Not Touching It with a 10-Foot Pole   5 comments

Is there a genre you’d never attempt to write? Why?

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Never Say Never

It’s something my daughter learned as a dancer — never say you can’t do something. George Takei shares the story of being asked to do an episode of Star Trek involving a sword. He’d never fenced in his life, but he wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to act, so he said he could fence and then ran off to a gym to have someone teach him. My daughter has played a wide variety of musical styles because she’s not said “I don’t know how.” My son was asked to step in as a professional bass guitar player this summer. He didn’t play bass, but he’s a guitarist and the keeper of his sister’s bass, so he spent a week learning how to play bass and then played at several outdoor venues this summer. He also didn’t used to be a singer, but decided to teach himself how to carry a tune last year and now he can and does sing. He’s even sung lead for the band and had the (admittedly somewhat drunk) audience clap for his performance.

Tearing a page from the book of my talented children, I am in a constant quest to teach myself how to write genres I’ve not written before. However, is there a genre I would never try to write?

Erotic fiction

I’ve attempted to write romances and I’m getting better at it. I’ve learned to add elements of something else in so it doesn’t feel so bogus. I’m just not a “they lived happily ever after” kind of writer and that’s my major stumbling block to writing the genre.

But I also don’t write sex.


My Christian faith is the most important thing in my life, although it is not always front and center of my writing. It infuses every part of my character, so it can’t help but shine through, but I am not writing Christian-genre books for a Christian audience. This means I reference sex (and other bodily functions) and the Christians who appear in my novels aren’t always as pure as the fresh driven snow. I’ve taken some heat for this from judgmental reviewers who feel that humanity has no place in “Christian” literature, but again — I’m not writing Christian-genre books. I am a Christian who writes novels and has some Christian characters in otherwise non-sectarian books.

But there are limits and describing sex is a boundary for me. First, I don’t think it’s necessary for me to write it. There are other authors who can fulfill that market. I’m happy to let them do it. I don’t want to write books that I’d be ashamed to have my pastor’s wife read. Jennifer is a realistic Christian who isn’t one of those upset by my portraying Christians as flawed sinners saved by grace, although I have known other pastors’ wives who held a more Pollyanna-ish view of the world. Still, I suspect she wouldn’t be down for a sex scene. I don’t even need to ask, actually. I know she wouldn’t be down for a sex scene. I like it when my Christian friends say they enjoyed my books, but if a sex scene existed in my book, I’d be embarrassed if Jennifer said she was reading it. So, yeah, not writing it.

The other reason is that I don’t cheat on my husband — not in reality and not in fiction. I try not to read books that ask me to imagine having sex with other men. (Brad repays me for this by not indulging in porn). Erotic literature is the female equivalent of men’s pornographic videos and I don’t recommend either party in a marriage cheat mentally. Every marriage I know of that indulged in mental cheating has ended in divorce, often following an incident of actual cheating. The Bible says the body follows the head, so I try to control where my head leads me. Occasionally, I run across a sex scene in a book where I wasn’t expecting it and I read it, but I don’t seek out that sort of literature. (Brad has a similar attitude toward sex scenes in otherwise entertaining movies.)

Rabbit Trail!

Okay, I have to tell this funny story. Many years ago we were watching a mystery set in a monestary in the Middle Ages “In the Name of the Rose.” It was a great movie — a murder mystery. Except, about halfway through, the young monk played by a teenage Christian Slater engaged in full-on sex with a kitchen wench. There was no reason for it. There was no build up to it and no other plot point revolved around it. It wasn’t in the book that the movie was based on. It was just there to garner an R-rating for a movie that didn’t need it.

It took about two seconds for our group of friends (all from our church) to realize what was going on and then our friend Jeff tried to fast-forward through the scene. This was in the VCR days and it just served to highlight the act playing out on the screen.

I believe Brad is disallowed from choosing videos for group consumption among certain segments of our friends because he picked the video that night. He ranks it as one of the most embarrassing times of his Christian life — the time he brought “a porn video” to Christian group night.

Imagination is Key!

Now imagine writing a sex scene and all the time an author spends getting the scene just right. It would be like doing that scene from “In the Name of the Rose” 20-30 times, replaying it in my head, over and over. I don’t write my husband into my books, so ….

Erotic literature is a genre I’m not going to attempt to write and I’m completely okay with that.

What Else?

I also don’t write horror. I admire the few Christian horror writers out there (Ted Dekker, for example), but I don’t read a lot of horror as a genre, so I don’t really want to write it. But I’m not saying I’d never attempt it, because you should never say never so long as it’s not against your moral code.

Posted January 11, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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5 responses to “Not Touching It with a 10-Foot Pole

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  1. With three daughters and now grandchildren, I won’t write anything that I wouldn’t mind them knowing I’d written. I’m a great believer in the Alfred Hitchcock method, say little, suggest a lot and leave the rest to the imagination of the reader.


    • Exactly. I got a review by some woman who didn’t like “all the sex” in my books and I was like, “What sex?” I guess she objected to it being obvious what happened off scene. Yeah, characters are best when characters are human. But I don’t need to describe that. When Shane comes out of the bathroom, you can guess what he was doing in there.


  2. I’ve read very little horror and enjoyed none of it. I can’t imagine writing that genre.


  3. Yes, erotic literature is best left to the experts. I also do not write erotica or horror. I’ve been asked to read and review erotic literature in the past, and I made the mistake of saying yes on two occasions because I owed these authors a favour. The books were awful; boring and not really my cup of tea at all.


  4. I suspected from other posts of yours that this would be your answer. I don’t know that I would be good at erotic literature, to be honest. I’m pretty sure that I’d have to title it Book of Awkward. It would likely end up on some site as what not to ever, ever do in that genre. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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