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MAKING SHIT UP

**08.01.10 GMT 07:00 From now on, ALL new comments on this post will be deleted, regardless of content. My most important parameters for this blog include common decency and civil language from all commenters and some of the replies have not adhered to this. I have therefore closed down the post. If you have any further comments, direct them to me as an LJ message. This has been explained to anyone who's asked for clarification.**

Today's guest is the author K. Z. Snow - another writer I met through her fiction, which I fangirled over and thereby got to know the gal behind the glamour! In this case, it was Looking for Some Touch, a fabulous urban fantasy with a whole cast of strong, sexy and sympathetic men, a delicious combination of the divine and down-to-earth. I like the way her writing has depth of setting and plot, a remarkably sensual and witty love of language and kick-ass characters. What I like even more is her personal passion and the articulate way she chooses to express herself - both in and off the pages of a book!



The last instalment of the Utopia X series released THIS WEEK HERE!.

When demon-angel-human hybrids fall in love, it makes them a little crazy. That's not the worst of it for Regenerie's Coven of Three. Now that Win, Tole, and Zee are involved in passionate relationships, they can't generate enough sex-energy with each other to activate their indispensable oracle, the Celestine.
The Dark Elves of Bildezir couldn't have picked a better time to attempt a takeover of the Utopian Metroplex. Regenerie’s leaders have gone off to seek a solution to their quandary. Their employee Pablo, left behind, decides to party -- a little too hard. There's ample evidence he's committed a serious indiscretion. Both the Coven's headquarters and Pablo's bond with Win end up in shambles.
And here come the elvish warriors.
Kicked to the curb, Pablo has his hands full. He must prove he didn't betray Win during his night of drunken revelry. And he must figure out how to save both the Coven and the metroplex from a power-hungry, sexually ruthless enemy armed with magic.
What does Pablo have, aside from his love and devotion? A twink named Skeep, a horny mongrel humanoid, and a big blue orb. Good luck.


P.S. to KZ - good to see Skeep still around! I have a very soft spot for him (just don't ask which one...).



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Teapot tempests keep cropping up over straight women writing GLBT fiction -- and on such a regular basis, many female authors feel forced repeatedly to justify their involvement in the genre. Although I don't share the impulse (so keep in mind this is not a "why I write about gay guys" post), I understand it. Not too many folks want to be perceived as crass, opportunistic, sexist, ignorant, presumptuous, deceitful, and/or callous. But, when you think about it, all this belittlement is absurd. Wasting one’s time and energy trying to counter it is even more absurd.

We write fiction, ferdachrissakes, not textbooks and not bibles. That means we make shit up. We not only enjoy making shit up, most of us take it seriously enough to have great respect for the art of making shit up. That, in turn, means we genuinely care about our subject matter and characters as well as our readers. We try to do right by them all. Good writers of historical fiction go a step further; they’re meticulous about surrounding their made-up shit with factual shit. So, most of us aren't just futzing around. We're doing something we love, to the best of our abilities and with the utmost regard for our audience. Those are the things that count – in addition to facility with language, of course -- when one’s vocation or avocation is making shit up.


pics: ChristineDePisan / G Kersting / Vermeer

Moreover, we all have preferences for what kinds of shit we make up. That's why many of us concentrate on the G to the exclusion of the L, B, and T. That’s why Poppy Z. Brite isn't Ian McEwan isn't Nora Roberts isn't Clive Barker isn't John Grisham. There's no logical reason a writer in one genre or subgenre should feel obligated to write in another or make excuses for his/her area of interest, and there's certainly no implication of virulent prejudice.

We're not answering a higher calling. We're not changing the world. There's nothing particularly noble about making shit up, even if it’s closely or marginally related to an important cause like gay rights. But there's nothing inherently reprehensible about it either. It's not as if we're hatemongers. In fact, we're just the opposite. So why do some authors continually feel a need to explain themselves?

