May 12 2012

Wow. It’s May already! Where does the time go?

I’ve been working on Avatar now, pretty much non-stop, since last June. Yes, I said last June. I’m still not finished, but I can at least SEE the end of Book Two. This is a good thing, since I gotta tell you as much as I love Avatar, I’d like to move onto some other projects. Once book two is finished, it’ll be a while before I return to the series. Oddly, I get people who ask me if they can write in the Avatar universe, and while I’m flattered, I’m sad to say I’d prefer you didn’t. I have plans for upcoming stories. I’ll tell you though, NONE of those plans include anything else as long as Establishment. Sheesh, that’s a lot of writing.

It’s been hard to stick to just writing Avatar this last year. Especially after I released that short story on Amazon and it was completely ignored. No, I’m not whining and asking people to go buy it, but it was kind of a wakeup call. Dark Pen is a somewhat known name, but the other name is not. I want to build that other name up, since I want to release standard SciFi books using it, but well, sales like that make me wonder why I should bother. Amazon is a tough market.

Building name recognition is important and when I see the success that people like Felicia Day and Will Wheaton have had, I understand even better what they went through to get them. Promoting is a lot of very hard work and while I’m not a bad writer, I do believe that I suck at self promotion. Worse, I don’t do this full time. Still, the advice I keep hearing from people who’ve “made it” is: “Don’t give up!”

I hear that the hardest part of getting yourself known is actually getting people to read/listen/view your creative works. They can be the greatest things in the world, but if you can’t get people to give them a chance, you ain’t goin’ nowhere. I know this as both a musician (yes, I really am in a band) and as a writer. As Dark Pen, I have a certain small amount of notoriety. And when I say small, I mean it. I’m not being disingenuous here — thems just the facts. I write BDSM, and it doesn’t matter how good it is because when it comes to getting the word out, let’s face it: 50 Shades notwithstanding, the number of people who like BDSM is pretty small.

Oh, and don’t get me started on 50 Shades. Really. Just don’t.

I know I write pretty good sex scenes. There are main stream authors out there who TRY to (like LKH), but I’m sorry, most of them just aren’t very good. Not that those people aren’t good story tellers — their own successes are confirmation that they are — they don’t write good sex scenes. And believe me, there’ve been many times when I’ve wondered if I’m good at writing sex scenes but nothing else. I suppose that the later chapters of Avatar, the ones you haven’t seen yet, will give me some indication in that. Or maybe not. I mean, if you’ve gotten this far in the story, you’re obviously at least somewhat invested in the characters.

I know I’m not alone in wondering if explicit sex combined with good SciFi/Fantasy is just not interesting to people. Maybe people just don’t want to be jerked in two different directions in one book. A little sex here and there in a good SciFi story is fine. Or some SciFi in a good sex story. But both? I just don’t know.

A1 books, who distributes my hard core writing, will be putting one of those hard core books up on Amazon. I’m leery of Amazon, but they’re the big fish in the pond right now. Bigger than Smashwords. And as such they have the clout to tell the credit card companies to go fuck themselves when they try and censor creative works in the name of whatever morality they want to push. Yes, moral credit card companies is a serious oxymoron — much like Fox “News”, but, like the religious right, they are sneaky. They chip away at your freedom, counting on the fact that you won’t really notice, or, more likely, you’re just too embarrassed that you like to read about a piss-drinking, masochistic eighteen year old girl to complain about what they’re doing. (You just cringed there, didn’t you? C’mon, admit it, even if it’s only to yourself. See? THAT is why they’re winning.)

So back to Avatar. I’m unsure if I’m going to take a break from it or not before I make that final push to finish. I love the story, but I feel as if it’s dragging. Writing, creating, really, is a mood thing. A good project will pull you into the mood. It won’t let you go and it’ll keep slapping you until you’re finished. Avatar is a good project, but I think it’s slapped me too many times.

