The Central Conceit…

…of my novel is that it takes more than two people to raise a family, and in the future, that situation is more readily apparent, because it takes multiple partners to actually procreate.

Yes, it’s the LGBT/polyamory discussion again.

I really think my idea works. It’s so gonzo that it will be impossible for some folks to wrap their heads around, but I’m trying not to make it the center of the story proper; it’s background information, as far as this trilogy are concerned. It affects the social dynamics, but in my time frame, it’s old hat. Nobody comments on it much, because it’s taken for granted. There are already social conventions adopted. And that’s what I’m hoping will help people get over the h ump, so to speak.

The problem for me is, I’m writing the second chapter, and I keep veering closer to and then further away from talking about it instead of demonstrating it in action. I feel like there’s a gravity well under this concept drawing me down into it, but I know this trilogy will lose readers if I bog it down in gender politics and pan-sexuality. There is a whole big story I came to tell, and this stuff about the sexuality of the sisters and their possible future gender roles is slightly more than window dressing, but man it’s eating up space. I keep rewriting sections to clarify or edit out references to it, and when I get a section finished, I stop, reflect, and wonder if I should go back in and remove even more of that subplot.

The very real problem is, I’m certain it’s a timely and much-needed topic of exploration, and I’m certain that my characters need the whole NewSex concept to differentiate it from every other YA series on the shelf right now.

But then I think about what my wife will say. See, I’m writing this series, in part, for her. I WANT her to like it. Problem is, she wasn’t crazy about the poly ending in The Bride of War. She hasn’t even read Terminal Monday (that was my decision more than hers). So my sexual politics has been pretty much a non-starter in my household. But I remain convinced that it’s an important discussion.

And then I think about the commercial viability of the subplot, and note with consternation that I don’t have a huge audience of LGBT/Polyamorous readers. I put those two titles together because my story does raise questions in both departments, so they need to coexist to qualify the discussion. And therein lies the rub. I don’t have a lot of genderqueer friends, and some of the few I do have are also involved in polyamorous relationships… but not all of them, and the two are not mutual attractors, except where some of my closest friends are concerned. AND… most of my LGBT/Polyamorous friends don’t really read my books, either.

So the question becomes, who the heck and I writing this stuff for? Myself? Seems like a lot of work to impress myself with my seemingly impossible ideas about a future genderqueer/transsexual society.

So I keep stalling on completing the chapter, because I’m warring with myself over whether to drop the subject or press on. The books are intended to be a small part of a larger story set in the Link Continuum, so some of this stuff has to be explored at some point. But at the same time, I really want the books to be as commercially viable as I can manage, because I’m really trying to build my career here, and I can’t imagine writing this trilogy and being happy that only a handful of people read it, the way my last few books have gone.

I’d even feel better about the lack of financial success if I were at least getting the occasional lukewarm review, but as it stands, I just haven’t broken through yet. I honestly believe the stuff I’ve been writing is quite good; great, even. But it’s somewhat idiosyncratic in places, and a lot of it is informed less by common social standards and more by my own peculiar moral compass. I don’t promote murder or identity theft or rape or anything that I consider nasty or outre, but then, I have multiple partners and frank, non-romanticized relationships in most of my work. I talk about these things like they’re already conventional, even though for a lot of people, homosexuality, trans-sexuality and multiple partner relationships are still utterly foreign, and even repulsive.

I guess that, on some level not far from the surface, I’m truly wishing this stuff wasn’t taboo anymore. I’m wishing people could live their lives and their sexualities without prejudice. I’m not all or most of those things myself, but I am one or two of them, and I would dearly love to be able to be more open about this stuff without having to justify my existence. I’d love to just be able to say ‘This is me’ and have people simply nod and accept, or at least acquiesce that the subject is not up for debate. Discussion, yes, but I won’t subject myself to needless interrogation and insult because people would rather I kept my OTHERNESS in a box.

I once asked this question, most earnestly: Who writes fiction for these people? A friend of mine pointed out later on that the answer was Me.

So, do I stay true to my vision of a world that has moved well and truly beyond sexual prejudice and stigmatization about Otherness, or do I flinch and give in, and possibly receive commercial success at the expense of my values and vision?

At the age of 42, I assure you, there are lots of reasons for me to find this question difficult.

Anyway, just wanted to air my thoughts on the matter. I’ve written over a thousand words today, but I haven’t completed the chapter, and I haven’t met my self-imposed word count quota for today. Dawn will be home soonish, so it’s time to get back to work. Hopefully I’ll come up with a final solution before the chapter is over. A decision has to be made, or the books will never get finished.

Thanks for reading (hopefully without prejudice).

Lee.

Don't be shy. Tell me what you really think, now.

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