Saturday 7 April 2012

Doing a scary thing

I believe that once you get too comfortable, you gotta reach further. There's this evolutionary crackpot idea that giraffes got a really long neck because they kept stretching for the high leaves.

On some level, I think that makes sense to a Muse that does best when really in doubt where to go next. I'm a literary agent's worst nightmare - I can't really keep doing the same thing. I gotta have those higher leaves. The ones withing reach don't taste as nice.

So I might end up having a really long neck too, eventually. Doesn't matter. My kick is in the stretching.

And the rampant transphobia and anti-women sexism and and anti-bi attitude in "my" genre drives me to reach even higher. Longer neck. It's good for something. At least I tried.

Many years ago, I pitched my agent a story about a duchess solving crimes. I wrote 50 pages or so. It didn't work. I couldn't do it. I had huge issues in the way. That the duchess was modelled after my (dead) mother didn't help. Talk about kicking the legs from under a project before it had any chance to walk. For many years, I used to say that I can't write women. (Which is based on the fact that I entirely failed to connect to femininity on a personal level).

I owe my female friends so much there. They've taught me how they are being women. How they live it, deal with it and how they still kick ass. They've filled a reservoir from which I can draw women for my writing, each one awesome and strong and with their own agency.

I sometimes got asked if and when I'll go mainstream. My answer: when I have a mainstream idea that is as compelling as a genre story. (I actually have one of those already, and I'm keeping it for rainy days. It's very meta, very Umberto Eco. Seems like a book I want to attempt when I'm older and more mature. And feeling more meta overall.)

Now, the last few days, one such compelling idea has arrived. I can't stop thinking about it. I'm telling everybody about it. I'm acquiring research material (there isn't much out there...), above all, the Muse is whittling the idea down into an outline. This seems like a large book, and might even be a series.

And the protagonist? A kick-ass woman.

Due to the blood and gore that seems almost inevitable for this book, I'm not convinced it's a proper mainstreamy mainstream idea. But it's a good shot at one. Possibly. I don't know.

I'm still in the haze of discovery. There's a romance, a triangle, and politics. Adventure. It's set in my least well-known century and requires a lot of research into themes I know nothing about. It's a killer book, and I'm very excited about it, but it's extremely straight at the moment (it might be bisexual, possibly), but I don't actually care whether it'll fit anywhere. The Muse is on fire. In love. He can't wait to get started on this.

Basically, "it" has happened. I'm going "straight" for my next book.


  1. I can't wait to read it. :)

    I think it's good to stretch and try different ideas, genres, etc. Means you're learning. :) And the Muse is something that shouldn't be ignored.

  2. I love Umberto Eco...

    However, apparently I can only read him when I'm in the last stages of pregnancy.

    Just sayin'.

  3. Yay for different and scary ideas. I can be the same way. When looking at my stories, I don't just stick w/ hetero YA (I stick w/ paranormal but meh, =P) I have a mix of relationships. I even have a more adult series that I flop back and forth from m/m to m/f. You can love writing in a certain genre, but you don't have to box yourself (again, I say this as someone who refuses to write anything non-paranormal. I know, I'm bad >.<)

  4. My dad is fond of saying that some people have 10 years of experience, and some people have 1 year of experience 10 times. You can either write 10 books, or you can write 1 book 10 times. As a reader, I admit there are some authors I will pick up for a comfort read because I know exactly what I'm getting. But mostly I want to be surprised, challenged, *something* with every new book.

  5. I'm glad you're up for tackling it. I'm a woman with seven decades of total cluelessness about femininity. I have only one female character who isn't an extra in the back row of the chorus, and she's - yes, just as clueless. I'm not into kick-ass at all, so I'm really stuck when it comes to adding women to my stories.

  6. Not only go for it but have fun with it. I am five decades into my life as a woman and I am making that shit up as it goes along and am surprised by what happens still.

  7. The one reason I don't write women is that I don't really know anything about women. I really wouldn't want to write a woman like me, and the "normal" women who enjoy shopping and girls nights out and the like are as alien to me as anything in the deepest ocean! Good luck!

  8. I have so much to say--so much to identify with--in your post that I can't possibly begin and wouldn't know where to start. You are beautiful and wise. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  9. What Erastes said. I don't get other women, too, but I love to read about the strong ones! :)
    This makes me happy. ^^

  10. Claymores and Hand Grenades. :)