“clean” does not equal good

Note: this is not a rant.  This is my expression of mild frustration and a chance to share some thoughts (and a very good link) on the subject.

So, I’ve been looking for fiction without explicit sex scenes.  I don’t necessarily have anything against sex in a novel.  I think it tends to be overused and can’t help thinking of stories like Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, or heck, any of Jane Austen’s books, none of which have sex scenes, all of which are passionate and romantic.  I’d like to write stories like that, stories with power.  I don’t pretend to write the Great American Novel, but aiming for something that might rock someone’s world, even just a little, is something I think I can do.

I found a group on Goodreads devoted to finding clean romances and I tell you I actually used the word, “Squee!” for the title of my introduction.  I was like a fangirl otaku suddenly confronted with the beautiful boy from her favorite shoujo manga.

I’m still beginning on this journey, but I have to say that so far I’ve been disappointed.  Not in the group.  The group is fantastic.  I love hearing the different views/opinions there.  It’s the stories I’ve been reading that are getting me.  I haven’t been impressed.

I know my writing could use improvement as well (I think every writer could say that) so I feel bad saying this.  I think my expectations were (and still are) a bit high.  So far,  most of the books I’ve found are…boring.  And those are the good ones.  The bad ones have half-baked characters, flimsy plots, and confusing metaphors.  One of those happened to be published by a major publisher.  I can count on one hand the number of clean romances I’ve found so far that have gotten under my skin.  I hope this will change in the near future.

That’s why, when I read this blog post by Moriah Jovan, I found myself nodding my head with great enthusiasm.  She makes the same points I’ve been thinking about but have never put into words.  Even though she’s discussing Mormon fiction specifically, I think this can apply to any “clean” fiction, especially romance.

The more I think about this, the more I think this points to a decline in publishing in general.  But that’s another post.


2 thoughts on ““clean” does not equal good

  1. davidatodd


    I came to your blog today after reading comments you left on Between the Lines, the Book & Such blog.

    I’m not a romance reader or writer, but I share your desire for novels to hold to a certain moral standard, to be something I would like to read without gratuitous material. I struggled over that with my baseball/Mafia novel, but hopefully came to the right amout of suggestion without anything explicit.

    Best of luck with your writing and your e-sales,
    Dave Todd



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