Monday, April 8, 2013

Do You Really Need Sex Scenes in Romance?

Last week we spoke extensively about characterization in romance. One of the elements was the issue of sexual tension. One author commented on that post that "It bothers me when characters sleep together too soon. But in romance, readers are expecting some love scenes." This got me thinking. Are ALL publishers really asking for this? Are ALL readers asking for this? In reality, the answer is no.

Some publishers out there have really found a great niche market for those steamy romances. We're talking about the stories that increase the temperature in the room a good 20 degrees. Much of this has to do with the rise of erotica, publishers such as Ellora's Cave and certainly books such as 50 Shades. But with that said, this is not the only way to get published.

I always mention this here, but if you listen to editors and agents talk about what they like to see in potential projects and submissions, it always comes back to the same things: Great Characters. Great Stories. Great Conflict. Great Writing. You will notice that "Great Sex" is not in this list.

I think what a lot of authors fail to see is that the story you want to tell will dictate the amount of sex and the type of sex you decide to include. The focus of the story, the theme and the "take away" from the story will dictate what you need to include. In other words, if your story is focusing on the struggles a couple might have when dealing with the loss of a child or a parent, then it is that storyline that takes the precedence. If there is sex in the story, then it will likely be very minimal. As a writer, you have to constantly ask yourself, "what is my story really about?"

Another thing to consider as an author is what publisher you really want to work for. This too will dictate whether or not you need to add all of those scenes. If you don't feel comfortable with these scenes (which is 100% fine) then focus on the many publishers and lines that don't focus on the steam and heat.

There are a ton of publishers out there for authors. Don't feel like you have to put things into your stories if it doesn't work with your theme and focus you are trying to convey to the readers.

1 comment:

  1. This was such a refreshing post. I write MG mysteries, not romances, so I never have to worry about whether to write sex scenes. But I read everything, and sometimes, as a reader, I actually get annoyed when the predictable "love scene" full of steamy sex shows up. I often skip over it to get back to the story.