Thursday, October 15, 2009

Don't Tell Me...

... which is exactly what I hope my parents will say if and whenever I finally start publishing some of my novels.

This is a topic that came up over at one of the critting groups I hang out at, and it is something that I ponder sometimes. I'm not going to get into religion or morals or anything like that, but let me say I had one of those Catholic upbringings, and it is a huge part of who I am and how I conduct myself in real life. When it comes to writing though, I don't like to feel limited.

I like writing fantasy - BAD thing over at the church I attend. Technically, I wasn't allowed to read any fantasy through school. Thankfully, my parents were OK as long as I was reading and there weren't any dirty pictures.

I like writing romance, and sometimes that means writing edgier stuff - "Content", in other words. I'm sure my parents would be amused and baffled, but not exactly puritanically horrified if they knew. Doesn't mean it isn't an awkward topic to broach.

How do you let your families know then?

I'm of the opinion that people need to be conditioned before you throw something at them. There are things you really don't want to SUDDENLY surprise them with, particularly if your family is more puritanical than mine.

The way I handle it is through levity and opening myself up little by little. Remind them again and again that the way my protagonists think, feel, and act doesn't reflect the way I think, feel, and act. I remind them that the best part of writing is going out of your comfort zone on some things. Maybe exploring the other side from time to time.

That's part of the reason why I posted the previous thingy about Heather Graham and the news bit about the transgender person in trouble for trying to go back to school under false pretenses. I'll admit that there are certain parts of the story that I don't know. It could be that person intended to hook up with teenagers in the school, or had a record. What I immediately thought about though is what prompts people to do stuff like this. Are they really just doing it for pervy reasons, or is it a psychological glitch?

If I wrote that story and my parents found it, I'd simply give them the original news story and talk their ear off about the what-ifs.

With the NANO project I'm planning to do, there may be content (I'm not sure yet). If there is, I do have a clear reference as to why it's going in. The novel is partially based on something in real life. I simply took the original facts and built a story around them.

Re/people who write hot romances and erotica, then you probably have a LOT of hinting and warming up to do before you tell anyone what you write. I'd definitely use a fake name, just so you have control over how people find out about what you write. But even if you want to write under your real name, the worst you can do is get all defensive or militant about what you write. A good sense of humor and fun is the best icebreaker.

Worst case scenario - tell your family that instead of writing hot and steamy novels, you could be acting in them. They may count their blessings. :)


  1. I don't even write hot and steamy stuff, but that still doesn't mean I want Mom or Dad to read my novels. Even my friends and co-workers. I want my readers to be complete strangers who won't judge me, lol!

  2. I still feel like that about my shorts - particularly since I can't control 'how' they are read.

    It's always, "No, Dad. This story doesn't mean I'm feeling depressed and ugly."

    Or - "No, Mom. Just because my character is crushing on a guy twice her age doesn't mean I do or am*. And I'm not into guys named Basil. Really."

    * Ok. Admittedly, I did go through a 'crushing on Richard Dean Anderson phase a couple years back. :)

  3. I think about this a lot since my romance is a hot romance. It's in the Harlequin Blaze style (one step below erotic romance). If I'm lucky enough to get published, I will probably use a pen name since I'd rather my neighbors and such not know unless I tell them.

    However, I was worried about my mother. She asked me a few weeks ago if she could read the romance, and I was like, um, well, there's some explicit stuff in it. She did the equivalent of rolling her eyes over the phone. Then said, "You're thirty, and I'm a big girl, I can handle it." So I let her read it. She loved it, lol. Her comment about the naughty scenes: "you must have a very happy husband." Ha.


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