Occupying Myself…

One of the complaints that the guy in the previous post had was about the job that my character held. He claimed it was the most cliched job evar! and that if he saw one more character with it, he’d have a fit. The job in question is GLBT-policies consultant to Human Resources departments. I imagine that the guy in question spends a LOT of time looking at employee handbooks, making sure the language is inclusive, or reviewing policies that people are afraid come across as discriminatory. Lots and lots of paperwork, but not a lot of managing. He works with lots of different companies, like most consultants do.

So I started thinking about the fact that the guy has seen far too many characters with that particular job, and came to the conclusion that either A) he misread the description, B) despite his experience “writ[ing] this stuff” he doesn’t actually read much of it, and/or C) he reads far different stories than I do. Being the kind of person that I am, I decided to collect some data, because there’s nothing like having facts to back up your assertions.

This is what I did, as utterly unscientific as it is: I opened up my email (boggling at having appx. 1200 messages), selected the Love Romances Cafe label, which gave me 500 messages spanning the dates of February 22 – February 29th, and started with the oldest message. These dates included a Dreamspinner Press chat day (all M/M works) and the list’s usual Monday promo day (all combinations welcome). I skipped all messages that were not explicitly M/M (that is, no “menages”, even if they were M/M/F or M/M+/F) and, naturally, anything that was purely social in nature. Of the M/M messages that were left, I decided that it only counted if it was immediately obvious as to how a character was employed — if there was an actual job title involved (i.e. Senior VP of marketing) or just a general title (lawyer). If I couldn’t figure it out, or if there wasn’t one mentioned, I ignored it. I did lump similar/related fields together, just to keep myself sane, though.

Of the 111 characters whose employment was mentioned in some fashion, this is how it breaks down:

Occupation Occurrence

merchant/commerce 1
construction/renovation 1
chauffer 1
professional Dom/sub 1
inventor 1
banker 1
prostitute 2
bodyguard/private security 2
musician 2
politicians/political 2
developer/programmer/computers/internet 2
model/actor 2.5
artist/designer 3
caretaker/hospice/health care 3
restrateur/hospitality/entertainment (clubs, etc) 5
judicial stuff (lawyer, judge, etc.) 5
criminal enterprises (mafia, con-men, etc) 6
college kid/student/academia/teacher/science fields 15
military/paramilitary 15
cowboys (ranchers, hands, etc) 17
law enforcement/first responders 23.5

(The .5 was a guy who was mentioned as being in law enforcement and a model, so.)

As you can see, for gay male characters, the “cliche” occupation is not a hairdresser or aesthetician, not a GLBT outreach manager (or consultant), not an interior decorator or catty fashionisto. It’s cop or firefighter, followed by cowboy and being in a (para-)military organization or in school.

Interestingly enough, this somewhat parallells the occupations of my own characters — upon compiling the stats for my own guys, it turns out they’re most likely to be a student. After that, it’s military (active or former).

So, that’s what I discovered there.

Because I’m Super-Avoider, Author Who Won’t Write! today…

I read the latest post over at Michelle and Reesa’s blog, then re-read Reesa’s post about the people out there who don’t like your (whoever you may be) story.

I second most of what she said, but I just want to add that I’ve recently encountered two readers whose reactions were… Well, startling. The first one complained because she got the plot outlined in the blurb. Yeah, that was my reaction, too: since when is it a problem to get the story the blurb promises? Maybe on Bizarro Earth, but in this reality?

The second one is a bit more problematic, because the guy makes valid (rudely stated, but valid) points about the story. Only thing is, he’s whining because I wrote the story that was asked for, and it wasn’t what he wanted — however, he wasn’t the one who requested the story.

You can’t really argue with that kind of thing. Well, you can, but you’ll end up a depressed monotreme. I’ve written a couple different responses to the second guy, and am about to draft a third. I have another post to write, first, however.

Sometimes it feels good to work.

Just finished up something for one of my day jobs (or middle-of-the-night jobs, considering the hours I usually keep), and I’m happy with the way things turned out. It’s nice to be able to take raw information and turn it into something that looks halfway decent.

Speaking of taking raw information and making something out of it: I signed up for the Love Is Always Write event* over at the M/M Romance Group. This time around, I was in time to not only claim a prompt, but I was able to submit one of my own, which was nice. Interestingly enough, my prompt was claimed by Jaime Samms, and I grabbed a prompt from S.A. Garcia — both of whom also write for Dreamspinner.

I’m not sure precisely how I’m going to get my protagonists from point A to point B, but I do know approximately what’s going to happen to them when they get there. I’m also not entirely sure if parts of the story will work for other people, since I’m borrowing them from Lovecraft and friends.

In other working news, I’m kind of half-heartedly poking at some drafts, trying to convince Shelby and Nat that they want to make porn–ooooh, I just had an idea of how that might happen!, and generally recuperating from my latest bout of The Crud. I also bought some new sheets and pillows, but that’s not really here or there.

* As always, requires group membership to view.

Taking No For An Answer

Today, I’ve encountered three different people who didn’t want to take my “no, thank you” at face value.

The most recent was a three-year-old; since that’s really par for the course, she oughtn’t count. The other two, however, were grown men–definitely old enough to know better.

The first guy was trying to sell me meat from the back of a truck. Granted, it was a company truck and door-to-door sales has been the company’s MO for ever, but still. I didn’t live at the house they stopped at, the people there are nearly vegan, and we don’t eat that much meat at my actual home either. I gave him these reasons, and he kept trying to persuade me. He was cute, and kept smiling at me, but I doubt there was anything more to it than wanting to make a sale.

It was strange experience, though, and led me to thinking about the fact that at least when it comes to sex, my characters are really up front about consent. I can think of at least three stories I’ve written/am writing off the top of my head where one partner tells the other at least twice that if they wanna say “no”, it’s fine. (This kind of drives me crazy, to be honest. You said that once already! I’m pretty sure he hasn’t forgotten in the last five minutes. Even if I forgot that you had already taken off your pants/were wearing a button-front shirt when he put the handcuffs on you/gave you a polo shirt and a necktie…)

Then I realized that no one has ever taken them up on it, which is also interesting. Probably because by the time the subject of sex comes up, both of them are beyond ready to quit fooling around and just get on with it already.