Lyn Gala

One writer's journal through one version of reality


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Unique voices

I got a wonderful review the other day.  Okay, to be honest, I’m blessed with many, but this one touched me.GalaHunger

I’m on a Lyn Gala kick right now, reading 3 of her books in a row, and often that leads to an awareness of a repetition of phrases or themes, but Lyn really creates original characters and ideas in each book that she writes – her theme of exploring power dynamics is usually there and when she writes f/m books (the other one is Blowback) the female is the Dom. But otherwise the situations and world building and personalities are all unique – which is wonderful!

It came from someone who had just read Insistent Hunger (the weaker of my two F/m books).

I know a lot of authors get caught up in series, and I adore them for it, but for me, it’s all about finding a new voice.  A new character voice comes along, whispering in my ear, and I inevitably chase it down.  I have sequels to all my books in my head… Urban Planning… Long, Lonely Song… Gathering Darkness… Unfettered… Desert World Immigrants… Insistent Night.  Well, not all of them.  Blowback is completely and totally done.

But when I sit down to write them, some new voice will come in, and it’s like meeting someone new and exciting.  I love that my books don’t feel like copies.

I do, though, wonder just how annoying this makes me.  I adore CJ Cherryh, and face it, that woman couldn’t write a stand alone novel to save her career, and thank god because I want to revisit old worlds. I don’t want a new ones.  Well, actually I’m fine with new ones as long as I get the old ones too.

Then I turn around as a writer and I keep leaving those old worlds lying on the table.

Maybe part of it is the dysfunctional thinking required to write books.  Every time I go into a book, I have to think to myself,

Oh my god… this is it.  This is the perfect book.  This time I have everything exactly where I want it and this is going to be GREAT!

I publish.  I wait for reviews. I obsessively hit refresh on Goodreads.

The reviews trickle in, and someone points out that “x” doesn’t make sense and I cringe.  They find a typo, and I flail.  The don’t like my main character, and I go find the wine.

Returning to the universe means returning to the flaws that I’ve been forced to see through the eyes of others. The only sequel I have right now was actually written at the same time as the first book (although they came out separately, and don’t ask, it was a whole “thing”). Desert World was actually intended to be a trilogy and the third book is 50K words in, and I haven’t touched it in forever. I may not ever go back to it.

I thought I had the whole thing perfect.  The first book developed Temar and Shan as people… not as sexual partners. They had to earn each other’s trust.  The second book had them slowly becoming a couple before having to test that relationship.  The third book had them as the old married couple as Shan’s brother (the last minute hero of book one) finally had to face his match in the more gregarious Verly (the last minute hero of book two and immigrant to Livre).

However, the books aren’t perfect, and looking at their flaws now, I always find some new voice whispering.  Right now, Jacqs is practically screaming at me.  He grew up in refugee camps, scrounging for food.  He had to grow up fast after being shanghaied onto a smuggling ship, and now he is a soldier… a soldier who comes off as gruff and downright cruel because there are a million “human” rules about interaction and attraction that he never learned.  He doesn’t understand himself, much less the rest of the human species.

I love him.

I love him with his equally alpha partner, Zeke.  Zeke is personable and passionate and very in touch with himself, and he sees the raw honesty in Jacqs and he feels a deep connection to it.

And this scares me because I see this as a series.

The het couple Lacroix and Allie Grah are begging for a book of their own. Zeke and Jacqs keep suggesting that their planned end is not the end.  I have all these ideas. But this is me.  And I suck at sequels.

Or maybe I just suck.

Or maybe being an author sucks.

Whatever.  No matter how you look at it, suckage is to be had.

 

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Narrator… Author. Author… Narrator

220px-Geoffrey_Chaucer_(17th_century)The narrator tells the story.  The author writes the story. And those two would seem to be the same, only they aren’t.

The idea that an author “owns” every attitude espoused by a narrator is assuming that an author is incapable presenting another point of view.

It is assuming that Sherwood Anderson is clearly in need of psychiatric attention for his multiple personality disorder as each narrator steps forward and takes center stage for his or her own story in Winesburg, Ohio.

If the narrator and the author were the same person, then the slam poetry I once watched shouldn’t have existed.  A black woman wrote poems from the point of view of a white racist. She then rapped words as if she were that asshole.

A-MAZ-ING

That is the only word for her art.

However, she is not her narrator.  I am not my narrators.  You cannot assume any author is the narrator of that author’s books.

In “Claimings, Tales, and Other Alien Artifacts,” Liam wants bondage, but not pain.  In Fettered, Dylan wants bondage and pain.  In Desert World, neither Temar nor Shan would even understand the concept of power exchange.

More importantly, none of those tell you anything about my sexuality or sexual orientation.  Because I am not those various narrators.  Those characters have lives of their own, and true, those lives exist only in my head.  Still. They have lives.  Beliefs. Preferences based on previous experiences. And none of those are mine. Believe it or not, I’ve never traveled to an alien world or… wait… I have gone to BDSM bars.  Okay, I’ve never gone to male-oriented leather bars like the Stonewall. See?  I’m not them.

Let me illustrate with Chaucer.  Geoffrey Chaucer was a white man, a bureaucrat, a writer, a father, and a some-time scientist.  He was not a widow, yet he wrote a story from a widow’s point of view… a lusty, manipulative woman who wanted power over her husbands.

He also wrote from the point of view of a knight clinging to his outdated beliefs, a drunkard, a rich official who was always trying to find a way to rob one more person out of a dollar and a bad-tempered estate manager.  He is none of those things.  When the Pardoner butchers the Bible for fallacious arguments and tries to con people out of money, this is a reflection of the character, of society, of the world. It is not Chaucer owning those positions.

And this would seem to be obvious.

Stories reflect the world, or a world anyway, but they don’t exist as simplistic avatars of the authors’. At least I hope they don’t.  Stories should be exploring other points of view, not regurgitating the author’s beliefs over and over and over.

Is Fettered about the conflict between SSC, RACK, and old-school flagging?  Sure.  Does it represent my point of view?  Nope.  It represents a point of view in the conflict.  It represents an interesting point of view that often does get overlooked as other assume that the gay community or the BDSM community speaks with one voice. They don’t.  Categorically they don’t.

That’s the point of view I find interesting, and that’s where I chose to park my story.