I've mentioned before that I'm the membership chair for Passionate Ink (PI), the RWA chapter for erotic romance.
Last month, best-selling author and PI board member Angela Knight agreed to teach a month-long class on writing erotic romance for chapter members. The minute the announcement was made, all hell broke loose. In less than a week, I had over sixty new applications for membership. It got so bad, I was afraid to check my email for fear of what I'd find. Clearly a lot of writers wanted to listen to Angela talking about how she crafts her best sellers.
I haven't spent a lot of time analyzing why I'm drawn to eroromance. However, something Angela talked about in one of her lessons caught my attention. She said, in traditional romance, the tension is all about when, or even if, the heroine and hero will get together. The sexual tension between them is usually--although not always--very high.
That same sexual tension doesn't exist in eroromance since, presumably, the hero and heroine are making like bunny rabbits from early on in the story. Therefore, in eroromance, plotting becomes especially important because, instead of sexual tension, the writer must rely on romantic tension--whether the hero and heroine will overcome the impediments to their living happily ever after.
A lightbulb went off in my tiny brain. Before I discovered erotic romance, I'd been bored by traditional romance novels. Been there, done that. When I encountered my first eroromance, I was so distracted by the explicit and graphic detail that I didn't immediately register the change in the plot arc.
As counter-intuitive as it seems, sexual tension is more prevalent in the typical romance novel, while romantic tension is the more dominant theme in an erotic romance novel. And that's what intrigues me about eroromance. The sexual scenes (when done well) are all about romance and relationship. In my stories, I strive to have the characters learn important facts about each other during their sexual encounters. Think about it. When are you more open than during an intimate encounter with your lover? I enjoy reading and writing about the exploration of relationship that the hero and heroine undertake while, at the same time, exploring each other's body.
Nearly every imprint already has or is getting ready to launch an erotic romance line. It's an exciting time to be writing eroromance.