As you may know, I tend to have difficulties focusing on one story that I’m writing, which is fine, as it lets me jump heads from my insecure, modern-day PR person to my apocalyptic, self-secure wizard. (Those being my two main stories at the moment. The trans-man story may not go anywhere, as ze is being very difficult.) This is, of course, because I get inspired by something, bored by what I’m writing, etcetera. My muses are fairly active, even if they do tend to only do half their job (“OH, HEY, LOOK, AN IDEA. Plot? You’re on your own sweetheart.”) I have a notebook of jotted down ideas that will one day, hopefully, be written.
But are they any good?
I try not to think of my books in any particular genre, because I think good books transcend genres and should be judged as just being good books. However, my books would most likely be tagged as M/M romance (and that’s who I’ll sell to, when I get there). The romance genre never had a great rep, and the same holds true for its gay brethren. However, the romance (M/M in particular) doesn’t have to be what a romance is. If that made any sense. Ignoring the influx of bad writing that e-books permits, there is a wide range of M/M romance, some of which probably shouldn’t be considered romance. If you consider something like Aleksandr Voinov’s Scorpion to ZA Maxfield’s All Stirred Up, the only thing they have in common is that they have two men as the leads and sex happens between those two men. All Stirred Up is a more traditional romance or chicklit, while Scorpion reads more like a military fantasy novel. And yet they are both “M/M Romance” and sold by companies that sell M/M romances. But Scorpion would probably never (currently) be sold as a fantasy novel, because it contains *gasp* gay sex. Yet there are plenty of other fantasy novels that contain sex, a romance thread, and are not shelved as a romance.
I apologize, I’ve gotten terribly off topic. That was a rant about how because there are gay characters, the books tend to be lumped together as M/M romance because currently there are no other outlets for gay fantasy novels.
My real reason for writing is that I’m currently reading Scorpion with its deep plot and dark environment and all I can think is, “My stuff seems so trite next to this.” This happens often when I read an M/M romance book that is more than its genre. Books like Amy Lane’s Truth in the Dark, Aleksandr Voinov’s Scorpion, and Tamara Allen’s Whistling in the Dark. Yes, some of these books have strong romantic plot lines, but they are so much more than just a beach read that is the stigma of romance novels. Anyways, I read these and then I look at my own pitiful attempts and I go “why bother?”
Of course, the reason I bother (and rip my hair out, and exhaust myself and schedule time to write) is because I enjoy it. And it shuts the voices up (at least a little). But part of me still wonders why I can’t write books that transcend the genre. Do I write romance books because of my own unfulfilled romantic life? Do I not have deeper and darker books in me because I have such a happy life and am incapable of dreaming of darker things? Am I just meant to be a hack writer, putting out tawdry (or not so tawdry) romances?
Does it matter?
I write because stories I like writing and I have ideas. I can’t imagine not writing, although plenty of people don’t write ever. Of course part of me would love for my writing to be recognized by the outside world and published and maybe even, you know, read by an audience. So it shouldn’t matter what I write, as long as I am happy and my audience is happy. But that doesn’t make the yearning to write a darker piece any less irritating.
But maybe I’ll write a deeper piece without meaning to, and someone else will write a blog entry just like this using my story as an example.
I can only hope 🙂