Saturday, February 12, 2011

I'm Not Afraid of Romance

I'm a contrary creature. Originally I got into reading romance novels because I felt an automatic urge to rebel against intellectual snobs who not only dismiss all romance novels as crap without ever actually bothering to read one but dismiss all romance readers as morons for liking the stuff. Some of these people are sci fi and fantasy fans who, after fighting exactly the same battle for years, frankly should know better. To these people I say, fuck off.

Yes, some romance novels are crap (indeed some are hilariously so -plagiarist and racist Cassie Edwards springs to mind) but as Theodore Sturgeon once said, 90% of everything is crap. Romance is a massive and diverse genre, with a ludicrous number of (sometimes alarmingly specific) subgenres. There are romance novels that are also murder mysteries (like J.D. Robb's In Death series, which is also kind of sci fi), or heist stories (like Jennifer Crusie's Agnes and the Hitman, which is sort of like what you might get if Elmore Leonard took up writing romance), historical fiction, you name it. And of course, the readers are a diverse bunch too, so it is unfair to assume anything about their intelligence from the fact that they enjoy a genre you don't personlly like (or haven't even tried), just as it would be unfair of me to think that all fans of Dan Brown have suet pudding between their ears instead of brains. Which I don't, honestly. I know some of you people even have degrees. I don't get it, but whatever.

So, in conclusion, do what you wanna do, read what you wanna read yeaaaah and leave other readers to enjoy their trashy books unsneered at. And if you haven't already, check out Smart Bitches Trashy Books where a couple of very smart ladies put what I was trying to say far more cleverly than I could.

Was this post purely an excuse to post the video below? Only I will ever know for certain.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Vajingo bingo

That's not the name of a game as far as I know, but it should be.

Lately I have been trying my hand at writing some historical erotic fiction and have encountered a small problem. While there is a certain amount of suspension of disbelief needed to accept that people in Ancient Rome or Medieaval Europe or wherever/whenever are speaking modern English, writers mostly get away with it, but certain words stand out more than others. You don't want to throw around 'shlong' and 'bearded taco' unless you're actually trying to be funny. Actually, you usaully don't want to do that in a contemporary story either, but I'm getting sidetracked...

When it comes to describing parts of the body, especially the naughty bits, I find that modern slang sounds very jarring, and clinical terms are too, well, clinical. Where possible I guess you can research and find out the actual words people used for these parts in the time of your setting, but if it's really far back that can be pretty difficult. I think I will set myself a project to read more historical erotica and pay special attention to how writers describe things- whether they use slang of the time or get around it with careful description (I don't want to slip into Harlequin territory with 'her sex' and 'his rod' etc. either). So, that's my project for the week.

Suggestions on description in historical erotica, or of good historical erotica to read would be very welcome.

Tata for now!