I promised honesty and that’s what you’re going to get. It won’t win me any friends, but that’s just how it goes. If I filter things, then I’m self-censoring and how is that honest?
Sometimes, life just moves along without any big events to write about, and that’s pretty much how the last week unfolded. Not to say nothing happened, it did. I wrote a lot (working on two books and a short story all at the same time), started cleaning my office (which is a disaster), had awesome input from a VIP on the book, and got 11 more ‘No’s.’
Now, some of those ‘No’s’ were me being pro-active. I came to the realization that finding an agent for what I write will be tough, really tough. My books are very diverse, very LGBT friendly and pretty much treat differences the way Heinlein taught me to treat them: what matters is performance, not who or what you are. And you don’t beat people over the head with it.
So I’m not overt about it, because that’s not life. In my world certain things are assumed, and merit based assignments are part of them, just like RAH would have done it. My MC, Nick Angriff, doesn’t care about anything except how well you can do your job. However, since I’m not in your face about this, I realized it’s working against me.
The most common word used by beta readers and editors to describe my work is ‘fun.’ It’s a strange word to use about a novel where the western world is pretty much wiped out, but I get the idea. It’s fast, I hope it’s compelling, I think the dialogue is first rate and in places it’s damned funny. Just like life. But none of that matters if you can’t get past the gatekeeper.
In a twitter contest some editor wondered why all SF is made up of middle-aged white guys. It was pretty obvious that I was the target of this comment, which (thankfully) betrayed my problem, namely, since I only name the race of ONE character in the whole book, my MC, the editor ASSUMED the rest were all white. The truth is the opposite. Indeed, the model for my MC’s best friend is Dennis Haysbert.
I did this on purpose. When you make assumptions about things like a character’s race, it betrays YOUR biases, not the author’s. So what I would tell that editor is their comment reflected their prejudice, not mine. I did not do this to be mean, I did it to be instructive, to show that even the most open minded among us are biased. I would hope they take it in the spirit of open discussion…except the Emperor don’t usually like bein’ told he’s naked.
So why write a blog post that X number of people are guaranteed to hate, and to be alienated by? It goes back to the honesty thing. This is my journey and I swore to give it to you straight. No ice, shaken, not stirred. It might be too strong and it might burn, but it ain’t watered down. You get your money’s worth in my bar.