I'm doing edits on my novel, Monarch, right now, and I've been thinking a lot about things I really want out there...forever. You know? If you publish something, it's out there. It lands in people's hands, on their shelves. It will get boxed up and sent to a donation center when the person gets rid of books, or it will get boxed up and sent across the country when they move to a new house. It will be picked up by their children in later years.
It will be read. With your name attached to it.
You know, that's a scary thought to me. Of course, I already have a book out right now - Cinders. At the moment 235 people have a copy of the book. 235 people....either on their e-readers or physical copies. 140 of those are physical copies that can't just disappear into an e-reader or computer file system. At least some of those physical copies are going to be around for a long time.
This made me stop and think as I was editing Monarch. It made me wonder what I'm really putting into my work. Do I want that love scene in there? Is it necessary? Do I need all those details? Really? No. I got rid of them weeks and weeks ago when I realized this. Do I need all those swear words in there? Really? What does everything I put into my novel say about me? Should I care what people think of me later on down the road?
To an extent, yes, I think I should.
I certainly have my own set of morals and values and sometimes my characters, although they have completely different morals and values from me, are portrayed through my lens. I'm not some objective observer just relating their story. If physical intimacy happens in my novels, that's fine, but physical intimacy is a private thing to me that I don't personally feel comfortable showing in extreme detail of the pages of my book. Some writers and readers are okay with showing lots of detail. It's different for everyone. I do show some detail to get points across and tell a story, but how we handle things says a lot about us, for good or bad, and I do think every reader will interpret those things differently. I suppose the most we can do is stay true to ourselves.
Sometimes, I'm finding out, that is easier said than done.