Monday, February 04, 2013

Update: One Shade takes a major step

 Creative Commons License. Some rights reserved by Reinis Ivanovs

One Shade of Red is now in front of its editor!

I have promised to keep you faithful readers apprised of my progress in publishing my second novel. So there it is: now with editor Gary Henry, author of American Goddesses and What Happened to Jory, member of Independent Authors International, literary critic (Honest Indie Book Reviews), editor and communications professional.

February is a month when we think of romance, eros, love ... mostly because of the greeting-card industry’s major success in manufacturing a reaon to buy greeting cards.
And I’ve helped perpetuate it (not that the greeting card industry needs my help in this), at least for one person: my editor. On February 1, I began sending the third draft of my new novel, One Shade of Red, to Gary, in batches of five chapters so as not to clog up his email server.
(Gary, I hope you enjoy the story even as you apply your manifold skills to making it better. And I hope that some of the content doesn’t distract you too much.)

Regular readers of Written Words know that One Shade of Red is my spoof of the incomprehensible best-seller, Fifty Shades of Gray. It was inspired by the thought, “I can write something sexy much better than this!”

Here’s the concept: Fifty Shades of Gray features the woman’s ultimate fantasy male — Christian Gray is immensely wealthy, beautiful, only 27 years old (how many 27-year-olds with that much money are there?), and he has a deep, dark, secret problem for the regular-girl heroine to fix. The heroine is so naive and good down to the toes of her sensible shoes that she’s a virgin at 22, yet has no problem achieving orgasm the first time she has sex.

One Shade of Red turns that completely upside-down. The narrator-protagonist is a young virgin male, Damian Serr. He’s 20, and for those of you who scoff at that idea for being just as unbelievable as a 22-year-old virgin in urban North America in the 21st century, the reason is that Damian has been dating the girl next door since they were both children. And the girl-next-door, Kristen ( ;)) is a very religious girl who resists Damian's efforts to move their physical relationship past the junior-high level.

Christian Gray is what women want. We already
know what men want.
Image source:
Image copyright Some rights reserved by grumlinas

 The heroine of the story is Alexis Rosse, a beautiful young financial wizard. She has achieved immense wealth by the age of 30 in a much more believable way than Christian Gray: she inherited it from her late husband. Alexis is voluptuous and sexually voracious. And the major difference from Christian Gray: she has nothing wrong with her. There is nothing to fix.

What more could a man want than that?

The process

Because I don’t believe that the first draft of anything is ever fit for anyone else to see, I spent the past month and a half re-writing and editing what started as my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2012 project.

When I finished writing the first draft, I realized that, in terms of erotic writing, One Shade went much further than EL James had in Fifty Shades. I can be quite descriptive (especially when it comes to something I really like). I showed my prime editor, my wife, Roxanne, some of my second draft. She declared: "It's porn. Good porn, but it’s still porn.”

That’s a label I want to stay away from. I have no problems with porn, per se, but having that label hung on me may just limit the novel’s success where I don’t want it to.

Fifty Shades is about as
risque as
this 1930s pin-up.
Image source:
Appletree Days blog
 So, I went through the manuscript again, scaling down the description, making the sex scenes less graphic. What I was trying for was something as graphic, as explicit as Fifty Shades, but more honest, more realistic, without, as I said, straying into the porn field.

It’s a shame, though, to throw out some of those very hot passages. Hmmm ... maybe there’s something I can do to salvage them? Recycle and repurpose?

What do you think?

Speaking of pin-ups, I couldn't resist this one. Should
I try to work this scene into the novel?
Source and copyright: Some rights reserved by grumlinas


  1. Great stuff, Scott. Can't wait to read your porn!

  2. Scott said: "It’s a shame, though, to throw out some of those very hot passages. Hmmm ... maybe there’s something I can do to salvage them? Recycle and repurpose?"

    I think that's a good idea. You could release "One Shade of Red - Unrated" and keep all the porn. Hey, it works for the movies. That might be an interesting experiment to see which book does better. Maybe you would not be limiting your market so much as expanding it!