I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I realized I no longer write erotic romance. Honestly, I’m not sure I ever did. I think I wrote romance with very steamy and plentiful love scenes, but I digress. Let’s go over the definition of Romance and Erotic Romance.
According to Romance Writers of America, there are two key elements that comprise every romance novel. The first is a central love story. The second, is an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.
RWA defines Erotic Romance as a romance in which strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the love story, character growth, and relationship development. The love scenes could not be removed without damaging the storyline.
Now given those definitions you could take out the love scenes in a lot of romance novels and still have a complete romance. In fact, I’ve read several romances with no love scenes. One of my favorite authors, Lynn Kurland, does not write love scenes. If you haven’t read her, do yourself a favor and look her up. She is a brilliant storyteller and has some of the most romantic romances I’ve ever read.
Keeping those definitions in mind, I find myself asking, did I ever truly write erotic romance? I don’t think so. Don’t get me wrong I think all my sex scenes served a purpose even if it was only character development, but I now believe that at least some of them could be taken out without it effecting the romance plot.
So do I consider myself an erotic romance author? No. Do I still write sex scenes? Yes! And yes they are still fairly steamy. However, I do not write as many love scenes as when I first started writing and there are a couple of reasons for that. First, is simply because I no longer have a publisher that expects a certain amount of sex in the books. Second, I think it’s because as I’ve grown as a writer and I find myself writing more complex stories with several subplots. Now that is not to say that erotic romance writers do not have complex plots, I know several who do, but the way my own writing has evolved I find that through my subplots I’m able to develop characters and evolve the romance without as many love scenes.
As a reader, I find that I like the build up. I like those love scenes to really mean something in the story when the characters finally give in. I also live very subplot heavy romances. I like to watch the hero and hero suffer, grow, and learn about one another through adversity. The harder it is to get to their happily ever after, the more satisfying it is to read.
Check out my Recommended Reads page for a list of some of my favorite authors and favorite romances.