Author Pride: Fickle But Necessary
Posted on March 21, 2016
One of my good friends, J.P. Barnaby, wrote a week or so ago about being proud of what you write. I think about when I published the first version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Sexual Orientation and, really, what a risk it was for any publisher to take a chance on a gay novel at that time, which was 2003. One did not exactly go around saying he or she was the author of a novel based in the LGBT genre unless one was in a crowd of like-minded folks. Things have changed tremendously since then.
To be honest, I was never embarrassed by what I wrote. It made me laugh and it made me tear up. It was good. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good. There was a question I was frequently asked by my not-like-minded friends, though, and it started to irritate me after a while; “When are you going to write something mainstream that everybody can enjoy?” It’s funny in a non-humorous way that many novels within the LGBT genre today are enjoyed by the mainstream. And when you think about it, the plots are very mainstream, just with a switch in traditional gender couplings.
An interesting thing happened when I agreed to participate in what would be my first foray into anthologies, Butt Pirates In Space. We got some flack for it, internally and externally. This wasn’t Shakespeare nor was it meant to be. It was born out of being a fun project for us, and the stories featured a camp quality that was tongue in cheek. Now, despite the title and the titles that followed, each one actually helped me grow as an author.
How did they help me grow? Each anthology featured a different genre; Sci-Fi, Martial Arts, Christmas/Holiday, Western, and Super Heroes. I moved away from what I typically wrote in terms of mostly dialogue, and ventured into areas of description, and developing characters I never would have bothered with before, even romantic plot elements. Yes, the anthology titles are a bit outrageous and have raised more than a few negative comments, but the stories are solid. I’m not embarrassed by them, by my co-authors, or the titles.
I learned from my co-authors. These are people who write romance and they do it very, very well. I didn’t, and when I tried, I needed help. They tutored me, explained where my strong points were, and where I needed improvement. Then they helped me improve. Why in the world would I ever be embarrassed by this, by them, or by what we wrote?
My latest series, Falling Awake, has taken a major detour from humor and from what I’ve been writing in the anthologies. I’m told it’s my best work so far. The thing is I don’t believe I ever would have taken the chance and written it if not for my work in the anthologies. I’m proud of Falling Awake, and I’m proud to have that series sit right along next to Chinchilla Chimichangas, or Twink Ninja Tiger, Flaxen Buns Of Fury. I’m not ashamed of any of these stories.
I may not be making a ton of money from publishing, but that hasn’t deterred me from experimenting and continually trying to improve and expand my writing. It’s bad enough that most writers I know are their own worst critics. I am too. So if something is good enough for us, don’t let anybody else ever suggest you should be anything less than proud of what you put out there.
Unless it’s total shit and you know it’s shit. Then you should be embarrassed. But, if you’re like me and my fellow anthology authors, you won’t do that.
So if you do…you know…stop.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
4 Responses to “Author Pride: Fickle But Necessary”
Ally Blue says:
March 21, 2016 at 1:16 pm
Hey, I caught you admitting you’re not embarrassed by being associated with me!
Your stories are awesome and everyone should read them. Thus says me.
March 21, 2016 at 1:33 pm
Well, it’s not exactly fair to make everybody suffer by pointing out one person. 😛
Eddie Lam says:
March 21, 2016 at 9:51 pm
My big brother, I am proud of you. I am proud of you as a writer. You should always write whatever you feel comfortable with, and follow your passion lead you. LGBT story also has its own market as well as anthology. And you are right, your story are mainstream if you just rename the character to male and female, bull shit.
Everyone in your life will help you grow, as well as every chapter of your life. Comparing your old story A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Sexual Orientation to anthology butt series, until recent falling awake, you did grow.
And for those who ever ask you what you should write, I would simply say, “mind your own business’ =)
JP Adkins says:
March 21, 2016 at 11:50 pm
Your work has always been wonderful and it gets better with each story.