This observance was adopted by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1929 and in 1949 was given a place on the list of special days, weeks and months prepared by the US Department of Commerce. The resolution states in part: “By celebrating an Authors’ Day as a nation, we would not only show patriotism, loyalty, and appreciation of the men and women who have made American literature possible, but would also encourage and inspire others to give of themselves in making a better America.” It was also resolved “that we commemorate an Authors’ Day to be observed on November First each year.”
Recognizing the importance of writing in the lives of us all, NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) established and celebrated its first National Day on Writing on October 20, 2009. In 2011, at NCTE’s request, the U.S. Senate passed Resolution S.298 declaring October 20 the National Day on Writing!
It’s been one year since I self-published my first novella. Boy was that an adventure and a half. Just months earlier I had written my first short story (Storm of Passion). The overwhelming positive feedback and encouragement I received from readers prompted me to write an expanded version of the original short story. Mind you, I had no prior writing experience or training, yet, I boldly went where I had never gone before.
The first draft of the manuscript was sent off to a small group of Beta readers who volunteered to give their feedback on my story, grammar, punctuation, etc. Their comments came back and I could barely make out the actual manuscript from their too numerous to count comments. I sifted through their notes and I made revisions to the manuscript. After reading my revised work, I created cover art for the book cover and then formatted the manuscript for submission to Amazon and Smashwords.
Already, I had learned some valuable lessons and more would follow:
- Importance of patience
Take the time to do it right to my fullest ability. Don’t rush.
My novel Auf Wiedersehen~Journey to Goodbye is the perfect example. It’s been three years in the making and it’s still morphing and improving as each day passes. This is the fourteenth re-write, the core story has not changed, but the manner of how the story unfolds has changed dramatically. Patience I tell myself – Rome was not built in a day.
- Importance of relying on the kindness of others
I could save myself time and frustration if I do it alone, but the final outcome is more rewarding if I recruit outside help. Beta readers for example, they were wonderful. But they had not been in total agreement with their generous comments and suggestions during the Storm of Passion Beta read. I took from the experience the comments I was in agreement and revised the manuscript of my first novella.
- Importance of editing & proofreading
Ok, here’s where I learned the valuable lesson about the importance of proper editing and proofreading. After the novella (Storm of Passion) was published, the reviewers comments were focused on the lack of and need of editing and proofreading. I will be the first to admit that I have no idea how to structure a proper sentence, my punctuation skills suck and I can’t spell worth a ding dong. But through my many flaws and inadequacies, I was still able to get the gist of my story across to most readers.
An author friend told me that there are three kinds of writers:
1. The technical writer: an individual that has the training and proficient skills to write professionally, but they aren’t as creative as a storyteller.
2. The storyteller: an individual that can mesmerize his/her audience with endless stories, but can’t write a proper sentence if his/her life depended on it.
3. The technical writer AND storyteller: an individual who possesses BOTH talents (like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling), but this kind of extraordinary talent only comes along once in a blue moon.
So, I’ve accepted the fact that I can weave a yarn (in fact quite a few) but lack the technical training and ability. There are lots of folks in this world that are more than willing to assist, if only I ask.
- Importance of formatting
Formatting a manuscript for self-publishing can be a chore and a headache. I read all the manuals and help hints and guidelines before I began my various forms of formatting for self-publishing. I applied all of the knowledge I had absorbed and began the online manuscript submission process. Overall, they came out ok, there were a few minor glitches I was unable to rectify.
Recently the importance of proper formatting slapped me in the face (big time) as I read a self-published book on my Kindle. The text was all over the place, and not on just that page but the entire book. It was difficult to follow the story and especially the witty dialogue. I limped through the rest of the book, just because I was drawn into a wonderful story. Had the book been better formatted, the read would have been much more enjoyable. After all, isn’t that what a reader wants, an enjoyable read?
- Importance of believing in myself
I’d have to say that the most important lesson I’ve learned is to believe in myself and to follow my dream. From the start, I realized that I had to block out the little voice inside me, the one that said I couldn’t do it. Because I ended up doing it! I had self-published my first book.
