A novel idea

Okay, so there’s this woman I’ve been “friends” with on social media for about eleven years now. She’s single, close to thirty years old, still living with her parents and hating it, looking for a job, and basically spending her life living off her art and playing video games. She’s a character and a half and I soooo want to write her.

But I’m not sure I can. You see, she has a particular ailment that she’s extremely sensitive about, that is so much a part of who she is that I can’t write it out of her. So if I write a novel and use her, even though it’s fiction, I’m sure she’ll see it to be herself. The novel, even though she is the protagonist, will not be very flattering as she herself has a rather distasteful personality. What to do…

I know! Isabella Morgan may just become an author.

What would you do?

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…and that’s how the literary world ended.

The unimaginable has happened.

Close on the heels of finding out that E.L. James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey, has begun writing a “How To” book on writing (which makes me throw up in my mouth a little every time I think of it) came the suggestion from Kobo that I pre-order her next novel. It may or may not be entitled Grey – it was hard to tell through the blur of tears as I read the devastating news email. What I did get was that the book is, get this, Fifty Shades of Grey AGAIN but through the eyes of Christian Grey instead of Anastasia (aka Mrs.) Grey.

I’ve mourned the loss of the money I threw away spent when I bought the trilogy enough, I think, to know better than to buy the same thing AGAIN. But fans of the first three books surely will.

Will millions of readers die of boredom? Or worse, will they live to take advice from Ms. James on how to write a novel?

Stay tuned. And don’t worry, I’ll be there to hold your hand when the literary world gets whipped right out of existence.

 

O is for Opinions

Any piece of fiction, any work of art for that matter, is subject to people’s opinions and is therefore subjective. In other words, you can’t please everyone, because everyone has their own point of view and the experience from whence it came. This can be difficult for writers – some appreciate differing opinions from readers and some hate them. I, myself, often find that I’ll try to stay politically correct, at least when blogging, so as not to piss anyone off. I actually dislike that about myself, but it is what it is.

This issue I have sometimes bleeds over into my works of fiction, making me question whether or not to leave in what I’ve written or take it out. I’ll give you an example.

Without spoiling the story, J.K. Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy ends with a completely heartbreaking scene. In reading it, I felt that she could have changed the end of the story, but that would have been a lie. Staying true to a story, no matter the consequences, is of utmost importance. What Rowling wrote was true.

At the end of my own novel I have a similar scenario. I CAN leave something out which could potentially cause an uproar, but it’s really what happens. It’s true. To change it would be a lie.

You see, stories like mine aren’t told. They’re found. I believe every one of my stories exists somewhere in the universe – I’m just lucky enough to be the one to find them. They have a beginning, a middle and an end, and for me to oppress the end for the sake of possibly half the population who might hate me, would make the entire works meaningless.

It takes a lot of guts to release a story to the world. Especially if it’s told right. I wonder if that’s why I’ve delayed my novel for so long.

Would you rather read or watch a story that is true to itself even though it’s painful, or do you prefer a happy, albeit false ending?

 

L is for Length. Impressive Length.

I can understand the temptation of a writer to make his characters the best they can possibly be. (I’m guilty.) After all, when making stuff up what’s the need for limits? Characters can be inhumanly gorgeous and have the best figure ever in any proportions one can imagine in order to make them perfect.

My question is, how plausible is a physically ideal character? Is it necessary for a character to have at least one physical flaw? Or, in your opinion, can his or her only flaw be a dark, evil heart, supreme idiocy, or other such undesirable inner workings?

K is for Kink

My A-Z Challenge this year contains posts about writing adult content in fiction – you will not find any adult fiction within the parameters of the challenge, except for illustration purposes.

There are some things I like to get a feel for when I write a scene and so I’ll read novels containing what I want to write. For example, fight scenes. I have a hard time with pacing and repetition during any scene that involves fisticuffs.

What I don’t want to get tips on from other writers–or any other resources for that matter–is kink. If my characters have an armpit fetish or belong to an exclusive club where they join in fetishistic orgies, I don’t want to know ahead of time that that particular kink is a “thing.” Kinks in fiction, in my opinion, need to be as original as possible.

I’m not sure quite what it is about this aspect of fiction – perhaps it’s the old adage that if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all that makes it necessary for me to keep a sex scene fresh in some way. That includes, as Mr. Wheeler said in a comment on my last post, simply alluding to the fact that it’s going to happen without actually writing it. There’s a lot to be said for leaving everything to the reader’s imagination, or most of it anyway.

Is there any particular sort of scene or part of a story that you feel needs to be as original as possible? Something such as torture, perhaps?

I is for Immorality

My A-Z Challenge this year contains posts about writing adult content in fiction – you will not find any adult fiction within the parameters of the challenge, except for illustration purposes.

Immoral acts. How does an upstanding member of society write stories which contain despicable, immoral acts? How does his conscience allow him to do such a thing? How can he not be living vicariously through his characters, committing horrific crimes in his head? Does he secretly wish to be the dastardly characters he creates?

I can only speak for myself when I say what I enjoy most about storytelling is developing and writing the actions of nasty characters. It’s a release for me – a way to let go of the things I fear in life. I can control the evils that lurk in the shadows when I write of them. It’s a way to grasp hold of the actions I despise and choke some understanding out of them. And if I’m completely honest, writing a character who is horrid is a way to make me feel above his immoral actions – such a state of ego is not something I can tolerate in myself concerning people real, live people.

