Yesterday's post on gothic literature ties into today's on erotic.
Yes, I write smut. I turn people on for a living. Sounds easy. I hear that all the time, writing romance is easy.
The goal of the writer is to make the reader feel something. Whether it is the work of King, which drives the reader down the comfortable Main Street, Anywhere, USA, and then reveals that Anywhere is actually a horrifying place to live or the erotic novel with nipples puckered to hard points, the reader wants to be transported somewhere else.
An interesting facebook picture that someone sent (and I later had to forward) mentioned the book hangover--the feeling you get when you end a book and look around and everyone else is still going about their daily lives, unaware yours just shifted, a little, because of the emotional trauma on the page.
Not easy to do, not really, for the author.
While the goal of the gothic author is to make readers believe the impossible enough for goosebumps to raise on their arms, the goal of the romance author is to make the reader believe enough in the passion on the page that they fall in love with the characters. They fall so hard (sometimes so fast in the shorter stories) that they even can feel that rush, that high, that comes from falling. They come with the characters so deeply, they might even get turned on.
In a story.
If I wrote, "You are turned on, now," no reader would be wiping the steam from their monitors. But if I combine the words just right, I can leave a reader blushing--a physical response to a story I told.
How COOL is that?
Why do people read it? Well, humans are addicted to that feeling. Everyday life isn't full of chances to fall in love over and over so the story gives the reader the feeling without all of the complications. Someone once said to me that the genre causes woman to have unrealistic expectations, that they become addicted to the idea of romance in a book rather than the real life experience.
I laughed, not the most erudite of responses, but chocolate releases the same chemicals in the brain as sex and there aren't many ACTUAL chocolate addicts out there. We may crave it, but addiction? Yeah, not really. Nor do we try to replace the real life feeling of another person's hands on our skin with a candy bar.
Basically, what I am saying is that, yes, I turn people on for a living if I'm doing my job right. I make them fall in love with characters that only exist in my head until I let them loose in word form.
It isn't easy and it isn't something I can explain, exactly.
But if you're doing it right, those reading it will turn red.
And you know you're onto something.