My point is this: I think all the self-justification should stop. In fact, I think it never should have started. Screw it. If people don't like the shit we make up, they can read shit other people make up or else read nonfiction. The only way to deal with the nay-sayers is to ignore them. God knows reviewers keep us busy reaching for the ego salve. Why acknowledge gender bashers?

There. Problem solved.

~~K. Z. Snow~~



Here's some of my recently made-up shit.
Bastards and Pretty Boys (m/m contemporary, available from Liquid Silver and e-book distros).
Utopia-X, Book 4: Finding Utopia (m/m futuristic urban fantasy, link above).
To Be Where you Are (m/m paranormal, available from Liquid Silver).
Jude in Chains (m/m contemporary, coming in April from Dreamspinner Press).
Mobry's Dick (m/m contemporary + historical, tba from Loose Id).
The Prayer Waltz (m/m contemporary, WIP).

K. Z.'s Blog.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AND JUST FOR FUN...!!

Today's Quote:
"Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to." Bill Vaughn

Today's Daft Google Searches for 'Clare London':
"Share Love, Loyalty & Friendship With Claddagh Earrings" wise words for us all, maybe...:)




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Follow this month with Clare (look at the goodies so far...):

Jan 01 : The New Year is ushered in with the release of the Immortal Fire anthology IN PRINT.
Jan 02 : author Chrissy Munder wonders whether following current affairs in our writing is a delightful touch or just dates us some time down the road.
Jan 03 : author Madeleine Urban describes how her characters hijacked her brain...although she was a willing victim!
Jan 04 : author Theda Black describes how her writing across various genres has been influenced by everything from a bionic penis to the power of Pan.
Jan 05 : author Josh Lanyon shares some exceedingly good books with us - both from his own bookshelf and the latest releases from his own catalogue - and asks about *your* recent reads.


Want to grab a day to pimp, pose or pontificate? Email me at clarelondon11 @ hotmail.com and I'll happily find you a space ♥

NOTE: pictures credited where known, others may be used without direct permission, please contact me with any queries/concerns.

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Comments

( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
krisngoodbooks
Jan. 6th, 2010 08:27 am (UTC)
I think I might have a girl crush on you. Just a little. In all likelihood, I will wake up tomorrow completely over it, but right now... definitely a girl crush. :)

Besides the whole 'you can't speak for me' debate, I sometimes wonder if the justification of women reading and writing GLBT has associations with the defensiveness many of us have felt - to varying degrees - about our interest in the romance genre more generally; ie, same shit different story. What do you think?

Me; I couldn't give a rats arse who makes up the shit I want to read. All I care about is whether the shit is good in the first place.

kz_snow
Jan. 6th, 2010 03:04 pm (UTC)
At this stage in my life, I'll take crushes from anybody. ;-)

The connection you mention could be valid to a certain degree, Kris, although female defensiveness over reading and writing gay fic seems considerably more guilt-tinged. When it comes to m/f romance, women have embraced the "ah, buzz off" attitude for a while now (evidenced by frequent and lengthy discussions at sites like DA and SBTB). These recent volleys, usually from gay men, have proved harder to ignore. The new crop of nay-sayers aren't just impugning our taste and intelligence, they're attacking our integrity.

P.S. I'm issuing a cease-and-desist on that Kirk avatar (I think you know why).



(no subject) - jbarrack2 - Jan. 6th, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kz_snow - Jan. 6th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
jenre
Jan. 6th, 2010 08:46 am (UTC)
Well said, KZ.
To be honest I'm more interested in the made up shit that I am the makers of it. Not that you authors aren't nice to know, but if you stopped making up shit I may just lose interest, you see what I'm saying ;).

Looking forward to reading the recently made up shit that you've produced and long may you continue to make shit up :).
kz_snow
Jan. 6th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC)
Hi, Jen! Yeah, that's because you're a straight female reader. You guys don't have a problem with us.