I had considered the suggestions and comments from Beta readers and took what I deemed the better of the advice and applied it to my writing. I never compromised my story, but willingly listened to the advice along the way. Ultimately, that advice vastly improved my story.
After the Beta read of my second novella Masked Identities, one of the Beta readers advised me to trash the whole manuscript as it was nothing but sheer crap. Sure, the comment stung, but I wasn’t about to let one person’s opinion squash my story. After all, for each story read, each individual reader will take away a different opinion. This particular comment had only been one person’s opinion. I forged ahead and self-published the manuscript. As of this writing, Masked Identities has two 5-star reviews posted on Amazon and additional 5-star reviews on other review sites.
- Importance of setting a goal
Right from the start, I was determined to write and publish my stories, because I had tales to share. I wasn’t writing for fame or money, I wrote to tell my stories. Sure, my books haven’t graced the best-seller lists, nor have I received huge, whoppin’ commission checks, but that wasn’t my goal. I enjoy weaving my tales and hope that one or two readers will be whisked away from reality for a few minutes and settle into the fictional world I create in the form of a written story.
Pulpit To Porn, my current WIP is just that kind of novella.
- What have I learned?
More than I could have ever imagined. I’ve traveled to places and periods in history where it would have been otherwise impossible. I’ve become intimately acquainted with colorful characters living within my imagination. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’ve cheered. I’ve told my yarn.
That’s the reward of self-publishing …
Because I don’t have any free excerpt I’d like to share (OK, maybe next week I’ll post one, if you ask nicely! ), and because I know I have two more coming up in July, I’ll use Sundays to post authors’ interviews – whenever I read something that makes me curious enough to contact the author, that is. I won his novella Masked Identities at the Hop against Homophobia and because I liked… ehm… the excerpt after the novella, I sent him my usual writerly questions and he kindly played the game… so, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Dustin Adrian Rhodes! (must give his blog address, I love the header! )
D. I live and write from fabulous Austin, Texas – the music capital of the world. I’ve called Austin my home since 1984.
B. When did you start writing?
D. Spring of 2010 I challenged myself to attempt something I’d not done before: write a novel. I penned the first draft of Auf Wiedersehen and I continued to write. Seems there were more than just one story floating inside my head.
B. Cool! It’s never to late to start! As long as you don’t quit, of course! What genre(s) do you write?
D. I started in M/M Romance but I’m moving into GAY LIT. I’m one of those bizarre writers who has a story to TELL and not consumed with the idea of writing just to SELL a story. I’ll be a starving writer for the rest of my life. LOL.
B. Where do you find your inspiration?
D. All of my stories begin as a dream. I watch the story unfold on the back of my eyelids as I sleep. As soon as I’ve written down the scene or scenes I’d dreamt the previous night, the projectionist will move onto the next scene(s). If I don’t record everything in proper detail, I’ll continue to dream the same scene(s) repeatedly each night until I’ve documented the entire dream in detail.
B. Allow me 30seconds of envy. In spite of writing genre fiction, I could never make believable the stories I wrote from dreams. I had to stopo doing that, LOL! So, kudos for managing this! Do you put yourself in your stories?
D. Yes, I’ve put myself in my first novel (Auf Widersehen~Journey to Goodbye), it’s closely based on my last relationship. My second novel (Outed By Anger) is based on my own coming out in a small Oklahoma high school. Both manuscripts are WIP’s.
B. Do you have a specific writing routine?
I write when I get the time and it also depends on my dang dreams.
B. I follow inspiration, so I guess at least in that we’re similar, LOL! Outliner or improviser?
D. I write the first & last chapters, then I “wing” the chapters in between.
B. Interesting method! Fast or slow writer?
D. I write first drafts fast, but I also do numerous re-writes which is where I take my time. Auf Wiedersehen is currently in it’s lucky 13th re-write.
