It’s my pleasure to be invited by Draven to pen a guest post.
As a writer of erotica, I’ve learned that my genre and horror are inextricably linked. They may draw on different themes but both ignite passion and strong emotion from readers.
Drawing on the medium of film to illustrate this, I recently watched Don’t Look Now, starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland. The classic occult, horror film portrayed grieving parents after the loss of their daughter, with the backdrop of a serial killer in Venice. The music was intense, the scenes on the canals late at night eerie. Foreboding doom kept me on the edge of my seat. Yet, the most controversial part of the film was a lengthy sex scene between the main actors. It was the early seventies, and mainstream film did not allow for humping or oral sex on screen without slapping an X-rating on it.
The horror of certain scenes made my heart race but so did the fragmented and beautiful sex scene. The two were integral to the movie’s plot.
In literature, the same rules apply. Sex scenes in any genre should only be added if they move the story along. This is true even with erotica, a genre whose main purpose is to arouse the reader.
Sex scenes are written to connect the reader to the characters and reveal more about them. Uncovering characters’ motivations through effective foreplay and dialogue whet the reader’s appetite. It prepares them for scenes with stronger language and graphic, physical description. Proper set-up to these scenes is therefore essential. Dropping an intense sex scene into a story without introduction to setting and characters will do little to arouse imagination. A reader must be able to answer the questions:
Who are these people?
Why are they having sex?
In erotica, an added question might be: Why are they having this type of sex?
If these basic questions cannot be answered, then don’t expect the reader to care about your characters.
For me, erotica has always been about a great story; it’s what dictates the amount and type of sex, never vice versa. More sex does not make an erotic novel better, just as more killings and bloodshed do not improve a horror story.
She is genre-bending in her next book due late 2013—a psychological, erotic thriller combining the styles of John Fowles/Charles Bukowski/Haruki Murakami and a dash of Pauline Réage.