Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Serious Writer

The gay publishing house where I submitted Glass Houses says they are only interested in quality works from serious writers. While quality is a subjective thing, the "serious writer" part means they expect more books to be forthcoming. In fact, they ask for information about works in progress.

I lied. At the time of the submission I wasn't working on anything. Rather than say so, I said I was working on a follow-up memoir focused on some of the addiction issues uncovered while writing Glass Houses.

It wasn't a barefaced lie. I'd been thinking about the follow-up memoir for weeks but hadn't written a single word. Due to the content, unless I wanted to get fired I had decided writing the follow-up wasn't going to be possible until after I retired.

My Aunt Judy (and others) have told me Glass Houses is a little raw. By raw they mean gritty. I talk openly but carefully about my past drug use and some sexual encounters. I felt comfortable doing so because the "true confession" stuff took place so long ago.

My lie to the publisher has been fixed. I have officially started writing my second book. Rather than a memoir, Addicted is a work of fiction about Josh Freeman and his addiction to relationships and sex.

Regular readers know I'm terrified of writing fiction. Just the idea of coming up with believable dialogue gives me nightmares. Or it did, until the incredibly talented Adrienne Wilder took me under her wing.

The turnaround moment came as I was reading Stephen King's memoir On Writing. Adrienne says it is required reading for any aspiring writer. The website of my publisher says the same thing. Even though I haven't yet finished reading, I have to agree.

Writing fiction is liberating. The story behind Addicted is loosely based on the same idea as the follow-up memoir. But because the characters exist only in my imagination, I don't have to worry about hurting anyone, incriminating myself, or getting the facts wrong.

Unlike Glass Houses, Addicted is primarily for gay or very gay-friendly audiences. It goes beyond raw and gritty to downright pornographic. The first 2000 words include dialogue and a graphic sex scene.

Who knew? A year ago the idea of writing a book seemed impossible. Now I have finished one and started a second. Just goes to show you anything is possible, even for...

The Crotchety Old Man

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