Thank you for the encouraging words.
(no subject) - jenna_hilary - Jan. 7th, 2010 07:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
blackbara
Jan. 6th, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC)
this is good shit. Though I feel making stuff up, if not noble, is very important to us hoomans.
kz_snow
Jan. 6th, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC)
Glad you came back, Theda! Yup, storytelling is an essential part of the human experience. Some people just need to lighten up and realize that. If they can't, well, there isn't much we can do about it except leave them alone with their grumbling.
cdn_tam
Jan. 6th, 2010 02:11 pm (UTC)
Ha!
"they’re meticulous about surrounding their made-up shit with factual shit."

Very funny. When kids under the age of 10 do this we call it lying and punish them for it. When grown-ups do it we call it genius. Hmmmmm. ;-)

Yeah, I don't care who makes up the shit I read as long as they are good at it. What if there was a rule you could only write about shit that matches you are or what you do? So I could only write about chubby white government worker single moms with no life. Hmmm. Shortest most boring book ever. I'm so glad I (if I felt so inclined) can make up shit to my heart's content and be whomever I want to be, even 6 foot ripped hot menz.
cdn_tam
Jan. 6th, 2010 02:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Ha!
*jingle* *jingle* *jingle*

I forgot to mention I DO have my bells on as promised.
Re: Ha! - kz_snow - Jan. 6th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Ha! - kz_snow - Jan. 6th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
wrenboo
Jan. 6th, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
Very nice post, KZ. People have been making shit up for thousands of years, and there always seems to be some contingent that takes umbrage. (I'll bet there were horses that decried the pre-historic cave drawings at Lascaux.) I think it's just part and parcel of being human - some of us have to react, to question, to argue, etc. Some of us have to respond. And some of us have to ignore. I'm pretty happy being ignorant. I mean, ignoring. I'm happier that way.

I do have to say that even as a new author I'm getting tired of the curious folk who want to know why would I write about *gasp* men loving men? I'm not smart enough to come up with anything more than "Because I like it." But really, isn't that good enough?

So keep making shit up. I hope that one day I'll have made up as much shit as you have. :)

wren

kz_snow
Jan. 6th, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
Love your analogy, wren! :-)

"Because I like it" is indeed good enough. Who're you hurting?

I know I'll see you around, kiddo. And I'm sure you'll continue to makes lots of shit up...and be very good at it!
lee_rowan
Jan. 6th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)
Good points... though I do think it's appropriate for writers to rebut the wankers. "Silence gives assent," after all. We've seen that in politics, these past couple of decades, that dignified silence is not sufficient to discredit liars and bigots. If one does not stand up and oppose lies and unfairness, those who start out without much of an opinion don't get a chance to hear the other side of the story.

But it isn't worth wasting much time on. The very best argument is to keep on writing our own particular shit, and write it better than the whiners. I still think a lot of the wank is due to the fact that 'mere' women found--or created--a niche that nobody else had thought to explore. (And I still think the best reply to the whole complaint brigade came from a gay writer, Victor Banis, in his "Little Lost Lambda" post: http://www.mlrpressauthors.com/2009/09/the-little-lost-lambdas-some-thoughts-by-victor-j-banis/
kz_snow
Jan. 6th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC)
Hi, Lee.

I see nothing particularly wrong with rebuttal -- hell, I used to be a varsity debater -- but it almost grieves me when fine authors become engaged in these pissing matches. They needn't. Their talent is its own justification.

Truly, I don't believe silence gives assent. Not in this case. Giving up would give assent. Silence often indicates a dignified refusal to lend credence to bullshit. That's why I long ago stopped arguing with bigots, of any stripe.

"I still think a lot of the wank is due to the fact that 'mere' women found--or created--a niche that nobody else had thought to explore."

I believe that's a big part of it.

"The very best argument is to keep on writing our own particular shit, and write it better than the whiners."

Bingo.

onebookwoman
Jan. 6th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)
I loved Victor Banis' response to the whole Lambda award dust up. He basically said all the judges are way too stuck in their own little worlds.

