The Plot:Erotica Ratio

A new review of my novel Suzie and the Monsters (see below) has criticised the plot:erotica ratio of the first chapter(s), and it has got me thinking. For one thing, I love that phrase: ‘the plot:erotica ratio’. It makes me think of food content labelling.

A content labelling system for novels.

A content labelling system for novels.

Bouncing Happily Over A New Review

Don’t panic – I’m not going to make announcements every time I get a new review of one of my books. I am quite thrilled with this one, however. Georgiana Derwent, author of The Cavaliers trilogy (see my reviews of Oxford Blood and Screaming Spires), has left a long and careful review of Suzie and the Monsters.

It’s not a five-star review – but that’s fine, because even I wouldn’t give it five stars (although a couple of wonderful people have generously given me five-star reviews). Anyway, on to the criticism:

For the first few chapters of this book, the sex was particularly in evidence, more or less to the exclusion of any other kind of plot. … I do however feel the book would have been a bit better if there was a more balanced plot:erotica ratio from the word go.

I have written elsewhere (Superficial Specificity: Lorenzi Heels and Illamasqua) about how the novel started as an attempt at vampire erotica. The first chapter certainly reflects that. As the book developed into something darker and much more serious, I started worrying more and more about that first chapter. Was it too much? Too explicit?

Then I wrote the end of the novel, a horrifying plunge into blood, sex and inhumanity quite different to how I had originally intended, and realised that that first chapter was quite an appropriate bookend, and besides – as I said here – anyone who can’t stand to read the beginning will probably hate the end.

But it is, nevertheless, valid criticism. The first chapter does create the impression that the book is primarily an erotic novel rather than a novel with erotic incidents.

About Frank

A Sci-Fi & Fantasy author and lyrical poet with a mild obsession for vampires, succubi, goddesses and Supergirl.
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