Monday, November 26, 2007

Bad Sex: Even the Paid Writers Can't Get it Right All The Time

So... who read those Harlequin novels?

I was introduced to them at the tender young age of 13, when my aunt, knowing I was an avid reader, and not knowing exactly what was IN those books, gave them to me over a week long visit to her house, saying she had gotten them at the library for me to read during my stay.

Little did I know that the world I was going to plunge into was rife with debauchery, sex and horribly executed female driven fantasies - where the guy was an asshole up front but at heart was sensitive and sweet and only waiting to be loved, and the woman was always astonishingly beautiful but for some weird reason never, ever figured it out, even if jerky men were trying to rape her or marry her every other second and other women hated her and kept trying to get he raped or fired (depending on the time period).

I soon discovered the formula, and yet I kept reading. I wanted to read about the deaf girl who somehow managed to win the dashing author's heart, or the blossoming hot-tempered girl who got herself engaged to a duke and hated him on sight. They were woven tales of love and sex and relucant heroines.

I outgrew them. As I grew older and began to worry about my own writing abilities, I went back to those novels and I realized that for the most part , they ... well... sucked.

Thankfully, even for them, there are the Bad Sex awards. Reading the excerpts of badly executed love scenes makes me glad romance novels are no longer providing my sex education.

Because I'd be scarred.

Take a look for yourself.

1 comment:

  1. I'm actually not convinced that the Bad Sex Awards have any justification except self-publicity. Sex, especially in the romance genre, is basically required to be written with certain stock phrases and code words. Readers don't want to have to decode Teh Hawt (or at least that's what publishers think), they want their standard-issue soft porn without variant.

    Also, I've found people who rag on sex-writing often have an obtuse refusal to acknowledge metaphor, or will take a single phrase out of context to snigger at when it works very well in its original location. Why is oblique, or for that matter extremely direct, language suddenly risible when it comes to sex scenes?