Two years ago, I set out to write erotica: 10,000 words of stroke fiction. A simple enough task (I thought) as I wasn’t completely crap as a writer, and I was (if vocal evidence during the act is to be believed) pretty damn good at sex. All I had to do was write a few piddling little stories and make my mark on the world of Indie publishing. How hard could it be to write 10,000 words?
As it turns out, pretty hard. You see, it’s not getting the wheels in motion that’s the problem. It’s finding the darn brakes. I guess they don’t grip too well when they’re sliding around in all those lovely juices.
At 15,000 words, I had the sneaking suspicion that all was not going as planned. At 20,000 words my wife was looking at me with a smirk and cutely quirked eyebrow. Goaded to greater effort, determined to salvage my plans, I wrote on. And on. 25,000 words came and went. 30,000. My wife tapped her manicured nails in an impatient tattoo upon the dining room table and suggested that sex as an institution might be better served by just taking her to bed and to hell with the writing. I handed her a vibrator and continued my work. And somewhere in the depths of that sultry night, around the time the vibrator achieved satisfaction, the FMC finally lost her cherry at the 35,000-word mark. Not only had my short story become a full-blown novella, but the two main characters had fallen madly in love.
Oops. That’s not erotica. That’s Romance.
Eighteen months ago, I set out to write Romance: 35,000 to 60,000 words of boy meets girl, life intervenes, boy and girl sort things out, sweet sex happens, and everyone lives happily ever after. A simple enough task (I thought) as I wasn’t completely crap as a writer (having six solid months of practice under my belt), and I was pretty damn good at romance. I did after all have a wife who appeared fairly pleased with my presence most of the time.
I already had the first book completed. It would be a simple enough task to write Book 2. So I did. Except… Thriller, with romantic elements, but still—not Romance. On the positive side, I wrapped it up at 55,000 words, so that was a step in the right direction.
Onward to Book 3. 80,000 words later, I had another episode in the lives of my characters, yet how could it be Romance when they were already a couple, their relationship was great, and all they had to do was learn about each other, overcome huge obstacles in the wilderness, deal with her malfunctioning family, and rescue her best friend. Hmm, sounds more like Adventure to me, with romantic elements. Oh yeah, and endless hot sex (right, so now at last I’m fitting in the erotic bits).
Book 4 is in second draft now. Four books in and these people have only known each other for six weeks. Six! They have had lots of lovely nookie, which was erotic, but that wasn’t the main thrust of the story, so it’s not Erotica. They did fall truly, madly, deeply in love, but there’s no HEA. Hell, there’s no ending in sight, happily or otherwise, so it’s not Romance.
They do have an ongoing love story, but that’s not a genre.
They have adventures.
They’re involved in mysterious doings.
Thrilling plots to harm and kill the main characters exist.
Threads weave and loop and double back on themselves.
The occasional paranormal happening occurs.
Yet not one of these things defines them.
Two years ago, I sat down to write 10,000 words of erotica. I now lie naked, tied up face down across the lap of a raging genre-less seven-book monster, while its two spin-off pals take turns spanking me into submission. I have wept, I have pleaded, I have stood tall and ordered in a bold and manly voice, yet they refuse to release me until their story is told.
All I ever wanted out of life was to quietly write short smut. Is that really too much to ask?