Thursday, August 17, 2006

REVIEW: Chapter 23: COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE To Writing Erotic Romance by ALISON KENT

A few weeks ago, noted author in the genre Alison Kent sent up a flare calling for authors, published and aspiring, to review chapters of her upcoming CIG release as part of a "viral marketing" concept. I'm honored to be part of her project.

In Chapter 23 -- titled How Steamy Is Too Steamy? -- Kent asks "can the sexual envelope be pushed too far?"

Her answer? A resounding "HELL no!" (One can assume she, like her publishers, draws the line at erotic fiction involving children, animals, bodily waste-play and dead people. Non-animate dead people of the non-bloodsucking-creature-of-the-night variety, I mean. Ummm...yeah.)

The basic drift of this chapter is that in terms of erotic fiction, there's something out there designed to blow a tingle-inducing breeze up each and every skirt. Kent carves it up into three categories: erotic romance, erotica, and porn. She then proceeds, with exceptional clarity, to describe the nuts, bolts and other raw materials used to construct a work in each genre.

Kent never veers from her basic point, however, which is this: smut is in the eye of the beholder. One reader's fairly middle-of-the-road "sensual" romance in which the door to the bedroom happens to be left open is another reader's one-way ticket to hell. What one person calls "erotic romance" because the story centers on the building of a relationship, has an actual plot and includes a happy ending, another person may call "porn" because the two characters involved happen to engage in anal sex along the way. Kent is all about SUBJECTIVITY being the name of the game, but she's right on the money in her basic definitions as far as the industry is concerned (though even publishers will quibble over what genre label they stick on a book's spine if they think it will sell more copies).

Kent's prose is blunt and to the point, and she includes frequent quotes from well-known authors of erotic romance and erotica to back up her assertions. I found the chapter readable and the author quotes fascinating.

If Chapter 23 is a reliable sample of the rest of book, I think Kent has a winner in the COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE to Writing Erotic Romance, and I'll be reserving my copy today.


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9/14/2006 2:23 AM  

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