B. Ouch. Please don’t get stuck in rewriting hell. Tell us about your latest book (add link if published)
D. I self-published my latest novella (Masked Identities) in Dec of last year http://MaskedIdentities.dustinadrianrhodes.com
It’s a contemporary hetro story wrapped around a gay Victorian story (1890 London). A college girl has recently broken up with her since high school. To clear her head, she visits her grandparents and discovers a book she had not read in her grandfather’s library. The Victorian story sparks some similarities to her relationship with her now ex-boyfriend. She realizes she has made a terrible mistake with her ex and decides to try to make an attempt to salvage the relationship.
I had two endings and couldn’t decide which I liked best, so I kept both endings. The reader can decide which ending suits ‘em best.
D. Storm of Passion (my first novella) and Masked Identities were self-published. I’d like to see if I can’t get my current WIP novel traditionally published. Why? I’m relatively new to the writing game and I’d like to experience everything I possibly can. My WIP novel may be the last (or near the end) of legacy publishing as we know it, digital and self publishing is slowly draining the lifeblood out of legacy publishing and traditionally printed books. Hopefully that day will never come, but I’m not waiting around to see if it does… I’m gonna see if I can’t get published in the old fashioned way.
B. Well, good luck! Remember to let me know, as that teaser chapter really hooked me! [added note: the teaser chapter can be read online at: http://JourneyToGoodbye.dustinadrianrhodes.com] Any other projects in the pipeline?
D. Well, I mentioned both of my current WIP novels, and I’ve begun writing my next novella (Pulpit to Porn). Marc, a young minister must decide which is more important to him, his family or his religious convictions. He’s always been close to his family and he’s just become an uncle for the first time. His special needs nephew is being raised by his elderly parents and his single-mom sister. The nephew requires expensive medical attention which the family is unable to afford. Marc must decide if he will help his family financially and possibly jeopardize his career as a clergy. Faith and family become a serious internal struggle for the young minister.
B. What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
D. In addition to the WIP’s, I’ve outlined 6 additional novels. Although each storyline is a stand-alone, many of the characters reappear with a few years passing between each story. If read in order, the novels could be considered a “series”, but that’s not my intention. I’ve developed a deep connection with these characters and they’ve got some interesting story lines between them.
B. Whoot! Well, happy writing then!
Have a great Sunday everyone!
* * *
Please visit Barb’s blog: Creative Barbwire. Tell her that Dustin sent ya!
*** This blog post is a repost originally posted on
Creative Barbwire on Sunday, May 27, 2012 ***
Thank you Barb for allowing me to share our interview with my blogsters
BEST GAY DRAMA
When this film hit the film festival circuit last summer, this movie has been a huge hit with gay audiences. Following a washed-up gay filmmaker who gets the opportunity to meet his college-aged self, this clever and intelligent gay time-travel tale – peppered with a sexy young cast, high production values and an unconventional script – packs a creative and captivating punch that holds up to repeat viewings. We can’t wait to see what co-writer/director J.T. Tepnapa has in store for us next.
BEST GAY ROMANCE OR COMEDY
The Love Patient
Anyone who saw director Michael Simon’s short film festival hit Gay Zombie back in 2007 probably had an idea that his feature debut, The Love Patient, would have a lot of sick and twisted comedic thrills in store. Benjamin Lutz plays a gay egomaniac who lies about having cancer in order to gain sympathy points from an ex-boyfriend. Packed with wickedly funny performances, we’re glad that our customers love The Love Patient as much as we do.
BEST GAY ROMANCE OR COMEDY
A 100% guaranteed fun time for gay scary movie fans, Bite Marks manages to blend together the horror, comedy and gross-out gore genres perfectly – with a little bit of gay erotica thrown in for good measure. It also doesn’t hurt that all of the lead actors (including aforementioned Love Patient star Benjamin Lutz, Windham Beacham, David Alanson and ’80s teen actor-turned gay porn star Stephen Geoffreys) are so damn sexy!
BEST GAY DOCUMENTARY
Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride
Covering pride events from all over the world, Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride, a fascinating documentary, offers a reminder that many gay communities in other nations have yet to win the battles for basic civil rights that we in the United States have already conquered. Even those of us who have had our fill of pride parades will have a lot of consider after watching this film. The footage from the Moscow Gay Pride March in 2008 had us literally cheering!