I have written something like 22 chapters that haven’t been posted yet. Now, because of the story arc, I can’t just post them all, then go back to writing more. These things have to be done in order. But I really feel as if I’m closing in on the ending. It’s a ways off, but I can see it. I just don’t know if a break would be good for the story or not. Plus there’s the attention span of my audience. I mean shit, some of you guys have been around since the beginning. Probably not many, but a few. I know because I’ve got your emails — yes, I keep all of them. And I really appreciate them. But it’s been years, and I don’t want to keep dragging it out. Even for what’s turned into a serial, years is a long time.

So, no answers at the moment. No idea if I’ll take a break or not. Every time I sit down and decide to work on something else, Avatar is there reminding me I’m not finished. That’s both good and bad. Now I have to decide if it’s more bad than good. Even if I do take a break though, I have at least 10 chapters that I can post with no problems. At my current rate, you’ll be reading for a while even if I do take a break.

Thanks for sticking with me. Thanks for reading. You guys are great!


About Dark Pen

I am Dark Pen. I write BDSM stories, almost always with plot and consider myself a Soldier in the battle against America's war on sex.
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6 Responses to Writing

  1. Esben says:

    I would just like to say thank you. I’ve been reading Avatar since it first appeared on bdsmlibrary and enjoyed it immensely from day 1, so I figured it’s about time.

    I thought the story had died after chapter 20 of Book 2, so imagine my joy when several years later I decided to do a reread and found some 30 extra chapters plus the Naked in School crossover.

    Other than the story itself, you’re a major reason I decided to check out Heinlein’s books, and that is another thing I really should thank you for 🙂

    All in all, keep up the good work, I’m always looking forward to the next chapter (well, ever since I found out that there were more chapters coming) and if you ever find a way to make a book copy of Avatar, I will be proud to place it on my shelf next to Time Enough For Love.

    P.S. Speaking as a theoretical physicist, if you ever do another scene with Tina and Cindy talking about string theory or gravity, please let me know so I can help you with making it realistic 😉

    • Dark Pen says:

      I glad you re-found (if that’s a word) the story. I really enjoyed many of Heinlein’s books as I think his theories on society were spot on.

      Due to the fact that I live in a country with a Medieval mindset, Avatar in book form will not see the light of day. It contains too many themes that American’s are afraid to admit exist. As for putting it next to Heinlein’s work well, I’m flattered. I should point out that he didn’t appear to have liked BDSM — if the hints in his books are any indication.

      Speaking as a software engineer and sometimes writer, if I have to do any more scenes with that kind of information I might very well send you an email. The only thing I know about String Theory is how to spell it (no small feat, since my spelling is atrocious), so your help would be welcome. Don’t know when/if it’ll come up, but you never know. Cindy’s tenacious.

  2. lightofshadow says:

    My all time favorite author blends sex and sci-fi, and for his time the books must be almost obscenely steam for mainstream lit, Robert Heinlein goes in some crazy places with his books, incest, group marriage among other themes. John Ringo writes sci-fi/sex as well, there seems to be this line that you cant cross unless you already have a huge fan base that will run with you. Heinleins last 2 or 3 books were bat shit insane but I still read them and they are still produced today.

    • Dark Pen says:

      Yeah, Heinlein did sort of go off the rails a bit here and there. Interestingly (at least to me), he really didn’t like BDSM at all. Or at least, his character’s didn’t. Mr. Ringo though… different story there. I’ve read pretty much all of his scifi and liked it very much. His Rah Rah American superspy books… not so much. And, in fact, when I read the first one I emailed him about it. We had a short discussion on BDSM where in I discovered just how different his views on that subject are from him. No worries though, I still love his stuff.

      And yes, an author who sells well gets away with a lot of stuff. I, OTOH, have never been picked up by any of the presses, main stream or not. My writing apparently just doesn’t fit their mold.

  3. will says:

    really enjoy the avater series. i would love for you to continue it, but perhaps a break is needed if you ever write book 3. if you need some medical plot line- ill help.

    • Dark Pen says:

      Yeah, dunno where I’m going with that whole break thing. I guess I’ll just have to see. Good to know about the medical plot line stuff. With one exception, I think we’ve seen the last of that.

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