Give and Take, the novel – progress

Jany 1987 2 - crpdI recently produced an article to provide some insight for my reasoning behind writing an erotic novel, so I’ll try to avoid repetition.

I have my reasons for writing this article, and those reasons are not related to promoting the story, or erotica as a genre.

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At various times in my life I’ve courted controversy, and although I’ve never done so for the sake of it, if I believe strongly enough in something – I will stand by my decision.

This new venture is one such case.

I’m privileged to be a member of the Indie Author Support and Discussion group (IASD), which in my opinion is the best author’s support and discussion groups on Facebook.

I feel qualified to make such a bold statement because I’ve belonged to several such groups, but nowhere else is there a sense of belonging, friendship, family, camaraderie – and yet there is still feedback and support delivered with sincerity and integrity.

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What is the relevance of the IASD to my new book?

I started a thread to say that I would be taking an idea suggested to me, to the next level. I told the masses that I was intending to go a step up from my erotic short story anthology Coming Around – to a full length novel.

I received initial feedback that to some might have been enough to throw away the whole plan, but I like to believe that I’m made of sterner stuff.

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Why was some of the feedback strong and negative?

I posted my first three drafts here on my blog, as I do with all my work. In the first chapter one character receives physical abuse from another character. Note, I do not say it was the male who was the abuser, and I do not say ‘minor’ abuse, because as anyone who has been a victim will tell you – abuse is abuse!

Yes, as a victim of verbal and physical bullying – I’ve been there.

Okay, so if you’re still with me, let’s take a closer look at my idea, and thank you for holding on for the main gist of this article.

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Yes, in the first chapter the male lead slaps his girlfriend’s buttocks, and though it might offend a lot of people, it is a way of life for some, and I believe a realistic opening to my story.

“I’m offended by that type of thing,” I can hear across the ether.

Okay, then please don’t blame me for the wrongs of others. I am not glorifying abuse – it is a fictional storyline.

If you are offended, I’m sorry, but nobody has written or complained about a statesman being assassinated in the opening paragraphs of one of my thrillers. Nobody has complained about people traffickers and pimps being eliminated in another of my thrillers.

A valid point?

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This new story is what it is – erotica. I don’t believe I can take my main characters on their journey and through their respective transformations as individuals and as a couple, unless I have a start point.

Yes, I agree that my start point might be distasteful to a certain number of people, but please keep in mind, the underlying theme in my work is retribution.

Now, on a personal level, I hope the dissenters caught that word – retribution. Therein lies one of the main characteristics of Give and Take, and where I came up with the working title.

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Whether or not you have read the first three chapters here on my blog, I’ve now updated them and altered the early part of the story, and for the better I believe. The second draft of the first three chapters appear in my Work in Progress menu.

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How am I progressing?

As of the timing of this article, I’m working on Chapter 15 of a planned 20 chapters.

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Have I had issues with the plot?

Yes, of course I have. There have been issues with psychology, ethics, level of detail, credibility, and knowing how far to take character and story development.

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Are those issues not true of any creative writing?

Yes, I answer once again, and therein we find another valid point. It is a fictional story and therefore contains a little of what I know, suspect, imagine – plus of course a great deal of planning, thought and … fantasy.

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Should I be afraid of my readers believing that I fantasise about being the male lead?

No, I don’t believe I should be afraid of such a thing. Not as long as they didn’t think I was Pete in Ten Days in Panama, Phil in Beyond The Law, Dan in Amsterdam Calling, or the fetching and adorable, if a little deadly Honey, in A Taste of Honey.

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Do I have any regrets so far?

My only regrets are:

1. I might lose the patronage of anybody who has enjoyed my other work.
2. I might lose credibility from those who believe that erotica is not a worthwhile genre to spend time working on.

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Will I write more erotica after Give and Take?

That will depend very much on the feedback I receive on the completed story.

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I offer my sincere thanks to those of you who have reached this point without treating me as a backroom pariah for attempting this new venture. Like oral sex, it may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s not fair to object to something unless you’ve at least investigated it ….

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P.S. I have no doubt there will be many women, and possibly some men who are wondering why the artwork in my blog articles does not normally include men. Basically, it’s because I don’t normally draw men, but for those of you who’d like to see an example of one of my male portraits …  and no, it’s not me! Unknown American

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7 comments on “Give and Take, the novel – progress

  1. Good for you, Tom 🙂 A well-written and feeling post. I am alongside you in your determination to write what you believe in. Erotica has a bad press – with good reason, in my opinion, since so much of it is badly written. If you can write something that is genuinely erotic and literary at the same time, then you have my vote. 🙂 And I admire your chutzpah, my friend.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you for the visit Lesley, the supportive comments, and for what is quite possibly one of the most important pieces of feedback I’ve had on this website.
    You have taken the article in the vein it was intended, digested it and given me a responsible and sensitive response.
    Like many of my peers, I hold you in high regard as an author so if for no other reason, I will strive to ensure that whatever the content, I will use the editing support I’ve been offered to produce the best story that I can. 😀
    p.s. I thought I had my chutzpah tucked in … 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Tom. One thing that could never be said of you is that you run from a challenge – I’m referring to your writing, but suspect that’s not where it ends.

    Erotica isn’t a genre I have much experience of as a reader, and none as a writer. The Iittle I have read in the past didn’t leave me wanting more … I’m sure that whenever you finish your novel, it will be as a result of your unstinting dedication and meticulous attention to detail and that you will find a fan base who will appreciate it.

    By the way, thanks for the portrait of the young man who is, I note, fully clothed 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Julia. Thank you for your visit and kind comments, and while I’m on the subject – whatever your suspicions are about me, they’re probably true. 😀
      On the readership of the completed story, apart from those who are not too keen on reading erotica at any level, I have a feeling that if anybody buys into it, most readers will probably not be known to me.
      The serious suggestions to try my hand at a novel-length piece actually came from female authors, so I hope they have the guts to read it and write a review. That will be a test of conscience. 🙂
      On the subject of the young man sketch, I’ve already been taken to task about him being dressed – and the message was sent privately.
      I guess I’ll have to get in touch with some deep part of myself and deal with the rush of ‘complaints’ … 🙂 I’ll teach you girls, I’ll do a naked self-portrait! 😀
      Until later my friend.

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  4. Wow, Tom, I didn’t realize you were under fire from dissenters, as you call them. But noe that I think about it, it’s maybe the reason it never crossed my mind to put anything I’m working on, on the blog. My opinion is as follows:
    1. I don’t answer to anyone about MY stories, MY characters and MY work. If you’ve got a problem with it, don’t buy the book.
    2. One word: FICTIONAL. If there are those who can’t understand it, then they will probably not enjoy my work anyway, as chances are it will contain trickier words than “fictional.”
    3. I have heard of this issue with readers questioning whether the author identifies himself with the character. I’m working on a story that has 3 POVs, one of which is a serial killer. Um, does that make me a psycho? Please…!
    That’s about it. Congratulation on your progress, you do write much faster than yours truly, and for that – and many other reasons – I admire you so much. I can’t wait for your novel! I think it’s brave and altogether awesome to try such a difficult genre. It’s not what I read normally, but I will make an exception for your book.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you Ramona. I’ve been working hard today so I’m now on Chapter 16. When it’s flowing, it’s flowing …
    I would appreciate you trying this particular story, even if you send me private feedback. Of course my primary aim is to make sure the writing is good enough or I’ll lose the interest of those who are taking me seriously.
    I really do appreciate the interest, and the opinion when it comes.
    Until later.

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