This is the first piece of advice I give any writer, especially those new to @literotica.
When I began writing there, in 2008 under a different pen name, the first thing I learned was to develop a thick skin.
Don’t get me wrong most days, I love Literotica. I maybe obscure and lost in the crowd on Amazon. To the point that I don’t even bother anymore. But @literotica, I have a niche. My stories have been read millions, and I am not kidding or bragging, MILLIONS of times. I have occasionally won contests. And have a small following.
Unfortunately, that just makes the trolls come out more.
What is a troll anyway?
Besides a nasty, stinky little creature.
They live under the bridge. They hide. Usually behind the title Anonymous.
And their whole purpose in life is to keep you from crossing the bridge to the other side.
That bridge to being the writer you were born to be in this case.
And 99% of the time, I do good. I follow my own advice. I learned how to delete unfair comments and I do.
Then, I have a bad day. We all do. At least those humans among us. Hell, even Jesus lost his shit and kicked some ass in the temple when he saw unfairness. So, I don’t get too down on myself about it.
But it did get me thinking…about sharing some insights on me and my writing process with the handful of ‘twue’ readers out there that bother to read this pretentious crap of a blog.
Yes, I have LOADS of unfinished stories on Literotica. Part of that goes back to my early days, writing in the Survivor Contest.
If you weren’t around way back when, Survivor was a contest to encourage writers to submit as many stories as they could, in as many categories as possible. Ideally, all thirty-five of them, even the obscure ones like Illustrated and Audio. I participated and placed in that contest several times. I don’t think I ever won, but I might be wrong. Survivor was where I garnered most of my trolls. Other writers can be vicious little shits. (Something I try not to be.)
But back to the story. That meant I wrote almost daily. It also stretched me as a writer to explore topics that make me highly uncomfortable. Categories such as Incest/Taboo, Loving Wives, and Gay always kicked my butt. With the first two, I had moral objections. Yes, even I do have some of those, a few anyway.
As for Gay, I have always felt inadequate. I am not a man, let alone a homosexual one. What the hell do I know? Ironically, I was discussing that very subject with my partner Alan over lunch yesterday. Because I have never been a Marine or served in Iraq or Afghanistan either. Yet, my Sergeant Mike stories have touched the hearts of many who have. Who knows one day I might pull my head out of my ass and explore why Gay is such a cognitive dissonance for me.
But right now is NOT that day. Right now, I am focused on what I consider the biggest project as a writer. So, yes, all those other stories that you love are on the back burner for now. Hell, if it makes you feel any better there are a couple that are near and dear my own heart that I have left hanging too.
Oh, and Anon asshole, for the record, I do finish some of my stories. I finished Ægir’s last year. And just last week, I completed Book 1 in this series – Night Walker’s Woman. I have completed three Sergeant Mike novellas, The Arrangement, Rings of Fire, Nothing Done In Love, and a couple other stories that are so bad I don’t claim them. That is more than loads of writers ever do in their whole lives…and I am just getting started.
But one thing that sets me apart and perhaps makes this troll bullshit worse is…
I don’t fucking write for other people.
It goes against all the advice writers are given. ‘Always keep your audience in mind.’ And I suppose that I do.
The thing is my audience is ME!
Yes, first, foremost, and perhaps only, I write the stories that are given to me to write. As they come to me. Yes, that means sometimes a story stalls out. I hit a wall. And sometimes other stories worm their way into my fucked up brain and push the ones that I or readers want to that back burner.
But I always follow my muse…wherever it takes me.
And right now, it is taking me back to Texas.
Right now, I literally dream Trouble Texas Style. Yes, I lay down in bed and the next scene in that series just plays out in my dreams. The only trouble is…I can’t type this shit fast enough. And the faster I do write, the more there seems to be to this story.
So much so that I did something the other day that I NEVER do.
I actually sat down and plotted some of it all out!
And what I discovered has me excited. Really excited in fact.
Ya’ll already have Book 1 – Night Walker’s Woman complete.
Yes, maybe I could make the chapters longer. But chapters are about stopping at natural breaking points…and in my devious mind, cliff hangers. And quite frankly these chapters are between 2,500 and 3K words. That is quite standard for the romance/erotica genre. Or at least it is when in the books you pay for on Amazon. So, bite me.
But I am just as excited about the ones that are to come. These unravel the McBride Industries mess further and center around Laura Reynold’s (One Night Stand) mother and little sister.
What makes me so excited about these books?
They touch on some of the most poignant issues of our time – wealth and privilege, government corruption, racism, sexism, and what it means to be a ‘good person.’
I make no apologies – these are written in a highly emotional style. I have no other voice.
Some people might even criticize them as stereotypical portrayals. Alan and I were discussing that over lunch too. The thing was stereotypes is that there is always a grain of truth to them.
And these stories are just that. They are incredibly thinly-veiled truths from the twelve years that I lived in Texas, especially my time in Sebida. Yes, Sherriff Earl Kerr actually was a real man. And he was just that crooked. Right down to getting away with murder. Yes, there was a town where a sixty-year-old black preacher would not lift his eyes to a thirty-year-old white man and called him ‘Sir.’
Is it still like that? I don’t know, honestly. I want to believe change has come to Sebida. But I have been in the UK for so long that I don’t know. I only can read the news. And from what I read, I doubt it.
Now, the only thing I am struggling with is…
July Is #CampNaNoWriMo. I had hoped to finish Tight Fittin’ Jeans and One Night Stand as part of that. Then move on to what I thought at the time was Book 4 Small Town Secrets. Only now I discovered that Small Town Secrets is actually Book 6, and happens AFTER McBride is taken down. Argh! Yeah, I frustrate myself sometimes too.
As a writer, I need to follow my muse almost chronologically. Otherwise, I can’t keep this shit straight in my warped mind either. So, for the past two days, I have found myself writing in a whole NEW book, tentatively title Ready to Run. And I have not even started in other one – Goodbye Earl.
I have a couple more weeks of chapters in Tight Fittin’ Jeans and One Night Stand left to post. Heck, I could slow down the rate at which I post those and stretch it out for months. Do I do that? Then finish things sequentially, one book at a time.
Or do I post these stories like scenes in a TV series? Which is what I have sort of been doing with Tight Fittin’ Jeans and One Night Stand. But then to add two more parallel stories and four more main characters to the mix?
If ya’ll have a preference, let me know. Otherwise, tomorrow I begin writing in Goodbye Earl, which is the story of Laura’s Mama Stacey Reynolds. That woman had been through hell and back. But…
And working two jobs or even three or more ain’t all she’ll do for her girls or grandchildren. She’ll stop at nothing to keep them safe. Even murder.