An Afternoon Of Sex, Violence, And “A Ping”

Nothing scares me as an author more than writing two things: sex and violence. And I was writing a bit of both yesterday. So I was a mess…

[My desk, October 23, 2018. Photo by me.]

Trying to describe sex always terrifies me – thus why I’m not sharing anything of yesterday’s draft effort in that “department.” Women and men of course experience as well as perceive sex rather “differently.” Being a man, I rely on what women have told me about what women may think.

[Excerpt from Passports. Paperback. Photo by me, 2018.]

“Where did you learn stuff like that?” I’ll never forget – I was in my teens – overhearing my grandmother confronting and slamming my (now late) uncle over the sex in one of his novels. And to be perfectly honest she actually used as I recall another – four letter – word beginning with, uh, “s”. 😉

After four finished novels myself, and with the most recent, Conventions: The Garden At Paris, containing possibly the “weirdest” sex scene I think I’ve written so far (if you’ve read that novel, you may recall the one I’m talking about; and if you haven’t read it… uh, now, don’t think you can click from here to search through Amazon’s “free sample” to find it: it is farther on into the book than the sample goes! 🙂 ), I understand much better now both my grandma’s opinion and my uncle’s situation as an author.

I guess I’m glad my (now late) mother never read any of my books.

[Sneak peek into Tomorrow The Grace. Click to expand.

Writing violence presents for me a similar set of challenges. There is no actual violence above there; it is just the lead up to possible violence. (I don’t want to give anything away here!) Describing violence is often at times I believe much like writing sex… but, uh, ahem, I think I should probably best stop here on that comparison because I don’t want anyone to think I need a psychiatrist.

On a positive note. Over the years, I have discovered many women readers seem to like many of my male characters. (I will always recall one writing me about how she loved “Mark” in Passports.) I try always to remember that. So I think “Edward” will be a good “casting” addition.

Nonetheless yesterday I was having a tough writing afternoon. Also my previous post on here on Monday didn’t attract as many visits and “likes” as I usually get; and my Instagram had gone quiet as well. It was all so social media “tranquil” I hadn’t even felt the need to shut off “distracting” notification “pings” while I worked.

I was feeling a bit “alone.” As a writer, you are never satisfied. If your social media is not setting off iPhone “fireworks,” you wonder where everyone has gone and if your writing is indeed awful and deservedly forgotten and so you might as well just give up and retreat to some wooded area and move into a cave; but if the iPhone won’t stop insistently “pinging” and “pinging” and “pinging” demanding “Look at me!” you’re annoyed because you feel the noise the phone is making is keeping you from your writing.

My right palm holding up my chin, my elbow on the edge of my desk, I was rereading some of what I had just written that I wasn’t entirely happy with – when this popped up in my then quiet notifications…

…and instantly I forgot everything else. I stopped fretting over what I had just been writing. In my head, my troubles were now pushed aside.

But within a few seconds naturally I also worried: “Oh, God, she is going to read it…” (Adele Archer is a good romance and women’s fiction novelist.)

Pulling myself together, a short while later I commented:

[Screen capture of Instagram.]

And that is why a writer writes: for readers to enjoy your creation. It is always a wonderful feeling when someone announces she or he is reading your novel. It is a particular kind of special when another writer you respect says so: you’re both proud AND a nervous wreck.

Have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