I’ve recently found myself in a well of cynicism, where the crap of the everyday can become darkly funny if you skew your view slightly. It is amusing for a while and helps a bit because you can stand back and judge things while not including yourself in the mix.
However, when I read books with a relentlessly cynical hero/heroine, after a while it starts to grate a little. I don’t think anyone, myself included, wants to be that person. Despite the romance of the hero against the world, to always be on the outer frankly sucks. It is an awful thing to feel left out of normal interactions, so why is this position held up to such esteem?
Becuase the perky person makes a lousy story and is frequently ridiculed as idealist and naiive and they’re the first person to be offed by the serial killer (along with the virgin). Arguably though, remaining positive in the face of adversity and not cutting yourself off takes a lot more courage than withdrawing into a protective shell.
Still, cynicism is funnier and easier to laugh along with. While it would be great to reclaim positivity for fiction as a whole, it is currently being held hostage by the self-help section of the market and I don’t think they’re going to let go without a fight.
Umberto Echo said,
“If, to go from A to B, the characters take longer than you would like, then the film you are seeing is pornographic.”
If you change “film” to “book” and “seeing” to “reading” does it still count? I love to read as well as write steamy novels but would only ever jokingly refer to them as porn. It’s not like I skip (much). I really need to buy into the characters or I find I’m just bored, because really, the mechanics of it all is pretty much the same in books of this genre. I think that’s why Fifty Shades was so huge – it was something a bit different from the mainstream but kept within certain boundaries (monogomy & they were already in a relationship when they started). I admire anyone who publishes under their own name when writing about the more extreme end of the spectrum, after all, you can’t stop your grandmother buying it once its out there on Amazon for $1.99 (there’s always a helpful younger cousin or neighbour). I will admit to a few qualms and mine, while fairly explicit, is still pretty vanilla in terms of what happens. Still the thought of the older generation of relatives purchasing it and having to face up to them at Christmas or family functions did cause a few nightsweats.
I’d like to think I’m not writing porn, but if I could sell as many books as EL James, I wouldn’t care what anyone called it!
And why is no one talking about violence? My main character decapitates someone with a kitchen knife, but no one even mentions it. What’s up with that??
Funnily enough, this blog is supposed to be about writing, but the cake side is staging a hostile takeover. We have more cake orders than we can poke a fork at, which is great, though no so good for the writing. I spent the last week tearing my hair out, trying to get the website design done and working, all with no help from the alleged “help desk” (an ironic title if ever I’ve heard one). Eventually, I muddled my way through it!
On the writing front, I’ve picked up the other novel I’ve finished, “St Kate of the Cupcake”, to work on polishing it, which has to be the most difficult stage of the whole process. It is vital, but nowhere near as much fun as the beginning where you don’t have to worry about pesky things like internal logic and continuity. I love this book but its like trying to get a misbehaving three-year-old out the door. No sooner have you cleaned the Vegemite off then you turn around and they’re naked again!
I’ll get there eventually and publish it, either self or the traditional way, but it certainly won’t be on time, my estimated delivery time to my agent having been last February. Hmmm…a year late isn’t so bad, right? At least if I publish it myself, all deadlines are arbitrary. Still, I’m not totally convinced by the whole self-publishing thing. I know people who’ve had success rave about it, but I’ve found that it is incredibly hard to be seen, particularly if you don’t resort to buying a whole lot of your own book and giving yourself rave reviews.
Is it morally wrong if I bribe people with cakes to write me good reviews?