Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

All of this is practice, you know

An exercise in the notion that the more one does of something the better one becomes at it. Which I've pared down to -- me writing gay erotica with a brutal bent is merely a way for me to find my voice as a novelist and has little to do with venting or building my attitude or playing the devil -- and Brendan's rolling on the floor at that comment, bursting with laughter. Can't say as I blame him; it's all nonsense...and yet, it IS necessary to do. Not just to work my grammar into an understandable format -- which is harder than you think, for me, since I love taking little flights to I'm doing now -- but to feel comfortable with just letting the story flow, something I'm nowhere near adept at, yet. The fact is, I can be worse than my own worst critic; I can read my work and think I have no business writing anything, let alone something as low-level in the literary world as queer-erotica-cum-porn (pun NOT intended...okay, maybe a little).

I found that happening more and more with POS -- I'd write a chapter and then go back over it and realize it had nothing to do with reality and berate myself for wasting my time and allowing that crap to be brought forth...then go about adjusting it and ignoring the fact that what I'd done was give myself a solid base to build upon. Like Brendan's walk to Claudy (it's posted earlier), my first version of it was silly -- Brendan runs into some Protestants who're planning to sling rocks at passing cars that they think hold Catholics and try to keep him prisoner but he escapes and sneaks around to warn people but no one believes him so he walks with Eamonn and sure enough, they're attacked...and it's VERY mainstream fictional Hollywoodish crap, almost to the point it's minimizing the casual evil of what happened. I restructured it twice before I felt comfortable enough with it...and I think Brendan never actually reaching Claudy but seeing only the aftermath makes it even more horrific, since through it all he's now terrified Eamonn's been hurt or killed and can't find anyone who'll let him know one way or the other. But until it reached that point, you should have heard the little editor in my head denigrating what I'd done. "Stupid, childish and an embarrassment" were some of the kinder phrases.

I know every writer has something like that inside -- if they're planning to be any good. Granted, there are plenty of published writers who don't give a shit and just write whatever -- and I will NOT let that be me. I remember hearing about Joan Collins' second book being so unreadable, the publisher demanded its advance back. Wound up in court and she won, though I don't think the book was ever published; it might have been after some heavy editing, but the whole episode was deeply embarrassing for her. And I tried to read a Judith Krantz book years and years (and years) ago but couldn't get past page 50. I seriously think the only reason that woman's work made it into print was because she used the words "pussy" and "cock" a lot and it was shocking to the blue-haired ladies who bought her tripe. Plus she was sported as the grittier Jackie Collins -- HAH!

Of course, I'm doing a version of that, myself. I'm not so much a fool that I can't see the reason "How To Rape A Straight Guy" keeps selling and selling is because it actually delivers on the title. I've even had a couple of people tell me they really thought is was a "How To" book, which makes me a bit nervous. I, personally, think it's a solid story about a man in the process of destroying himself (and some others) in the name of revenge...but it's my baby, so naturally I'm going to put a positive spin on the story.

And truth is -- all my books are my children. They may be powered by angry alley cats ready to rip the world to shreds because of their lot in life, but they're MY pissed off toms and nobody else's. And we have a mutual understanding -- I'm using them to work at quieting that editor that screams in my head...or at least be better able to fight back. It's like exercising your body (something I REALLY need to get back to), you start off slow so as not to damage something and build and build...and eventually you look like Chris Evans (if you have his beauty-genes and natural furriness). Same for aiming to play the piano or violin at Carnegie Hall -- ya gots to learn da notes, first...then practice, practice, practice.

It's all practice.

So...back to it.

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