I’ve been getting back into submitting short stories and I am struck by the number of queer* journals and magazines handwaving their, well, queer content with phrases like “we don’t just publish queer content” or “it doesn’t have to be about that”.
Okay mate, if you want to wuss out, be my guest. Because that is exactly what these magazines are doing. If I want to read queer content, I look to queer magazines and journals. Hello. By basically “watering down” their content, they betray the very reason they are supposed to exist, and they betray their core readers. And that last thing, to me, is one of the gravest sins a publisher or writer can commit. You do not dis the reader. Ever.
If you publish queer content, publish queer content. Gleefully rub it in people’s faces. Don’t give a shit about people who squawk, queer or no. Just be out and proud about it. Like, “yes, we just published an explicit story about rimming, and next issue we have lesbian lovers working through parenting!” People haven’t died in a myriad of ways, from murder to AIDs, so you can wuss out and publish content that “doesn’t have to be about that” or whatever.
* Queer because it is the best all inclusive term, has been reclaimed since the ’80’s, and hints at radicalism.
ETA: I wrote a much more eloquent blog post on pretty much the same topic here. I guess it’s been bugging me for awhile?
I was tagged on Facebook to list five things about my work in progress. I am on vacation from my novella and working instead on rewriting a short story. So here goes with facts about the short story:
1. The protagonist is a feral child (though, he’s not really a child), literally raised by wolves.
2. I have mentally cast Oscar Isaac in the role of the secondary protagonist, who develops a relationship with the protagonist. Isaac would be perfect for the role, you can’t convince me otherwise.
3. I think of “Wolves” by Selena Gomez as the current theme song for the project.
4. The secondary protagonist plays folk music on a guitar as a hobby. He loves Cat Stevens especially.
5. My protagonist likes to play with tin cans. They are shiny.
The project I’ve spent the last six months on, The Weight of the Impossible, deals with a fifteen year old protagonist, Zach, who is a junior level competitive figure skater. As all teens do, he has a very particular lexicon. I found a graphic (on Twitter, I believe) which lists Generation Z terminology and jokingly posted it to my Facebook, saying: “Lo, the language of my protagonist. Though he says ‘fuck’ a lot more.” I decided to go through that graphic and write the Zach version. For the lolz, as Millennials might say.
While I have been neglectful of updating my site or submitting my fiction to magazines, it’s been a long damn year:
- I broke my ankle in three places last June, in an attempt to learn how to ice skate. I was still recovering well into December of last year.
- I totaled my car in a moment of carelessness. (That’s what you get for becoming too wrapped up in an audio book, kids.)
- I fell into a deep depression last December, and it lasted nearly six months. During this time, I wrote very little.
- I broke my wrist in the spring.
- Relationship woes in the summer, which I will not detail except to say there were woes.
So it’s been one hell of a year. I am feeling better, stronger, and more positive in my outlook. But the result of all of the above meant I didn’t submit to short story markets, and I didn’t do much in terms of writing except for the second half of the year. Hence the radio silence over here.
I will write more about what I’ve been working on. But later. I have to go make dinner. 🙂
Nothing much to report, except that I have a little earworm which has been tunneling it’s way through my brain over the last few days. I listen to it on repeat when I write, when I go to the store, when I take breaks . . . you get the idea. The song is “GOOD” by Erin McCarley, and you can listen to it here:
What sorts of earworms have you had? Tell me in the comments.
Yesterday marked the publication of His Aura: A Collection of Transmasculine Erotica, which features, among many awesome pieces, two of my short stories, “Maddeningly Wonderful” and “A Honeycomb of Nerves”.
You can read more about the stories and their background in this blog post.
While there is an excerpt on the book’s page of my story “Maddeningly Wonderful”, I thought I’d offer another excerpt from that same story. This excerpt is right from the beginning. I hope you enjoy it. Also, please consider buying a copy of the anthology if well written erotica and trans men is your jam.
Lately, I’ve become dissatisfied with sex scenes in fiction. More specifically, the types featured in romance novels and fanfiction. I have to say there is nothing wrong with the sex scenes in these stories. They have a purpose and fulfill that particular purpose. I have just found the sex scenes in some of these stories to be so graphic and over the top they turned me off. One scene in particular was so graphic that it was gross to me.
I write a lot of sex scenes myself. One of my novellas is very explicit because it details a man’s particular sexual journey. I write sex scenes because it is very much a part of the characters and the story. But along the way, I’ve found myself being overly graphic. I think it’s easy to fall into that trap. I’m going to work on improving my approach to sex scenes and be more impressionistic, rather than overly realist and graphic and writing in every last detail.
To that end, I rewrote a sex scene in my current novella to be a little less graphic. In the process, I found myself writing more about the characters, which, I think, lends a nice human touch which further keeps this from being gross or overly graphic.
I have a long way to go to be where I want to be with this particular aspect of my writing, but it’s a start.
I’ve decided to share the drafts of both scenes so you can compare and contrast the original and the rewritten scene. Below the cut, you can find both of those.
Some context: this story is about a May-December romance. Ren is nineteen and Paul is forty-two. In this segment, Ren has told Paul he loves him. Paul is very ambivalent about this. He doesn’t think Ren is old enough/mature enough to really understand what that means.