Gabrielle Bisset

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Writers' Choices #amwriting

This above all, to thine own self be true.
--Act 1, Scene III Hamlet

Polonius may have been a pompous windbag full of cliches, but his advice in this case stands worthy of respect. This has been on my mind a lot recently as I've been writing Blood Prophecy and the Vasilije and Sasa short story. I made up my mind easily on my choices for Blood Prophecy once I realized that was what I truly wanted to do, but the Vasilije and Sasa short has been a bit more difficult for me.

You see, Vasilije is deep in his heart a male who works on one very simple principle: he does as he wishes. If that means killing, so be it. If that means fucking, all the better.

I have always loved writing Vasilije, I think because he's secretly who I so wish I could be. He is pure pleasure, mainly because he's never been bogged down by the constraints that other characters have. He doesn't pretend to be moralistic. He couldn't be bothered. What he does or doesn't do is based on what he desires. He is pure Alpha, not some diluted version of an Alpha or a beta pretending he can measure up. He's not broken, and he requires no fixing.

He is everything he chooses to be. Nothing less and nothing more.

I've taken some hits in reviews because of this. Reviewers who impose their moral systems or wishes for a different story are in no shortage on the blogs. Vasilije has been taking shots for almost a year from women who are scared to death men like him truly exist. I'd never thought much about these reviews since I find most are more an expression of the reviewer's life than a discussion of the actual book and almost entirely opinion.

But somehow, those shots got into my head as I was writing him again in this short, and the character he'd always been morphed into some kind of kindler, gentler Vasilije. In truth, he pushed against this with every word, but I pushed back, giving him more the Saint or Terek treatment than his own true nature.

I was not being true to my writing. I was kowtowing to opinions of people I don't even know. Then the other night I gave myself a huge WTF and shook that nonsense right the hell out of my head.

So here it is, folks. You don't like Vasilije? Okay. Go find a beta. Go find a pretend Alpha. Whatever makes you happy. You do like Vasilije as he was in Blood Avenged? That's cool. You might like the short story.

You see, in the end, a writer can't spend their time wondering if people will like their work. A writer writes. It's what we do. We would like people to enjoy our stories, but we can't make everyone happy.

So we damn sure better be making ourselves happy with our work. If not, then why do it?

I'm much happier now with the Vasilije and Sasa short as it's turned out. That character who's always been so strong and memorable is back, and Sasa better be on top of her game because he's none too damn happy he caught her drinking from another man.