Entry One

I thought I’d start a writing blog, to document my progress in writing the Original Character novel and explain some of my thought processes along the way, and to invite any help, encouragement and/or advice you want to throw my way :-).

After an excellent discussion with you guys a couple of months ago, I decided I want to self-publish rather than use a publisher for my first OC novel. Writing fanfic has rather spoiled me for doing things my way, and I’d rather have a smaller audience than have to compromise. I want to produce the same kind of product that I’ve been producing during my years in fanfic, and I like having that kind of autonomy.

I’m not expecting to sell a gazillion copies anyway! LOL! The whole point of this first novel will be on exploring what the e-publishing revolution is all about, first hand. I’m viewing it as a massive learning curve, both in the writing, the production, the marketing and everything else. I thought I’d see what it was like, and if I enjoyed it, and whether this was the best way of doing it. Or even if I wanted to be doing it at all.

One of the first problems was – what to write? I have lots of novel ideas and felt a bit daunted about where to start. Inventing OC characters isn’t new to me, but I had to consider not only the characters but also their situation and the world in which they exist. This took a bit more thought.

Last year, the lovely gloria1 came to stay with me one weekend to help me out during the broken leg time, and I told her about this little OC story idea I had, set in the BDSM universe – a sort of romantic comedy about actors on a hit TV show. The more we chatted and laughed about it, the more I wanted to write it. I even made a bit of a start and did the first 13,000 words before a lack of confidence caused me to stop.

See, writing, for me, is half about loving it and half about battling my own demons. I’ve never yet written a long story where I haven’t, at some point, only been able to see its flaws, and wondered what the point was in continuing, and been sure that nobody would want to read it. My writing process is hugely about confidence – when my confidence is high, for whatever reason, writing is easier, but when the demons crawl out, then I struggle. I focus in on an area where I think it’s not working, or a character I’m sure everyone will hate, or whether or not my audiencers really like it or are just being polite. If it’s a dark story, I start thinking people will find it too dark and if it’s a lighter story, I worry they’ll find it utterly lightweight. I do always manage to defeat these demons, or at least battle my way through to the end of the story, grimly repeating the mantra “You can fix it all in the edit” over and over again in my head. Then I usually wonder what all the agonising was about when I come to the edit!

But this time, the demons won – I wasn’t yet ready to write an OC story. I didn’t know what I’d do with it when I finished it, and I didn’t think anyone would want to read it anyway, although it WAS a lot of fun sharing it with Gloria. So I went back and wrote some more fanfic, but I kept circling back to the fact that I had all these OC novel ideas, and I DID really want to try writing at least one of them all the way through.

I toyed with a vampire fic idea – but that one was so long in my head that I knew it’d be a trilogy before I’d even started, and it felt just too daunting to jump straight into the OC self-publishing world with THREE novels, rather than just one. After doing a little poll here on my LJ, I felt inspired to return to the BDSM-verse one again and pick up where I left off. That was the one that was most calling to be written at that time. It was also relatively easy, taking place over a mere 6 months rather than 2000 years! I also thought it’d work well as a gateway into seeing what self-publishing is all about. I’ll know better how to approach the other novels, including the epic vampire story, after I’ve done this one, if that’s what I choose to do.

I also didn’t want to lose my simple enjoyment in writing. It had to be a pleasure (for the most part!) or there was no point doing it. I realised I’d been putting a lot of pressure on myself, and that this was paralysing me. This first novel doesn’t have to represent the whole range of my writing abilities. It doesn’t have to appeal to all tastes or be the most amazing thing I’ve ever written. It’s just got to be a story I want to tell, and I’ve got to enjoy telling it.

So I returned to the BDSM-verse novel in April, picked up where I left off, and I’m now about 90,000 words into it. Inevitably, it’s going to be long! *Hangs head*. I’ll try and cut things down a bit in the edit, but I can see there’s a long way to go yet and a lot more story to tell before I’m done.

One of the worries I had was that I wouldn’t have the drive to write OC without the inspiration of a TV show fuelling me, but that hasn’t been a problem at all. I love these characters as much as any of the others I’ve written about, and desperately want to tell their story. In fact, I’m loving telling their story – and as it’s clearly definitely *happening*, I thought maybe it was time to talk about it a bit more.

I didn’t want to rehash any of the stories I’ve already told – I wanted to tell a new story and explore new facets to the BDSM-verse. And I didn’t want to write avatars of characters I’ve written about before – I wanted to create new ones.

So my hero dom isn’t like any of the doms I’ve written about before. He sleeps around, he’s not responsible, he keeps getting into trouble, and he’s never been fully in touch with his dom side. He’s one of those doms that Tony would have had a fling with in The First Collar who couldn’t make him feel anything because they were only playing at it. MY OC dom is very good at playing at it – and there are reasons why he’s never wanted to fully explore the genuine emotions of being a dom, which I’ll explore as the novel progresses.

