Monday, December 19, 2016

How well do men write for women?

For me to friend/like you on Facebook back or follow back on Twitter all it takes is a quick glance to see you share other people and don't just shovel your shit down my throat. This has led to me following back and friending/liking a wide variety of writers. One of those writers I've been following for a few years now who after seeing his attempts causes me to pose the question: Are men able to write satisfying romance for women readers?

In my stalking of boards on Reddit (remember my freebie is Reddit inspired-you should check it out if you haven't already. Abby has Gone Wild) one of the things I've seen is that yes the erotic shorts sell on kindle unlimited or whatever form it took what the writers were doing were hoping to extend them and go to a longer format into romance to find a more loyal audience and therefore steadier income. I'm not saying everyone is/was doing it but most conversations in the threads went there.  I'm thinking that is where this writer is coming from, or maybe he sees the switch from erotic short to romance as a natural progression.

Erotic shorts, about five thousand words and written to be read one-handed don't require a whole lot of skill, let's compare them to a fast food hamburger not the best or worst but if you're hungry it does the trick. I'm sure many women read erotic shorts, the sales are too high to just be men. Here's the thing with erotic shorts though, there's no attempt to be anything other than a quick read to satisfy a need and there is a need or else people wouldn't buy them. I've heard someone refer to them as 'quick and dirty' and that's all an average reader is expecting and quite frankly wanting. 

However, when it comes to romance whether it's a contemporary romance or erotic romance there are different rules and a completely different expectation, number one that there is a story-with a plot, character development, and depth of feeling. Quick and dirty isn't the goal even in the sex scenes, okay maybe one of the scenes but the others-definitely more than one had better long drawn out and sinfully sweet. Romance is the steak opposed to the hamburger and with steak everyone likes it a little different from rare to medium and to well, it takes longer to cook and the perfection of those different selections can be seen as different from even the chef to the person ordering. The choice out there for romance is vast and doing it well, it isn't the same for everyone. There are still the plot lines that exist in erotic shorts from the step-brother, to the virgin, to dark romance or dubious consent but in those blurbs just like in the blurbs for the shorts the content needs to be given or hinted or given as a warning for a possible trigger. 

What caught my attention was the writer whining on Facebook about two reviews upset about rape-cause when it's forced it's rape. Somehow he didn't seem to understand this. No, no he assured me when I couldn't take him whining about how it wasn't rape and I had to make sure he understood when a person believes they don't have a choice then it is indeed rape. Despite careful explanation-he just didn't get it and maybe that's why there are the problems we have today and we have to have videos of what consent actually means. 

Fine, he didn't get no means no whatever but as a writer you don't have the right to get pissy about people having the same response in a review about the story it's something you need to learn from especially if more than one person are saying the same thing. He assured me he appreciated the reviews and of course he learned from them. Okay, then why exactly are you whining about their response of calling the story porn-the exact quickie stuff he'd written before. If you are going to make the change from writing erotic shorts then you have to change the way you write. Know your audience, period. It would be no different than changing from writing mystery to writing sci-fi. 

With romance you can't just take what had been a short and throw in an extra ten thousand words describing the countryside or an apartment or how a woman looks and thinking it will satisfy the reader. A kiss isn't just a kiss, it should be something more with a definite show not tell that grabs the reader. Example: The kiss was hot and deep and made me want to tear off his clothes. OR: My only warning is a rush of breath against my lips and in the next instant his mouth is on mine. His lips are silky and soft as they flutter over mine in light, delicate touches. I open for him, without hesitation, wanting more, needing more. The tip of his tongue comes over my parted lips. I gasp as the touch tugs at somewhere deep inside me and open wider for him. His tongue sweeps inside me with cautious strokes of tasting and learning. He tastes sweet and shockingly minty, it’s only then I realize he smells clean too as if he’d showered recently. My hands move into his hair, reveling in the feel of the thick, silky strands and my fingers tangle, unable to let go of him. I moan with the need for more, his kiss to be deeper, sweeter, more of everything.

Two different things that give two very different feelings for a reader. Writing isn't easy period. I've read erotic romance and regular romance that sucked ass and were written by women. While I admit my question started because of an interaction with one man there have been other books that the more I had thought about it made me wonder the same thing: How well do men write women? Do men really understand women enough to write romance that women want to read?