Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Latest Manuscript Takes a Surprising Turn

Bugs Bunny on MarsBugs Bunny fans will recognize the phrase, “I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque.”

I’m sitting here saying the same thing as my current manuscript is no longer recognizable: It’s taken a left turn into erotica.

You regulars will know that I write dark fantasy and science fiction. (Those of you who came here after googling “erotica” know that now, too.)

So, it’s as surprising to me (as you) that I’ve written three complete — and soon to be four — scenes in my current manuscript that are so steamy, I had to step outside in the cool air for a minute before I sat down again to finish them. (And nobody’s even had sex yet!)

I was reluctant to release them to my critique partners for their review. (But they enjoyed them — even the men — so that’ll show me to want to hide my work.)

What’s strange to me is that I think the male lead in the erotica section is going to become a major character. At first, he was a walk-on. In the second scene he tempts the book’s main character, not only with the promise of really good sex, but with heart’s desire: healing a demonic wound which will not heal.

I can’t decide if she’ll go all the way with him in this next scene. If she does, she damns her immortal soul. But she’ll be whole again, gain a huge amount of knowledge about something, and have incredible sex all night long.

She just might be tempted. After all, her immortal soul is only lost to her if she dies. There are ways to cleanse it before that happens, right?

Yeah, I’m still working out the sticky bits of the plot. This is what happens when the characters start talking to you and they refuse to play the roles you’ve cast them in.

I can’t wait to see how this turns out.

But I’m curious: as a reader, would you be willing to pick up a book not quite like the last you read by an author, or would you bypass it in favor of something else?

6 comments to Latest Manuscript Takes a Surprising Turn

  • Gary

    It’s about time!!!

    Back when I was on a kick reading YA fiction, I was (pleasantly) surprised to read Judy Blume’s Wifey. I was subsequently very disappointed that Wifey 2 never appeared.

    • Hi Gary!

      It’s about time?? Really? 🙂

      I never thought about including any “on the page” sex scenes in my manuscripts before. My characters have usually gone behind closed doors, so to speak, to have their fun. I will say that it’s adding a level of complexity to the plot I hadn’t anticipated. It’s one thing to infer the deed has been done, but whole ‘nother to have it happen right there.

      I’ll let you know how it goes. My goal is to finish the novel by the end of April. With a few weekends, and a planned writer’s retreat happening between then and now, it’s doable (as long as life doesn’t get in the way).

  • Charlie

    Hey, steam sells. If it is organic to the plot and is done well its fine.
    People may think that writing erotica is easy. It isn’t, it takes considerable skill communicate it well and could help to show your talents as a writer.

    But it is funny you put it in (the book). Now we know where YOUR mind has been at lately!

    • Hi Charlie! It’s not where my mind has been lately, it’s where this darned character is going! (And trust you to both compliment and denigrate in the same thought!) What are friends for?

  • This question is such a toughie! I’ve written two very different stories – one a dark sci-fi and one a “Fantasy Lit.” Writer friends have advised me that fans read by genre and that I need to follow in the footsteps of Stephen King and Nora Roberts and use a pen name for each “line” (genre) I write in or risk losing the sci fi fans with my fantasy and risk losing the fantasy fans with the sci fi.

    But the thing is, I’m not a genre writer. I just write stories. Every new pen name would mean starting over from scratch to build a following/fans, getting books in front of readers, etc. That seems…awful. It’s hard enough to do it once…I can’t imagine doing it over and over again.

    Mary Doria Russell wrote an AMAZING and fabulous literary sci fi (The Sparrow) that is one of my all time favorite books. Her latest is a historical fiction about Doc Holiday. It’s not a topic I’m interested in so I haven’t bought her latest, but I’m still a fan of her work, I follow her blog, and I keep an eye out for her next work, whatever it might be. I’m sure she lost some sci-fi fans with the latest book, but she also gained historical fiction fans so I guess it all comes out in the wash?

    Sooo….not sure if there’s anything helpful in there or just aimless rambling, but it is a question that many writers struggle with. Good luck with the new story – characters can get up to all kinds of hijinks when we leave them alone for even a second! 🙂

    • Thanks, Terri. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought. I appreciate your comments.

      I’m with you: I don’t want to start over with a new pen name for each book. That’s too much work.

      Although, I do like what Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith do on their Web sites, which is promote their pen names equally. Only some of their pen names have other Web sites or Facebook pages. It’s a best of both worlds approach, I think, because they achieve a lot of cross-promotion traffic. I like that thinking.

      For me personally, I need to finish the manuscript before I make the decision. (I’m on track for the end of April, barring life intruding). Thanks for your thoughts!

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