There are many kinds of fiction out there. Some writers want to be the next Hemingway, and some just want to tell good stories. I want to just sit here in my home and be entertained. Genre doesn't matter. Good writing matters. Men can write bad shit too(and have).

Look at Diana Gabaldon. She writes historical British fiction from Arizona!
kz_snow
Jan. 6th, 2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
Good points. (And Victor became one of my heroes after he launched those zingers!)
merith
Jan. 6th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
and why can't it just be about the story? it shouldn't be about the author - hell, i'm pretty sure NO ONE questions that JK Rowlings wasn't a teenaged witch and shouldn't be writing about hogwarts at all.

isn't that the whole point of fiction? to read (or pen) something to take us out of our existence and bring us to a different place, if only for a few minutes/hours?

to argue about it makes no sense, and i don't plan on wasting the energy either.

thank you!
(Deleted comment)
kz_snow
Jan. 6th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
Furthermore, Alex, the genre would barely exist without writers of the female persuasion. In fact, it might not exist at all.

Of course, the folks who oppose our creative efforts would consider that a good thing. The vast majority of readers, however, would not. :-)
kennsea
Jan. 6th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
Okay, obviously what I'm going to say here probably won't be that popular. I have to say that I don't care who writes what, as long as it is a good story that is respectful of the community you are writing about - especially if you are coming from outside that community.

When you are writing about marginalised people, sometimes it is not JUST fiction - there is some modicum of responsibility to be had. And perhaps you are just trying to be defensively funny by referring to it as 'made-up shit', but it doesn't come across as that respectful to the genre or those people that you are writing about. I know a lot of people are feeling defensive at the moment, but it's on both sides as well. Especially when queer people feel like they are being told to shut up in their own community.
kz_snow
Jan. 7th, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
No, no, queer people should not shut up, kennsea. Believe me, my belief in civil liberties and constitutional rights runs very deep and strong. Other than that, I don't have a clue what to say to you, since your mind's made up.

Carry on, though. By all means, carry on.
(no subject) - dumbledore11214 - Jan. 7th, 2010 02:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kz_snow - Jan. 7th, 2010 04:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ashmedai - Jan. 7th, 2010 10:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dumbledore11214 - Jan. 8th, 2010 01:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dumbledore11214 - Jan. 8th, 2010 01:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - batboy126 - Jan. 7th, 2010 03:22 am (UTC) - Expand
elspethdixon
Jan. 7th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
random person from metafandom
Several of the published m/m authors I've purchased and read, and a number of the fannish slash writers, too, have been bisexual or lesbian woman, which is a factor that I think complicates the "women and their right to write gay romance" debate, and is often overlooked. The majority of published m/m authors seem to be straight women thus far, but it's not a genre made up entirely of straight chicks (a few of the very earlist slash writers back in the 70s, such as Leslie Fish from Star Trek zine fandom, were/are queer, as was Mary Renault -- my personal introduction to published m/m romance -- so we've been here all along, reading and writing).

Which doesn't change the position of straight women in the genre vis-a-vis defensiveness and charges of "you have no right to write this and get your girl cooties on it," and the responsibility to not write something that further marginalizes or stereotypes queer people by accident (and queer women can screw up, too -- straight girls don't have a monopoly on bad writing), but does complicate it, I think, because y'all aren't writing solely for an audience of other straight women. There are LGBT people reading m/m romance, too. And when it's done well, or even badly-but-entertainingly*, it can be wonderful and affirming and entertaining, but on the rare occasions when some homophobic stereotype or piece of hurtful rhetoric show up (as they did a couple of time during the whole Lambda Awards fight), it can be even worse, I think, than running across it in other genres, because you let your guard down and expect books with LGBT romances to be friendly and "safe."


* In some ways, I think I like badly-but-entertainingly-written ones the best, because after years of reading standard m/f romance novels, there's finally cheesy romantic wishfulfilment fantasies that acknowledge that LGBT people exist, yay! And they have happily-ever-after endings where no one commits suicide or dies of AIDS! (Now someone just needs to start publishing a line of f/f regencies, and I will buy every single thing they publish, sight unseen, and love them even if they suck).

