One of my favorite books series is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It isn’t because of the hot Scot sex scenes. I love the story about time travel and as a closet Cosplay/Renaissance Faire nerd, I delight in the details about clothing, food, warfare and other period accurate information.
In my teens, I loved The Clan of the Cave Bear series. Sure, there was a substantial amount of “Pleasures” being taken in those novels. More compelling for me, however, are the stories about Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon social societies, crafts, hunting techniques, and medicine. In fact, both book series star a female medicine woman and later, physician.
You could say I came for the surgery and stayed for the sex.
Those passages often made me cringey, however, and I even skipped them some of the time. I think I wrote a whole blog post mocking Jean M. Auel’s mammoth sex scene, by which I mean NOT a very grand sex scene, but one involving actual mammoths. I doubt her intention was laughter through tears.
My own fiction story, which I see myself publishing as serialized episodes, is not “erotica,” so much as it is a story about characters who are sexually active. I’m inspired by numerous novels I’ve read over that past few years, including the Outlander series but also The Alchemist, The Sookie Stackhouse series, Mating in Captivity, Cutting Teeth, Adultery, Unbecoming, The Strain Trilogy, The King’s Curse, The Great Gatsby, The Awakening, The Old Man and the Sea, A Separate Peace, Oryx and Crake (The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam also), Sharp Objects, On Becoming Fearless, and Has Anyone Seen my Pants?
Conversations with my friend Ash (Argus, Slayer of Hypocrites) about 2001, The Matrix, as well as politics and philosophy have assisted in developing my ideas for fiction. The popularity of novels that feature women having sex has influenced what is marketable. While I want to write because it’s my art, I don’t see art as separate from making money. I don’t have a problem with an artist in any medium producing work for commercial purposes and letting the marketplace influence or even dictate the product. If sex sells, then I will write sex scenes because I want to make money.
Still, those scenes keep coming up in my story. My characters’ sexuality is part of them, like it is most of us. The relationships they have with each other are complex and problematic and also very sexy. At least, I hope so. I’m working on it. I’m reading books on story craft and how to self publish on Kindle. Honestly, I need to spend more time reading student work than I’m currently spending. I have a few college application personal statements to read and comment on this evening. I always tell students “yes” when they ask me to read them, and I always end up wishing I’d said “no.”
[WARNING! SPOILER FOR THE WALKING DEAD, season 6, episode 7 FOLLOWS]
Now that I know for sure Glenn Rhee is alive, I have freed up brain space to think. Mostly about how those crazy kids working at SUR need to grow up and listen to the wisdom of Lisa Vanderpump.
I am so pleased to have found your blog. I am curious as to what you make of the attempt at the Outlander television series? I don’t care for it, but, of course, books are always superior.
CLAN. OF. THE. CAVE. BEAR.
I fixed the comma for you, Kristen.
I like the series for what it is, separate from the books. I think it’s a very tough thing to adapt since so much of it is the interior life of Claire. I think they did a brilliant job casting it.
Edited to add: Did you read the rest of the Earth’s Children series? It got terribly silly, in my opinion, though I admit I read it to the bitter end, so there’s something to be said for Ms. Auel making it readable. I couldn’t give it up! Her research process must be grueling. There’s a lot to admire there. She made some decisions with the characters though, at the end, that were tough to overcome. Ayla became less real to me and more two dimensional. The original book, though, and The Valley of the Horses, are incredible books. I read in some recent research that the Cro-Magnon people possibly eradicated the Neanderthals. A genocide, not simply “out surviving” or “out adapting” them. I was thinking Auel was going to take the story in this direction more, but she only vaguely hinted at it.
I can’t imagine how extensive the research must have been! I did not read them all the way through, no. I’ve gotten very into Jean Plaidy’s historical fiction as of late, but when I am looking for a change, I may go back…I like silly! I will mention the Neanderthal genocide theory to my mom; she’s gotten quite interested in them since getting her 23&Me results. They revealed she’s got some Neo D.N.A., haha. Feel free to edit my grammar, as I am sure it’s flawed! You are officially on my Blog Reads! Goodnight!
I’ll bet she loves doing the research. That’s part of her success. She’s clearly doing what she loves.
I don’t correct grammar for free, honey (winky face).
I hope you’re doing well. I hope you don’t agree with your friend Nicole that I’m a “waste of space” and my writing is “childish.”
Have your mom check out this Time article http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1913769,00.html
Hello Mrs. Odie! I’m a long time lurker/reader and I just wanted to say that I’ve always enjoyed your writing. I started self-publishing on Amazon two years ago (romance) and writing has been my full time job for the last six months. If you have any questions about the self-publishing process, just ask or email me. I’m more than happy to help out a fellow self-publisher.
Wow. That is something! Good for you! I will take you up on it, guaranteed, Elizabeth. Thank you.
You bet! Good luck!
This has kind of stayed with me a bit: “While I want to write because it’s my art, I don’t see art as separate from making money. I don’t have a problem with an artist in any medium producing work for commercial purposes and letting the marketplace influence or even dictate the product.” I write music occasionally, and for a brief period I was convinced I was going to sell some of it, but it mainly fizzled due to lack of drive. But that’s not why what you wrote stuck with me. As an attorney–stay with me here–I “produc[e] work for commercial purposes” and have to let the circumstances [i.e., the marketplace] “influence [and] dictate the product.” All the time. My medium is writing and speaking, and those are arts used to persuade, advocate, and engender sympathy, and if you can do it without sounding like a schmuck when your audience is already predisposed to that view, well, that’s half the battle. And I take my writing seriously–it is an art, to be able to tell a story based on facts not of your choosing, make your reader care about your client, and be persuasive and trustworthy all at once. It’s an area most attorneys neglect. The internal struggle is whether I’m compromising my personal values and integrity by catering to the particular “marketplace” of any given case, particularly when there is some cognitive dissonance to whatever claim is being staked (and there always is to some degree), because I do in fact see my “art” and its media as “separate from making money,” even though it’s integral to making money.
Not sure what my point is. I’m procrastinating right now (another “art”): I have to do work this morning and don’t feel like it. My fans will have to wait.
As a rhetoric and comp teacher, I understand “persuade, advocate, engender sympathy.” Maybe someday, you’ll speak to my classes about your art. It’s possible.
Maybe someday. Hit me up; you know where to find me.
Wouldn’t that be a hoot?!
I love it that you’re an Outlander fan. I’m a HUGE Diana Gabaldon NERD.
As for self-publishing, do it. Do it. DO IT. I can’t get enough of your writing.
Thank you, Carolina. I love meeting other book nerds! People who don’t become obsessed with book characters to the point where they seem like real people mystify me. What do they do with all of their thoughts? And time?