Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Blurbs and Furry Fandom

Yesterday, I was supposed to work on my sample chapters. I just could NOT get motivated. I don't know why. I have lots of other things I could blame besides myself, of course, including the fact that Shawn ended up not going to work (she had to attend the funeral of her co-worker/friend's mom) and Mason had the day off from school. Mason, however, was quite content to spend the day watching too much streaming MythBusters while putting together the LEGO DeathStar. So... actually, I had plenty of free time.

Which I spent meandering around the Internet and generally moaning about having ennui.

I did manage to write a blurb for a friend's small press science fiction novel. That had been on my to-do pile for MONTHS. I thought, in fact, I'd missed my opportunity to say something about it, but he emailed me a week ago to say that the book was in its final stages and they could still use a quote from me, if I had something to say. I'd read a lot of it when I thought I still had time, but then life had gotten in the way like it always does and I'd set it aside. So I picked it back up and read it.

Writing blurbs is such a funny, fun experience. It's one of the perks of being a pro that I never really gave much thought to when I imagined my life as a writer. Of course, I never imagined that I would still be struggling to make ends-meet when my "dream came true," but, on a happier note, there are these strange sort of perks to being a writer that are a bit like benefits. Like, occasionally, I get free books. My only 'price' is that I have to find something snappy and witty to say about them (if I like them.)

If you ever wondered, there is no blurb out there that wasn't solicited in one way or the other. By solicited, I do NOT mean paid for, but I mean the person asking (usually the author her/himself) knows or is connected to in some way the person s/he requested the blurb from. Only very rarely, I get requests from people's publishers. I suspect if I were a bigger NAME, I'd get many more of those. (I'm sure Neil Gaiman and Lois McMaster Bujold are overrun, for instance.) But for someone at my level, it's usually someone I consider a colleague, or even a friend, who's asked me to read and blurb their book.

I've actually long dreamed of asking my friend Eleanor Arnason to blurb my book in her signature Icelandic way, which I imagine going something like this, "XXX by Lyda Morehouse is okay. I've read worse."

Anyone who knew Eleanor would realize what AMAZING praise that was and rush out and buy a million copies. Of course, most people outside of the Mid-West (who weren't Scandinavian) would be like, "What?!"


Anyway, I'm happy to report that, having turned in my blurb to my friend, I did, officially, accomplish SOMETHING yesterday.

I also posted the first part of my Komamura fic. ( which has gotten very little response. To be fair, not a lot happens in it. There's a conversation at a party and a little flirting. I didn't jump in with both feet by any means. I also realized that while there's some overlap with furries and Bleach, it's still kind of... taboo to write what is essentially a romantic story about an anthropomorphic wolf/fox and a shape-shifting fox demon. Perhaps 'taboo' isn't the right word, but it's clearly not a lot of people's cup of tea.

So be it. I had a great time writing it, and I might just be stubborn and do it again. (I am very curious about this reaction in one way, though, considering how animalistic I allow my Renji to be. Apparently-animal-on-the inside/barely contained nature ala Wolverine is much, MUCH more acceptable than animal-on-the-outside. [My furry friends? Any comments on this phenomenon?])

At any rate, it is what it is. I don't expect people to read outside of their comfort zone. This is one of the reasons I get cranky when people mock fan fic writers for choosing unusual pairing or for taking on a fetish that is way, way out of the norm. (I recently got a new comment on my rant about i09's former FFF column that brought all this back to me.) The thing is, I don't really happen to *get* diaper fetishes or water sports or any number of things that healthy, normal human beings are into. There are things, in fact, I actually find somewhat objectionable, like rape fantasies and certain underage sex stories. But, I deal with that by checking the warning tags AND JUST NOT READING THEM. That's why warnings were invented, people.

I also tend to stop reading any fic that has extremely bad grammar or spelling... unless, by some miracle, the story and characterizations are able to rise above that (which, strangely, CAN happen.) Sure, it's funny when someone (like me -- this is a real example from an erotica piece I handed out to my writers' group) uses the word lions when they mean loins, or talks about quacking Aspens or bear feet. I've kind of done them all, and to which I say, Dyslexics Untie! (A joke Shawn had to explain to me, because I read it several times and still parced 'Unite.')

But, seriously, people, if it bugs you JUST STOP READING. It's not that hard. No one is forcing you to read their terrible grammar. They're not even getting paid to post it. So, it's not like you bought a book for 7.99 and discovered that that author has a soul-bonding rape fantasy and no copy-editor (which happened to me.)

I think in the case of the latter, when it's something that's been professionally published and which people are then expected to pay for, I think mocking should rain down from the heavens. Because, that's the dues of a published author. Even when you don't have a fetish that leaks into your fiction, you are putting it out there, and that means someone, somewhere thinks it's COMPLETE CRAP. Other people, take it home, love it and beg you for more. That's just the way the publishing game is played.

The same rules shouldn't apply to fic, IMHO. Because it's just for fun. If it's not fun for you, DON'T F*CKING READ IT; go play in the sandbox that fits YOUR fantasies. That's the POINT OF IT.


Man, I get wound up. :-)