Monday, August 22, 2011

American Prude?

The conversation begins with JA Konrath over at his blog A Newbies Guide to Publishing.
Okay. Have you visited, have you decided to come back? Maybe you are well aware of Mr. Konrath, and you probably are if you have any interest in independent publishing. His blog is a nexus for those who are trying to find their way in this new world of self publishing and he has proven, for me as well as others, an inspiration. I would recommend that his blog is added to your daily read (though he rarely blogs daily, so I suppose weekly might be more accurate).

For many months, I have read Mr. Konrath to glean insight and helpful tips on what it takes to write, to publish, to navigate a world that is increasingly electronic and independent. Lately, though, I have found myself reading his blog posts, thinking about them and then deciding that his advice is relevant to me only if I think or do the opposite.

I still agree with Mr. Konrath on many points, but the attitude of delivery is often off-putting and the me against them dynamic can also get tiresome. In his latest post, he discusses sex and again, I find the discussion useful, but maybe not in the way Mr. Konrath intends.

Are Americans sexual repressed? That is the general point Mr. Konrath asserts as a way to explain the e-mails and fan letters that question (loudly and forcefully, I assume), the inclusion of explicit sex in many of his latest novels. Is it sexual repression, or is it a case of people used to set genres, people who are used to picking up a sci-fi novel and get sci-fi and not graphic alien blowjob descriptions? It can be jarring and seem unnecessary, especially if not handled well. George RR Martin does the sex and genre like a master in his A Song of Ice and Fire series (HBO's Game of Thrones).

Prudishness may be less an answer than is craft. And maybe we all have to just accept the fact that not everyone is the same. Diversity applies to everyone and it is maybe okay that a reader does not want to read about sex. That doesn't necessarily make them repressed. I don't like veal, but that doesn't make me a vegetarian. Everything has a place and a time.

So, read Mr. Konrath and take what you will from him, because there are lessons there. And read George RR Martin. I can add an extra period after that last statement. He is that good.

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