Some of you know that I’ve been reading romance lately. Mainly, paranormal romance. My personal impression is that the lines between (and this is a generalization, not a hard rule) urban fantasy and paranormal romance are thin, and thinning even further. The major difference between the two subgenres is mainly a matter of which is predominant: the external plot or the romantic plot.
Now, I’ve been reading, and I’ve seen a common problem. I’m liking what I’m reading– liking it quite a lot. And yet, most everything I’m reading kicks in the “I can do better than this” feeling that I get sometimes. I’m not trying to be arrogant– hells, I haven’t even finished one novel draft to date, so who am I to judge?
I’m a confident writer. I aim to break out when I do get published. I have passion for my work, and I aim to write the best damn story that I possibly can. And some of the flaws that I see in these books that I’m reading? They’re ones that I spot easily, and ones that I wouldn’t allow to remain in my own work before I sent it out to an agent or a publisher.
They’re ones that I’m surprised that are allowed to remain after the agent and editors have gone through them. Though that’s a subject for another day– I really don’t think that the editors (and especially the copy editors) do as much as they should these days as they used to. I’m always damn annoyed to see typos in published novels… and I consider that the fault of the publishing company (either the editor or copy-editor should have seen them). Isn’t that their job, to find and fix those errors before it goes to print?
Back to the subject at hand. The one major problem that I have with reading romances is the sex. I’m not offended by the sex– in fact, I love it. I usually wish there was more of it… and that’s part of the reason that I’m reading paranormal romance rather than urban fantasy. There’s usually more sex, and particularly more explicit sex, than in fantasy.
The problem is, I’m seeing three to four sex scenes in a book. And I walk away at the end of the book feeling like there was one. Why?
Because they all feel the same. They have sex the same way, the same tone, the same actions, in the same order, and I’m sitting here going… you guys always have sex the same way? When you’re just getting together? Where’s the fun in that? Where’s the originality? The passion? Hello?
Mix it up a bit, guys! Hard and fast is fine sometimes, but slow and sweet is nice, too! That was a problem I had between the MC/RI scenes in Forbidden Magic. It’s a great book– but the best sex scenes were between the villians. Huh? *headdesk* The Fomori in charge on Earth, Junga, has a three way in her first sex scene. She starts having sex with one of the other Fomori, and the human villain Darkwolf gets impatient and starts having anal sex with her.
The next sex scene with Junga? Three guys. The next one? The Fomori Queen. Great– some originality. Why the author couldn’t stop to think that originality would have been good between the MC and the RI, I’m really confused about.
Similar situation with Feehan’s Shadow Game. The sex scenes feel the same all throughout the book. Not exactly the same, but very same tone and action. The one exception is when they first have sex, which is actually in the dreamworld. I loved the book, but the sex left me wanting something more.
There is hope. I know that there are authors out there that are original, even if some of them aren’t published yet. I intend to be one of them. And if my characters start having boring sex lives, that’s either part of the plot, or I’ll start giving them pointed advice on how to spice things up. If I miss it and let it pass into a rough draft that you happen to be reading, please hit me with a clue-by-four.
And if I ever let that pass into published form? Drop me an email, and the first person to spot it will get some sort of reward.