I’ve never been one to fall in line with the status-quo. Although, throughout my life
that has meant many things; let me help you understand. When I was a bratty nine-year old it meant going to school in two different colored socks with a blue streak in my hair,
long before blue streaks were the “it” thing. As a teenager, it meant black lipstick, big hair, and a just to throw everyone off, the boyfriend who looked like the all American boy next door. (Married that one)
Several things have surprised me about my writing, and thus surprised me about myself. I’ve always considered myself to be extraordinarily self-aware. I know my faults, I know my hang-ups, and I know the things that make people like me. So, imagine the shock when I realized I wasn’t who I thought I’d be as a writer.
The first thing that shocked me was my inability to write smutty sex scenes. I’m a relatively open-minded girl. I’ve tried to give myself a good kick when I’ve been
judgmental and there aren’t many things that make me blush. Each time I wrote a story I got lots of comments like, “when are they gonna do it?” and “what happened to the sex
scene?” For a long time, it was a running joke with my friends. They’d poke fun at my inability to put on paper what I had no problem talking about.
After a year or so of the ribbing, I forced myself to write sex scenes in a couple of my novels. All I can say is I never liked them. I never thought they furthered the story,
were necessary to the character development, or that the story lost something without them. Honestly, I thought they sounded as forced as they were.
Two and half years into my writing of novels, enter Astraea Press. No Cuss words, and premarital sex scenes, the submission guidelines read. My heart did a little dance. Sex
Sells. I’ve heard it. I know it to be true, and yet I don’t think it’s part of what I want to write at this time in my life. I believe beyond all doubt, there is a market for teenagers and adults who want to read fiction without it. Sex may sell, but have we really come to a
place as a society that we have to be hit over the head with it? There is something to be said for the building of a relationship and the tension between two people without graphic and explicit detail.
This brings me to another surprise in my writing. I write mostly paranormal fiction. As you can tell it walks the tight rope between teen and adult, and both seem to enjoy it. Here’s the rub. A lot of those paranormal novels mention God. Wow, why should I
bring this up? Recently, I got a review, a five-star review at that, but one of her notes was: Reader beware there are several references to God in this book, although they are not preachy.
I’d never even thought about the possibility someone would be offended by references to God. I guess it threw me off a bit and definitely made me think. I shamefully am not a church goer. Never have been. However, God has been so deeply rooted into my spirituality that when I write about things like, angels, near-death experiences, psychics, etc., I can’t help but tie the Man Upstairs into the stories. I believe for most people, there is some higher power, and I fail to see how mentioning Him is taboo.
It’s a bit silly to think four letter words are encouraged, but mentioning God is offensive. I’m glad it was pointed out to me though, because it forced me to hash out how I felt about the subject. I wouldn’t read a book that was supposed to be fiction and spent the entire time preaching to me, however, I wouldn’t put one down simply because there were references to God.
I guess at some point as writers, we all have to decide what is right for us, and if we are brave enough to stand by our convictions. I for one am going to stand by the notion,
that there are people who will enjoy a book without racy sex scenes that may or
may not make a reference to God. I’d like to give my readers the benefit of the doubt. I wouldn’t have a problem reading a novel about Wiccans, or watching a movie with cuss words and sex scenes – I mean True Blood is a staple on Sunday nights! And I think most readers who read for the joy of it, will not put a good book down simply because of three little letters G-O-D.
Here’s to living in a world where we are all free to explore writing the type of fiction we want to. I’m thankful we aren’t all writing the same thing, the competition would be deadly!