One of my favorite books series is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It isn’t because of the hot Scot sex scenes. I love the story about time travel and as a closet Cosplay/Renaissance Faire nerd, I delight in the details about clothing, food, warfare and other period accurate information.
In my teens, I loved The Clan of the Cave Bear series. Sure, there was a substantial amount of “Pleasures” being taken in those novels. More compelling for me, however, are the stories about Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon social societies, crafts, hunting techniques, and medicine. In fact, both book series star a female medicine woman and later, physician.
You could say I came for the surgery and stayed for the sex.
Those passages often made me cringey, however, and I even skipped them some of the time. I think I wrote a whole blog post mocking Jean M. Auel’s mammoth sex scene, by which I mean NOT a very grand sex scene, but one involving actual mammoths. I doubt her intention was laughter through tears.
My own fiction story, which I see myself publishing as serialized episodes, is not “erotica,” so much as it is a story about characters who are sexually active. I’m inspired by numerous novels I’ve read over that past few years, including the Outlander series but also The Alchemist, The Sookie Stackhouse series, Mating in Captivity, Cutting Teeth, Adultery, Unbecoming, The Strain Trilogy, The King’s Curse, The Great Gatsby, The Awakening, The Old Man and the Sea, A Separate Peace, Oryx and Crake (The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam also), Sharp Objects, On Becoming Fearless, and Has Anyone Seen my Pants?
Conversations with my friend Ash (Argus, Slayer of Hypocrites) about 2001, The Matrix, as well as politics and philosophy have assisted in developing my ideas for fiction. The popularity of novels that feature women having sex has influenced what is marketable. While I want to write because it’s my art, I don’t see art as separate from making money. I don’t have a problem with an artist in any medium producing work for commercial purposes and letting the marketplace influence or even dictate the product. If sex sells, then I will write sex scenes because I want to make money.
Still, those scenes keep coming up in my story. My characters’ sexuality is part of them, like it is most of us. The relationships they have with each other are complex and problematic and also very sexy. At least, I hope so. I’m working on it. I’m reading books on story craft and how to self publish on Kindle. Honestly, I need to spend more time reading student work than I’m currently spending. I have a few college application personal statements to read and comment on this evening. I always tell students “yes” when they ask me to read them, and I always end up wishing I’d said “no.”
[WARNING! SPOILER FOR THE WALKING DEAD, season 6, episode 7 FOLLOWS]
Now that I know for sure Glenn Rhee is alive, I have freed up brain space to think. Mostly about how those crazy kids working at SUR need to grow up and listen to the wisdom of Lisa Vanderpump.