Questionable: Love Scenes, Sex Scenes, Erotica

S said:

I would love to hear more about the difference between making love, having sex and erotica in a romance novel. What exactly makes them different from each other? . . . I always hear it described as ‘different levels of sizzle or heat’ but it seems to me that there is more to the grading than that. . . . Are there market expectations now re detailed sex? Romance novels seem to be getting more and more graphic (or maybe those are just the ones I’m buying!) I noticed in the [comments to the favorite love scene post] how few people listed a love scene that had any sex in it – I think I spotted one that took place in a bed. That’s interesting.

Sex is in the eye of the beholder.

Let me put that another way. Continue reading

Questionable: Character Arcs

Tamsin asked:

Character arcs – how do you know if you have a strong one for your character? How do you winkle it out of a character that is refusing to tell you what theirs is?(!) And is there a diagrammatic shape/structure that you use for character arcs? Do characters have separate arcs for different aspects: i.e. an emotional arc and a mystery plot arc or should those be welded together as aspects of each other?

Let’s break this down into its parts first, says the teacher. Continue reading