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Cafe Doom  |  The Critique Crypt  |  General writing chat  |  Define "Erotic"
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Author Topic: Define "Erotic"  (Read 30577 times)

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Offline SamLeeFreak

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Define "Erotic"
« on: November 15, 2007, 11:16:43 PM »
Ok, this is what I read at DarkHart Press, as it pertains to their anthology (which I plan to submit to):


"Stories and novels should contain absolutely no hardcore erotic content... We at DarkHart Press have always preferred stories that are strong enough on their own to not have to rely on excessive, graphic or gratuitous sex, violence or profanity to prop them up or for the sole purpose of shock value. We believe any use of these particular devices should be necessary and integral to the story being told, and that they should be used as sparingly as possible or else their use begins to detract from the story itself."

My question is, what qualifies as "hardcore erotic content?" My story does have sexual content, but nothing that would make a porn star blush. So where is the line between sexual (but permissive) and hard core smut? I mean, I know when it's REALLY raunchy but how do I know if I've strayed too far into the grey area?

PS: The sexual content definitely is tied to the plot. I didn't throw in naughtiness for attention or something lame like that.



Offline Sallyq

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Re: Define "Erotic"
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2007, 04:01:26 AM »
I think much of it is in the language used - whether you use obscene language (or what's considered to be obscene language, as we all have our own ideas about that) to describe the act and bodily parts for example - and just how much of the act is described.

However, I've read some non-pornographic novels with quite strong sex scenes.  I think the problems only occur when the sex is gratuitous and obviously thrown in just to titillate. If you think your scene is integral to the plot, then send it and see what they say.

It's odd but even though I write erotica, I can seldom find a good excuse to include a sex scene in one of my 'straight' stories. Which means that the people who read my 'straight' stuff are often surprised to find I write erotica and dark fiction. Everyone thinks I concentrate on fluffy kittens and rainbows ::)

Offline Ed

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Re: Define "Erotic"
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2007, 04:04:33 AM »
I would guess they mean they don't want in-depth description of the sex act. Judging by what my wife likes to read, she likes the tension between the two people prior to any physical relationship and, common to all women (it seems), the romantic aspect :wub:

Brief descriptions are probably alright, plus long shots - pull waaaay back with the camera for most of the time. Sharon and Sally will know more about romance writing than me, though. I'm just guessing here :afro:
« Last Edit: November 16, 2007, 04:06:52 AM by Ed »
Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]

Offline Sallyq

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Re: Define "Erotic"
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2007, 05:57:18 AM »
You obviously haven't read any Mills and Boon lately, Ed. Or ever  ;) The scenes in modern romance novels leave very little to the imagination, and I've even read romance novels that uses the word 'cock' during a romantic sex scene. To be honest, it pulled me right out of the story as it didn't fit with the rest of the scene.

I really do think it's all down to the language used. Do you describe your characters as 'fucking' or 'making love' for instance? Do you call it his 'cock' or his 'throbbing manhood'  :grin: (I made that last one up :evil:)  Is there a copious amount of bodily fluids? (the one huge turn off for me in any story, I have to say)

But sometimes a story might need the grittier aspect of sex. I mean, if you've got a noir type feel to your story, you're not suddenly going to start using the language of romance, are you? Whatever your characters do has to be in fitting with the rest of the story.

One problem, facing all writers, is that the goalposts are likely to change, so that what seemed shocking ten years ago, would be commonplace now and you never really know what other peoples' boundaries are until you test them. For example, though I write erotica there are some subjects I won't touch with a ten-foot bargepole (ooh, there's an idea for a story :grin:), and I don't enjoy reading about them in other stories.


Offline Geoff_N

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Re: Define "Erotic"
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2007, 07:23:21 AM »
It is because of the naughty bits in my humorous thriller, Escaping Reality, that obliged me to wait until I left my teacher job before it was published under my own name. Interestingly with one exception, the only unease I encounter from readers are from men. Women usually tell me that I should have been more explicit and to have more sex scenes in the book. I'm quite happy to know that anyone having read it won't see bubllewrap in the same way ever again!

It is interesting what you say, Sally. How can a writer refer to a cock without it seeming ridiculous? Member, todger, joy-stick, etc all make us laugh during what should be a tender scene, and yet penis is too clinical. Or is it?

Geoff

Offline Sallyq

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Re: Define "Erotic"
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2007, 07:54:24 AM »
Yes, I agree, Geoff. Cock is such a silly word, yet is used a lot in the erotic stories published by Xcite.  Penis does sound a bit clinical and I always think I'll get laughed at if I use that. What words to use is something I struggle with when writing erotica as there are few words for the genitalia of both sexes that don't set people off giggling like maniacs. Or maybe that's just the British?

