Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Erotia Does Not Equal Porn

Help us welcome Livia Ellis, author of Memoirs of a Gigolo.

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I received an email from someone who downloaded Memoirs of a Gigolo during the promotional give away on Amazon. I think is best addressed right here. Three of my choice favorite quotes, not taken out of context, and preserving all anonymity: "If you want to write porn then write porn - don't try to pretend anyone would read the story and not just skip to the good parts... There's a big difference between a romance novel and one that people want just for the dirty bits... Real writers would never write porn..." For the last one, does anyone have Anne Rice's number for me?

Erotica is to ballet what Porn is to pole-dancing. Erotica is the sultry dark eyed international man of mystery (maybe it is a cliche, but there's a reason he's a popular guy) who gives a smart savvy woman exactly what she wants and in abundance. Porn is gopher-like Ron Jeremy huffing and puffing his way to an aneurysm on the back of some probably not so bright girl young enough to be his granddaughter. Eeeewwwww. Erotica is sexy. Porn is just sex.

I've read my fair share of erotica by choice and as a means to help a couple of my writer friends who write erotica. Well written erotica, like any well written work, has a story that people want to read. Yes, there is sex and hopefully in abundance, but it's part of the story. It's woven into a tapestry that conveys a whole experience. Porn is just screwing. Granted I've seen some porn where, bless him, the director has gone back to his film school roots and is trying to create something more meaningful than just people boning. But it's still porn. The "story" is secondary to the humping and moaning. Actually without the humping and the moaning there would be no story. Remove the sexual element from a work of erotica and you still have a well crafted story.

Crafting an erotic story, is as time consuming and detail driven a task as writing any other work. The end product has more to do with the ability of the writer rather than the subject. It's like saying the painting was lousy not because the painter doesn't know how to blend color or interpret a shadow on the canvas, but that the model was chubby or the fruit was rotten. To imply or even out right state that the writer who chooses to focus her time and effort in one genre rather than another is somehow less able than other writers is insulting.

I imagine I can sum it up as would any good pole dancer who spent years training as a classical ballerina: it's not as easy as it looks. You think writing good quality erotica is all about the in-out? The gauntlet has been thrown down. Show me what you got!

Blurb:

Oliver Adair enjoys a life of women (sometimes men), travel, and sex. Unfortunately these things cost money - something he doesn't have a lot of. When he's offered an opportunity to get paid for doing what he loves, he happily signs on to become a male escort. But first, he has to pass the interview process. The madam of the agency has one of her girls put him to the test. Oliver quickly discovers that in this world, not only is being a mans man a la James Bond still desirable, but expected. By embracing his masculine sexuality, he makes a name for himself in the world of escorts.

Bio: Livia is an American writer living in Dublin desperately trying to figure out the ever changing world of publishing and writing. Her current release, Memoirs of a Gigolo, is available on Amazon. For more about Livia and her books, please visit her website.

12 comments:

Faith said...

I have to be the rare animal here, lol. I skip over erotic scenes in books quite often. However, I believe the reason I do that is because I wrote for national men's magazines for years as well as some big e-zines in the same market. I think writing scene after scene of intense, graphic sex took all the eroticism out of it for me. It's like eating so much ice cream you make yourself sick on it and can never touch the stuff again. Writing sex scenes now sorta does the same thing to me.

Faith said...

Btw, I was referring to that one quote. Forgot to mention that.

Valerie Mann said...

If the reader has that little respect for erotica, then why did she bother to download the freebie? I mean, the title surely wasn't a dead give away about the content, right? That genre obviously not her cup of tea in the first place, so the fact that she went ahead and gave a negative report on the book is ridiculous. She has an agenda and your book was a convenient target. Sigh. Just put the book down and walk away.

Janice Seagraves said...

I have this book. I just downloaded it yesterday. Now I'm wondering what I'm missing by not reading it yet. :)

Don't worry about one nay sayer's words. Just keep writing the stories that you love to write.

Janice~

Barbara Elsborg said...

I think it's those who don't read much who don't understand the difference between porn, erotica and erotic romance and straight romance come to that. As authors, we know the differences but too many people just lump us together as writers of porn. Unfair.

GlimpsesofMidnight said...

