by Kathleen Bradean
My apologies to Rizzo. The worst thing she could have done is pull a Sandy and change her identity for a man too cowardly to admit he liked her. (If the names don't strike a bell, I'm talking about the musical Grease.) It drives me nuts when women are told through books and movies that they have to do that to get their man. Screw him. Move on to someone with balls. (Or better yet, someone without balls. In lesbian stories, this obliteration of self doesn't seem to happen. Quite the opposite.) Clichés in general are bad enough, and seem to get worse in erotica, but everyone should know that by now, so I decided that wasn't the best way to tackle this topic.
Then I thought about writers behaving badly (to other writers, readers, and publishers), but that’s not terribly interesting except in a ‘car wreck at the side of the freeway’ way, where you get a little thrill out of the quick peek you get and then drive on, grateful that you’re not entangled in the glorious ego splatter that everyone is gawking at.
Slipping into a state of complete pettiness, I was tempted to snark about how unfair it is that I don’t write boring novels that literary critics will fawn over. But that falls under my second peeve, doesn’t it? While it might be all the rage for erotica characters to have flashing emerald eyes (one might even call it a cliché), the green-eyed monster isn’t flattering on anyone.
As long as I’m talking about things I do that I don’t like, here are a few others:
Occasionally, I indulge in genre snobbery. That’s bashing another genre for it’s perceived – and sometimes real – shortfalls. Theodore Sturgeon said that 90% of everything is crap, which means it’s possible to read a couple books in a genre and only see the crap. That’s not exactly a fair basis to judge something on, especially when it’s compared to the 10% of excellent stuff in a different genre. Yet yesterday, I witnessed an astonishing piece of dismissive sniffery of another genre (not romance, go figure) on an erotica writer's list. You’d think erotica writers, including me, would be more forgiving of the 90% rule, and I do try, but yeah, it happens.
Every time another writer posts announces a sale or a book release, I get depressed for a moment. When I say congrats, I mean it, because I am happy for them. It’s me that I’m disgruntled at. My output has never been high, and I should just learn to live with that.
I have crutches. Not actual crutches that help me to walk, but writer’s crutches. I wish I’d learn new, better ways to describe things. Oh – and I keep making the same damn typos. Form instead of from, prefect instead of perfect. Plus, I have this terrible habit of cruising around Face Book and Twitter when I should be writing or reading.
Of all those things, there isn’t one I’d call a pet peeve though. It’s not as if I’d slap a collar on one of my faults and take it for a nice walk. They’re more like feral peeves. But I forgive myself for those slips, because I figure that there are worse things I could do. Like start sentences with conjunctions, or use incomplete ones.