Then there’s my sub. My sub in this novel likes to be in control to the point where he’s never let anyone really top him. He’s afraid of experiencing his own submission and has never found his own subspace. As a result, he keeps getting into bad relationships with the wrong kinds of doms. He also has an OCD problem and finds it hard to relax and let go.

So, we have a larger than life, laidback, trouble-magnet of a dom, and an OCD, law-abiding, control freak sub. Obviously these two aren’t immediate bedfellows, and I’m loving the process of slowly inching them towards each other and having them seek the parts of themselves that they’re too scared, for whatever reason, to fully embrace. They are both going on a journey, with lots of heartache, joy, angst and pitfalls along the way.

Writing OC has also given me a chance to explore some different facets to the BDSM universe, and to create some new canon. One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about my BDSM-verse is that it’s an entire world and it isn’t all about the BDSM sex. It might be a nice set up for some kinky sex, and I certainly like to explore that too *g*, but primarily it’s about how the people in this universe think and behave, and what it’s like to live there and be part of it. It’s about the people and relationships and dynamics as much as the actual sex.

When you write BDSM in our universe, you always have to deal with it not being the norm, which means the characters have to discuss that and come to terms with it. In the BDSM verse it is the norm, so nobody has to angst over it or give it much thought. That allows the BDSM to be an ever present backdrop and allows the story to be about the characters and not just the BDSM. Yet the BDSM is also subtly there in everything they think and do as well.

As I’m enjoying the writing so much, I think it’ll give me the confidence to tackle all those other stories waiting to be written too. After this one there is the vampire trilogy, a dark slavefic, an epic love story with an unusual murder-mystery thrown in, and many others besides. I also want to write some more fanfic. So I’m excited about all the writing possibilities coming up :-).

Phew! That brings me to the end of my first writing blog. I’ll keep you updated on the process – not just the writing, but what it’s like to self-publish, and the perils and pitfalls (and hopefully some highlights!) that I encounter along the way. I want to be honest – about the process and what I hope to achieve, and what the experience is like. First time out, it’s really about completing a novel I’m satisfied with, enjoying the experience, finding out how to self-publish, and exploring the marketing side of things. After I’ve done all that, I’ll know whether I want to do it again, or do it differently. It might not be for me, but I won’t know until I’ve tried.

If you made it all the way through, then you deserve a reward. So, here is a gif of two guys who are dead ringers for the characters in my story in skin tone and body shape! The one lying down is the dom and the one on top of him is the sub. I love the affection and intimacy in this gif :-).

hot guys


  1. savannah

    Hello xanthe,

    You’re a great writer and I adore your fic so trust in you, I’m sure that your original character novel will be perfect as all you had wrote,

    Thanks for all and good continuation,


    P.S.: I’m really sorry for faults

  2. Xanthe

    Thank you so much Savannah! That’s really encouraging and really kind of you!



  3. Ttime42

    I really like the idea of this blog–sharing all your writing experiences with us. It’s always interesting to me to see/hear about someone else’s writing style.
    Your story sounds intriguing so far and I look forward to hearing more about it and reading it! :)

  4. Xanthe

    Thanks hon! I’ll keep the blog updated so people will know what I’m doing :-)

  5. McShepletGirl

    I thnk the blog is an awesome idea!

    The novel sounds terrific…I for one can hardly wait! It seems as if it s going to be packed with smut, romance and humour….a combination which works for me!

    And that image representing the characters….just yummy!

    Look forward to reading the next installment.

  6. Xanthe

    Yay! Thank you! I look forward to keeping you updated on where it’s all at :-)

  7. UprightIguana

    Beeecause when you outsell Fifty Shades of Grey, we want to have seen all the writerly struggles leading up to release. ;D ;D ;D

  8. Xanthe

    LOL! I would SO LOVE to outsell 50 Shades!

  9. McShepletGirl

    There was a thread over on a different site a few weeks ago about 50 Shades….I may have mentioned the name of Xanthe…and might have suggested that she is writing a novel….and quite possibly offered the opinion that her novel deserves to outsell 50 Shades because 50 Shades is not really that well written and Xanthe is a much better writer!

  10. Xanthe

    Wow! Thank you! Remember 50 Shades is het though, and featured an acceptably drippy and pathetic sub woman (rather than a strong and interesting one) so the whole thing was less threatening. It also had the paradigm of the rich, stern, male dom. And look how bonkers everyone went about the mere notion of ‘mommy porn’ in that. I suspect the world isn’t quite ready for BDSM slash, let alone that set in BDSM universes, but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep plugging away at it. Some day its time will come!

