Friday, April 13, 2012

How to Review Erotic Romance (Or anything else!)

As a writer of erotic romance I'm frequently dismayed that so few readers of the genre have the guts to write a review.

I'll admit that I've made the choice to keep my true identity a secret from the general public. This decision wasn't made lightly. I live in a small northern community where the people don't like new ideas or new people. They hated it when the southerner moved in with her gun-racked pickup truck in the driveway and a freezer full of bait. Let's not forget about the old car seat on the front porch where I sat whitlin' while my yunggins' plinked a banjo. (I'm stereotyping here, of course).

As a lover of all forms of literature, I'm always happy to review the work of upcoming writers. Yet I remember the Hippocratic Oath of writing: primum nil nocere (First, do no harm). Lou Holtz famously said, "If you burn your neighbors house down, it doesn't make your house look any better." I like this way of thinking.

First, I identify a character in the story, usually a strong antagonist (I like the bad guys). I try to find one or two lines that made me stop, rewind, and read the statement again because of the sheer audacity. I try to keep it short and sweet.

I never spoil the ending, but I do offer an opinion of my level of satisfaction. Was I breathless with anticipation? Did I feel the need to stay awake all night to finish the book? Was it unputdownable? Sometimes -- rarely -- I offer a suggestion, but I try to form it as an overall compliment. "I can't wait to read the next book and see how you reconcile the feelings of hatred that Character A has for Character B."

Second, and most importantly, I never review a sex scene. This is dangerous territory as sex for some readers is a spectator sport. Much as I love writing about sexuality, it's not my purpose in life to critique the fantasies of anyone else. Different strokes for different folks... :)

Lastly, I try to bear the words of the great Holtz in mind. I'm not into burning houses or dreams. A good writer can become a great writer with the right encouragement and an occasional fresh coat of paint.

1 comment:

What's on YOUR mind?