Thursday Reading FUNdamentals: SEX!
OK, that’s not just a juvenile attempt to generate hits by creepy people searching for porn. If you are a creepy person looking for porn, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Though if you are looking for porn you might also like my books.
Why? Because when it comes to sex I apparently don’t have that right wing Republican voice telling me that sex is naughty and screams, “Won’t someone please think of the children?” I came to this conclusion when I read the proof for The Carnival Papers, which I hope will be approved late this week and go into production not long after that.
The first story is “Learning to Fly,” about a young white girl who decides to run away from home until her piece of crap car breaks down and she’s rescued by a black tow truck driver. The tow truck driver doesn’t rape her, but there’s a paragraph where she imagines that he will.
The second story is “Antiques” which was actually a refitted version of “Learning to Fly” in which a young girl finds out that her mom is having an affair with another woman. In the original version I did some research on antique vibrators and used quite a bit of detail in the scene where the kid sees her mom and the other woman with the vibrator. Then I showed it to some professor online, who told me that I should back off the details there. So I did and now it’s sort of fuzzy what happens exactly, but it’s still there.
The third story is “Far As You Can Go” in which a woman is running away from her abusive husband and gets a ride from a truck driver, who proceeds to rape her as she sleeps in the back of his truck. Again the rape in the final version is kind of fuzzy, but it’s still there.
Later in the story “Carnal Knowledge” a guy goes to a book signing to stick it to this author he thinks is terrible, but when he sees how hot she is, he has a wardrobe malfunction.
In the title story, a boy makes it with the “mermaid” of the carnival that comes to town, only to get robbed later while he sleeps.
If your read the “Meet Cute” story featured on this blog a few posts ago, then you’d know at the end our guy Tom screws the hot actress three times, which isn’t details graphically, but you know…
So do you see the pattern? SEX! Really I think the two most wholesome stories are “The Kyptonite Heart” about a baseball mascot and his son and “Swimming Lessons” about a deformed guy who meets his equally deformed father. (So, yes, two recurring theme-like things are SEX! and freaks. Definitely worth $8.99 in my mind.)
Then of course there’s my novel Where You Belong that features some sort of graphic sex scenes–both hetero and homo. I think the gay sex especially would be a turn off to a lot of readers. It was especially for one whose review has mercifully been pulled from Amazon. I mean most people can’t even stand the thought of gay marriage, so it’s unlikely they want to think about what gay people might actually do in bed.
I didn’t work much sex into my superhero series Tales of the Scarlet Knight until the fourth one, which is probably the longest I went without that. Even my supposed YA series Forever Young features sex by the fourth book.
This I think would definitely be a problem if I ever really got anything published. At least in America, where the majority still seems to think sex is icky. I have this suspicion that people in Europe or even Canada would like my stuff better because they’re a lot more liberal about sex in those places. In the Puritanical USA, though, you have to keep the sex at a minimum. I mean, look at Twilight, the whole point of which (so I’ve heard anyway) is about abstinence. I don’t know, is there sex in the Harry Potter books? I don’t know because I’ve never read past the first one.
Anyway, I definitely think if you want to get published in the American market, you have to be careful with the sex. No graphic descriptions of the deed unless you want your book sold in only “adult” bookstores. Maybe some hinted at descriptions. Still, you don’t want to go overboard with it. For one thing people (especially here) get squeamish. For another it might make it seem like you’re trying to write pornography.
I’m not sure why my books have so much sex. Might be because my sex life is pretty lacking. Or it might be that my literary mentors like John Irving, John Updike, and Michael Chabon didn’t really have a problem mentioning sex of the hetero or homo varieties. Monkey see, monkey do and all that.
It’s a definite concern, though. As that one nasty reviewer said on Amazon, would you want your mom to read that? No, probably not. Then again, my mom isn’t my target audience or else I’d be writing about cats solving crimes. Though I’d probably still work some cat sex in there; I can’t help myself!
If any Phantom Readers want to chime in: how much sex is too much?
Until next time…