Monday, August 17, 2009

Have you lost your ambition?

I know, I'm supposed to blog about sex this month, but this is something I see becoming pervasive in e-publishing specifically and the market as a whole. Ambition.

It's a simple word. It means to reach or strive for some goal or reward. Easy to understand. Harder to accomplish in this field. Ambition has become for the proverbial 'pimp publishers', make it hotter, make it more erotic, make it something that in essence isn't really a story but just sex scenes strung together. Oh, but wait, don't push the actual act until the final act and then wham the characters have sex.

Woohoo. That's so hot it's stupid. Wait – did you call that STUPID as in idiocy, like the characters crotches do all their thinking for them, sort of dumb?

Yes, I did. And you have to remember I read the story about the priestess who had to take her concubines with her on her journey to find love, the fairy whom needed an orgasm to open her wings, and my all time favorite, the story in which the vampire who was a vampire hunter had male/male sex with the villain more than he had sex with the heroine he supposedly loved. Let's face it, for some writers, myself included, sex is easy to write. This isn't brain surgery. Get 'em naked and have at it. Full Monty, tatters flapping and all that good stuff, or at some publishers – don't have it until the final scene, but lots of fellatio and cunnilingus must lead to that (Pimp Publishers are notorious for this cause – ha ha – they think its hot).

There was a time, and I still follow this, where an author strove for something in a story. They made, through trial and error, a story better, hotter, more enticing, not because they wrote for the market but wrote for the story. This was ambitious. They developed their characters and made the sex add to the plot not just bury it beneath existential sex. It was, first and foremost about the story.

To this day, I know authors who still do this. They work their fingers to the bone bringing in originality even in hot stories. I do know the other side too. Those who have decided sexing it up is better than just thinking about the characterization and the story's plot.

Ambition comes in many forms. In the above, I've only given two. Here's the truth, I've lived both of the examples I delivered above. There were years where I was so booked my brain ached because I thought if I wasn't selling...selling...selling I wasn't doing my job. I got a reality check on that when I hit a road block. That would be the twelve stories I'd pounded out that didn't sell. I loved them but on retrospect they were so blah blah blah overdone I should have known better. An editor finally said, T.J., this is so much like everything else you've sent me why would I publish it? My answer was - um - had no answer. The other side is the stories I've written that are so far off the map every publisher I've gone to think I'm out of my mind.

I screwed up and I paid for it. I thought I was untouchable and I could get away with anything (read that as anything). Learning the lesson taught me so much, because one brought me off my pedestal and the latter warned me to control myself too.

In the end- ambition is what you make of it.

Until next Tuesday, cheers and happy writing,



Sandy said...


What a great post. We all have to learn our life's lessons.

You know how I hate writing about sex. lol I'm glad it's easy for you because that means you can help me. hehe.

Sandy said...


I forgot something. No, I haven't lost my ambition, and I want to write meaningful stories that grab a person. Maybe, even one that will make the reader have a sleepless night.

Diana Castilleja said...

Good post, T.J. I wish I had something coherent to add. :)