Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Content - The Charge

I'm published again!  More importantly, this time it's a full-fledged novel.

Last November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month.  I'd never heard of it before, until Tracy Hickman mentioned it in a facebook post.  The idea fascinated me, and I immediately decided to participate.  I started late, so I forced myself to write more than the minimum.  Every time I missed a day, I increased the minimum words per day from then forward.  By the time I reached my 50k words, I was at least a couple days ahead of schedule.

So here we are, and that book is finally published.  Given the way in which it was written, it fits my personal style quite well.  What the characters do is more important than what the plot dictates.  Logic and consistency with the characters and the world is something I worked hard to maintain.  I also tried to make a few points, using my characters, about things I find kind of stupid within the wider world of fiction (be that movies, games, or books). We'll see if anyone actually cares about my hack attempts at making a statement.

Enough Rambling!  Where's the book?

Want to buy my book?  Click here!  Only costs you $3, and I get a percentage of each copy sold.  It's a fantasy book set in an original world.  A seasonal mercenary named Mirron, wielding a glaive and known for being strangely reptilian, finds herself thrust into an adventure that is not her own.  She ends up being the sole guardian of a helpless infant, pursued by an assassin queen and her husband known only as Butcher.  Guided by fairies and desperation, Mirron has to try to find some where safe to take a helpless infant so she can safely return to her own family.

Want to do something really awesome for me though?  Tell other people about my book!  Tell your friends, your coworkers, your neighbor lady down the street, even tell that crazy guy at the laundromat you see every few weeks with the weird ear lint.

Tell everyone.  Do it.


Like my words?  Buy my stuff!
More importantly; tell other people about my work!

Feeding Crystal Proven Circles

Several seconds before beginning writing this post, I uploaded my second book, my first full-length novel, to amazon.  The book is now in review, and we'll see if anything actually comes of it.  I'm assuming that someone reads the book, which means I get to find out whether or not they will allow some of the content within the book itself.  Which is, of course, one of the two primary issues about which I am currently fretting.

The first and most immediate worry, I have no idea whether amazon will actually allow my book through whatever screening process they have in place.

My book was written with several goals in mind, and among those is the goal of addressing what I see as a problem in the portrayal of female sexuality in fiction.  Now whether or not my own portrayal of the main character's sexuality is in any way offensive to some people's idea of what female sexuality, is not, or should be, I am more concerned with attempting to make my book say something about the problem as I see it.  The sexuality of women in fiction generally follows a particular pattern.  Good women are as close to virginal as possible and are generally not interested in anything that the mainstream might consider "weird."  Only evil, crazy, traitorous, or otherwise "not the good girl" are promiscuous and/or interested in sexual activity outside the primary "norm."  I find this incredibly stupid.

As such, two of the characters in my book are each of a particular bent.  The villainous female is as monogomous and rather straight-laced (at least sexually) as she could possibly get.  By contrast, our heroine is very sexually active with multiple individuals throughout the book, and she's also sexually deviant in several ways.  This manifests itself in the presence of two sex scenes.  My book does not "cut to the curtains," "fade to black," or anything of the sort.

The presence of these sex scenes is where I see the real problem coming into play.  One of the other problems that I wanted to directly address with my book was the ridiculous way in which my country views and treats sexuality in contrast to violence.  Gunfire, swordplay, torture, brutal beatings, explosions, fiery deaths, drowning, and all manner of other violent activities are regularly portrayed and even glorified.  Yet what happens when we get to the sex scene?  We cut to the curtains, fade to black, and many other methods of glossing over the intimacy of human beings.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the violence.  I love me some explosions, and I am as big a fan of violence in movies and video games as the next person, for many reasons.  Yet I'm equally a fan of the opposite side of that equation.  Violence as depicted in fiction is pain, suffering, and misery.  Why is it perfectly acceptable to show that, but not acceptable to show the opposite?  People enjoying their sexuality, enjoying another person, whether it's romantic or not.  So, I deliberately included both in my book.  Violence because it's a fantasy action adventure.  Sex because I think to show one end of the scale and not the other is quite literally the definition of imbalance.

To be clear, it's not porn.  I didn't write anything overly graphic.  The action scenes in my book are detailed, and occasionally the scenes are pretty brutal, yet the sex scenes are treated with delicacy and not nearly the same level of detail.  Whereas fight scenes stretch for a whole chapter more or less, the sex scenes are each several paragraphs.  Still, even with this, because of the way in which I know my society treats sexuality, I find myself wondering if that will be too much.

I've been told, by people who publish on amazon regularly, that I have nothing to worry about.  Specifically, I've even spoken to a writer of erotica who assures me that her books are published without incident.  So I likely am worrying about nothing.

Yet the second (but most important) worry, assuming amazon does allow my work through their filters it's not them I'm actually submitting my work to.  I'm submitting it to the public.  I am presenting my work to the world to be judged.  I poured my heart into written form, and now I will soon hold it out to the world and ask them to judge it.

If people love it, that will be horrifying in and of itself.  I will be amazed and overjoyed, of course.  Yet at that point will come the abject terror of repeating the process.  Writing another book that people enjoy.  It is possible to accidentally make something good.  Doing it on purpose is something else.

If people hate it, of course that is a major terror.  I'm the kind of writer who can't write something that isn't me.  My stories are very personal, and so when some Anonymous declares my work a bunch of amateurish crap or otherwise rips it apart, I'm not sure how I will react.

Of course, the worst possible terror is that there will be no reaction at all.  No one will read it.  Nothing at all will happen.  Just as nothing has ever happened, and my work has never been noticed.  Everywhere.  Every time.  It becomes rather crushing.


Like my words?  Buy my stuff!
More importantly; tell other people about my work!