Using Erotica to Fake Talent
Normally my Wednesday posts are about reviews on some of the books I’ve read. And as a rule of thumb, if the book is bad, I don’t write a review…period.
Why? Because I see no point in being mean for the sake of being mean. And let’s be honest, there are enough mean people who enjoy writing scathing reviews, they don’t need me to add my voice to the cacophony of their blather.
But, as happens in most junctions between good and evil, this also leaves me with the difficult challenge of having nothing to review.
Not that I haven’t read anything lately – God forbid I should not have a stack of unread material just waiting for me to explore. No, the problem is quality, not quantity. Which means most of what I have read within the past couple of months has fallen under the heading of, I can’t write a review on this, because I don’t write mean reviews.
That’s right. More than half of the novels I’ve attempted to read (Attempted as in, can’t-read-one-more-word, kind of attempted.) have either been so badly written, as to make me wonder who in the heck lied and told the author their manuscript was actually good enough to publish; or so lacking in content, it made me think this same liar must have told this same author, glutting the book with unrealistic, overly imaginative scenes of erotica, will cover a multitude of novel writing sins.
Either way, I have found myself disappointed more often than not. And it really isn’t the erotica I find disappointing or even offensive (though, as a self-proclaimed prude, I prefer to use my own imagination on what happens during ….well you know). No, what I truly find unacceptable, is that so many authors with the potential to be great, have settled for writing something far less than their best, and are using ‘erotica’ as a way to cover up the fact.
Now, lest you think I’m saying this because I follow the teachings of Christ, or label myself a prude, I’d like to point out the fact that there are authors I enjoy reading who incorporate a great deal of sex (maybe not erotica – but still TMI for me) in their work. Several that come to mind are Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh, Kate Daniels and Iiona Anderson.
So what’s the difference between the first group and the second?
The second group of writers use sex as the frosting on the cake, whereas the first group of writers use it as a means of hiding the fact that there is little or no cake to cover up.
And that, in a nut shell, is my angst against so many of the novels I’ve read lately. Instead of taking the time to flush out a story with interesting characters, heart gripping scenes and well thought out story arches, these authors are pounding out wham-bam-I’ll-take-your-money-now-mama pieces of crap, and calling them novels.
And not just any novel either – they actual have the audacity to call them ‘best-selling’ pieces of crap, at that!
Yep – you heard me right. That is just plain bullshit!
Just as great sex in a bad relationship, can’t make up for the fact that you still have a bad relationship, stuffing a novel full of erotica, in an attempt to try and distract the reader from realizing that they’ve just invested how ever much money and hours reading a poorly written novel, won’t hide the fact that they’ve just read a poorly written novel.
In my not so humble opinion, the saddest part of glutting a story with erotica to cover up the lack of content, isn’t even the attempted cover-up. It’s the fact that if these authors had put as much effort into telling the story, as they did into trying to get their readers to take a cold shower, in all likelihood, they would have ended up writing a really great novel.
It’s just a shame they didn’t even bother to try.
So on my readers scale of 1-5 stars, I’m giving the use of erotic sex scenes as a way to fake talent, a -1.