Separating Jerk From the Artist

If there’s one thing I particularly love about my readers, it’s that you all are amazing at keeping things in perspective. Whenever I have a character harbor a terrible belief or do something idiotic, my readers don’t flock to the comments expressing outrage that Bashful Scribe believes in these terrible things – at worst, they/you express frustration that a character believes in and does such things.

This may sound like a natural process, but I have seen the comments section of other writers, both more successful and less, and some of the results have been dismal. Granted, a lot of other erotic writers don’t care all that much for story, but still, even your average Wattpad user’s comments section can sometimes set off a Geiger counter.

I was reminded of this when more than one reader expressed annoyance and downright anger towards Adam for how he’s behaved in Chapter Nine. I was over-the-moon with this response, as with especially the last scene, I wanted this reaction. Without spoiling too much, it sets the scene well for future events, and it’s also fun to write teens without needing them to either be a pure good guy or a moral message.

In the past I’ve been somewhat frustrated with comments asking how Adam (or another character) couldn’t possibly clue in to a certain social situation or understand the nuance of a particular situation. A lot of readers are people whose teen years are far behind them, and as such, a lot of us forget just how dumb teenagers are. They’re dumb, clueless, quick to anger, and make irrational decisions at the drop of a hat. Another little bit of gratitude from this latest chapter was that while readers expressed annoyance at Adam for being a selfish jerk who thinks he’s not, no one remarked at how Adam kissing Athena was illogical or not a good move and he knew that. Because we don’t need to be told that he’s making the wrong move, right? We know. He knows. He did it anyway, and made a bullshit justification. Because he’s a teenager.

I take issue with the way high schoolers are portrayed in both erotica and drama series, because both in terms of looks and how they talk, they’re usually just portrayed as adults (and in erotica, adults whose bodies are creepily infantilized before shamelessly sexualized). I will admit, my use of language doesn’t exactly highlight the youth of teens either. Especially during monologues, my characters talk with a voice beyond their years. This is for two reasons: one, I’m in my late twenties. Even though I still work around teenagers, I’m not getting any younger and my abilities have their limits. Two, if I’m going to change the reality of my stories, of all things, I kind of want to change how teens talk.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but in my writing, I don’t write my high school characters’ dialogue as how teens do talk, but rather how they imagine they talk. Real emotions, real conviction, real characters, aged-up words, silly plotlines…? Sounds like me. I’ll occasionally get it wrong, as all writers do, but that’s the goal I aim for.

Anyway, I appreciate the feedback, positive and negative, for me or for Adam. It’s been really cool to see everyone’s thoughts and takes on Adam’s character. I doubly appreciate that it’s been, virtually across the board, “What’s wrong with him?” and not, “You wrote him so you must be like him in every single way. What’s wrong with you?” I know it’s a low bar, but still, pat yourselves on the backs.

This week I’ve also released the fully edited ePub stories for both Mutual Benefits and The Views of May on my Patreon. Thank you for your patience to all who requested it. I did not include pdf files since they seem to be largely outmoded (and making them is another process entirely), but if any one of my readers prefers them in that format, let me know and I’ll make those files too. I’ll talk to you all next week.

One thought on “Separating Jerk From the Artist

  1. I feel that throughout BMS, Nicole is drawn to Adam’s strive to be a better person. He ignorantly makes mistakes but learns from them.

    I’m excited to predict Nicole’s response to Adam actively chosing to be a jerk

    Liked by 1 person

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