Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stanley and Phyllis or Stanley and Phil?

A while ago I posted about a story in the local paper that I was mulling for a short story. An old couple found dead together, frozen in their back yard in mid-winter. Cause unknown. A history of illness, possibly Alzheimer's. Perhaps the wife had fallen, the husband had gone to help and…

I've half written the story.

I've also (see my last post on platform specificity) been working on defining myself.

So now I will digress, and put aside that story yet again. But not really.

The novel I've written includes (count the audiences) a gay protagonist, an evangelist (antagonist) who hosts an interdimensional alien invader, the protag's sister (strong but vulnerable woman) and her hot live-in boyfriend whom she won't marry (women's fic), a pre-teen black boy and his mother (multi-racial/intercultural), both brave and in danger, the protag's partner, a jealous friend, another teen seeking revenge and teetering on the edge of dark and light, and other minions and allies, family and foe.

That's sure as hell not narrowing it down.

Is it a gay novel? Not really. It's a thriller with a gay protagonist who has a partner. But the sister's/boyfriend's story arc is central.

The high school jock and the brave boy are key, but it's definitely not Young Adult. While I've read some YA I enjoy, I'm not a YA writer. I just can't give up enough sex or judiciously used swear words. (English would be a far less expressive language lacking "fuck.") So I know that's not my audience.

Is it a spiritual/religious novel? It does posit questions about certain kinds of religious practice (help me here, John Lennon) and concepts of "light" and "energy." Those concepts and questions intrigue me. What are the truths that give birth to the legends, beliefs, myths, and religions? But I'm more about the questions than the answers.

But this isn't about me. Or about my story, or my novel. It's about homing in on whom I'm writing for. 

No doubt I'd lose people if I go for gay. Do I care, if I gather more LGBT folks who relate to me? Actually, no. Plenty of straight folk would come along if, in writing "gay," I'm writing "humanity."

And don't some of that group enjoy speculating on the nature of reality, spirituality, the paranormal? Sure they do. And a good supernatural scare, too.

So I'm out in the garden watering the other day, thinking about these things as I water baby zinnias, and suddenly I'm thinking maybe that story about Stanley and Phyllis should be about Stanley and Phil. Same story, different angle.

A generation ago, a few very famous playwrights did just the opposite. Maybe it's time for Martha to take off her drag. Maybe now it's time for George and Mark, not Martha, to duke it out.

Easy to say get specific, but hard to do. The "experts" say not to go for thousands, but for a specific few.

Anyone out there into supernatural/metaphysical/speculative/gay fiction? 


  1. OK. So the novel is written. And, we can buy it where?

    1. Uhm, I have a copy printed out and lying in my basement.