As much as it might seem like I throw any old thing that occurs to me up on these blogs, and I’ll admit I do tend to use this space as an area to just have fun, believe it or not there have been some ideas over the years that I tried to write, and ultimately didn’t make the cut. Today, I thought it would be fun to fill you in on some of the shit that ended up on the metaphorical cutting room floor, so you could see that even my whimsy does have limits. I’ll even include the planned titles, because often times that was the best part of what I could come up with. And to kick things off, I’ll start with the idea that inspired this blog:
Let’s Talk About Sex (Bay-Bee)
The plan for this blog was to discuss how adding even semi-graphic sex to a book immediately altered its genre to Romance or Erotica, which was unique since me adding… let’s say violence to Pears and Perils or Fred didn’t stop either from being light-hearted comedies. I could have picked any number of elements there, and the point would remain the same.
After a general discussion of the curious way sex is treated, especially in light of the fact that I bet a lot more of us have danced the flesh mambo than have gotten in a fistfight, I would have gone into the different methods I used to deal with the topic without actually getting graphic.
To be frank, there were two issues with this blog: 1) It really needed the voice of someone with experience writing in the Romance/Erotica genre to lend some expertise to the topic as a whole, and I don’t know anyone who does that well enough to ask them to guest blog. And 2) There are only so many ways to say “don’t show them fucking on the page” before it gets old, and I hit that point way too early in the blog. Maybe I’ll come back to this one, because it is a good topic to discuss, but only if I can find a way to flesh (giggle) it out and get some input from a person who knows more than I.
Building an Arc
The bitch of this one is I know I’m going to have to do it one day, but since I’ve been putting it off for 2+ years I’m counting it as rejected all the same for now. Simply put, this would be a discussion about managing various arcs within a story (character development, plot, etc). Specifically it would be dissecting the different methods needed to write a serial, versus a novel, versus a series. Because they are all different, and managing the arcs is key to doing each one as well as possible.
However, talking about the subject is just flat out boring, at least in terms of writing it down. I’ve had conversations with fellow writers and those weren’t nearly as bad, but every time I try to put this information down in a blog I fall asleep halfway through. It’s informative, sure, but even that’s only true for the small subset of my readers who are also writers. For everyone else, it would be a total skip, and I wouldn’t blame them.
Like I said earlier, it’s one I know I’ll have to do eventually, but not until I can make it fun. Maybe I’ll use it to experiment with video blogs (yes, I’m planning to do more than just drink on camera) or work up a slide show or something. I’m just spitballing here, if I’d found a way to make it fun I’d have done the thing already.
Drew Tries Stuff: Sobriety
I mean sure, I could have done it, but where’s the fun in that topic? No thanks.
The Great Agent Hunt
This is an example where the concept didn’t fall short as much as I just wasn’t able to get what I needed to put out something worth reading. To give a simplified version: back when Forging Hephaestus was freshly written I was debating how to proceed with it: indie-publish, submit to REUTS, or try and get an agent who could shop it around to the Big Five publishers (Penguin Random House, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster). I did a fair amount of research into agents who worked with hybrid authors, even posting an interview with one here on the blog. My plan was to compile everything together, explaining the pros and cons of agents in the modern marketplace, and then explain which choice I went with and why. It was designed to be a good peek behind the scenes and show how an author went through the evaluation and decision process.
The biggest problem here was that I stepped out of my depth. I know a lot about indie and small-press publishing, so I’m comfortable talking about those subjects. Agents and the Big Five, on the other hand, exist in a whole different spectrum. Even with research and interviews, it became clear that there was a lot of machinery moving behind the scenes that I couldn’t see, and the last thing I wanted was to write a blog with poor information in it.
To recap here what was nowhere near enough for a blog: Finding an agent who works with the really huge publishers is a long process, and even if one of the Big Five takes your book there’s no guarantee they will promote or back it well. They have a slush pile too. Agents who don’t work with the Big Five… I honestly wasn’t able to find a concrete benefit to employing them. Theoretically agents get you better deals, but Amazon’s percentage is set and a small-press only has so much margin they can cave on, so it’s hard to justify another 15% off the top. I’m not against agents or saying they have no worth, mind you, only that I wasn’t able to determine what that worth was well enough to distill down and put into a blog.
In the end, Forging Hephaestus was set on the course of indie-publishing, because there were elements I knew any publisher would ask me to change (such as a minor character named Johnny Three Dicks) and I wanted to keep full control. If I ever get more experienced in this field, I’ll probably come back and try to write the blog. If the experience of learning about agents taught me anything, it’s that a little clarity would be a very welcome topic to cover.