I thought I’d start a writing blog, to document my progress in writing the Original Character novel and explain some of my thought processes along the way, and to invite any help, encouragement and/or advice you want to throw my way :-).
After an excellent discussion with you guys a couple of months ago, I decided I want to self-publish rather than use a publisher for my first OC novel. Writing fanfic has rather spoiled me for doing things my way, and I’d rather have a smaller audience than have to compromise. I want to produce the same kind of product that I’ve been producing during my years in fanfic, and I like having that kind of autonomy.
I’m not expecting to sell a gazillion copies anyway! LOL! The whole point of this first novel will be on exploring what the e-publishing revolution is all about, first hand. I’m viewing it as a massive learning curve, both in the writing, the production, the marketing and everything else. I thought I’d see what it was like, and if I enjoyed it, and whether this was the best way of doing it. Or even if I wanted to be doing it at all.
One of the first problems was – what to write? I have lots of novel ideas and felt a bit daunted about where to start. Inventing OC characters isn’t new to me, but I had to consider not only the characters but also their situation and the world in which they exist. This took a bit more thought.
Last year, the lovely gloria1 came to stay with me one weekend to help me out during the broken leg time, and I told her about this little OC story idea I had, set in the BDSM universe – a sort of romantic comedy about actors on a hit TV show. The more we chatted and laughed about it, the more I wanted to write it. I even made a bit of a start and did the first 13,000 words before a lack of confidence caused me to stop.
See, writing, for me, is half about loving it and half about battling my own demons. I’ve never yet written a long story where I haven’t, at some point, only been able to see its flaws, and wondered what the point was in continuing, and been sure that nobody would want to read it. My writing process is hugely about confidence – when my confidence is high, for whatever reason, writing is easier, but when the demons crawl out, then I struggle. I focus in on an area where I think it’s not working, or a character I’m sure everyone will hate, or whether or not my audiencers really like it or are just being polite. If it’s a dark story, I start thinking people will find it too dark and if it’s a lighter story, I worry they’ll find it utterly lightweight. I do always manage to defeat these demons, or at least battle my way through to the end of the story, grimly repeating the mantra “You can fix it all in the edit” over and over again in my head. Then I usually wonder what all the agonising was about when I come to the edit!
But this time, the demons won – I wasn’t yet ready to write an OC story. I didn’t know what I’d do with it when I finished it, and I didn’t think anyone would want to read it anyway, although it WAS a lot of fun sharing it with Gloria. So I went back and wrote some more fanfic, but I kept circling back to the fact that I had all these OC novel ideas, and I DID really want to try writing at least one of them all the way through.
I toyed with a vampire fic idea – but that one was so long in my head that I knew it’d be a trilogy before I’d even started, and it felt just too daunting to jump straight into the OC self-publishing world with THREE novels, rather than just one. After doing a little poll here on my LJ, I felt inspired to return to the BDSM-verse one again and pick up where I left off. That was the one that was most calling to be written at that time. It was also relatively easy, taking place over a mere 6 months rather than 2000 years! I also thought it’d work well as a gateway into seeing what self-publishing is all about. I’ll know better how to approach the other novels, including the epic vampire story, after I’ve done this one, if that’s what I choose to do.
I also didn’t want to lose my simple enjoyment in writing. It had to be a pleasure (for the most part!) or there was no point doing it. I realised I’d been putting a lot of pressure on myself, and that this was paralysing me. This first novel doesn’t have to represent the whole range of my writing abilities. It doesn’t have to appeal to all tastes or be the most amazing thing I’ve ever written. It’s just got to be a story I want to tell, and I’ve got to enjoy telling it.
So I returned to the BDSM-verse novel in April, picked up where I left off, and I’m now about 90,000 words into it. Inevitably, it’s going to be long! *Hangs head*. I’ll try and cut things down a bit in the edit, but I can see there’s a long way to go yet and a lot more story to tell before I’m done.
One of the worries I had was that I wouldn’t have the drive to write OC without the inspiration of a TV show fuelling me, but that hasn’t been a problem at all. I love these characters as much as any of the others I’ve written about, and desperately want to tell their story. In fact, I’m loving telling their story – and as it’s clearly definitely *happening*, I thought maybe it was time to talk about it a bit more.
I didn’t want to rehash any of the stories I’ve already told – I wanted to tell a new story and explore new facets to the BDSM-verse. And I didn’t want to write avatars of characters I’ve written about before – I wanted to create new ones.
So my hero dom isn’t like any of the doms I’ve written about before. He sleeps around, he’s not responsible, he keeps getting into trouble, and he’s never been fully in touch with his dom side. He’s one of those doms that Tony would have had a fling with in The First Collar who couldn’t make him feel anything because they were only playing at it. MY OC dom is very good at playing at it – and there are reasons why he’s never wanted to fully explore the genuine emotions of being a dom, which I’ll explore as the novel progresses.
Then there’s my sub. My sub in this novel likes to be in control to the point where he’s never let anyone really top him. He’s afraid of experiencing his own submission and has never found his own subspace. As a result, he keeps getting into bad relationships with the wrong kinds of doms. He also has an OCD problem and finds it hard to relax and let go.
So, we have a larger than life, laidback, trouble-magnet of a dom, and an OCD, law-abiding, control freak sub. Obviously these two aren’t immediate bedfellows, and I’m loving the process of slowly inching them towards each other and having them seek the parts of themselves that they’re too scared, for whatever reason, to fully embrace. They are both going on a journey, with lots of heartache, joy, angst and pitfalls along the way.
Writing OC has also given me a chance to explore some different facets to the BDSM universe, and to create some new canon. One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about my BDSM-verse is that it’s an entire world and it isn’t all about the BDSM sex. It might be a nice set up for some kinky sex, and I certainly like to explore that too *g*, but primarily it’s about how the people in this universe think and behave, and what it’s like to live there and be part of it. It’s about the people and relationships and dynamics as much as the actual sex.
When you write BDSM in our universe, you always have to deal with it not being the norm, which means the characters have to discuss that and come to terms with it. In the BDSM verse it is the norm, so nobody has to angst over it or give it much thought. That allows the BDSM to be an ever present backdrop and allows the story to be about the characters and not just the BDSM. Yet the BDSM is also subtly there in everything they think and do as well.
As I’m enjoying the writing so much, I think it’ll give me the confidence to tackle all those other stories waiting to be written too. After this one there is the vampire trilogy, a dark slavefic, an epic love story with an unusual murder-mystery thrown in, and many others besides. I also want to write some more fanfic. So I’m excited about all the writing possibilities coming up :-).
Phew! That brings me to the end of my first writing blog. I’ll keep you updated on the process – not just the writing, but what it’s like to self-publish, and the perils and pitfalls (and hopefully some highlights!) that I encounter along the way. I want to be honest – about the process and what I hope to achieve, and what the experience is like. First time out, it’s really about completing a novel I’m satisfied with, enjoying the experience, finding out how to self-publish, and exploring the marketing side of things. After I’ve done all that, I’ll know whether I want to do it again, or do it differently. It might not be for me, but I won’t know until I’ve tried.
If you made it all the way through, then you deserve a reward. So, here is a gif of two guys who are dead ringers for the characters in my story in skin tone and body shape! The one lying down is the dom and the one on top of him is the sub. I love the affection and intimacy in this gif :-).