It’s a while since I’ve done one of these. There have been so many good books to read and so many good authors to promote that I haven’t been bothering to blog.
Mostly this is because I didn’t have much to write about on my own account. I’ve betaed a few terrific novels over the past year but haven’t actually written much.
However, Sue Roebuck tagged me in a writing progress meme – check hers out, she’s been busy – so that’s a good excuse to talk about writing.
1. What am I working on?
At the moment I have a short story on the go which may or may not meet the 31st March deadline. This is about a Londoner trying to make a new life somewhere rural. I have a finished novel in a file fermenting for a bit before I try the second draft. The first is rough as a badger’s chuff but I think could be made fun.
I have another long short – about 25k – inspired by the Black Knight sketch from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, that was returned to Riptide Press on a revise and resubmit request in January. It’s another 4 weeks before I can legitimately email to ask for confirmation that the editor received it so I’m doing my best not to think about it. This is hard.
2. How does my work differ from others?
I’m not sure that being different from others in ones genre is a good idea. People go to M/M to read lots of good red hot explicit man on man boinking. Disappoint them at your peril. It will be reflected in your reviews and your sales.
So naturally I do disappoint. Sex happens in my books but it’s the fact that it has happened and the effects it has on the relationship that is important, not whose hands/mouth/feet/other body parts went where, how often and from what exact angle. I have read thousands of brilliant mainstream novels where this was acceptable and am saddened that books with gay protagonists can’t be accepted as just being part of their genre – horror, sci fi, historical, detective – without having to have the erotica label applied to them as well.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I once saw a plaintive comment from a well known gay male author – no names no pack drill – along the lines of “Where are all the good humoured historical stories with gay protagonists where they end up happy instead of dead?” and thought “Damn, I’ve been writing things like close to that for 40 years”.
I write action adventure stories, often historical, about gay men. I’ve always written action adventure about men, often men who have a very close ‘buddy’ relationship with each other to the exclusion of female companions. I never read M/F romance, apart from Georgette Heyer, but preferred what my husband describes as bloke books with masses of plot and action, where the heroes swing from the rigging, or charge with the Light Brigade or keep their heads down in the trenches. Sometimes there’s romance but generally the important relationships are man to man – Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin spring to mind. Adding a soupcon of romance between the guys just seems logical if they care about each other that much and ups their stress levels enormously when they are in danger.
4. How does my writing process work?
Not very well at the moment. My circumstances changed radically last year when my husband retired and the hours I could spend in the evenings have been cut right back. However ideally the process would be as follows:
- Get an idea and think about it for a year or so
- Do the background reading
- Work out first draft in head
- Type first draft early in the morning before anyone else is awake
- Suffer existential angst about a 3rd into the story that halts writing
- Overcome angst and carry on, or abandon project and work on something else
- Finish project, hate it, put it aside
- Look it out some months later and decide that it might be better with more work
- 2nd draft then off to the darling betas
- 3rd draft with edits and polish
- Try to decide what to do with the finished MS
That’s actually the easy part of the process. Once the writing is done there’s the submission process. If the book is good enough to be accepted there’s the editing process. Then – Oh God – marketing! Writing a book is just a little bit of the work.
I’m supposed to tag people so I choose – um – Charley Descouteau, Jay Dellamere Northcote, R S Charles and Anna Martin. Have at it, folks.