Dear Contest Judge [changed because Shelli is right, also edited because I'm just rude and now that I've ranted I can stop being rude],
No. Sorry. Please. Stop with the morality arguments. I've got a full set of morals too and some--just SOME, mind you--Godly Folk offend them every day. I'm polite most of the time, but you're getting on my last nerve with this.
Listen, you probably like sex, but behind closed doors, right? Well, I happen to like God, but behind closed doors, too. I'm majorly squicked out by people who try to tell me about their God and oh, baby how good He makes them feel and how He'll take care of them forever. Put it away, I want to tell them. Ewww.**
My basic response is keep the glad tiding for your prayers--which are between you and your god and the people in your congregation. I'm glad you've found something you love but stop waving that thing around in public.
But okay, so you've written a book and I have to judge it. Fine, I can take all that I just wrote above put it aside, and I will read that book. And I will be fair.
Except dudes, listen. Some of the inspies I've read are great but others cross lines for me. . . You know those inspies where someone prays for a particular outcome, rather than, say, for maybe the strength to face something horrendous? Well. When the character stumbles across the money because she prayed? I'm as put off by it as you'd be by a foursome involving sex and a small pony. (It's bad plotting, deus ex machina isn't a good device., okay? Even in an inspie.) But worse, it's a bad attempt to manipulate emotion on my part, as obvious as any boffing scene is an attempt to manipulate the sexual response. It can go way too far for those of us who don't think continuous glad tidings should be a public event.
Here's why I'm offended. I just judged a bunch of inspies. Not my cup of tea, as you can see. But it never occurred to me that I should be ready to toss them back into a pile on the basis of MORALITY. Bad writing, maybe, but that's not an option when you're a judge. Anyway, do you see what I mean?
Let me put it this way.....more and more I get the equivalent paths here.
Religious activity is to inspies
Sex is to the erotic romance.
Writers use those as tools to excite and pull in the reader. What if those don't do it for you? Tough. But don't cry morality because that's just not in the scorecard you've been handed as a judge.
Listen. No one hates sex or God, but there can be so much of a good thing and it can be so strong that it’ll put off all but the most hard-core adherents. Okay, so you're squicked by the threesome or the woman who tries to get everyone to pray every time anything goes wrong, but here's where you act like a grown up and actually judge the book.
Does the God or the Sex make characters thinner than cardboard and warp the plot so it's nothing but shouting to the rafters. That's not a matter of morality, that's bad writing--or at least it's not really romance. **** Got it? Good. Now read your contest books and stop feeling so
Dismounting from her high horse to go write delicate smut,
** and I must point out that I have some basis for my squickitude: How many people have died because people insist Their God is Best? Millions. Countless numbers. How many have died because of hot sex? Some, I suppose. But it's no contest. And I think we can agree that genocide is far more obscene than boffing.Since my work with refugees, the connection between My God Is THE One and genocide does really make a click in my brain and cause actual nausea.
****Which makes me wonder if maybe the erotica (vs erotic romance) writers should enter their stuff into categories like mainstream with elements category. Although probably they'd get cut based on the "mainstream" bit.