SEXIEST GAY MOVIE
When it comes to sexy subjects, is there anything hotter to imagine than the naughty, experimental on-goings of a frat house? The people who proudly voted for Longhorns don’t seem to think so! With this raucous tale of a Texas frat boy’s sexual awakening, director David Lewis (usually known for more dramatic offerings like Rock Haven and Redwoodsmanages to blend true romance and hilarious, completely delicious raunchiness while presenting the funniest, wildest film of its kind since Another Gay Movie.
BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A GAY MOVIE
Actor/author/screenwriter/producer/travel show host Charlie David is a jack-of-all-trades if we have ever seen one! We’re absolutely thrilled that he is this year’s Gaybie Award Winner for “Best Lead Actor in a Gay Movie.” With roles in Dante’s Cove, A Four Letter Word, Mulligans, 2 Frogs in the West and the new comedy Vance and Pepe’s Porn Start, he’s always been one of the best in our hearts!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A GAY MOVIE
Seal Paul Lockhart
There are many adult film actors who long to break into mainstream film. Sean Paul Lockhart (formerly known to gay porn aficionados as Brent Corrigan has the talent and charisma to pull it off! Since his mainstream debut in Judas Kiss, Sean has also had roles in the gay comedy Sister Mary and the new cult favorite horror anthology Chillerama. We’re excited to see him do just about anything and can’t wait to see his next movie!
BEST PHOTO/ART BOOK
Seasons of Love - Michael Breyette, Artist
This truly wonderful book documents the seasons of the year with stunningly emotional illustrations from Michael Breyette. Our TLA-commissioned Michael Breyette illustration for Christmas 2011 was one of our favorites ever. Bruno Gmunder’s work as publisher of this volume ensures that it will be a collectible decades from now.
BEST COMIC/COMIC ART BOOK
Just So Horny - Michael Kirwan, Artist
With inspiration from the pioneering gay artist Paul Cadmus, Michael Kirwan’s imagination runs wild in this absolutely, disgustingly wonderful book. And Bruno Gmunder have put together a wonderful book you’ll want on your coffee table, as long your mom and dad aren’t coming over.
BEST EROTIC FICTION BOOK
Riding the Rails: Locomotive Lust and Carnal Cabooses - Jerry Wheeler, Editor
The charming Mr. Wheeler has assembled some really interestingly erotic stories about sex on trains – another in his series of unusual porn collections. I think we need to see sex in zoos next Jerry!
BEST MYSTERY BOOK
Holy Rollers - Rob Byrnes, Author
Rob’s second novel in this series may have changed publishers but it’s just as witty and laugh-out-loud funny. This comic mystery about a pair of bumbling gay criminals is lots of fun.
BEST ROMANCE BOOK
Captain Harding’s Six-Day War - Elliott Mackle, Author
It was quite a drama for Elliott to get his book published as it was slated to come from the now-dormant Alyson Books, but it was well worth the wait. Romantic, erotic and packed with adventure, clear some space on your schedule to read this book if you haven’t yet.
BEST SPECULATIVE FICTION BOOK
Woke Up in a Strange Place - Eric Arvin, Author
While we’ve got nine books either authored by Eric Arvin on the site, or with stories by him in them, none appear to be like this fantasy about a man who wakes in a field with no memories. Very well-reviewed everywhere, we expect Mr. Arvin to revisit this type of fiction in the future.
BEST GOSSIP/SEX/BIOGRAPHIES BOOK
Blow Me - Stephen Niederwieser, Author
Being our top seller for the year we expected this sex guide to win – for some reason you guys seem to enjoy oral sex – we’re not sure why. This handy-dandy sex guide has some hot shots and pointers for making seem fresh with your man.
BEST FICTION BOOK
Chulito - Charles Rice-Gonzalez, Author
Like “Captain Harding” above, this book was delayed by the Alyson Books situation, but it was also worth the wait. Our number one best-selling novel for the year, this book is set on the rough streets of the Bronx and you need to read this book!!!
