Jay's post reviewing Fifty Shades of Grey set me thinking about what makes for an appealing erotic novel that people will buy. This is something that we'd talked about together, and decided that the only way to find out for sure was to try to write an erotic book ourselves. Which we're doing. Slowly.
If Jay and I lived on the same continent in the same time zone we could have a sensible discussion about this, but instead we end up exchanging thoughts via the blog. As a reader you should be pleased about this – yes, you should – because if we lived together we'd use the blog for more mundane exchanges.
"Jay, don't forget we need bread and milk."
"Nik, you've left your laundry all over the floor again and it's driving me freaking crazy."
What does freaking mean, anyway?
Go to any bookshop, particularly at airports and rail stations, and there will be a shelf of spicy novels. None of which sell at a fraction of the rate of Fifty Shades. We'll get Jay to do a comparison at some point, maybe.
So what's the difference? Is the apparent lack of sex actually a good thing in attracting readers? So one can delude oneself that it's actually a thriller?
"Oh, well, there was some ummm, sex, in the book, but not much and anyway I skipped those pages." Yeah, right.
Is there an optimal structure for an erotic novel?
Chapter 1: We meet the girl
Chapter 2: We meet the boy
Chapter 3: Boy meets girl as a consequence of the plot
Chapter 4: Boy and girl exchange smouldering looks
Chapter 5: Booom! Oh! Oh! Oh! Wheeeeee!
Chapter 6: See Chapter 5
Chapter 7: Crap, forgot about the plot. Here's some
Chapter 8: Winding down
Chapter 9: Better set up the sequel just in case
If you picked up a novel from the shelf and flicked through its pages, would you be more or less likely to buy it if you came across a scene of explicit, detailed, wanton and unbridled sex?