    You got a link to that conversation you had?

  11. McShepletGirl

    A link….ummmm I think I know how to do that….


    I think this should link to the right thread…if you search the site there have been a few converstions on 50 Shades – but I think this is the one I meant!…(and I also recommended you and your site to a couple of friends over there….one of whom has a Gibbs fixation – so I thought I’d open her eyes a little….because I’m evil that way!)

  12. Xanthe

    Ah! Thank you! And heh – the TES! LOL! Really, teachers everywhere should hate 50 Shades for the truly awful example of creative writing it presents. I longed to go through the one chapter I read with my beta hat on and send it back to her with lots of red comments. I haven’t read it all the way through so I don’t know if the story somehow saves the terrible writing style but I do think it’s sad that women are behaving as if it’s enlightened their sex life when there is SO MUCH that is better out here. But, she’s the one who went ahead and did it, so I guess she deserves kudos for that.

  13. McShepletGirl

    So….I have just read that 50 Shades has topped the 1 million Kindle sales…on top of the paperback copies sold.
    Come on Xanthe! Where is the next update? You are going to finish this novel and blow 50 Shades out of the water!
    We want a well-written story….humour, romance and a fair smattering of smut….We want a novel that does not see BDSM as aberrant….We do NOT want the resolution of someone being ‘saved’ from this lifestyle…We want submissive characters who are strong within themselves, who can hold down jobs, and live a succesful life….We want a strong plot, well-written which just happens to be filthy!..
    And who can give this to us?….XANTHE!!!!!
    So, how is the novel progressing?
    If necessary, I have a cunning plan….you give up the day job and just write…write…write….we set up a system of rewards and punishments…every chapter completed you get a nice treat (I’m of German extraction and we bake cakes like no other nation!)….every time you miss a deadline it is nasty punishment time!
    If this fails….I suggest kidnapping you!….you WILL finish this novel….
    This time next year people will be saying ’50 what?……’….but have you read the new Xanthe?….
    Seriously, I think the time is right for a really good well-written erotic tale to take the mass market by storm…50 Shades is only the tip of the iceberg…get writing Xanthe!

  14. Xanthe

    LOL! I love your enthusiasm! And I LOVE CAKE! I am actually writing up a storm and LOVING the writing.

    The story is now 109,000 words long but still a long way off being finished.

    I wonder what people think of long stories? I really wish I could write them shorter but they always seem to come out long.

    And THIS: this is SO what I’m writing!

    We want a well-written story….humour, romance and a fair smattering of smut….We want a novel that does not see BDSM as aberrant….We do NOT want the resolution of someone being ‘saved’ from this lifestyle…We want submissive characters who are strong within themselves, who can hold down jobs, and live a succesful life….We want a strong plot, well-written which just happens to be filthy!..

    I need everyone to get behind me when I publish it if we’re going to blow 50 Shades out of the water though! I hope people will all support me and spread the word and really make it work. I just keep thinking – if the world is this shocked by a bit of tame het BDSM, I wonder how the hell they’ll feel when the all singing, all dancing, slash version comes along, which unapologetically loves BDSM, doesn’t have a wimpy sub heroine, and doesn’t use the premise of BDSM to titillate the audience all the way through and then turn around at the end and cure the characters of needing it?

  15. McShepletGirl

    I just keep thinking – if the world is this shocked by a bit of tame het BDSM, I wonder how the hell they’ll feel when the all singing, all dancing, slash version comes along, which unapologetically loves BDSM, doesn’t have a wimpy sub heroine, and doesn’t use the premise of BDSM to titillate the audience all the way through and then turn around at the end and cure the characters of needing it?

    They will love it! Well most of them will! They don;t know what they have been missing!
    I am giggling away to myself at the thought of your novel selling so well that you get to sell the film rights! They’ll have to create a whole new rating system….or maybe the ‘X’ in ‘X-rated’ films could stand for ‘Xanthe’!

  16. UprightIguana

    EJ James is going to be at Comic Con to sign books. (Got a note from her publisher’s PR person.) >:( sigh >:( This means that we’ll have an overrun of “mommy porners”, which is essentially the same population as “Twi-tards” a couple of years ago.

    What, you may ask, does 50 Shades have to do with comics? Just look at her characters. ;D

    BUT! if getting phenomenal sales is the ONLY way to get YOU to Comic Con, then we must implement the Cunning Plan of rewards, punishment and eating cake.

  17. Xanthe

    LOL! I’d love to go to Comicon! Especially as a big invited guest star but I can’t see that happening. We can live in hope though! Maybe with judicious applications of cake we’ll get there!

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