey, and the people having sex don't even have to like each other if that serves the narrative.
    But what if it's both?
    "You ask me what I thought about
    Before we were lovers.
    The answer is easy.
    Before I met you
    I didn't have anything to think about."

  5. #30
    Thick Skin Pre-Installed Zombie Fraggle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noizchild View Post
    But what if it's both?
    What if it's both what? I'm not sure what you're asking.

  6. #31
    practical experience, FTW Noizchild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zombie Fraggle View Post
    What if it's both what? I'm not sure what you're asking.
    Erotica and romance.
    "You ask me what I thought about
    Before we were lovers.
    The answer is easy.
    Before I met you
    I didn't have anything to think about."

  7. #32
    figuring it all out Shirokitty's Avatar
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    Erotica is, well, erotic. Romance certainly can be erotic, but the focus of the story is on the romance. Erotica is more about the sex.

    That's my understanding of it anyway.
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  8. #33
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noizchild View Post
    Erotica and romance.
    If it is both it is both. Nothing at all prevents a book occupying two (or more) genres simultaneously.
    Emily Veinglory

  9. #34
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    I'm an action adventure writer and my work contains elements of romance. I use other similar well known and popular novels in my genre as a guide to how explicit the sex scenes can get, and keep them comfortably within those boundaries. I'm sure that applies to any other genre.

  10. #35
    practical experience, FTW Noizchild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    If it is both it is both. Nothing at all prevents a book occupying two (or more) genres simultaneously.
    I see.
    "You ask me what I thought about
    Before we were lovers.
    The answer is easy.
    Before I met you
    I didn't have anything to think about."

  11. #36
    practical experience, FTW CEtchison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zombie Fraggle View Post
    Contrast with Erotica, where the sex (not the relationship) is the core of the story as part of the protagonist's personal journey, and the people having sex don't even have to like each other if that serves the narrative.
    A million times this.

    I always think the sex in erotica or erotic romance is more like therapy to one or more characters. It's not just... insert tab A into slot B and a character saying "Oooh...I think I'm falling in love with him." It's more that the sex brings about an awareness or a spiritual awakening that helps a person to grow or even heal a wound from the past.

    I always suggest people read Megan Hart's BROKEN or DIRTY and you will see the distinction from a sexy contemporary romance. In fact, the heroine in BROKEN isn't even having a physical relationship through the majority of the book but she's having sexual fantasies. And those fantasies are what helps the heroine's transformation or character arc from point A to point B.

    And having a sex scene on the page does not make it an erotic romance. My books have "open door" sex scenes and they are not erotic romance because the sexual relationship is not part of either the hero or heroine's character arc. In romances, whether it's sweet or sexy or erotic romance, there are essentially three arcs in a M/F story: the hero's arc, the heroine's arc and the relationship arc. (This would of course be adjusted accordingly if your romance is a menage, M/M, F/F, etc.) The relationship arc determines the heat level of the book.
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  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noizchild View Post
    To me, when the sex scenes are more frequent and have more details to them to turn on the reader.
    What would you term it, if sex scenes are rather brief or short but longer coverage is given to Self-Bondage and introspections ?
    Quote Originally Posted by Zombie Fraggle View Post
    Contrast with Erotica, where the sex (not the relationship) is the core of the story as part of the protagonist's personal journey, and the people having sex don't even have to like each other if that serves the narrative.
    Huh ? Not arguing just making sure I understand. Are you saying
    Erotica = Sex is core, even when it might not be consensual ? Protagonist's personal journey to bondage self discovery without sex won't qualify for Erotica ?
    Last edited by Weekend_writer; 08-15-2017 at 10:42 PM.

  13. #38
    Moderator AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Sex with one's self is still sex, isn't it?
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  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maryn View Post
    Sex with one's self is still sex, isn't it?
    Oh Sure. In my story there's sex, but its not given prominence and detailed, as its not completely consensual. Does that mean it would not fall in Erotica ?

  15. #40
    Ni. Peng. Neee-Wom. edutton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weekend_writer View Post
    Oh Sure. In my story there's sex, but its not given prominence and detailed, as its not completely consensual. Does that mean it would not fall in Erotica ?
    I think it would come down to a combination of your intention as the writer, and a marketing decision on the part of the publisher... my take is that erotica is intended principally (although certainly not exclusively!) for purposes of sexual arousal, or at least should be expected to have that effect. It's entirely possible to have a book with a decent amount of sex in it that doesn't aim at that goal, in which the sex serves some other story purpose, that might be general or even literary (that elusive term) fiction rather than erotica.