TD;DR: this 'why I like slash as a queer woman' post by eumelia says what I wanted to get at, but does so much better.


Edited at 2010-01-07 02:51 pm (UTC)
swordygardener
Jan. 7th, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC)
Of course there is no reason to always question why women write M/M. That is silly and, after all these years, actually quite boring.

It is, however, absolutely acceptable to question why a lot of women write M/M in a specific way, much like it is acceptable to question why white men have a habit of writing non-white people in specific ways.
Someone was saying that there is no blueprint for a realistic LGBTQ character. Sure, there isn't. LGBTQ characters are diverse.
That, however, has nothing to do with some arguments at hand: there are a lot of tropes that are harmful, and yet are widely spread. Slutty bisexual, for example.
Yeah, sure, each author is an unique snowflake and writes for the best of reasons, but when it's contributing to the same tired old stereotypes, this is something that can rightfully be questioned.

And it should. Diverse characters are definitely more interesting to read, and ultimately, to write, no?



There is also a LOT of entitlement, especially among the slash writers that identify as straight females. The lambda award kerfluffle earlier this year proved that quite well.
A lot of lies and misinformation were spread, and why? Just because an organisation meant to improve the situation for gay people wasn't willing to refocus for the benefit of mainly self-identified straight women, who were convinced they were not only better at writing M/M (which was stated. A lot. All over the place), but also more deserving of getting awards for it.

This priviledge and entitlement IS worthy to be questioned as well. Writing M/M doesn't make on a "honorary" LGBTQ writer if one doesn't identify as such.
It's no special pass. It's just an interest in writing.
dumbledore11214
Jan. 8th, 2010 04:13 am (UTC)
Oh do not get me started on "slutty bisexual". Was reading a m/m book where bisexual woman (secondary character) just could not be happy with her lesbian lover and just needed some dick from our male leads to be completely satisfied sexually.

Because of course bisexual individual just "cannot" be happy with one lover, ever. And of course couple days ago I just needed to have "Millionaire's matchmaker"? as background noise and this idiot pronouncing that bisexual women are bad candidates for her boys'because they would leave you for another woman, hello.

GRRRRRRR.

So yes, agreed.
annecain
Jan. 8th, 2010 02:00 am (UTC)
KZ, have I told you lately you're awesome? :)
spoggly
Jan. 8th, 2010 04:11 am (UTC)
ugh not more of this frantic privileged whining
shrines
Jan. 8th, 2010 04:22 am (UTC)
HAHAHA i know, what the fuck

"waahh it's just a story we like to write fiction about people whose experiences we like to fetishize ok it's not creepy or totally privileged ok"

no actually fuck you

at least it doesn't have "the lambda awards should let us in!!!" mixed in this time, ugh
xtricks
Jan. 8th, 2010 05:35 am (UTC)
Wow. Cool. Then all the complaints and discussion about (the movie) Avatar being a white guilt fantasy about non-white folks should just be tossed out the window because Cameron is just making shit up, in fact, he's making up the entire species of sexy, blue, noble natives that need a white guy to come save them so really, going on about how that's a particularly obnoxious trope about white people and non-white people is just silly. It's only fiction, after all.

And 'lesbian' porn made and aimed at straight white men simply doesn't have an effect on, you know, actual lesbians or straight men's perception of lesbians because that stuff is just made up!


Thank you for your ignorant, privileged, stupid opinion.

You have every right in the world to write whatever made up shit you want. And I, and anyone else, have every right in the world to question what impact it has on perceptions of gay men/what they (or others) think about gay men your shit has.

On top of which, you seem to be somehow claiming that (straight) women invented the m/m fiction genre? Or that it didn't exist prior to straight women writing it?

I ... I don't think I can even respond that insanely sheltered, ignorant and purely idiodic concept.
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )

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