Thursday, June 14, 2012

The 14-Year-Old Female Protagonist of My Next Novel will be Sexual Abused... and Other Observations

I have mentioned a few times before that I belong to a forum of writers. When I switched to erotica there was a writer in particular that I watched. She wrote in the same sub-genre as I did and she had 3 stories released. She is a very slow writer and It took me less than a month to overtake her in terms of my number of releases and revenue. I felt a little uncomfortable about it because she published months before me and I was doing better than her.

About 2 months after our forum started she disappeared for a few weeks. When she came back she admitted that she had become depressed over her lack of success and I couldn't help but think that it had to do with me. There were only 3 of us writing in that sub-genre and I was the one most succeeding.

Well, she got back to writing and switched sub-genres. After that she did a little better but still is not doing that well. And she was still a slow writer so I started thinking of her as one of the writers that wouldn't go anywhere. It takes devotion to earn big numbers in erotica and 1 release every 3 weeks won't cut it.

Six weeks ago she released a story. It didn't seem very special but it made it to the Hot New Release list for erotica. I always wonder how that happens because I have yet to make it to that list and I have a mailing list of 300 people. I know that she doesn't have a mailing list or a strong fan base yet there she was.

I continue to watch her book and it keeps climbing the list until it is # 2 behind a recent release of 50 Shades of Grey. After that it enters the Erotica top 100 list. Eventually it made it to # 1 in Erotica and started climbing the Romance list.

Today it did something special. It entered the overall top 100 books list on Amazon. That's quite a feat. I would love to say that I'm proud of her but I'm not really. I know I should be happy for her because she's someone from my group but I don't really feel it. Everyone on the group is thrilled for her. They are very supportive over there, but I guess I assume success. People succeed over there and she is just the latest one. We had someone get to #25 on Amazon. This is what happens. After the previous person made it to #25 she dropped off all of the list. People go up and they go down. This current person sold 15,000 books in the last 2 months, but I keep thinking, what will her book count be at the end of the year?

I'm wondering if my lack of enthusiasm has anything to do with the increased amount of oxytocin in my body. It's almost like a numbing feeling going on. But it's not like the numbing that comes with depression. I kind of feel like how androids in movies look like they feel. I feel unaffected. In fact, today someone I know completely made up something about me that has no basis in reality and posted it on facebook. And where as usually I would do something extreme like attack back or plot revenge, today I pretty much just dismissed it. There's no doubt about it, I feel different.

I was also watching a special on Pixar today. It was extremely interesting. The director of Toy Story is one hell of a story teller. He has a knack for humor and pulling the heart strings which is unparalleled. I think that I will add an element of heart to my YA story. I have never gone for emotionalism before. The first 4 times that I read the ending of my book 'The First Day After Life' I cried. I didn't write it to evoke tears and I'm not sure if it did it for anyone else. But I am going to make pulling heartstrings a goal in the YA story.

I was also giving thinking about something else pertaining to the YA book. At one point I was debating the idea of having the female 14 year old main character be the victim of sexual abuse. My thought was that I would have her escape to a different world to escape the abuse only to realize that she has left her little sister there to suffer the same fate. I wanted to use that to give the character something real to want to get back for. And I wanted her to have a reason for getting back that was so strong that no matter how glorious her new lives are and how much she loves the boys that she meets, she will still have a no-explanation reason for wanting to get back home. That is what I call true conflict and true obstacle for love.

Everyone minus 1 or 2 people said that I shouldn't do it. I have thought about it for about 6 months now. I'm doing it. If people don't want to read it, that's fine. I'm not writing Harry Potter. In almost all of my stories I deal with sex. And just because someone is sexually abused doesn't mean that they can't go on to laugh and love and live. And what's more, it will make what happens in the end of the last book, very substantial.

This is the book that I'm writing and I'm writing about life. What I have learned in the 20 years since I started my journey of discovery is that in life, horrible things happen to people, but that doesn't define them. This overweight, unattractive, sexually abused girl that no one loves accept the one person that she abandons, is not only going to survive her horrible beginning, but she is going to go on to be the most important human to ever live. That is the journey that I'm going to tell. And having thought about it for so long now, I am very confident that this is the story that I was meant to write.

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