Who Knew Writing Awkward Romance Would Be So… Awkward?

I shocked my son. I know shame on me. Scholar Owl made the mistake of asking how my writing was going right as I was struggling with writing an awkward romantic scene. Naturally he asked me why I was having a hard time with it. Without even thinking about it I told him how I used to write gay erotica and how you would think this would be no sweat.

No I didn’t show it to him or tell him where to find it. All of that has been set to private now. My husband was pretty upset to discover when he shared his book with me and asked my thoughts on it (which I won’t share here) and then asked if I was a writer too… yea he just wasn’t happy. At all. We weren’t even married at the time. I didn’t write just gay erotica in my defense. I wrote other stuff. He didn’t like any of it. I had “no plot” and my characters just “did stuff” and “gay is wrong” and what would my kids think if they ever saw it? And so on. So it’s private now because it got him to shut up and I refuse to delete it.

I don’t think Scholar Owl was upset so much as amused in an embarrassed way. Like it wouldn’t have phased him if anyone else said it, but I’m his mother. Yea, sorry kid I have to be that mom, but hey at least I spared you by not announcing in the school yard or something. Has to count for something, right?

But talking with him helped me work out the problem. He wanted to know what the difference was between erotica and romance. I told him basically that erotica is where the purpose of the story is an excuse for the sex. Bottom line, it’s written porn. Romance actually has a story with a plot, even if sex happens. I will say I have read a few romance novels that have blurred this line pretty hard. I told him if he was interested, he could borrow some from grandmother. She has quite a few historical romances that aren’t bad. He declined. His loss. I don’t think he trusts me.

In any case, in talking to him I realized that the problem was I had assumed that writing a mushy scene for an awkward budding romance would be no different than the process of writing erotica. Cue the loud buzzer please. It is so not the same. Especially when dealing with a pair coming into it with striking different experiences and expectations. No one is playing hard to get. No one is seducing the other. No head games. The guy is worried he’s going to mess everything up and the girl is worried she is going to spook him off. So the pacing is entirely different too.

End result is it took me a little over two days to right Episode 7. My inner critic seriously reared its ugly head the entire way. It didn’t help I got stuck babysitting my nephew on Tuesday and got no packing or moving done that day and then yesterday I was mandated to set up four desks with computers into the room that is to be my bedroom (and our living room) RIGHT NOW. So Wednesday was a complete wash as well in the way of packing the apartment. Already they have come up here more than once to tell me to rearrange my space. I still don’t even have a single dresser up here for anyone’s clothes. Today I had a therapy appointment which is an hour away and when I got back I found that I had MORE stuff waiting for me to take up to that room.

My parents are pleased as punch and just chattering away about all the space they have down there. Cue stress, stage left. Cue screaming, stage right. Spiked coffee anywhere would be awesome right now. It’s a shame it’s not compatible with my meds. I really want it today.

11 thoughts on “Who Knew Writing Awkward Romance Would Be So… Awkward?

    • You know what’s even better? He asked me why I wrote the gay erotica back in the day. And I answered that one too: I wanted to write something completely outside of my personal experience in an effort to become a better writer and at the time I couldn’t think of anything more outside of that. I’m not male and by having the character be in a gay relationship I couldn’t “cheat” and borrow from the female experience in any way for any of the scenes.

      I was also very surprised by how kind and helpful people were with their advice on it back then too. I was completely unaware of the vast amount of subgenres that exist for this. So depending on which subgenre you were writing for affected the formula and tropes that were expected.

    • lol My problem is there isn’t much that is taboo out there for me to talk about with my son. Now if a stranger had come up and asked me this exact same question while I was writing I might have told them to stick it, depending on how they asked. But that is never the case with my oldest son. My first impulse is to just blurt the answer with him.

  1. Pingback: Writing Romance and Erotica is Still Awkward | The Art of Chaos

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