    YMMV, of course
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  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by edutton View Post
    I think it would come down to a combination of your intention as the writer, and a marketing decision on the part of the publisher... my take is that erotica is intended principally (although certainly not exclusively!) for purposes of sexual arousal, or at least should be expected to have that effect. It's entirely possible to have a book with a decent amount of sex in it that doesn't aim at that goal, in which the sex serves some other story purpose, that might be general or even literary (that elusive term) fiction rather than erotica.

    YMMV, of course
    Thank you. That clarified the definition for me. Yes now it makes sense. As it is, in my story, there's a lot of arousal and protagonist's initial surprise and later self discovery down that road. So I suppose that detail may aim at arousing a reader who might prefer that type. Still a Question though, if the story lays emphasis on self-bondage, would it still be in Erotica category or not ?

    Note - There won't be a publisher in this equation as I don't know or not sure if this novella is worth it. I have a question posted elsewhere on this sub-fora for it.

  17. #42
    Ni. Peng. Neee-Wom. edutton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weekend_writer View Post
    So I suppose that detail may aim at arousing a reader who might prefer that type. Still a Question though, if the story lays emphasis on self-bondage, would it still be in Erotica category or not ?
    It could be, I think the question is what you WANT the reader's experience to be. If you want them to be able to get off on it, bluntly, then it's probably erotica. If you want them to read the self-bondage as part of a deeper exploration of the character's emotions, or as some sort of metaphor for the character's current condition, then it's probably not. (IMO)

    In the end, the only one who can decide that is you.
    Write the change you want to see in the world!

    Writing exposition is like putting red pepper flakes on your pizza - the occasional burst adds depth and flavor, too much in a lump can burn the reader out.


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  18. #43
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by edutton View Post
    It could be, I think the question is what you WANT the reader's experience to be. If you want them to be able to get off on it, bluntly, then it's probably erotica. If you want them to read the self-bondage as part of a deeper exploration of the character's emotions, or as some sort of metaphor for the character's current condition, then it's probably not. (IMO)

    In the end, the only one who can decide that is you.
    Thank you so much. I truly didn't think of it that way. After 50 posts I intend to post 1st chapter in the other room. You can review it for yourself.TIA

  19. #44
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    I am a bit thrown by this thread. My focus in writing is to do two things, develop characters as much as I can (mostly by get into their head) and give them every opportunity to have sex with who they desire. I'm not sure where that falls into the conversation. I also wanted to ask where the line is between erotica and porn? But, I would image that is a much more clear line than romance and erotica.

  20. #45
    Ni. Peng. Neee-Wom. edutton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Ryan View Post
    I also wanted to ask where the line is between erotica and porn? But, I would image that is a much more clear line than romance and erotica.
    Really? I think the erotica/porn divide is MUCH more subjective...
    Write the change you want to see in the world!

    Writing exposition is like putting red pepper flakes on your pizza - the occasional burst adds depth and flavor, too much in a lump can burn the reader out.


    PREPARING TO SUB: One of the Lucky Ones (YA) - Soundtrack, Moodboard
    NANOWRIMO '17!: Stoyanovich and the Princess (MG historical fantasy/suspense, kind of)
    PONDERING: Lion of Andalus (historical)
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  21. #46
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Sure it's clear, if you don't like it you call it porn.
    Emily Veinglory

  22. #47
    Ni. Peng. Neee-Wom. edutton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    Sure it's clear, if you don't like it you call it porn.
    Reminds me of an old single-panel cartoon I once saw, of a judge saying, "If it makes my robe rise, it's pornographic..."
    Write the change you want to see in the world!

    Writing exposition is like putting red pepper flakes on your pizza - the occasional burst adds depth and flavor, too much in a lump can burn the reader out.


    PREPARING TO SUB: One of the Lucky Ones (YA) - Soundtrack, Moodboard
    NANOWRIMO '17!: Stoyanovich and the Princess (MG historical fantasy/suspense, kind of)
    PONDERING: Lion of Andalus (historical)
    Twitter (barely)

  23. #48
    figuring it all out
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    Ha.... I am starting to believe that I am a romance writer rather then an erotica writer.

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