How far do you go? This question comes up any time we have choices. I’ve been facing it when it comes to writing. As you probably know, I have a dirty mind. I like thinking about sex. It turns out I also like writing sex scenes. Visualizing what I’m about to write can give me a boner. Writing it doesn’t. I’m too busy trying to say it in a way that communicates feelings and sensations. My first shot at fiction seemed to be more suited to a male audience. I’m referring to the spanking scenes.
It’s well established that both sexes fantasize about spanking. Ironically, both sexes usually fantasize about being spanked. With that in mind, I had the heroine, Les Peters, make her partner’s fantasy of being spanked come true. I had a lot of fun building the spanking scenes. After reading the book for the tenth time, I realized that I might have made a mistake. Let me explain.
Romance novels are a lot like movies. They don’t have a lot of time to convey deep messages. Almost all successful movies follow formulae. Get a book on screenwriting. It’s fascinating to read about how a film is constructed. The formula is essential. It allows the moviegoer to understand a lot of context without having the film go into details. We may not consciously realize it, but we find comfort in this. TV shows are the same. Have you noticed that most detective shows end with a joke or a lighter moment. “Blue Bloods” is a good example. Next time you watch, check out how the program ends.
Novels are the same. Each genre has its particular form. I’m writing romances of sorts. Because of my particular personality, I’m writing stories with erotic content. Early on, when writing Fan Mail, I got bored with fucking and sucking. I like both a lot and enjoy writing about them. But I am a little kinkier than that. Spanking is a practice I have a lot of experience giving and getting. I like the power dynamic. The original version built what I thought was a plausible path from naive and vanilla to kinky spanking. I liked it, and some of our initial readers did too.
I decided that I was breaking the formula. As far as I can tell, spanking in romance novels is limited to the heroine getting her butt reddened. The strong male character either spanks or rescues the maiden in distress from the cruel spanker. Remember, both sexes generally fantasize about being spanked. So, if I want female readers, having the hero get his bottom bruised will probably not play very well.
Indeed, I’m not very successful as a writer. The few reviews I’ve gotten have been from males. They felt the plot supported our hero getting paddled. The women who have commented don’t mention the spanking but think the book is entertaining. I had to decide what direction I wanted to travel. Did I want to play into the F/M niche? How many books could I sell to spanking enthusiasts? Or, did I want to take a shot at mainstream romance novel audiences?
There isn’t a lot of competition in the spanking fiction market, but it is tiny. The broader genre of erotic romance novels has millions of readers. There are also millions of books competing for their attention. I had to decide exactly what message I want to send in this series of books (the second is nearly half done). For better or worse, I decided that I like the sexual tension and the hero’s fear of initiating. I also like that the heroine is open about sex and share’s her lover in very limited ways. This sharing is playing out more in the next adventure.
I don’t want to give away exactly what that means. After all, I am trying to sell books. What I am suggesting is that female power can be expressed in many ways. Also, the male who is experiencing this power can have a very good time. Steve, our hero, certainly is. I’m learning that writing a romance novel requires a lot more thought and planning than I expected. I’m learning a lot. Does anyone know a good book editor who will work cheaply?