Good so far, but under construction…. ~Ms. Queenly
The worst thing about baiting, as I so eloquently wrote in my definition, is that sex, sexuality, and varies degrees of intimacy are always hinted at but somehow, the writer never seems to get around to expressing them in a wholesome, fulfilling way. They just string you along until the end of the book. Now, not everything has to lead to sex, but sex in many people’s eyes can be an expression of love, or intimacy at least. (I personally do not believe that sex is love, but some people do unfortunately.) It is usually portrayed as the ultimate culmination of intimate feelings and urges in romantic-type writing. Depending on the situation, a whole set of things have to happen before I find the sex in a book fulfilling, wholesome, or at the very least, meaningful, which is what I prefer.
Baiting and purple prose are techniques employed primarily by young adult writers and people adversed to describing sexual and intimate acts (i.e. conservative romance writers, Christian writers, etc.) as an act of censorship or propriety, in my experience. Sometimes its justified and understandable, sometimes they just need to advertise their books in a different genre so they can stop being cute and include the sex that needs to be there rather than offering up purpose prose and baited crap.And of course, in my book, the only way it counts is if its solid, tasteful, and well-written. Sometimes this might include writing older characters. I wonder if when I get down there in the ages, willl I hesitate to write about sex between young people. Some writers (and publishers) do hesitate, rightfully so, for this reason.
Purple prose is like tea or lemonade that’s just too damn sweet yet so damn light in color. Like allll the romantic references between Harry and Ginny (a relationship that was so cliche and never stuck with me anyway) in Rowling’s Harry Potter series. All the vague descriptions and allusions to the manner of teenage sexuality could have mostly been left out entirely, if you ask me. Harry and Ginny’s first kiss after they won that Qudditch match–ewwwwww! So sticky sweet and simplistically overwrought in wording, I coulda lost my lunch over that. I felt embarrassed.
Romance as a genre doesn’t hold my attention much anymore. Why? Because it leaves too much room for purple prose to wriggle its sticky sweet lavender fingers into the situation. I will write about it but I find the romance market almost quite as shameful as I find the erotica market. They use all types of sexist, classist, and racist gimmicks to sell to ignorant audiences under the guise of stories written in the name of true love. Never the less, the definition for romance I found provides the foundations of conceptualization for romantica and erotica.
Those mangaka (manga artists) whose artwork is centered around shojo romance and sex often depict the perfect example of how I view romance novels. I wish I could provide an image of the kind of censorship in manga! Literarily, romance is much the same in most cases. Censored all over with lacy, flower-covered, purple-prosed, ambient light bubbles and chock full of sexism, female submission, and whited out sex organs.
If romance is pink in color, then I would say romantica is a deep red. Romance and erotica come to together in this genre and this is where I feel my own writing resides. It has the feeling, spirit, and plot of romance but all the strength and depth of description and detail of sex acts/intimacy found erotica. More so than romance or erotica, romantica is about balance. While I see romantica as a genre all its own, “in theory”, it is situated between romance and erotica.