Monday, June 13, 2011

On Feedback

I sent out six copies of my story for beta reads and critique. One writer in my genre of erotica/romantic, a writer NOT in my genre (she does Young Adult), a librarian, and a couple of other friends.

On Thursday or so, I was starting to get anxious about having heard almost nothing back from readers. I'd gotten one set of suggestions back almost immediately, and then heard nothing. From anything. Now admittedly, what I got back was pretty sweet:

Oh, I really liked this! I only had a few quibbles here and there with word choices. Very steamy, too, whoo! :D I hope they take it; it's wonderful!

You'd think that I'd be thrilled with this... and admittedly, I love to cuddle up with the favorable reviews. At the same time, I'm very rarely so confident that my work is that wonderful. Don't get me wrong, I recognize that I'm a pretty good writer; but first drafts are just that. First. Drafts.

Something had to be wrong with it!

I did some edits as I wrote, trying to get my main character - Jackie - to stop being so incredibly whiny. And I did some sentence work between paragraphs of writing the explicit scene. But surely... surely there were more suggestions than a few awkward sentences where I rewrote a few times and ended up with half of sentence A and half of sentence B not flowing together at all because I forgot that I needed to change the verb tense. Something that happens more often than I'd like to admit because of the run-on sentence problem that I have.

Read your story, found it really hot :) I don't know, I didn't really find anything wrong with it!

Seriously? Nothing??

I know I'm actually happier with this story than I was with Golden Moment. Probably because instead of writing a rather generic sex scene (I love Golden Moment, don't get me wrong, I think it's an excellent piece of work, but that one was more plot-device-character driven) I wrote something that personally appeals to my kinks.

Overall liked it :) I did add comments and suggestions though out the text.

Ah, there we go! (Why is everyone smiling at me? Do they know something I don't?) Hmmm. Seems like I'm showing off my vocabulary again. Seems like fiasco isn't well known. Everyone was able to look it up, but everyone had to look it up. Since literally everyone mentioned it, I'm either going to have to take that out, or add a descriptive clause after I use it.

I am amused by the fact that the only straight man who read the story was the only one who pointed out that Jackie and Thorn didn't actually have penetrative sex at all. In fact, it's left extremely not mentioned whether or not Thorn had an orgasm. (I'm not saying my other readers didn't notice, just that they didn't think it was worth mentioning.) I know they didn't. I did that deliberately.

I spent a while debating - both internally and with other people - what the actual difference is between erotica and romance... because honestly, sometimes there doesn't seem to be much difference at all. I thought, perhaps it was ratio; a short story with a sex scene in it is about 50% sex to 35% plot/15% character development. Perhaps it was graphic... and then I started reading more modern and urban supernatural romances (my personal favorites are the 1810-1840's historical, and the sex in that is often very, very tame/vanilla/boring/skip to the end...) and some of those are pretty damned graphic.

And in the end, I decided the big difference between erotica and romance is simple; erotica is catering to the hot realities of sex and romance is catering to the ideals of sex. And when it comes right down to it (pun intended) cock is nice and all, but I don't need it. Real sex is an exchange of favors... you do me, and I do you. This, however, was fantasy sex. My fantasy sex, thankyouverymuch. So, you know, I don't really care if Thorn got off or not. The scene wasn't about Thorn, it was about Jackie. And Jackie had a wonderful time.

This is a friggin' awesome description.

Well, thank you.

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