Saturday, March 07, 2009

Wounded... aw, the pain!

I'm reading contest entries at the moment... I have to confess that while I still love reading erotica/erotic romance I'm damned hard to impress. These days it has to be something really darn evocative to make me sit up and pay attention, and most of what I'm seeing just isn't.

The thing is, it's not specifically bad writing. It's just lacking... magic. And by magic, I mean that special quality that makes you route for the characters and remember them long after the story is complete. Mostly what I'm seeing is minimal build up, conflict that has nothing to do with the erotic content of the story and instant attraction & you're the love of my life, lets do the humpy bumpy, but we're not normally like this (honest) we are wholesome and pure, and will soon be setting up home with kiddies, a dog and a nice picket fence.... bleurk!

Now, I don't mind sex on the first page. I don't mind reading about folks picking up strangers and having awesome sex and a relationship developing from that, but it's got to believable for the characters and there has to be passion involved somewhere... The following does not (as a general rule) a good story make...

I'm a really good girl, but I'm horny and the guy who is eyeing me up is hot. Oh, lookie, the big arrogant stalkerish twerp has just grabbed my arse before introductions have even occurred (stalker cause freaky-deaky, he already knows my name). Two seconds later and he has his hands in my knickers and is copping a good feel. Oooh! That's interesting, I've never done anal sex, but he's already got a finger up my arse, and we haven't even exchanged names yet. But hey, that's all right, because he's thinking about how un-easy I am, and how he really needs to introduce me to his mum. Cue twelve chapters of random sex scenes with a minuscule plot about rescuing the heroine from herself/aliens/vampires/foreigners/insert other... (and probably does on a number of occasions in a variety of locations.)

Am I jaded...? Yup!

Please folks... use all five senses, give me an actual description of the setting, and character descriptions that are more than eyes (check), hair (check), hot (checkety-check), cock (oh, boy is he hung...check!)

Oh, and has there been a blanket ban on kissing while I wasn't looking? I mean it's kinda nice, and it does generally occur before you get to the sex...maybe...please...pretty please, with cherries on top, and a flake if you like.

I'm going to go skulk back under my rock now.

Recently watched: Indiana Jones & the Crystal wotsit
Currently listening to: Nothing, my head is too hurtie.
Currently reading: Tongue in Cheek by Fiona Walker, and about a dozen other things.


MB (Leah) said...

Oh jeeze...LOL I feel your pain.

I'm so jaded on most erotica and erotic romance that now I'm on UF and back to general suspense. Just for, you know, good stories with engaging characters. I'm kind of sick of meaningless sex or sex without any context.

And as you say, even a one night pick up can be filled with so much passion and a strong connection can happen between characters, but it's often lacking.

It's good you're damn hard to impress. That will mean that those that measure up are really good.

Good luck with the next few stories you have to read. Ugh.

Madelynne Ellis said...

Hm, my faith is restored a bit. I've found one entry that's really good. :-)

Charlotte Stein aka The Mighty Viper said...

Hee hee! Oh, you don't know how hard I'm laughing over here. Before ever becoming a writer, I did a lot of reviewing/critiquing on various sites- not official, really, but enough to understand every word you've just said.

This annoys me beyond all else:

"we are wholesome and pure"

Now, some authors can pull off that, in a "I'm usually nice, but now I'm going to be naughty" sort of way. In fact, a lot can. But many out there seem to be almost thinking that writing erotica is somehow wrong, and so make their characters dumb little mouthpieces that tell the reader how wrong it is to be doing this, while reassuring them that actually, we're never normally like this. God no! Sex is dirty and wrong!

Yeeeeaaaah, no. Not what I want to be reading in my erotica, thanks. I don't want to be surreptitiously lectured to.

Great post, Madelynne. Loved it.

Janine Ashbless said...

I cheer for that. The genre needs judges and editors that are are hard to impress, or we're just going to fulfill the predictions of all the critics who think erotica is worthless formulaic pap. (And I say that having just had a proposal rejected!)

Huge congrats on the Dreaded Contemporary, btw!

Victoria Janssen said...

OH yes. You've put your finger on (not in! well, maybe in....) one of the main reasons I read very little erotica despite writing it. I've caught myself having a kneejerk wince whenever a hero or heroine is insanely beautiful and causes instant underwear combustion.

Unless that's done sort of ironically, but it usually isn't.

Sedonia Guillone said...

I feel for you, MAdelynne. Glad you found one that's interesting. That's why I couldn't be an editor or a critic because I'd hate to have to say all these things I'm thinking about the piece. Best when I just find someone whose work I love.

Bev(QB) said...

OMG! I'm building a post along these same lines right now because of the books I'm judging for the Passionate Plumes! So it's not just ME? Phew!

Of course, I get to be a bit more... um... descriptive... in my rant since I'm not a fellow author. Let's just say that in this particular temper tantrum, I've managed to create an analogy that employs my December colonscopy prep experience ;-p

Madelynne Ellis said...

Wow, Bev! I'm really looking forward to your comments.