Even thought summer is just about over, I still have heat on my mind. And it’s not the stuffy opressive air quality that has me gasping for breath. It’s the level of heat you prefer to read, or even more important, write.
With such a plethora of sub genres, romance is a universe unto itself. Contemporary, historical, young adult, erotica, futuristic, chick lit, time travel, inspirational, paranormal.. I could go on. But just as there are many genres, there are also varying degrees of heat or sensuality. With some genres, it’s pretty clear the level of heat a book will entail. I won’t assume to know everything there is to know about inspirational stories, but I will venture to guess you won’t find too many “F” words littered throughout the pages. To that end, there probably won’t be explicit detailing of three-somes with farm animals. On the flip side, even though I’m not.. pardon the pun.. intimately familiar with erotica, I believe there is a wide array of sub-categories of that niche as well. When I’ve perused submission guidelines for Ellora’s Cave, there were quite a few terms and terminologies that I must admit, I was not familiar with.
I know there has been a wide debate about the use of bad words in romance and in general, the level of heat in a story. From reviews, and even musings on the RWA, it would seem the people who are risque averse become very frustrated/angry when the level of heat is ratcheted up too many notches or there are one too many “F” words thrown in the mix. And on the flip side, someone who wants a highly sexual story can feel very let down if the naughtiness factor is not met.
So the level of heat got me thinking. What is your heat preferance for reading and for writing?
9 thoughts on “It’s Summer.. What’s Your Level of Heat?”
Masah: I like to read and write super hot. There aren’t many things that offend me or push it too far. My friends joke that I’ll be the dirty little old lady at the nursing home!
But, I also enjoy a sweet story every now and again but it isn’t the first thing I go for.
good to know!.. I’m open as well.. I could be wrong, but I think heat seems to sell more these days.. That’s why I ventured into it.. But here’s a question that I’m still struggling with. For spicy stuff, I’m using a pen name.. does that make me a hypocrite?
I guess I would say I am fine with whatever heat level is good for the story. I like everything from Kristan Higgins to Olivia Cunning. As long as it flows, it’s good. And as far as profanity goes, I want to hear the character. If they curse, they curse. I don’t think the writer should edit the character’s true voice.
I think that’s a good approach. It’s funny how when it comes to books, if it works, go with it. But I know with movies, I don’t like nudity or explict nature just for the sake of ratings.
I definitely have a ‘no’ level when it comes to heat, and am not interested in writing explicit content, either. On the other hand, I am thrilled for the people who write high heat levels and publish it AND get good reviews and good sales. Nobody wants to eat chicken every day, after all…
So here’s a question.. do you get angry/frustrated/offended when you read something where you thought the heat level was one thing, but it turns out to be different? In other words, you thought it was supposed to be sweet, but is actually spicy?
I like to read and write sweet contemporaries with some heat. But honestly, I’ll read most anything. I agree with Carlene-Mermaid above. I just need the heat to match the story. If it comes (ahem) out of nowhere, that pulls me out (double ahem) of the story. 😉
I think you’re totally right.. it has to be in line with the story.. no reason to pull punches when it’s not warranted.
Thanks for a great post Masha!
I read everything. I agree with Kerri and Carlene though–I don’t like the stories that seem to up the heat rating just for the sex. If the hot sex is the natural progression for the story then great, but if it is just to throw in more sex then it pulls me out of the story. I feel the same way with movies…if it is the natural progression of the relationship in the story that is one thing, but I hate it when they throw in nudity and sex just for ratings.
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