HI Guys… this is a blog I wrote a few weeks ago, but never published it. Its my response to the negative reviews on Alpha. I didn’t post it because on the whole, the reviews have been quite positive. Encouragingly so!! And on the whole, I am trying to ignore the negative if I can… I read the reviews and if I can somehow take what they say and improve my storytelling, I will do just that. Otherwise, I ignore when someone obviously doesn’t get me or my writing. Anyway, I am working on a new blog about sex and how it effects a friendship… Yay! Anyway, I came across this one and I think its good enough to put it up… .so here goes:
Development through questions?
I’ve spent the better part of a lifetime learning how best to develop horses to their highest potential. I hate to call it training. Training seems to portray repetition, and yes, there is some repetition in developing horses, but not nearly as much as most people think. Its humans that require hours, months, years of doing the same thing over and over. Horses, not so much. They don’t even have that much time, nor does time hold any meaning in their moment to moment existence.
What I learned was, if I can ask the question correctly, I will get the answer I am looking for. What my equine partners learned about me was that I was always willing to ask the questions differently, but I always ask questions. I never state, I never demand, I do change the questions frequently and often change how I ask, but I always develop through raising the question, asking for the puzzle to be solved, or simply wondering how I can make my, what if? Their what if?
I realized today that I write my stories from this same angle. I am constantly asking myself and my reader, what if? Or would you believe this conversation? Can you even imagine? How about sometimes getting from point A to point B is impossible to do in a straight line, what then?
There are rarely wrong answers, it simply means I didn’t ask the right question. But…and there is a but…what if my readers aren’t used to thinking this way? What if my readers are simply used to being told? If those are my readers? Well, none of them will get me or my stories.
Another thing I’ve really worked on is never making assumptions. It’s darn near impossible in a normal, everyday, mundane and normal life to NOT make assumptions. We do it every time we turn on the faucet or flip a light switch. It’s always worked, why would now be any different? Problem here is, I think I might have made assumptions that by now, the genre I am writing in, which is paranormal romance, has been glutted with stories of shifters and lycanthropes etc. I figured my readers knew the game, didn’t need all that filler and explanation.
Such as, my male nurse, Matthew, he’s an affectionate guy, he’s part wolf, animals are tactile creatures, lycanthropes crave touch and affection over all else. To him, and his inner wolf, being affectionate with Allison is not at all strange. Her inner wolf calls to his.
To me, as the story teller, this makes perfect sense. To me as a voracious reader of paranormal shifter stories, this makes perfect sense. To me, as an affectionate creature, living in an affectionless life, it makes perfect sense. And to me as the author, I need time to develop a character that plays an integral role later in the story, I need to ask that question, is he creepy or his he normal for what he is? And finally, if he is creepy, does that mean those readers will not allow anything other than Christian missionary sex in their erotica?
Why are these people giving a book a bad review over a minor character? Why aren’t they figuring out this puzzle without prejudging a character? Do they jump to those kinds of assumptions and conclusions about everyone and everything in their lives? And if so, are they then that judgmental once they’ve concluded the offense? I want to ask these negatively articulate reviewers why they bothered if they hated it so much?
I want to explain my story better to the nay sayers, I want to look at them and say really? You found that part hard to take but the whole turns into a man wolf beast creature is cool and totally believable? That sitting on a floor and masturbating four times a day is just fine and dandy? But a male nurse can’t massage and be affectionate with a woman in a coma? Its erotica? Where else do I put this stuff in? Is the whole thing to be one big cock and pussy show only? Or can I have some fairly intricate characters that take books, and books to develop?
Hey, I know! What if the characters learn and grow and actually change and develop as the story goes along? You know, like real life?
Like I said, I love this genre and I consider myself fairly well versed in myth and lore about lycanthropes and were-creatures. Some stories and some characters stick with me, others do not. It’s the ones that are out there that stay in my mind. It’s the ones that aren’t trying to adapt to society and please anyone but themselves that I remember. I want to write those kinds of characters. And of course, if I do, I am fully aware I will gather a raft of haters that like conformity and spoon fed, watered down untruths. Static, never changing characters that all sound exactly the same when you read their lines.
I’m so sick of the women being either too tuff or too weak, no middle ground… fuck me, but don’t touch me there, oh yeah, touch me there but oh god not there. Jeannine Frost has a sodomy scene between Bones and Kat that is fucking fabulous. LKH has all kinds of stuff going on with Anita the Succubus and don’t even get me started on Merry Gentry and her battalion of Fae lovers. Its yummy stuff! It’s all fantasy of course, none of it would ever happen.
Anyway, sorry for the rant. I know if I ever get a real publisher and a real editor, they will iron out all my little flaws with the characters and the storylines. Until then, the best I can do is just keep writing, and just keep asking what if? And just keep asking questions period, if I can leave you all wondering long past when you read it? Well then maybe I’m doing exactly what I set out to do. :]