Thursday, May 1, 2014

Plot vs. Porn ~ Guest Spot, Jordan Christopher

Plot vs. Porn
I ran across a post on Facebook the other night that was thought provoking. The question was posed whether a good author should be able to write a (non YA) book without using sex or adult language. Immediately my answer was yes, of course they should. But it got me thinking about the different types of readers within this genre. Those who read for plot and those who read for porn. Neither is right or wrong and they aren't mutually exclusive.

Would you read a book about adult characters that didn't contain any sex scene or foul language? My answer is yes. To me, plot is the most important thing in a book; I need it to keep me interested. And I've found that I tend to skim books that contain gratuitous sex scenes. I've started books that everyone was raving about, but was distracted by the amount of sex. It seemed to take center stage, the plot having exited stage left. Again, this is me personally. In my opinion, a sex scene should only be included if it serves a purpose, such as furthering the plot. Otherwise, it weighs the book down and slows the pace and development. The argument could be made that these are adult characters that would have adult emotions, with sex being a natural manifestation of those feelings. I'm not against sex in a book, provided it feels true to the characters and was needed to further a plot point.

I realize that I'm probably in the minority with my opinion. I'd love to hear from someone with a different opinion? Maybe start a discussion about this? Sound off in the comments below.

8 comments:

  1. Although I prefer books with sex as a component, I agree that plot is the most important part of a book. I'd read a book without sex or foul language, provided I could find one, lol! I'm kidding of course, I know they exist, at least the sex part, but nearly every book I've encountered in the last 5 years has some kind of foul language in it.

    I love your blog and always thought provoking questions! <3

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    1. Jordan did a wonderful job with this post. It really is a food for thought post and I love it

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    2. Thank you Jordan! I apologize for overlooking that the first time around! I love topics like this!

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  2. On-page sex is a topic that I find myself "discussing" often (and by discussing, I mean defending) Often, I think we end up discussing two different things: sex in all literature, vs. sex in Romance. There is a big difference. And a lot of times people who say sex isn't necessary aren't really thinking about Romance.

    Here's the thing - sex is part of life. It is a HUGE part of romance. So sure, you can read/write a book with no sex. Of course. But writing a Romance without sex is tougher. Again, it can be done, but it is less common simply because when you are writing a story where the plot consists of the romantic relationship between two adults, sex happens.

    I often hear the argument against on-page sex as "if it doesn't further the plot, it shouldn't be there" Okay. Fine, I get that. BUT - does everything further the plot? How about the scene where the MC is making dinner? Or driving down the street? Some scenes are for character development, not plot. And sex scenes show character really, really well. Not only individual character, but the character of the relationship. It isn't the only way to show character, but it is a valid way, and truth be told an enjoyable one :)

    Having said that, I also have been annoyed with books which turn into a string of graphic sex scenes, supporting an otherwise flimsy and ridiculous plot. I have no problem with erotica and lots of graphic sex, that's fine, but usually a purely sexual plot should be kept short. A 300 page sex romp is too much (even for me).

    Reading for "porn" is fine, but all sex scenes read better if the sex is happening as part of a compelling story with characters we care about. And although I like sex in my books, and I write pretty graphic sex into my Romances, I have no problem reading books without sex. I think there is room for all heat levels on the bookshelf :)

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    1. Wow, thanks Amelia! Very great points made!

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  3. Trying this again since my first reply didn't post. I have mixed feelings on this. I've read some great books where the author closes the door and because of their great writing, I was perfectly able to use my imagination. I've read others where the author closes the door prematurely. If the story is about the journey of the MCs getting together, then I want to be in the bedroom with them when they finally reach that point and I want the full scene. If the storyline has other plots, and the consummation isn't the main focus, then I don't necessarily need a play-by-play. It just depends on the story. What I don't like is a book that is solely based on Tab A - Slot B sex and nothing more. At that point, I'd rather just watch porn. Ha!

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  4. Personally I have read non-romance, non-YA/NA books that did not have on/off screen sex, or innuendo. Language was always there but depending on the character, the amounts ranged from minimal, put a quarter in the cuss jar, to he/she puts a sailor to shame. I didn't find anything missing from them without sex, but sex or sexual chemistry wasn't part of the plot.

    I've also read some romance/erotica and non-romance/erotica books that had copious amounts of sex (implied off screen or on screen) and because it was so gratuitous, it depreciated the rest of the book and left me un-invested in the story/characters, and was forgotten.

    Bottom line I guess you could say, is that for me if sex is involved in any book, no matter how frequent or explicit, it needs to be a part of either the plot or the character development. Period.

    What constitutes porn sex books and character/plot driven sex in books is going to be completely subjective, no matter the frequency or intensity. An example is the Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton. I for one love how she's written and developed AB through the series. Including the increased level and amount of sex had by Anita. But to me, all of that sex is part of Anita's character development and the SL. It's not there just to fulfill a romance genre requirement of 'sex included'. But many readers I noted, and as a reader/writer it pissed me off on behalf of her creative license, as the series progressed in the direction of more and more sex, they began calling it porn books, no plot, where's the old Anita, and would bash LKH in reviews.

    And like Jaycee noted above, if I find the sex in a book is just all about insert A into B/C/D, I'd rather watch it than read it. I mean, isn't that what Tumblr is for? ;)

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  5. These are a few comments attached to a thread regarding this post:

    Domie Ocsickgirl Alvarado:
    One of my favorite fics is Coming To Terms by GinnyW and there aren't any lemons in that, Maybe one in the very beginning, I can't remember how graphic it was right now. My point though is that I got through 3/4 of that story before I realized.....hey, they haven't has sex again.....lol. It kept my interest THAT much.

    Tanvi Priya:
    For me , you may flounce even with great porn but never with good plot.

    Sally-anna Fanfic:
    I think most, if not all of us are here because of what started out as a book, with no porn or foul language. Having said that, I think most, if not all of us are also here, reading stories referring to said book but with added porn lol So to summarize, plot is good, but so is porn x

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