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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Declaration of Belindapendence

Sounds a little arrogant, doesn't it? Well, not really. I just had one of those little moments where things came together in my head regarding my writing. Nothing earthshattering, but still, it opened my eyes a bit.

I got good news today, a book proposal that I sent was accepted, in spite of my having really just pulled the thing together last minute. When that happens, I get the feeling that the story is really just hankering to get out and fly. It might be a bit scary to sell on proposal with a deadline, but what the hey, I've got three chapters written, right? (panic mode!!!)

The story is a m/m paranormal, and as I opened my current projects today, it occurred to me that of the books I've written over the past year, 3 are m/m; that's roughly half of my writing. Am I crossing to the dark side, never to look back? Not really.

I've never limited myself to a single genre, beyond saying that I write mostly speculative fiction. That's an awfully big umbrella to write under. If you look at my website, you'll see het, menage, (both bi and het) f/f, cross dressers, BDSM, shifters, paranormal, interracial/multicultural, and science fiction. Obviously, I have problems limiting myself to a single genre.

Here's how it works; I often think of a character, but don't have a plot for him/her, or I start their story and it stalls. That goes into my files for later use. Other times, I have a story that's really compelling, and it might literally be anything. Sometimes that story knows exactly where it wants to go, and I follow it like a dog on a flexi-lead. If the hero happens to be an alien or a werewolf or gay, I go with it. If a story stalls, I know something is fundamentally wrong with it and I set it aside to reconsider.

That was the case with "An Uncommon Whore." I started it as an exercise in first person, then decided to prep it for an open call. I worked on a couple chapters in Griffin's voice. Grif was one of those characters languishing in my files. He was a one eyed, one balled rapscallion. I envisioned him in a fantasy setting, coming in to deal with an uptight, spoiled princess type.

Well, the dialogue was stiff and the story just didn't have any heart. All the sudden, a line kept running through my head: "A whore is a whore is a whore, except when she's something else completely." That line gave me the key to the story...the princess really was something else! She was a he. Once I adjusted the character accordingly and let him take the POV, the story just popped. When I started on the second book, Griffin decided that it was his turn to speak, and his voice is surprisingly beautiful and shockingly clear to me. He made me cry, where Helios made me laugh.

I know that many readers are dedicated to their genre and rarely read outside of it. I imagine this limits my sales somewhat, but for now, I choose to not limit myself. My commitment as a writer is to the story, and I have so many more to write.

You see, I write erotic romance, and my personal kinks are plentiful. My perspective on sexuality is very fluid. I think there's nothing sexier than a man and a woman in an intense love story...or a threesome that's really committed. I might not want to be spanked, but there are elements of BDSM that are so damn sexy. Picturing two butch alpha males together melts me in my tracks. And don't get me started on androgyny....*sigh*

Maybe someday I'll write for a New York imprint and will find myself boxed into a genre. I find that idea dreary, but I know there's a lifeline out here for me in e-publishing. Out here on the fringes, I can write anything that I'm inclined to write.

Someone at RT took me by surprise when she summed me up as a writer. She told me that she'd gone online that morning looking for a good Belinda book. Not a menage or a shifter book, but a Belinda McBride book. What more could I ask for?


Unknown said...

Mostly I have a hard time thinking of a sexuality as a genre. If it's on a space ship, it's sci-fi or space opera, no matter what configuration of tabs and slots are involved. And while I know that isn't how publishers think, I do think more and more readers think the way I do.

Here's hoping you don't ever get boxed into a New York publisher shape. There are reasons they're having a hard time keeping up with reader preferences, especially when it comes to sex and sexuality.

Belinda M. said...

Thanks Renae, you've really summed up my feelings regarding sexuality. I do hope readers begin to pick up on that as well. :)