This is still a thing

I’m always confused by the tropes I see in popular erotica. Apparently the whole ‘billionaire meets middle class woman, sweeps her off her feet’ thing is still (a) a thing and (b) still so goddamn silly that it makes me want to facepalm my way back into the Stone Age.

I had a conversation with my esteemed friend about this exact thing. “It’s so tacky,” I said. “I thought that it would end once Fifty Shades burnt itself out, along with bad BDSM porn.”

“Honestly, Shay,” she replied, “It’s very simple. It’s all about escapism.”

“Well yes, I understand that. But escapism should have some element of realism in it, and these books are clearly so far beyond the horizon of silly that they might as well be in Narnia.”

She laughed at me. “But that’s why they’re so popular! Women read these because they’re completely unrealistic. A good escapist fantasy does have elements of realism in it, but when you’ve already got a job and a husband and too many children, you don’t want any reminder of what is real. Bad escapism is better than good escapism that holds elements of a life that dissatisfies you.”

I had to give that to her. It does make a lot of sense, when you think about it. Go to Amazon.com, search for ‘billionaire’ in Kindle Books, and you’ll get thousands of hits, many of which are best sellers published this year. It’s rather depressing when you think about it.

I mean, I understand, really I do, why they’re so popular. But I can’t write those books, and not only because I just don’t know anything about the billionaire lifestyle. I want to write about normal people doing fun things in real relationships, not aloof assholes being brought down to earth (or something) by generic girl next door, with added sex. And this means I will probably never write a bestseller.

I guess all I can do is hope that comedy porn becomes popular. That or start publishing some really kinky shit and hoping I get sales off the shock factor.

Authors! If you have an opinion on this, talk to me in the comments. I want to know if you’ve tried this and what’s worked for you.

//shay

A Novel in the works

Ideas, I have them.

And I have to restart somewhere, my friends. Going slightly mad takes its toll on a body. Coming out of it is going to be a longer process than I expected.

So here is the beginning, and I will see where this idea takes me: I will turn Kathy’s World into a novel. It will be romance novel filled with sex, because that’s just how I roll, but it will be a novel nonetheless – longer than anything I’ve ever written for this hidden life I like to live.

And I am going to write it on my phone. On the bus. On my daily commute.

Why? Because I can. Because I take the moments when I can write anywhere they are available to me. Even this post is being written in a bathroom, before I go back to my day job. I will write this whole thing on a device no bigger than my hand.

If I can write a book on this little thing, I can write anywhere and on anything. And that means I am still a writer, in my heart. That’s the test, my friends. Can I be a writer with only the most basic tools?

We shall have to see.

//shay

Romance is normal

I spoke to my esteemed friend today on the topic of boyfriends. She is, unfortunately, unlucky in love, and she was bemoaning said luck while I offered as much sympathy as I could muster in the form of a cappuccino and muffin.

“Romance is never like this, Shay,” she said. “All the white knights in the world live in trashy novels, you know that.”

I had to agree, if only because my knowledge of knights is rather limited. But it got me thinking, and I came to the conclusion that I really don’t agree.

Well, I mean I don’t agree in a certain sense. I agree that the white knights of romance legend are probably not that common. But the implication of my esteemed friend’s words troubled me: that romance is not… normal, I suppose.

Is it the real life? Or is it just fantasy? I’m not sure, to be honest. Much of romance plot and narrative is unrealistic, let’s be honest here. Normal women do not catch the eye of billionaires who then whisk them away to a life of luxury. And they are not virgins who find their first time to be mind blowing, and BDSM scenes like that are not considered safe, and… You get the idea.

But the heart of romance isn’t really the setup or the mechanics. It’s not the sex either. All of those things are there to hold the stuff the author really wants to talk about. We want to say something about love and relationships, or the human condition, or how crazy people can be, or how much of each other two people can let into their combined lives. We want to comment on things that are ultimately very normal.

Kathy’s World is about finding inner strength and adventure. Devil Masque is about identity, and how it defines us. Dominion is about control, and how to wield it. Boy Crazy is about self-revelation.

I’m not good enough to say I get it right all the time, but the sex is just another part of the story. It’s what you write about because normal human life involves sex. It’d be weird not to have it. But I’m pretty confident in saying that we fail as writers when we make the sex, or a trope, or any other plot device the whole heart of the story, and forget that it still has to feel real in order to be a good story.

There’s porn without plot. It’s never as satisfying as porn WITH plot. That’s the kind of thing that makes it seem normal, and relatable, and let’s readers make a deeper connection with a story.

//shay

Hearts and clubs

Valentine’s Day is coming.

I’m still debating what to do, but I’m thinking some level of porn will be involved. Also sex. But mostly porn, whether reading, watching or writing it. Should I publish some? Eh, I don’t know. I have some fanfiction that I need to get written beforehand, as well as a large chunk of actual proper writing.

So I’ve been reading Homestuck lately. Yes, all you people on Tumblr, I’m well aware y’all know what that is. For everyone else – it’s… a web comic? Some kind of strange social experiment? A multimedia art installation? I really don’t know. Needless to say, there isn’t anything really like it, but it’s got one aspect that’s been intriguing me lately – the idea of there being more than one type of romance, and that romance can be categorized.

It’s bizarre, like most things to do with Homestuck. (It’s actually described as the romance experienced by trolls, an alien race in the comic. Just go with it.) The general concept is that ‘romance’ can be either love or hate, or mildly platonically friendly, or mildly platonically antagonistic.

Having read this much, I’m convinced that Andrew Hussie (creator of Homestuck) is either a genius, or completely batshit nuts. But it’s fascinating, this concept of relationships – this idea of connections determined by positive/negative and the level of intensity. I’m not even sure I fully understand the nuances of it.

Yes, I’m pondering a web comic. The haters shall hate, and all that. Go read Homestuck. You’ll understand.

//shay

Happy holiday of your choice

And have we all been good little boys and girls this year?

Shay has a present for you, my friends – free porn! All my stuff is free until the 30th! FLY! FLY MY PRETTIES!

I’ve published that new story I’ve been working on too – and that’ll be free as soon as Amazon lets me make it so. They’re still doing something with it.

Here it is:

boycrazy_lowres

 

“BOY CRAZY is a short story about sex, boys, and relationships.

Andy’s always wondered why his gay best friend, Joe, just isn’t interested in dating. No matter how many hot guys he points out, Joe never makes a move – and he always says that he wants a real relationship, not a casual hookup.

Andy stops thinking about Joe’s love life when his own is in peril. His girlfriend, Carla, dumps him without warning, leaving Andy alone and hurt on a Friday night. Joe keeps him company – and even a little more besides – but did Joe have a hand in the breakup?

And what does Andy really feel about him?”