Guest Author Melodee Aaron
Today we welcome fellow author Melodee Aaron to our pages! Enjoy – and do check out some of her hot Erotic Romance Sci Fi at her website!
First of all, I want to thank Adriana for this chance to visit with everyone here on her blog.
Now, let’s get right down to it, shall we?
I write in a bunch of different genres. Within each genre, I write in a ton more sub-genres. Ad infinitum. But there are two more or less common threads to almost everything I write: Romance and Science Fiction. Today, I’m going to talk about not only romance and SF, but more specifically, erotica romance science fiction.
Most people know what erotica is, so I won’t spend much time telling you what you already know or preaching to the choir. Instead, I’ll just say that erotica involves explicit language and scenes in the bedroom. Or the kitchen. Or Wal-Mart.
The definition of romance is a little fuzzier. It seems that every person out there has their own understanding of what romance really is, and they are all correct. Authors are no different, and the trick is to find an author whose definition of romance is the same as yours, or at least close. But, as the old saying goes, you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find that prince! For me, I define romance as a devoted/committed relationship intended to last for life. Notice that there is no mention in there of how many people are involved or what their gender is. Those are details. There can, in my mind, be romance between five people just as easily as between two. And that’s why I hate the term “menage”. To me, a menage is three (or more) way sex. See erotica. I much prefer the term “polyamory” as this implies, by its very meaning, love between many people. Again, no mention of gender here.
Lastly, just what is science fiction? Over the years, there have been many definitions, but a few of my favorites are:
Rod Serling said, “…fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible.”
Robert Heinlein said, “…a handy short definition of almost all science fiction might read: realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method.”
Mark Glassy, claims that science fiction is like pornography: you don’t know what it is, but you know it when you see it.
I like all of these. Some will say that Heinlein’s definition is too rigid and stuffy, but the fact is that his is most accurate from a technical point of view. On the other hand, Glassy’s assertion is far and away the most practical.
Now, if we put all of these things together, “Erotica Romance Science Fiction” is a sexually explicit story involving the committed loving relationship between two or more people set in a possible future.
Or it’s pornography with spaceships.
In practice, I tend to view the stories I write in a way that probably drives most publishers crazy. We’ll come back to why in just a moment, but I write my erotica romance SF stories from the standpoint that it is a SF story first, and an erotica romance second. The rule of thumb for erotica romance authors is that if you take out the erotica, the story still works, but not the other way around. For my stories, I follow that rule, but only after I make sure that the romance can be deleted, too. In other words, my stories are solid SF, then I add in the romance, and finally the erotica component.
The sad fact is that most publishers have no clue what makes a good SF story. There is only one publisher on the planet who employs actual scientists as editors. These editors review the facts of a story and will nail you to the wall if you mess up the science. With rusty nails. With barbs on them. The end result of this is that the publishers end up releasing what they call SF when what the stories are is fantasy.
Just as one example, there is one publisher I know that is classing vampire stories as SF. I could spend a few thousand words telling you why vampires can’t exist based on the physical laws they violate (no matter which theories you use), but that doesn’t matter. The fact is that the publishers are able to force the definitions of a genre on both the authors and the readers. Theirs is the only position that matters.
Even within the genre (or sub-genre, depending on how you look at things) of erotica romance, the definition used by publishers varies from one to the next. When you start getting into the sub-genres of the sub-genres, it really gets wild! There is no industry standard for what puts a particular story into a particular area. From a readers point of view, this drives me nuts. I have to remember that Publisher A calls something “contemporary” while Publisher B calls the same story ” comedy”.
But, that’s the way things are. Across the board, no matter what I think the genre for a story is, I just send it to the publisher with a note that I think it’s genre XYZ and let them decide. Why? Simply put, they know their readers better than I do. I let them decide where the story will sell best. Frankly, I don’t much care what they call it. I know what it is in my mind.
And that’s the only opinion that matter s to me.
So, what makes a good Erotica Romance Science Fiction story? You have to make sure that all three components are in the story…
Science Fiction: The story must have a basis in fact or accepted theories. See Heinlein’s definition above. Some will argue that this precludes the use of ships that can travel faster than light because it would violate relativity. Yes and no…there are more theories than relativity, and even within that framework, there are solutions that allow for apparent faster than light travel. Go to quantum mechanics, and it gets easier. Use M-theory, and it’s simple. And all are accepted theories. Some more so than others.
Erotica: The sex must be hot and often. While it is totally the preferences of the author, a little bit of kink can liven things up. So can toys. You’ll notice that in my stories, both of these areas are very minimal. Why? Because I believe that if a couple (or larger group) is really into each other, you don’t need a dildo or a rubber chicken to make things more fun. Or even a real chicken.
Romance: The characters must be head over heels in love. Again, no mention of numbers or genders here. The love and devotion they have for one another has to ooze off the pages. To be effective, it’s a palpable thing. This would be an easy place to drift off into character development, but I won’t other than to say that strong character development makes this easy.
Now, here’s the hard part…if you remove any one of the above, the story will stop working. Yes, I know I said that the erotica and then the romance could be cut from a good SF story and it would still stand, but that’s a special case. Here I’m talking about the overall story, the entire ball of wax, has to have all three components so interconnected that they can’t live without each other. Just like the main characters.
And that leads to how I write my erotica romance SF stories…
I start off with a story that is pretty much pure SF. Yes, there will be at least two characters who are attracted to each other, but it tends to be a casual thing. Sort of like the woman passing the man in the hall and he turns around to look at her and walks into the wall. After this is done, I rewrite the story and focus on the romance. The characters fall in love, and all the rest, but the core of the SF remains. Finally, I add the erotica bit, having the characters do what people will do, no matter the time or place.
When all is said and done, the three components are intertwined so tightly that they can’t be unraveled, and we have an Erotica Romance Science Fiction story as an integrated whole.
In closing, I want to add that nothing above is really specific to the erotica romance SF genre. The same thing applies to any story. I hope this gives the readers a little insight into how a story involving many different components is written and how we authors have to walk a fine line when it comes to the publishers and how they view the stories for classification.
No, writing is not the easiest job I have ever done, but it is the most fun!