The hos (also known as my critique group) got together last night. After we discussed many ways to pull my work in progress out of the fire, I told them what scene I had planned next. They immediately staged an intervention. "Fish are friends, not food" Oops, sorry, wrong story.
My intervention went like this "You cannot write another sex scene! I don’t care if it’s erotica, no more sex in this book." What happened to making I statements? One fellow ho who does substance abuse counseling recommended that I take the first step in the program. "I admit I am powerless over my addiction to writing male/male sex scenes and my story has become unmanageable."
I love my fellow hos. I do. I wouldn’t be here without them. But I have to ask, what makes a reader pick up (or download) an erotica? I’m not saying I don’t love traditional romance, even the ones with the will-they-or-won’t-they sexual tension that has you screaming in frustration by the time they finally do it. After which you lose interest. (Moonlighting, anyone?) To me an erotica is a story where much of the emotional growth and conflict is expressed either in the sex scenes or results from the sex scenes. If I want a traditionally plotted romance—no matter what the sensuality level—I know where to find one. When I want sex to be an important component in the story, I want to know where to find that, too.
Which leads me to an even more important question: If you’re selling something that’s labeled male/male erotica, who’s buying it? Some of our readers come from traditional romance. Some come to us from slash fanfiction. What keeps them coming back for more? The easy answer is that you can’t please everyone, but how much sex is too much sex in an erotica?
I think I will take that first step, but slightly altered. "I admit I am powerless over the voices in my head that send me words and pictures that make up the story of two men who have such amazing chemistry that no matter what other issues they face, they can’t keep their hands off each other." Hmmm. I do feel better now.
And they say the first step is the hardest.