The Importance of Afterglow

As I’m finishing up my latest book, I find myself reflecting on an underappreciated element of romance and erotica. In most narratives that involve two people coming together, either romantically or sexually, the steps leading to that moment  get the most attention. However, the moments after tend to be just as revealing, if not more so.

Think about it from the perspective of having just seen an awesome concert, gone on an awesome roller coaster, or seen your new favorite movie for the first time. The experience that comes right afterwards can be just as meaningful as the experience itself. It’s a profound moment, of sorts, when we wrap our brains around what just happened. All the thoughts, emotions, and perceptions that go along with that experience change us. Those changes help give impact to the experience as a whole.

For the story I’m writing now, I’m putting extra emphasis on the impact that the story will have on one particular character. It’s an impact that, in some respects, needs to happen for some people. We all go through our lives and experience turning points in our lives. These moments force us to reassess our understanding of our world. We see the world in a new light. We think about things in a new way.

This impact is important because our brains just aren’t wired to reassess and rethink our experiences. It’s natural to become content with the way things are and oppose any inclination to change it. That’s why it often takes something jarring, shocking, or overwhelming to change our perceptions. Romance and erotica will do that to someone in any number of ways. Some are good. Some are bad. Some exist in that vast gray area in between.

With the story I’m telling, I like to think there’s more emphasis on the good. However, I don’t intend to ignore those gray areas either. There’s something to be said about experiences that affect us so significantly. It’s a powerful feeling that can affect us for years to come. I hope to capture that feeling with this story.

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