It's Fiction, Not Autobiography
“I read your book last week.”
“Oh? I hope you liked it.”
“Very much so. But I just have to ask, did you really kill that guy like that? I mean, that was pretty brutal. How did it feel?”
“Excuse me? I haven’t killed anyone. What the hell are you talking about?”
“The murder scene in chapter eleven where you snuck up on Charles while he was getting his kids hot dogs, slit his throat and then stuffed him into the grill. Weren’t you scared?”
“I didn’t kill Charles. My character, Peter Branston killed Charles. It’s a murder mystery, you know, fiction. It’s not a true story.”
Seems like a pretty ludicrous conversation, but it happens to erotica authors quite a bit, only substitute sex for murder. Fictional works have a disclaimer in the front that reads something like “The characters in this book are purely a creation of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental.” Personally, I think instead of coincidental, it should read “Damn good writing,” but that wouldn’t help in court I’m told. I think in front of erotic books it should read “Sex scenes are based purely on the author’s imagination and are not based on any real experience.” It sounds sad and depressing, but really, this is the only genre where people think if you wrote it down, you actually did it. They don’t feel that way about the murder mystery and most think biographies are made up to make people look special. So why do they feel that way about erotica?
I’ve had a few people tell me that they would be uncomfortable reading Losing Faith because they would feel like they were peeking into my bedroom. I told them not to allow that to stop them. Most of the sex scenes in Losing Faith don’t take place in a bedroom anyway. Besides, I leave my bedroom blinds open, so it doesn’t matter.
I’m not sure why readers think the sex scenes are taken from the real life experience of the author. Perhaps they’ve heard “write what you know” and figure “Wow, that writer knows a lot of kinky shit.” Erotica authors do have sex, or at least I hope they do. They may even have wild, passionate, kinky sex in exotic locations. Yet, that doesn’t mean that they’ve acted out the scenes in their novels. Well, maybe they did afterwards, but that’s action based on inspiration, not necessarily research.
Furthermore, some of the characters are doing the dirty deed so much, it would kill the average person. If we had sex as often as they do, we’d never write anything down. I suppose we could video record it, but that gets into a whole other realm I’m not comfortable with.
So, when reading an erotic romance, if you must envision someone acting out what you are reading–and you really should because that’s the fun of reading books as opposed to watching movies–make it yourself you see and not the author. Chances are we were picturing someone like you when we wrote it.
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