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THE ANECDOTE

October 9, 2008

I forgot the anecdote — Altucher mentions the need for anecdotes, personal and otherwise, in his soon to be legendary how to write a book advice(see last entry Alternate Wednesdays). So which one do you want? Well, how about why did I write In The Bleak December…well, unfortunately, I could find no gay people in straight books and no straight people in gay books — and frequently, too much sex, so I decided to write a book more reflective of my life, but set before everyone was categorized and a demographic quality, as well as pay homage to the authors and westerns I loved when I was going up — Poe, early sci fi, the Lone Ranger, Bradbury, etc…so it started out as aliens visit the Old West — I believe the original title was Glowing River Gulch — there’s a winner — and I still have the parts of that I wrote somewhere…but it didn’t exactly work.

So there we were doing an excellent The Importance Of Being Earnest and I mentioned to the bundle of energy playing Lady Bracknell that I was trying to write a book about lesbian paranormal detectives and she shouted “I’m all about 19th century lesbian paranormal detectives” and insisted that one of them had to attend Bryn Mawr. So I had to change the date of the book to a time when Bryn Mawr had actually been founded and went from there, also allowing myself to be inspired by the greatness of Mike Leigh’s movie Topsy Turvy, about Gilbert and Sullivan. My theory about writing period books is to read people who were writing then rather than bury yourself in a pile of textbooks.

So I sat down and tried to write each chapter as short story to keep the pace up and to break it down into manageable chunks — I have a short attention span. And at one point Sally was a classical scholar so I tried for Homeric level repetition of epithets — yes, I took Latin and yes, I love rhetorical devices(and yes, I know Homer was Greek, but Mr. Speck made us read him anyway). And then I gave it to my friends, who loved it and then I sent it out to agents who didn’t think it was genre enough and then I read the DaVinci Code, didn’t like it, but couldn’t put it down, rewrote my first chapter to add more suspense and finally, I posted it on Scribd (a long nightmare of a story and it’s still not the prettiest copy) for anyone interested to read it — and in the hope that someday, I’d write the sequel so I’d know how the characters end up. I sense that Jane’s going to run, Sally’s not going to be that bothered, Mabel and John might try to intervene and I can’t decide if I should read Stoker’s Dracula and let it influence me. Vampires seem to be back.

I think that’s several anecdotes. I’m quite proud of the Poe parts, I do an excellent Poe voice –which could worry a person — and Jane and Sally were a hoot to try to figure out. Read it, darn it, right here. Free (edit: you can borrow it for free from the Kindle library.  In The Bleak December is now cleaned up and ready for your Kindle or Kindle app.) Download it, pass it around, hand it to someone who isn’t happy with the assortment of characters in the books they’re reading.

And if you want a great coming out tale, read Stir Fry by Emma Donoghue. It’s amazing.

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From → Books, reading, Writing

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