For those of you who have been following my blog for the past month or so, you've heard me bitch about me getting slammed online and in the real world over the content of my book, Shades of Love.
Among the many accusations that have been flung at me (and there have been many), one that has bugged me the most, has been the accusation that I write porn.
Granted, some of the intimate scenes that appear in the book were somewhat on the explicit side. But that doesn't mean I write porn. What I write is what I consider to be adult fiction. However, after spending the last several months reading a few romances, a few blogs and some personal corresponding with friends, I do realize that what I wrote for sex scenes could be misconstrued as hardcore.
I came to this realization that what I wrote was too explicit when a good friend of mine told me that she had problems reconciling what I wrote in the book and stories that she has read of mine, with the person she's friends with, and that my writing made her feel a little uncomfortable. I was starting to come to this conclusion already, which was based on what I read by other authors and the thoughtful opinions of others on the various blogs that I follow, most notably Rule of Three and Razored Zen.
The last thing I wanted to do with my writing is to make people feel uncomfortable while reading, and I think that's what I did with my book. I'm not knocking my book, because overall I think it was a well written piece of prose. But there are things I could have done to it in order to make it more palatable and thus, one less accusation that could be thrown at me.
The one major thing I could have done, was to tidy up the sex scenes (read: tone it down a couple of notches), and not throw so many of them in.
As the title of the post goes, it's a very fine line between sexual (read: hardcore) and sensual (read: softcore). I'm really trying to tone down the explicitness of the moment when I write, so that it comes out more like this (a dream sequence), instead of coming out like this (opening paragraph). Last one isn't a very good example, but you get the basic idea.
Secondly, I'm working very hard of not throwing in a sex scene for the sake of throwing in a sex scene, but instead, throwing one in that helps move the plot/story along. I think that was a major complaint that people were making, in that it had way too much gratuitous sex in the story. I realize now that whenever I did get stuck at certain points, I threw in a gratuitous sex scene. It did get the job done, in as much that it helped me get unstuck but in hindsight, I probably could have done a little better with it.
Finally, I think that the way I've been venting in my writing for the past three years should be changed. Some people vent in different ways, either with anger, violence or biting humor in their writings.
Me, I vent with sex. And as you can see by this post, I crossed that fine line between tasteful and tasteless. So I think it's about time I started listening to other opinions/criticisms and temper my writing so as to bring it back from that misconstrued (but highly understandable) accusation that I write porn.
I don't write porn and I'm gonna damn well start proving to people that I don't.