I recently saw an author state that the reader would never see her characters engaging in unsafe practices, unsafe sex, or putting themselves into dangerous situations.
My first thought was…gosh, what boring books.
I’ve thought about her statement ever since, putting more words to my knee-jerk reaction.
Yes, you WILL see my characters putting themselves into dangerous situations. They’re going to make stupid decisions. Sometimes it’ll come out okay. Sometimes it WON’T.
They’re not always going to use the condom with strangers. They’re not going to use the plastic wrap dental dam for cunnilingus. They’re not always going to make sure everything is perfectly flushed out and squeaky clean before the penis that was in the anus goes back to the vagina.
They’re not going to negotiate what will and won’t happen and they won’t discuss what the safe word will be. They’re not going to sterilize every implement the second it comes out of the toy kit
Because I’m not your sex-ed teacher.
I’m an author of FICTION. The entire POINT of fiction is to be fantastic. That’s where the word FANTASY comes from. It’s supposed to be over the top and exciting, not a lesson in all things personal safety and safe sex.
My characters are going to be stupid and reckless in their lives because you can’t be stupid and reckless in yours. Books are for immersing one’s self into another world where the rules we live by don’t apply, and living vicariously through those characters.
That’s the ENTIRE POINT!
I have learned about a website that allows readers to follow authors and pay for the “privilege” of getting information and updates about new books.
I will not ever use this service.
I don’t think any reader should have to pay to know what page I’m on in the typed document. I don’t think any reader should have to pay to be updated on enticing little snippets.
In this day and age of technology and accessibility, it is exciting to me to be able to share these things with my readers.
I enjoy taking a picture of something sitting on a page of my handwritten manuscript or typed hard copy I’m using for edits. If this was 30 years ago, and my favorite authors were sharing in this same way, I’d be turning my computer every which way to try to read that blurred out, half-covered page.
I like asking if anyone would like to be a character and showing various versions of early covers for input.
In this day and age, author and reader have an unprecedented opportunity to take the journey of writing a book together. The author isn’t holed up alone at a desk anymore if they don’t want to be. Right here at our fingertips is the rest of the world and we can interact with it at any moment.
I’m not going to nickel and dime you to death along that journey. The only time I want your money is when that book is finished and available for sale.
Maybe I might miss out on a few bucks here and there, but it feels like extortion to me. “If you give me two bucks, I’ll tell you the name of the next character to die!”
I would not respect myself if I did that.
So I read a piece about abuse. It’s not written in first person “I felt this” and “I did that” but in third person inclusive “when this happens, you feel this” and “you act like that”.
Well…no, I didn’t feel that. I didn’t act that way. I still don’t. It gives a writing that air of speaking for everyone that I very much dislike. It’s no one’s job or place to say how you feel. Only you can do that.
It reminds me of bad cyberplayers who type stupid crap like “then you suck my cock and you love it so much. You groan in orgasm when I touch your love button.” <gak>
Don’t tell me what I love. Don’t tell me what I’m going to do. For all you know, I might punch your lights out accidentally with my elbow. Or not so accidentally. We’d just have to see, wouldn’t we.
I don’t like it when people try to tell me how I feel about something. They’re almost always wrong. No one is qualified to write about me except me. No one is qualified to write about you and your experience except you.
What’s worse is that writing in third person inclusive robs a piece of its power.
I statements are much more powerful. It takes ownership of what is being said. It accepts responsibility. I felt this, I did that.
Keep your personal power.
In this day and age of using they and them pronouns in order to include everyone, please don’t lose your own voice.