Monday, February 9, 2015

The Art of the Swap

I mentioned in my previous entry that I was rewatching Breaking Bad, in part to prepare for the premiere of Better Call Saul and in part because there's not tons of other stuff on Netflix I want to watch.  In a Season 3 episode Walter White, the chemistry teacher-turned-meth cook, says in reference to making crystal meth, "You have to respect the chemistry."  The idea being that for Walter even though he was making a criminal product there was still a certain beauty and perfection to it.

Respect the chemistry, yo
I think a lot of people would see the gender swap erotica books I write as a literary version of crystal meth:  an underground, taboo substance sold to grimy, scruffy people.  I'm sure "important" authors with big publishers and midlist authors who just want to think they're important would like to stamp out books like mine the way the DEA wants to stamp out Walt's meth.

And yet you have to respect the chemistry.  Even these stories are artful in their own way.  They operate on different rules from mainstream fiction, but the basic principles are still much the same, at least for me.

The basic idea here is that these stories are still stories.  The base version of these has a pretty simple formula:  dude gets turned into a chick through some means, has a few moments of awkward adjustment, gets fucked (most often consensually), and that's it.  Because the getting fucked is so awesome that he wants to be a chick forever!  I'm not sure any women reading this would agree with that assessment.

As a big fan of the old Twilight Zone, my favorite way of doing these is the Rod Serling-style comeuppance.  Like in the first story of Transformed Into a Schoolgirl, a guy murders a teenage girl, gets shot by the cops, and then finds that through some Victor von Frankenstein science his brain is now in the body of the girl he shot!  Or in Transformed Into a Whore, a modern Jack the Ripper is captured by a bunch of prostitutes and turned into one of them!  Or in Transformed Into a Geek Girl, a football jock is turned into a geeky girl who lives with the nerds he tormented.  Sometimes I like to get a little political, like in Transformed Into a MILF when a Rush Limbaugh-style shock jock becomes a 50s housewife to realize it wasn't so awesome.  And of course the Transformed for Christmas was a whole riff on A Christmas Carol, where a jerk got his comeuppance.

The other most popular way I have to do these is accidental change.  Basically some poor schmuck drinks something he shouldn't or takes a wrong turn to run afoul of a witch or something and ends up as a girl, who may or may not find out that it's awesome.  Like in Transformed Into a Bimbo, a scientist's lab is broken into and he ends up getting doused with the wrong chemicals that eventually turn him into a bimbo.  Or in Transformed Into a Cougar where a kid makes a wish on a comet and finds himself turned into his hot female teacher.  Is there really a message to those?  Not so much, though some turn more into love stories than erotica.

Anyway, the point I'm making is that even a genre that might seem inferior or scummy has its own internal logic.  It has its own chemistry that you should respect.


  1. Have you watched "Attack on Titan?" It's on Netflix, and I think it's pretty brilliant.

  2. You sure do have a variety of ways men get turned into women. A sign of creative genius.

  3. Lots of genre fiction has a formula. Nothing wrong with that. You still have to make the formula entertaining and fun to read.

  4. I hit enter before I was done. I was going to add also that no author should get mad that another author is writing a book. Books make people read MORE, and even 'serious' authors should be glad for genre fiction. After all, nobody can read serious, high-falutin' stuff all the time.

    But you're right: big time authors probably do want you to stop. Screw them. (You should do "Transformed Into An Erotic Fiction Writer" where a writing snob gets transformed into an EL James or Stephanie Meyer type!)



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