With the exposure of this story on the writer forums and blogs, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Since I began writing I have been of the opinion that you should be proud of your writing–as well as your name–and that pseudonyms aren’t necessary in this era of electronic and self-publishing.
The article concerns a high-school teacher who was exposed as a writer of erotic fiction under a pseudonym. Apparently some parents believe that a person like that shouldn’t be teaching children. I’m not going to touch the issue of how wrong it is that she is judged that way; it’s been done to death on a million blogs. Instead I’m going to blather on about the other issue, pseudonyms and why we might need them.
Pseudonyms have a long history with good reason, and maybe I’ve dismissed the idea too quickly. Let’s face it; it will be a long time before I am able to quit my day job in favor of writing full time. What will happen if someone I know at work happens to see my name on Amazon? I don’t write erotica, but I do write adult fiction, with disturbing themes that would be troubling to some. It could be embarrassing.
I’m not even really that concerned about my current job. I might be embarrassed the first time someone asks me why I wrote about slavery and magic, but I would live through it and have doubts that I could be fired because of it–I don’t work with children and never speak with outside customers. What happens if I decide to change jobs or I get laid off and I have to start a job search? All employers these days do web searches on prospective employees. Will being a fiction author impact my ability to get hired in the future? Honestly, I have no idea.
My gut response is of course not. Every one of us has hobbies and things we like to do in our spare time that have nothing to do with our work lives. Why should mine be held against me? Considering the backlash against Ms. Judy May, I can no longer believe that everyone shares that opinion.
The simple answer to this issue is that once this position ends, for whatever reason, I go on to freelance or a similarly “authorly” pursuit where my fiction wouldn’t be held against me. Is that realistic though? I’ve never held a paying writing job, and I make a good living doing what I do now. It’s really a difficult question, and I don’t have an answer.
I am proud of my writing and I want to stand on my roof and tell everyone that I’m an author and here is what I’ve written, but so few of us manage to make a real living doing this. It frightens me to make that leap and never look back. I’m not the starving artist type. I like to have money to travel and do the things I want to do.
Do you have similar concerns? I’d like to hear about them.
So I spent today trying desperately not to rewrite scenes from the novel I just finished. I’m trying to give it a rest. Instead, I rewrote history! The creation story of my werewolves in Brood is something I’ve known all along, but never really wrote out, so I took the time today to scrawl a few paragraphs on how they came to be what they are. I also decided based on some research that I’m going to drop the ‘s’ from Broods. It’s not a big deal, but one translation of the Völuspá–the skaldic poem I got the idea from–uses the singular Brood, and I think I like it better.
I’ve never tried to interweave the history of a story in with actual history before and I found it an interesting exercise. The original idea for this story came from research I was doing into Norse mythology for a completely unrelated story that never went anywhere. Funny how that works. I’ve tried not to burden the actual story with too much of the language and myth, but I think it adds a nice flavor that most werewolf tales don’t have.
Anyway, here goes the little taste of history:
The Brood of Fenrir descends from a race of werewolves enslaved by the barbarians of Scandinavia prior to the Viking Age. True origins lost to the centuries of oppression they endured, they became a fixture of Norse Mythology as the children of the wolf Fenrir and a giantess. Used as disposable shock troops by their masters, they ultimately became known as berserkers.
During the tenth century, several hundred of the Brood managed to fight their way to freedom and fled to Iceland. The Viking expansion into Iceland and Greenland thereafter was prompted by their relentless pursuit of the escaped slaves. When the Brood reached the shores of North America they integrated themselves into the extant cultures there and finally managed to elude their pursuers for good. Today they hide among humans in North America, their sub-culture a brutal reflection of their dark past.
This will at some point be a part of a longer history, but I had fun writing up that teaser today. What do ya think? I’d also be interested to hear about if any other authors out there have tried to do something similar.
Ryan’s Word of the day is garrulous, which means wordy. What do you think he’s trying to imply?
Wolf Photo by sometimesong found here.
Finally, after about a week of trying to finish one scene, the first draft is DONE. I’m really proud of this one. Weighing in at a sleek and slender 60k words almost on the nose. I’m debating another title change at this point, to Fenrir’s Boon, but I’m not sure about it yet. I’m going to let it fester… I mean sit for a few days at least before I start hacking it apart. I think the plot is pretty well settled, just a few things I have to go back and tweak. I’ll work on the description , loglines and such in the meantime. I’m excited.
How do you like the new look? I almost went with something a bit more girly, with flowers and such. I suppose it was the influence of spring. I looked at it the next day and realized that it just wasn’t me. That much pink on a daily basis would probably make me break out in hives. Plus considering what I write, cute little flowers might give the wrong impression.
As an amusing side note, when I took down the flowers the husband asked why and I responded with, “It was too girly.” He chuckled and said, “You are a girl.” I didn’t care much for his tone. It came out more like: “You are a girl.” Quite right, I’m glad he noticed… I decided to allow him to live–despite the slight to my honor–because he mentioned something after that about me being cute and well, I’m easily swayed.
Still one frustrating scene away from finishing up Broods. The site redesign was actually a clever attempt at procrastination that you can see worked swimmingly. I did housework earlier instead of writing, as shocking as that is. I am seriously going to finish it up today, even if the fight scene is crappy. I know there are going to be at least two more drafts, so it’s not like it has to stay that way. I’ll just writing something so that I can type “The End” and then say that it’s done. That’s the ticket.
Found an interesting link on Lexi Revellian’s blog for a site called FutureMe with an awesome concept. You can write an email to yourself to be sent whenever you choose in the future. You can also read anonymous selections from other people that they have chosen to make public. Browsing through there makes for some interesting reading.
Ryan’s word for 4/24 is bellicose which means aggressive or hostile. I wonder if his choice has anything to do with our girl conversation. Hmm. For some reason the word reminds me of Bela Lugosi. Let’s try out a picture of him as the featured image and see how that works, shall we? Image found here.