Congratulations to the 2012 Winners and a special Thank You to TLA for providing this annual forum to recognize outstanding works of accomplishments in the Gay arts.
Visit TLA Video website: http://www.tlavideo.com
During his high school years, he was like most teens who grew up in small towns, he wanted to move away and pursue a dream far from the confines of a small community. He had a burning desire to get as far away from that town and as soon as he could – he couldn’t get out fast enough. He wanted to shake the haunting memories and the life that he thought he should have had, but hadn’t had. He wanted out so badly he hadn’t considered where he was running too, just as long as he wasn’t in the shadow of that town.
When the time came, he was gone!
He didn’t look back as he passed the city limits – he didn’t even think twice. He was free at last. But as the months and years passed, he still couldn’t separate himself from his past. He traveled further and further away, yet, he couldn’t get far enough away. He kept running, running away from a past that he didn’t want to claim as his own.
For ten years he ran and was still no further from the past than when he started. Finally giving up, he realized that no matter where he traveled, the past would always be there, stalking and haunting him.
Less than one year ago, I began to write a novel OUTED BY ANGER. Angrily I wrote about a young boy coming out in a small rural Oklahoma town during the 70′s. Hate, bullying, prejudice were the key words in a politically charged theme attacking the establishment. Just this past week, I re-read the first six chapters of the incomplete rough draft. In my reading I was stunned that I was perpetuating the very theme that I was taking a stand against: HATE.
I stepped back and re-examined the very story that has been in my head since I was in high school, now the beginning of a manuscript – a manuscript that turned my stomach. This is not the way I had intended to tell this story.
I began at the very beginning of the manuscript and started editing the story. Instead of a narration from the hindsight perspective of an angry man, I turned the voice into that of a confused and naive teen boy. Through the eyes of a teen boy, the story unfolds. My hateful and angry prose were replaced with compassion and sympathy for a boy on a journey through his internal confusion and insecurities. A story of navigation along a rough road of discovery into small town politics and religious prejudice. A tale of a boy with only one objective – to escape the town as soon as he could.
That boy was me.
As I write this story which parallels my own high school experiences, I’m coming face-to-face with my past, the very past I’ve spent my entire life running from. Yet I’m sensing that in writing this tale, it might possibly explain what has eluded me for so very long. What exactly was I running from? Or was I running toward a destination which I had failed to define? A story which began as a coming-of-age story about a young teen boy, may very well become a journey of revelation for the man who is writing it.
It’s a new year, a time to put the past behind and to begin fresh and new. The arrival of a new year is like closing one chapter and beginning a new one. But I’m stuck in a rut and for some reason, I can’t seem to move into the next chapter. Did I forget to set up the story line for the next chapter? What am I missing? Why can’t I get the story to move forward?
My life is just one gigantimous ongoing novel. I expect to complete one chapter and move seamlessly into the next. Somehow my life hit a snag-a-boo and the last chapter seems to keep rewriting itself over and over. It’s as if I’m stuck in a looped instant replay. The chapter can’t be deleted and I can’t find a way to edit it.
Aren’t I supposed to be the author of my own life?
One fine day, a little over one year ago, I sat down at the laptop and started writing a story. I had never written anything in my life, other than some crappy reports in school. To be honest, I hated to write.
Several months had passed and the manuscript grew longer and longer with each passing day, until one afternoon I had typed the the final words to, not just a story, but a novel.
A friend read the manuscript and insisted I submit it to be published.
I didn’t exactly know how the whole submission process worked. I had read that a Literary Agent was a good way for an unknown author to get his/her inaugural work in front of a potential publisher. So, I queried a few potential agents and within a few weeks I signed a contract. Now, I would sit back and wait for the offers to roll in, or so I thought.
Months had passed without a word from my agent. During the waiting period, I had written and self-published a short story and a novella, with more ideas brewing in my brain.
While self-publishing my works, I had learned a lot about the publishing industry and even more about the writing process itself.
The finest lesson I learned was about a special group of individuals called: Beta Readers.