There’s also a certain rush in creating scenarios during which my characters act badly or irresponsibly. Depending on what it is, whether it’s harmful or just potentially harmful, it might actually be something I have wished I could do but never would in real life. Sex with a complete stranger? It’s crossed my mind and even entered my fantasies, but it’s not something I’d do. Or something I’ve considered just to dismiss it quickly from my mind. Have I ever thought about what it would be like to kill someone? How it would feel to drive a knife into someone’s stomach? I’d be lying if I said it had NEVER crossed my mind. Would I ever consider doing it? Absolutely never. And no, I don’t even want to live through my characters vicariously should they commit such a crime. But consider the mechanics of it I must if I’m to write it.

Is this a moral dilemma? I suppose depending on your beliefs it might be. To think about committing a crime can be seen as a sin.

Are we writers sinners for the fact that we have vivid imaginations?

 

H is for He said, he said

My A-Z Challenge this year contains posts about writing adult content in fiction – you will not find any adult fiction within the parameters of the challenge, except for illustration purposes.

I’ve spoken to many writers who have a hard time with dialogue. Making it realistic can be a challenge for some, but for me the main difficulty is apparently writing, “he said,” too often. I work hard on editing it out of all my first drafts. The only thing I don’t have a problem with, it seems, is heterosexual sex scenes. There is often little need for speech.

Where there are some other aspects of sex-scene writing that are awkward in terms of grammar and flow, they tend to be that much harder when the scene involves two (or more) people of the same gender. For the purposes of ease in demonstration, I’ll stick to two males. “He said,” and “he said,” is only part of the problem. The rest of it involves the fact that they both have the same body parts. When a scene is written with breasts and chests for instance, it’s obvious who the writer is talking about when these attributes are mentioned. In the case of two men, well, you get the picture without me describing it for you.

Of course one can use names, but saying, “George’s hand stroked Marvin’s cheek,” and so on gets quite annoying for the reader after a while.  So what to do?

Really the only solution lies in the details. Mentioning that one is older and the other younger is a common way to differentiate in any situation. Taller and shorter, darker and lighter skinned – many things will work – even speech patterns. All things to think about when developing characters from the start.

 

E is for Embodiment

Note: Writing tips/literary content: this post is NOT Adult Content

It used to be that the good guy wore the white hat and the bad guy wore black. But was the good guy always handsome compared to his evil counterpart? I can’t say one way or another since I haven’t read nor watched everything, but I can come up with a couple of modern examples.

Voldemort. He’s one ugly dude, isn’t he? Whereas Harry’s a good looking kid apart from the scar his ever-so-evil nemesis bestowed on him. Or how about Pennywise the clown from Stephen King’s It? Not someone you’d like to enter a sewer with.

I do love a handsome villain though. Prince Hans of Frozen – who’da thunk he could be so rotten inside? If the character is well-written, it’s obvious to the observer/reader that there’s just something not quite “on” with the bad guy, even if he looks good. And it’s especially important if he looks good for the writer to show his inner demons. Even so, when a rotten-to-the-core character gets down and dirty, it shows. The claws come out (any number of werewolves), the eyes turn bloody (Dracula), the skin peels from his bones (Dorian Grey), or she simply becomes a mess (Cruella DeVil). The true villain can’t possibly stay beautiful.

Can you think of a single instance in which one does?

 

A – Z April Challenge – It’s A Theme!

I can blame my post of yesterday (Perverts and Weirdos) for helping me decide on a theme for A-Z April 2015. When I signed up I went with the “Adult Content” classification just in case. I didn’t want to be blacklisted. Turns out it was a good idea.

My theme for this year’s A-Z will be, basically, adult content in fiction. This will include posts about writing sex scenes, reading sex scenes, writing about the objectionable things that characters do and say and what makes us hate certain characters for their actions. I’d also like to touch on the controversies surrounding ratings; what is appropriate for certain audiences, trigger warnings etc.

There are so many uncharted waters for today’s writers in these regards. Don’t get me wrong – I’m no expert. I hope that whatever research I do in order to write accurate articles for this A-Z April Challenge will teach me a thing or two as well. Aside from learning things I’ll be including a good deal of my own opinions.

This should be fun! I hope you’ll join me!

Perverts and Weirdos

As a writer of fiction I love writing strange characters. The weirder the better; the more perverted they are the happier I am. My fascination with the way the human brain works and the processes it goes through, both logical and illogical, are my biggest inspiration.

So what happens when I attract to my work the very types of people I write about? It’s a bit creepy. When I write about the actions of a pervert I hope that my audience will either laugh with me or say “eww.” But what if they agree? It’s finally happened on my fiction site and I’m taken a little aback, to be honest. I feel that I have to be careful not to sound like I’m condoning my character’s behaviour. I am, after all, just a writer.

You have to wonder how authors of horror deal with such things. I think about the shit Marilyn Manson has had to deal with – being blamed for the Columbine school shootings – and violent video games are blamed for all kinds of things, from car theft to murder. So what of the novelist? Our works too can be put out of context and said to encourage anything we write about. Hell, I’m guilty of judging E.L. James for whatever message she put out to young women when she published “50 Shades of Grey.” (Though I think the main problem with “50 Shades” is that they failed to label it a fantasy instead of a “romance.”)

So when I write about a fucked up flasher who gets his kicks from exposing himself on public transportation, what can I expect? Only that there ARE fucked up flashers out there who might get their kicks out of my writing. I guess this is what the “writers must have thick skin” crap is all about.