I must be the most buttoned-up, repressed writer of erotica that ever lived. In fact I was amazed that xcite accepted my stories. I thought they'd laugh their socks off at my attempts.

Offline JonP

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Re: Define "Erotic"
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2007, 07:55:01 AM »
We had an interesting discussion on this very subject over on our Writers' Circle blog. It's here, in case you're interested.

Offline Sallyq

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Re: Define "Erotic"
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2007, 10:14:01 AM »
Good discussion, Jon :afro: I love 'disgusted of Tunbridge Wells'  :yes:

Sam, would you mind if I used your question (altered accordingly) for my Ask Sally feature on my blog? It's an interesting discussion. I'll link to Jon's piece too.

Offline SamLeeFreak

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Re: Define "Erotic"
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2007, 12:03:41 PM »
I would be honored, Sally.

Should I put up the potentially offending paragraph? I think it manages to stay in the realm of non-filth but then again sex that only involves one person can be quite shocking to some readers.

Offline Sallyq

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Re: Define "Erotic"
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2007, 12:04:59 PM »
Yes, show it to us and we'll see what we think. But I doubt we're that shockable around here anyway.

Offline SamLeeFreak

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Re: Define "Erotic"
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2007, 01:05:31 PM »
Yes, show it to us and we'll see what we think. But I doubt we're that shockable around here anyway.

Fair enough!  ;)
I just need to know if anyone thinks DarkHart Press will have a problem with it. Here goes:

"When Kenny left it was both a disappointment and a relief. On one hand, Shayne was fascinated by every detail of him. On the other, she was at the point were it felt like she had shot gunned fifty or so shots of liquid Viagra. Turning up the stereo to compensate for the thin walls, she strove with shaking hands to end the frustration. Three times over she arched her back, screaming against Vivildi, before giving up and taking to the city where she walked aimlessly until noticing that the sun had come up and people were drifting into the streets on their way to work."



Offline Sallyq

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Re: Define "Erotic"
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2007, 01:11:55 PM »
Quote
I just need to know if anyone thinks DarkHart Press will have a problem with it.

Oh goodness, no. I was expecting something far more explicit than that. I'm sure that will be fine, Sam. Good luck!

Offline Ed

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Re: Define "Erotic"
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2007, 02:05:03 PM »
 :shocked: :shocked: :shocked: :shocked: HELLS TEETH, WOMAN! HAVE YOU NO SHAME? :shocked: :shocked: :shocked: :shocked:


Nah, actually, I though that was great - the sort of thing I feel comfortable reading, which probably means it's not raunchy enough, TBH.

One thing I would change, though, is this 'ing' word - it interrupts the flow of the sentence -

Quote
until noticing that the sun had come up


Change to:

Quote
until she noticed the sun had come up


Good luck with your subbing :smiley:

Sally - you're absolutely right. I can't stand romance novels. Judging by the bits my wife reads out, I would probably skip all the raunchy scenes, or sit red faced, glancing around to make sure nobody was reading over my shoulder :grin:
Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]

Offline SamLeeFreak

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Re: Define "Erotic"
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2007, 02:15:11 PM »
:shocked: :shocked: :shocked: :shocked: HELLS TEETH, WOMAN! HAVE YOU NO SHAME? :shocked: :shocked: :shocked: :shocked:


Nah, actually, I though that was great - the sort of thing I feel comfortable reading, which probably means it's not raunchy enough, TBH.

One thing I would change, though, is this 'ing' word - it interrupts the flow of the sentence -

Quote
until noticing that the sun had come up


Change to:

Quote
until she noticed the sun had come up


Good luck with your subbing :smiley:


Oh man, that is better. I'm going to have to ask the better half to help me keep an eye out for that sort of thing when we're editing!

Glad to know that I haven't violated anyone's tender mind. The only other sexual references I made were even tamer by comparison, so I think I'm good  :cheers:

Offline Ed

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Re: Define "Erotic"
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2007, 02:46:00 PM »
When I'm editing, I have a close look at any 'ing' words, because they seem to lead to some pretty iffy grammar and sentence construction. See, strictly speaking, this sentence could be taken to say she's got one hand on the stereo's volume knob, and the other on her h'apenny, ending her frustration as she wound the speakers up a notch -

Quote
Turning up the stereo to compensate for the thin walls, she strove with shaking hands to end the frustration.

Which might be what you had in mind, but I doubt it. I always try to edit out any ambiguity. Leave the reader with no doubt about what you're telling them. Still a few slip by, whatever you do :afro:
Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]

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