Before I self-published my short story and novella, these fine folks tore apart my manuscripts, not in a bad way, they had helped to improve the stories immensely.
Beta Readers have now become an important part in my writing process. I transfer their tons of notes, highlighted words/phrases, suggestions and corrections to my grammar and punctuation, onto my MASTER MANUSCRIPT. Each Beta has a predetermined font color and I add all of the colorful notes directly into my manuscript (corresponding with the particular issue). When I have completely transferred all the notes onto the MASTER, it looks quite colorful and pretty with all of those different colored fonts.
A friend noticed my MASTER on my laptop one afternoon and she inquired about it. I explained to her how my manuscript revision method worked. After all the colored Beta comments are posted onto the MASTER, I start at the beginning of the manuscript and address each Beta issue. One at a time, I make my revision or correction and delete the colored Beta comment and move onto the next Beta issue until no colored Beta comments remain on the MASTER. After addressing and deleting all of the Beta issues, my MASTER is a totally revised manuscript.
My friend began to read some of the Beta comments and became extremely offended over comments they had made in regards to my manuscript.
I closed the laptop and immediately changed the subject, not wishing to get into an involved discussion of how their comments made my stories more readable.
Several additional months had passed and still no communication from my Literary Agent about my novel. I sent copies of the novel manuscript to Beta’s for an initial evaluation. WOW! Was I ever impressed with their extensive comments.
After completing a new revision of the manuscript, I sent the improved version off to another round of Beta’s.
Result: the Beta’s suggested the deletion of six entire chapters and in doing so required major modification to the story.
My contract with the Literary Agent had expired, without even an email asking if I wished to extend it.
I have since realized that my involvement with the agency had been a waste of time. The agent had lead me to believe I had an excellent manuscript, ready for publication and the agency would locate the most suitable publisher for my work. In actuality, my manuscript was a piece of shit and needed a tremendous amount of reworking before it could be considered “submission ready”.
On my own initiative, Auf Wiedersehen~Journey to Goodbye has already gone through eight entire rewrites and I have begun the final revision. It’s basically the same story as it was one year ago, but it reads like a real novel now.
Funny how things in our lives change, sometimes over night. Nineteen months ago, I sat down at the laptop to write just one measly story…
For months, I did research for my latest novella, Masked Identities. The storyline includes a period story sandwiched within a contemporary story. In other words, I was writing two stories that would ultimately become one.
The interior story of Ambrose and Sebastian takes place in 1890 Victorian London. Mind you, I have never been off the shores of North America and I definitely had not lived in the 19th Century (at least not during this lifetime). To properly tell this story required months of research into Victorian London history. I recreated a large 19th Century map of London which was taped to the wall in front of me along with reproduced photos of clothing styles, buildings, actual newspaper articles, court and police records, birth records (to select from popular names given to infants during the period), along with tons and tons of notes. During my research I discovered actual events, places and even people that made the story seem like it was becoming more than just a work of fiction. Not having written a “period” piece before, I encountered a challenge with phrases and words that sounded too contemporary or too “American”. Luckily, I had come across two comprehensive directories of “1890 Victorian Slang Terms” which was quite beneficial as well as educational. I began incorporating the results of my research into my story. There was a nagging voice constantly chattering in my head: “The story has to be authentic and historically accurate.”
Once the interior story was completed, I finished the contemporary (exterior) story of a troubled relationship between Megan and her boyfriend, Chandler. But, I had two different endings and was undecided of which to use. I flipped a coin and that decided the ending.
The completed story was sent out to Beta Readers for review. The extensive comments were mixed and quite varying. The Beta’s were evenly tied in their comments of how the story should end, although they had no idea I had a second ending which I had not included in the manuscript. During the revision I decided to include both ending, so the story had an alternate ending. I would leave the selection of the ending to the reader.
Then what to do about about Cover Art? I had six mock-ups and was just as undecided on which I liked best, so I put the mock-ups to a vote of my peers on Facebook.
The story was completed and ready for publication. So, exactly how many writing rules had I broken?
(1) The story has both a Contemporary story and a Period story – OK, that’s a genre specific issue.