I once told a group of woman I work with that the way to know Erotic from Erotica was to remove all the sex. If what remains is a story (though now short and missing all the umph) you have erotic, if all you got is a cover it was erotica. LOL
It amazes me how someone could down load an obvious title and not know what they were getting. Bravo to you for setting the record straight!

Brian Bigelow said...

I like this article. My day job which pays the bills is in a porn store. I end up seeing porn all day long. There is a big difference between the erotica I've written and the things we sell here. For one you are correct on the lack of a story line in porn and there's one exception I know of which was a movie called "Throat".

The one that sent you the email should read a Catherine Coulter sometime. They might get a monstrously huge surprise which might do them some good.

Tammy Dennings Maggy said...

Erotica has the same definition as erotic in that the sex scenes are an integral part of the story and have explicit language. Nothing is left to the imagination and can have a happy ever after or not. Erotic romance has all of that with the requirement of a HEA. Sensual romances are a step down from these. Even though they contain detailed sex scenes they don't use the explicit language.

Julie Lynn Hayes said...

I think a big part of the problem is that writers are posting porn and calling it erotica, so the whole genre is being tarred with that brush. Bad writing is bad writing no matter what you call it, and there is a lot of shit out there under the title of erotica that is just porn - body parts being put with other body parts for titillation purposes, and that's just porn. As for Anne Rice - I couldn't even finish the first Sleeping Beauty book, it bored me so much.

There are things I look for in good erotica, and things that will send me screaming to the hills. Erotica does not mean let's see how many naughty words you can cram in there for body parts. Well done erotica doesn't need it, doesn't require such "shock value". It should stand on its own merit. So let's get rid of the"p" word and the "c" word right off the bat as being crude. In porn, it's fine, but not in any piece of fiction with a pretense at possessing literary value.

Don't get me wrong. I do like erotica, if it's done well. But so much of it isn't, and it's really just porn, with pretensions. The trouble is, it's giving the rest a bad name. If you want to write smut, write smut, but don't delude yourself into thinking it's something else.

Just my opinion.

Larry Payne said...

These "Is it or isn't it" discussions always intrigue me as an author. I've been in a few discussions about this on some writer's sites and to say a few of them got heated is an understatement.All because someone suggested it might be dressed up porn. (It wasn't me, by the way). And, yes, I have read erotica which I know is going to be your next question.
But I will play Devil's Advocate.I grew up in the 60s where certain books you read were kept under the mattress and not on the bookshelf. The romance novel has been around for ages and I'm sure a good many of you have read a Harlequin Romance or two.
Hypothetically,somewhere along the line, somebody asked themselves the question, "What would happen if I took this sexually explicit material and intertwined it into a romance novel?" What would I call it? Erotica, maybe?
Wait,before you start crucifying me,hear me out. You have to admit, some of it is pretty damn steamy.
Now, I never begrudge an author writing something that works for them, because we all have different tastes. I write traditional western fiction and, trust me, I've heard more than my share of beat downs on how boring and unimaginative the western genre is.
But, why does everyone get so up in arms to the point of doing bodily harm if they could get their hands on you? You know it's true!
I leave you with this. In the movie Pretty Woman, a corporate business man took a prostitute,dressed her up in all the finery and made her his girlfriend for a week. But did it make her any less a prostitute? Did she not, after the week go back to doing what she was doing before they slapped the fairy tale ending on the movie?
That said,there's an old saying, "You can't please all the people all the time." But you can please your loyal fans most of the time.
So, ladies, and sometimes gents, keep writing what you're writing if it makes the world go around even a little bit because that what makes the writing world so great!
You can crucify me now if you wish!!!

jessacallaver said...

Here here, Livia. So happy you wrote this.

Katlynne/Ms. Downlow said...

I've no doubt that no matter how well-argued by either side, this debate will rage on. We are all entitled to our opinions, but I agree with the person here who wonders why the reviewer downloaded the erotic book with a title that tells you right off it is mostly focused on sex! Booksellers do not currently have separate categories like "Porn," or "Pure Smut," or "Romantic and Nasty," or "Romance With Sex, But Without Crude Terminology." So in the meantime, Erotica and/or Romance are the only available categories. My book has been called by one reviewer "Nothing but black porn!" Yes, I was offended by her reference to the color of the characters. LOL! Keep writing that sexy stuff. I downloaded this book BTW, precisely because of the title and the cool cover.