Sunday, September 10, 2006

More People Should Take Up Smoking

Apologies in advance for the long rant but Babe is spitting the dummy.

I recently got slice and diced on another blog for my comment about poor writing in some erotica getting sold because it was covered by bad words and crassness. Now why folks were offended is beyond me. For one thing, as I pointed out at the time, I've read very little erotica so chances are good that I haven't read their work and equally my perception could just be from reading a poor sample of what's available. Even those whose work I might have read a little of would have been in RD contests where we're still honing and perfecting our pieces so it would hardly be a definitive example of their work. Most of my disrespect of erotica comes from pubbed stuff I've won or seen in the library and read enough of to want to puke, then put back/thrown away. Just this week I read about 20p of an "award winning" erotica writer and came across sloppy writing and some stuff that was medically inaccurate. I hate bad writing in all its forms, and yes, I realize that what constitutes "bad writing" may vary and I am not the standards police, but firstly , my opinion is as valid as the next and secondly, some tenets of what makes good writing must surely stand or else what is the point of learning craft at all?

Anyhow, I was shocked to be carved and took my wounds to RD where I did in deed get some support that this woman was just making an ass of herself rather than bringing me down, and some of that support even came from erotica writers I might add so clearly my comment was not offensive to all. But to some it was a red flag. I got a couple of girls who disagreed with me, that's cool, but some others who poured unmitigated venom and defensiveness down the line. Oh boy! Why is it folks who say they "don't blow smoke" think that's an excuse to beat their POV down your neck in an aggressive and disrespectful way? Don't they know that their fire will burn just as bright if they say what they mean politely, and in fact, I for one am much more likely to listen. If I want temper tantrums I'll spend more time with my kids. There is a difference between assertively stating your case and refusing to let anyone else HAVE a case. I find it ironical that those who scream loudest against censorship, even a perceived slight on their right to be offensive, are the very ones who jump on anyone expressing a conservative opinion. Hah! As the saying goes, "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain."

So I decided to bow out, not answer and leave them to rant. They weren't really listening as evidenced by what they thought I was saying as opposed to what I really said. There was agenda being pushed whether it fit or not. Unfortunately another girl who could see the agenda and hypocrisy in action tried to point this out and became collateral damage. I feel terrible about that. Furthermore, to keep the peace since I am a moderator on the board, I needed to ask everyone to calm down which could be construed as this girl being in the wrong when she wasn't IMO. The thing is, there are enough real problems in the world without beating up new ego-driven ones. And for a parting shot I might add that I have read erotica writers who IMO were good writers and yes, initially when I found them it challenged what I believed about the genre. Hey, I never claimed to be perfect.


Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Hi Babe! I didn't read the original post or the comments that followed, but I completely agree with you that there is a lot of erotica out there that is sub-standard to say the least. I've read the ones that seem to equate cramming four letter words into narrative and dialogue with sexiness and sorry, it doesn't work for me. As an erotic romance writer, I'm looking to entice readers and fire up their imaginations, not shock them into embarrassed giggles or outright disgust.

Unfortunately some people don't know how to disagree in a polite and professional manner. That will never change.

Sela Carsen said...

I'll have to agree with BG/JC in the previous comment. Rude is rude, even when you think you're right.

I've read some really good erotica and I've read some that made me want to poke my own eyeballs out. For a review of one of the eyeball pokers, read here.

Babe King said...

Thanks girls. It was never my intention to offend folks, ya know, just comment on what I had found since someone else brought it up. Last thing any of us need is an us and them mentality. Writing is a tough enough gig as it is. :-)

Babe King said...

Just read your review Sela- LOL- oh my, yeppers, that is part of what I'm talking about, though many of the ones I've read a little of also had all manner of technical faults as well. I would expect a good erotica to weave a sensuous picture around you and make you feel the heat, not have you laughing with embarrassment for them or reaching for a bucket at the ick factor. Having said that, there is bad writing through most if not all the genres, but less of it seems to slip through if not relying on the sex to sell it.

Heather said...


I read that blog post and subsequent posts last week, as well as some of what was said on the RD thread, and have to say that I saw nothing wrong with what you said. You had an opinion, you stated it.

You weren't bashing the entire genre, or any one author, yet others obviously took what you said personally, which IMO means you hit a nerve - they saw a glimmer of truth in something you said that pertained to their own writing, and they took offense. Which is their right, but you did not deserve to be treated so rudely, or to be outright flamed.

As others here have said, there is good erotica, but there is just as much (or more) that is worse than bad and gives the genre as a whole a bad rep. When the authors behave badly, it gives the genre an even worse rap.

Babe King said...

Yeah, Heather, thanks. That is my feeling too. Oh well, onward and upward.

Michele said...

Wow! What a powder keg.
I've seen this one blow up in quite a few places.
I stand back and watch the fireworks.
I've read the good, great and the learning to be good/great.

There's one, an e-author who has a few stories that I adore. Three days ago I read one of hers that can only be called an erotic dud.
Everyone has bad days, just sometimes, they get published.
Will I still buy more from her? Sure.
I know she has the talent.
Sometimes, I guess it is elusive.
Why was it published anyway?
Because someone, somewhere, Loved it. I guess.
I won't get snarky about her or her book. It's a book.
An imaginary romp.
Not world politics or a medical journal.
It is fantasy and I'm glad she has the courage to share her vision and the talent to use words to invite us in.

Like houses, some talents are fixer-upppers but still can be loved and appreciated.

So too, erotic romance and the authors that write them.
However, if they resort to an unbalanced use of four letter words and cliches, it just means they still have a lot of growing to do.

In some areas, so don't we all.