(2) The interior story is gay themed and the interior story is hetero themed – another problem.
(3) An alternative ending rather than just one ending – can I break any more writing rules?
To publish the story, I had to consider exactly which genre did this story belong? The publishing industry has specific established genres and my story severely crossed over genre lines. Pondering my dilemma, I questioned why in the heck had I written this story in the first place.
I was reminded of an author friend who recently told me that there are two kinds of writers:
(1) The writer who follows all the rules of grammar, punctuation and writes the edit-perfect book.
(2) Then, there is the “story teller” who creates wonderful tales, but does not follow the writing rules, either due to a lack of formal training or just because they are a rebel.
The author friend had classified my writing style in the second category, as a “story teller”. Yes, I can tell you a tale, but don’t ask me to diagram a sentence, or ask me to identify an adverb or a noun, and I’ll put a period or comma wherever I feel like it. And what the **** is a gerund?
I was reminded of Cyril Connolly, who said, “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
Masked Identities was released in digital format on December 4, 2011 and the paperback edition will follow. Maybe no one will read my story, and those that do may not like it. Whatever the case, I will always consider Masked Identities as my alternative fiction that lacked a genre.
Synopsis of Masked Identities
Megan thought she had read every book in her grandfather’s extensive collection of fiction, until stumbling upon an unfamiliar title. Curious, she delves into the book, realizing that her own relationship with her boyfriend of four years parallels the story she is reading of Ambrose and Sebastian. Can a story of love between two men provide the answers to salvage her floundering relationship?
This unusual tale is actually a period story wrapped inside of a contemporary storyline. The interior story includes actual places and events of 1890 Victorian London. One story follows the relationship of two men in Britain, the other story follows Megan and Chandler in upstate New York, USA. Not specifically defined as a romance novella, since this manuscript crosses genre specific lines: gay / hetero, period / contemporary, and even includes an alternate ending. Definitely not the traditional run-of-the-mill read, but a journey into alternative fiction.
OK, so I just finished MASKED IDENTITES, well almost, it’s in the hands of Beta Readers now (or rather in the jaws of ruthless blood-thirsty wolves shredding my story into scrap paper).
Nearly four months in the making, I spent three of those months doing research alone. I collected enough 1890 Victorian history notes to write volumes on the subject. Yet only a very small portion of that research actually appears in the story. No, it’s not a “period” story, but rather an exterior contemporary story wrapped around an interior “period” tale. The plots of the two stories parallel each other. The contemporary story deals with a heterosexual college couple (high school sweethearts) in a US setting. The interior tale is of two young gay men in 1890 Victorian London. Now, exactly how weird is that?
Masked Identities came to me as a dream, as all of my story ideas do (if I only had the time to write all the back logged stories I have outlined). Guess I have an over active brain, I can’t shut the darn thing off at night. It’s like as soon as the lights go off, my brain kicks in creating all kinds of strange stories. Which leads to my purpose for writing today’s blog dribble in the first place. (Thank gawd no one reads this shit). I finally complete MI, after contemplating for weeks over several endings, none of which I really liked, then the ending came to me in another dream (I did not like the original dream ending when my night-time brain projected the story on a movie screen inside my warped head).
The new ending worked and I had a finished manuscript which I feel so-so about. However, I still can not figure out the genre, sub-genre or sub-sub-genre (if there’s such a thing). The story isn’t an M/M Romance, it’s not Hetro Romance, it’s got a little of BOTH. No gratuitous sex (now I have lost 99.9% of anyone reading this blog entry with that statement). And to now eliminate the 0.1% that are still reading, the manuscript has a double-whammy not-so-happy-ending. Geez! Now I have no one to finish reading my blog entry… maybe I’ll just close the entry here.
Maybe not, dag-nabit! I spent nearly five months on this short story and I’m not giving up on it. Maybe it doesn’t fit into the comfort niche of most readers, maybe it’s a story that will make some readers ponder relationship issues, maybe it’s more than just a quick, simple, brainless read. Then of course, I could put the manuscript under the sofa leg to level the dang couch.