Water, Sex, Money

About the only time I envy people with money is when I want to buy a book that I can’t afford. I’d love to know what it feels like to plunk down 10, 15, 20 dollars or more without giving it a thought. No “Should I?” No “Can I afford it?” It must be nice. Right now, it’s a new novel by Paolo Bacigalupi that I’m yearning for. Wired posted the first chapter, and it sucked me right in. I loved The Windup Girl which, admittedly, is the only one of his books I’ve read so far, so I can’t say that I’m a fan. But if I could afford it, I probably would be.

I don’t know if The Water Knife will have the same dense, almost manic feel that rules The Windup Girl, but it looks to have the same immersive quality. The world is deep into a time when water can be so scarce and precious that it instigates wars. I don’t know how far along the timeline Bacigalupi places his novel, but we might be closer than the book anticipates, with water theft already becoming a matter of concern in drought-ridden California.

It’s the kind of book I practically drool over, both in the anticipation and the reading. And patience isn’t my strong suit.

It’s this kind of frustration that’s making me consider tweaking a novel-in-progress, purely for financial considerations. The story combines indentured servitude and coming of age. It would probably be about as popular as my hand slaves novels, which is to say: not very popular at all. But it would be easy to tweak it into a gay romance. I don’t do erotica. I don’t even do sex, so this would be very discreet — not even fade-to-black sex scenes. So, still not a tempting buy for readers (mostly women) who like to be turned on by male/male sex. (I honestly don’t get that at all.) It wouldn’t be HEA (happy every after), but HFN (happy for now), with even that possibility left up in the air. The male-romance crowd pretty much hates ambiguity, so between no-sex and no promise of happy ever after, maybe I’m shooting too many holes in my foot for it to even be worth the effort of making the changes.

I dunno. Some days, I think I’ll just give up writing. I’m pretty good at proof-reading. Maybe I’ll set me up a little business.



8 thoughts on “Water, Sex, Money

  1. I know what you mean, Catana, I don’t do sex either. I consider it a cheap shot, not hard to do, but of course it sells books. How hard would it be to do the tweaking you’re thinking of? I’m afraid I can’t tweak anything just to make it more commercial, though I probably should. Too much of a dreamer.

    1. I’ve only written about 5,000 words so far, over the last couple of years, so it wouldn’t be that difficult to tweak it. I have the plot pretty well in hand, and the gay romance would fit in very easily. The big question all along has been whether I wanted to continue with it at all. Tweaking it would give me a financial motivation, but still…

  2. I don’t want other people’s sex lives inside my head – so I don’t do overt sex. Boring. But I have been accused of increasing the sexual tension, which is much better. The mechanics are less interesting than everything that goes before and after, at least to me.

    I much prefer the fade to black at JUST the right moment.

    Writing is much too hard for me to spend it on anything except what I really want to write, so that is always my main constraint: is this worth what it’s going to cost me to write it?

    Do you do that computation, too?

    1. Yes, I have to compute the value to me, personally. For what it’s worth, I not only abandoned the idea of tweaking the thing, I trashed it. Part of cleaning out work that no longer fits with where I’m going. I like to play around with the idea of writing something that might actually made money, but when it comes right down to it, I can’t do it.

      Any sex in my books will always be either fade to black or, more likely, barely mentioned. As a reader, once I skim the first sex scene and skip right over the others. Boring is right. The more sex there is in a book, the more cheated I feel.

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