A question I ask myself on a daily basis as a writer of not only erotic-romance, but also paranormal/fantasy fiction is one that might raise a few eyebrows. Then again maybe I’m not the only writer out there that asks themselves the question; How much realism should be included in fiction?
This question has always haunted the back of my mind even before I became a published writer. It’s been prominent in my mind for the past year as I’ve wrestled with a new series that follows the adventures of a paranormal investigation team led by gay psychologist Valentin Amoretti. I’d never done a series and this is an ambitious project for me that at times seems to be out to drive me crazy.
Valentin my hero seems to be my own personal pain in the ass to be honest. Why you might ask? Well, Val is a bit promiscuous and considering that I wrote my first SAFE sex scene. I felt it was necessary considering where Val is going and where he might have been when it comes to his sexuality. Val has issues–boy does he have issues. *sighs* When I wrote that first sex scene in the first book of the series (which I’m trying to finish up right now) I hesitated for a moment when it came to protection. After all this is fiction and yet–
Hesitation was kicked to the curb when my muse popped up and said Are you insane? Use a friggin’ condom bitch!
My muse was right. Val is a character who has a history that’s led to him having intimacy issues and because of that history he never sticks to one partner. He comes off as a bit of a twat waffle and a slut. Of course, he’s not a fool or stupid, he’s just a pain in the ass. He’s the first character I’ve written that isn’t with a single partner or on his way to being with one right out of the gate.
I’ve know people in my life like Val, people who either confuse sex and love or are scared witless of opening up to love. Val’s behavior is based loosely on one particular friend of mine who I had in the early 1990’s. This friend, who happened to be female, ran the gambit in partners and didn’t use protection despite her track record. By the time she was 2o she openly admitted to sleeping with 40 men and claimed to have lost her virginity at 16. That would round out to 10 partners a year for 4 years. Not only that she’d had 2 abortions and numerous sexually transmitted problems. This was at a time when we were still learning just how devastating AIDS/HIV was and I felt like I was beating my head against a brick wall when trying to talk some sense into her.
Now, Val is not that bad. He’s an intelligent guy and he doesn’t have a death wish. His major problem is psychological which is amusing considering he is a psychologist. Of course, I did have my college psychology professor tell me that you had to be a bit on the crazy side to get into the fields of psychology/psychiatry. Val enjoys sex, but he’ll be damned if he’ll ever open up to intimacy and make it more than just about sexual satisfaction. This is where I begin to wonder if perhaps too much reality might turn off a reader.
For me I bring to the table my own life experiences some of which might shock people who even know me well. For me love and the process of finding it has not been easy. In my opinion the fantasy image of what love is has crippled the way we view all our relationships–sexual or otherwise. Fantasy is wonderful, but when does the fantasy take a left turn and warp our real life? Does adding reality to our fictional works help change the way we view love, sex, and everything in between? Or does it instead scare us more? Do we prefer the fantasy minus the reality?
Personally, I need that base of reality in anything I read thus I write what I like to read. For me it pulls me into the story and makes me fall in love with the characters. That’s all fine and dandy when it comes to the emotional, but when the sexual component joins in how realistic do the readers really want it? Positions, lubrication, sex toys, and protection–is it too much reality? Or is it just the perfect balance?
I’d love to hear what everyone thinks. Seriously people–before Val drives me over the edge into mega-psychosis. *glares at Val*