The Erotic Novel Started Years Ago
Jack is a closeted country boy who moves to the big smoke to go to university. That’s one of the reasons at least. The other major reason is that he knows that in a big city, with a new crowd he’ll be able to live a proper life as a young, gay man.
That’s the premise of the gay novel I came up with way way back, almost a decade ago. I even started writing it. By this time I had put a couple of short stories up online to test the waters and dip my toe into writing fiction as a gay author. I thought they were good enough, and I received some good feedback online. Enough feedback to have a go at writing a full novel.
But I had no idea what I was doing, to be honest. I just had that premise in my head and sat down at the keyboard to write about young Jack. I got nine chapters in and had to stop. They were nine good chapters, some hot jerk off scenes, even a mutual moment with a new straight buddy. But this is when I realised how different a novel is from a short story. I had no direction for Jack, just a jumble collection of possible events and experiences in my head. The difference between writing 2000 words and 75000 words isn’t just a case of writing more words. That was something I didn’t know back then. There’s not a lot of character development in a short story. It’s required in a novel. In a short story, any development can be blatantly described to the reader, it’s allowed when you’re rushing to the action. But that doesn’t work in a novel. The events and the experiences shape the character. A short story’s main character greets the reader fully formed. Without a predetermined direction for Jack, I was just writing some short scenes, thrown together into one document with one name.
I shelved the novel and went back to working on short stories. Those nine chapters are still sitting somewhere in my Google drive but I’m not brave enough to read them for fear of how cringe-worthy they’re likely to be. I’ve used a couple of the chapters as short stories that are sitting, waiting for use in some form or another. One of the chapters is a short story available on my Patreon.
As I wrote more shorts, developed my skills and learned a bit more about the art of writing I decided that I’d like to attempt a longer form again at some point. Then, COVID-19 came along. While this has obviously created huge issues for a lot of people, one of the side effects of lockdown was that it gave me some time. I lost all of my ‘day job’ work and was stuck at home without the option to socialise. What a perfect time to attempt a gay novel again.
The main difference this time was that I knew I needed a plan. I sat down with the premise of Jack in my head and started planning, asking myself questions to determine the direction. ‘What was Jack like before he came to the city?’, ‘How did he come to the decision to move?’, ‘Who is going to guide him out of the closet when he arrives?’ and, most importantly for erotic fiction, ‘Who’s going to get him all hot and bothered?’.
I realised quickly that I love the planning process and the creation of ideas. My mind went into overdrive. While creating the direction for Jack, I came up with his potential love interest Alex, Alex has a hot personal trainer Hayden, who’s having curious thoughts when he meets newly single Rob and they develop a bromance. These characters leapt out of my mind and onto the page and I planned a novel.
But the offshoots grew. Now, after so many years, I couldn’t stop with the character arcs. Somehow I managed to nail down the plan. Alex, Jack, Hayden, Rob and Dana (just to add some gender variety). They all had their own arcs. I sat down at the keyboard and got to work. The plan included around 30 chapters. After 13 chapters I had written about 60,000 words. That’s when I realised I had planned an epic!
This novel, if I kept on with the plan I had in place, was going to be too long and too hard to keep track of the five characters. So I hit pause again. There’s a lot of that in the way I write. I’ve got close to 10 short stories in the works at any one time, as well as longer works.
While the novel isn’t going to go ahead in that incredibly long form, the work I’ve put into it has taught me a lot. I now know that I need to plan my long-form works. I can’t just sit down and bash them out like I do my shorts. It’s also shown me that I can write longer works. The 13 chapters of the epic novel I wrote are pretty good. They’re obviously in draft form. But the people that have read them have liked them. The few people who have read the whole plan for these five people have given pretty good feedback on their arcs.
So a gay erotic novel isn’t coming from this keyboard just yet. But the journeys of those characters is coming in some form. More on that in a future blog post. If you’d like to stay up to date with all of my writing progress sign up for my monthly newsletter.