Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Confessions of an Admitted Pervert

Today is the day I will cross the fifty percent line. My story isn’t even close to being finished, I don’t think, but I suppose it’s better to meet my goal and keep on going than it is to end a story prematurely and have an unmarketable piece of crap novella sitting around gathering dust.

I went ahead and bought the pink Pelican pen I’d been eyeballing from Pear Tree Pens, and a four pack of ink samples in some colors I’d been ogling for a while, including the Caran d’Ache Mediterranean I was gushing about yesterday. I’ve been selling some of my stuff on Amazon, mostly video games and DVDs that I haven’t touched in years, so I figured I might as well go ahead and buy it. It’s a cute, practical pen, too, unlike the antique dip pen craze that gripped me earlier this year. Once a pen catches my eye, it’s like a curse that doesn’t get lifted until I hand over my Visa.

When I sell my first novel, the Pilot Namiki Vanishing Point in raden finish will be mine.

When I first started writing again, I made a lot of notes in Scrivener (the Mac app I use for fiction projects) while working on an unnamed story that has yet to be completed. Some of them are pretty humorous. I remember one entry being about growing up, having my mom find my fiction, being criticized by her and still not being able to write sex scenes as an adult. I wrote it in July, and it’s titled “I Can’t Get Them Laid or Killed, or My Mother the Critic.”

An excerpt:

To be brutally honest, the reason my novel extension of “The Woman Without” never took off is because I had too many difficulties writing the teen/college portion of the story. I couldn’t find a way to keep the sexuality and awkwardness of that age from becoming trashy and/or ridiculous. I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it at least a dozen more times, I’ve got issues killing my characters and/or getting them laid. I will beat around the bush for paragraphs, sometimes pages, letting the story completely fall apart rather than detail all their dirty goings-on. The few “erotic” horror stories I’ve written and/or sold were a blast to put together but now, years later, I shy away from rereading them. I shy away from rereading the sex in my own fiction. Thank my Catholic upbringing for that, I guess.

Sometimes I think I know where this hesitancy comes from. I’m afraid of letting down, embarrassing or disgusting my family. I remember when I first showed signs of interest in writing “erotic” horror. It was mid to late high school, imagine that. Around the same time I actually started actively working towards getting some action in real life (I got it too, just to clarify that). I’d written a bunch of short vampire fiction, a thousand words or less, and some of it was a little risqué. It wasn’t anything gratuitous but it was a bit bold for a teenage writer, and I enjoyed it. Well, enter Mom at stage left. I think a lot of my hang-ups come from worrying about her finding things out that I’m hiding or her reacting poorly to my decisions. She found my stories, some of which had already come back to me from various publishers with rejection slips attached. She read passages of them out loud to me while I was standing, helpless, in my bedroom. I hate it when people read anything I’ve written, even an email, back out loud to me. So now, over ten years later, I think there’s a part of me that’s nervous she’s going to find my writing somewhere, published or not, and get pissed at me for talking about some fictional guy’s dick. I hope she never sees these notes and yells at me for typing out the word “dick.” Twice.

I am still having this issue. Of course, I would pick a story that’s based on a sexual concept and then whine about having difficulty writing it. I don’t have any difficulty making off-color jokes in real life, or visiting the “adult bookstore” or viewing pornography, but as soon as I need to commit this kind of thing to paper I balk. It’s something I’ve had a problem articulating for quite a long time, obviously.

It is, however, something I need to get over.

I have a scene coming up where my main character is just flat-out assaulted. I’m actually at the beginning of it now. Now, our character (and the reader) knows that, because she’s a succubus, she’s going to come out of this the victor. The perpetrator has no idea what kind of person he’s decided to victimize and as such is going to be in for a very rude and fatal treat when he’s done. Despite this, I still feel a bit squeamish, and I’m not sure why. It could be because it’s a sex scene, period, but I doubt it. It’s probably because it’s a rather violent scene that’s not really in the plot to be arousing in and of itself. I put it there to show once more that our hero isn’t exactly pristine or always kind, because I’ve been writing her as a very casual participant most of the time and I’m worried she’s becoming a bit “soft.” I don’t know how to feel about writing these kinds of scenes. I’d certainly feel embarrassed to show my mother, but at this point in my life I’ve become quite sick of worrying about her or any other family member’s opinion. I think my worry actually far outweighs any reaction they might have, to be honest.

At what point should I stop writing sex scenes? Most of these scenes are lackluster at best and bad at worst, not in terms of writing quality but of plot. She doesn’t victimize the nicest or most exciting of people. To be honest, most of these will be rewritten during the editing phase. I might go ahead and redo the first one today or tomorrow as I’m itching to overhaul chapters One and Three and I don’t think I did the scene any justice at all. I think my previous question should be reworded to “At what point should I stop writing unsavory sex scenes?”

I think maybe I feel a bit cheated so far, since the only sex in the book so far has been for “feeding” purposes only and hasn’t even been remotely hot. I’m almost tempted to go buy some smut novels at the porn store this weekend or some erotica collections off Amazon just to see how other people do it. I think my entire writing style could be considered a bit too clinical, to be honest. This is something I really want to work on both with this and future works.

Can I consider watching porn “research” for this novel? I’ve got a couple hours to burn after lunchtime…

I’m really enjoying how this whole month-long exercise has brought up new issues for me to tackle. I should start making a list of my weak points, including dialogue, pacing, sex scenes, etc. I think most of it can be boiled down to dialogue and pacing. I’ve tried to keep nervous chatter and uninteresting detail to a minimum, but I know I’m still including some of this without realizing it. I’m really looking forward to setting this aside for a short while and coming back to it with a fresher perspective. Another NaNo participant sent me an Instant Message earlier while I was at work to ask me if I’d be interested in participating in a critique group made up of Horror & Thriller forums posters. That might be a big help to the story, once I have it ready for other peoples’ eyes.

Whenever that may be.

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