Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Writing Wednesday: The Decline of P.T. Dilloway or How I Got Into Erotica

By my lengthy calculations it's the first Wednesday of the month and that means Alex Cavanaugh and his minions are whining about their insecurities.  Let it not be said that I too do not also whine about my insecurities.  And I'm waaaaay more insecure than everyone else, so suck it.

Anyway, at the end of April when "Knox Kingston" was trolling the X entry of my A to Z challenge, he posited that I write gender swap fiction because I want to be a woman and get gang-banged by men.  Which shows a basic misunderstanding of my books in that had he read them he would realize that none of them feature gang-banging. 

But for the benefit of him and everyone else I thought I would trace the moral decline of P.T. Dilloway, aka me.  I mean not that I was all that moral to start with so it wasn't far to go.

Dateline November 2006:  I picked up a copy of Orlando by Virginia Woolf from my local library.  If this isn't the original gender swap book then it's one of the first.  It was good, though the manner in which the eponymous character changes sex is pretty silly.  It's like fairies sprinkle fairy dust on him, which is something I haven't even done...yet.  And he didn't really seem to have a problem spontaneously turning into a girl, nor did anyone else.

Also in 2006 I read Self by Yann Martel, the Life of Pi guy because someone somewhere mentioned it and I thought the premise sounded interesting and since I had read Orlando, why not read something more contemporary?  This book was so goddamned boring that I many times thought of quitting it.  Had I got it from the library I might have but I had spent like 3 whole dollars on it and by God I'm going to get my 3 dollars worth!!!  Again the changing the sex part didn't make sense (it just sorta happens...just cuz) and basically the wimpy guy who turns into a girl pretty much just rolls over and goes back to sleep.  To which I think, "Um, what?  Dude I'd be freaking out!"  The book picks up a little at the end when [spoiler alert] she gets raped while pregnant and this triggers becoming a boy again.

Nothing much really happened after that for a while except in 2008 when I came up with my writing "bucket list" I decided doing a book like Orlando/Self would be #3 after a John Irving-type book (Where You Belong) and retreading my Don Quixote/superhero novella The Naked World, which I have yet to accomplish and don't really have any plans to accomplish in the near future.

Why did I add that as #3?  I think looking back at the two books I had read, I thought it was an interesting concept.  Both books had the actual transformation be so silly that I figured I could do something better.  At least something less boring and nonsensical than Self.  I mean come on, Yann, if you wake up with no penis you are not going right back to sleep; you're going to run down the hallways screaming bloody murder!

I hadn't done anything with it until 2011.  Then I was at a loose end writing wise.  I didn't like what I was working on and one day thought back to my list and since I still didn't have any interest in #2, why not take a crack at #3?  It didn't take long to come up with the basic premise of Chance of a Lifetime.  I had read a big book of Raymond Chandler short stories and so when I thought about a scenario it seemed a hardboiled detective like Philip Marlowe getting turned into a young woman would be a scenario rife with potential drama and conflict.  I mean what does a big tough guy do when he's no longer big, tough, or a guy?

That story struggled out of the gate but I got it on track and then as I was nearing the end I had an idea for a sequel.  Then as I was nearing the end of that I had an idea for another sequel!  And then...nothing really happened for 18 months.

Dateline May 2013:  I was at another loose end writing.  Really I had been at a loose end since I finished Last Chance in 2011.  One day I got an idea for a Chances Are/Tales of the Scarlet Knight crossover.  I even posted it to this here blog (at the end of the Box Office Blitz stuff)!  Though no one said I shouldn't write it people seemed kind of "meh" and then I realized:  what's the point in doing a crossover of two books people haven't read?  Besides me, how many people in the world had actually read those two books?  Probably none.

But then by July I had the idea to combine the two premises into what became Girl Power.  What happens when four male superheroes become female superheroes?  Mayhem ensues, of course.  So that launched my second gender swap series.  I wrote the first and then had an idea for a second and then an idea for a third and then some short story ideas.  Then I had a spinoff idea that didn't really turn out, which by then was spring of 2014.

Sadly for "Knox Kingston" there were still no gang bangs.

I routinely check the Amazon pages for books to see what the sales ranking is and stuff.  I'm sure some people would malign that as "obsessive" or something but what business doesn't want to monitor its sales?  Anyway, I noticed on the Chances Are books that under the "People Who Bought This, Also Bought" list all these other books that were going for like $2.99 and when I checked a couple of them out they had higher sales ranking than mine despite that they were a lot shorter.  So I bought one or two and got another with my Amazon Prime borrow and I thought, "I can do this!" 

Anyway, so that was the genesis of Transformed Into a Little Girl, which I probably said some of that stuff on my L entry in April.  And then a funny thing happened:  it actually sold books!  I mean not exactly springboarding me to the top of Amazon's sales ranking, but to one of the little bestseller lists.   So hey, why the hell not do another?  And another.  And another...you get the idea.  Especially when I was laid off from my job it made sense to keep writing to keep making money.  What a novel idea:  write books people will pay money for!!!  Why didn't I think of that years ago?!

As an aside what's the genesis of my evil alterego Eric Filler?  A few years ago I decided that I had all these old books lying around and I might as well throw them out there for the unsuspecting public to perhaps purchase.  I mean every little bit helps, right?

In Reign of the Supermen style I came up with 3 other alteregos:  Paul L. Madden, Claire Lachance, and Eric Filler.  The name actually came from a random name generator for erotica authors.  Though it was actually Erica Filler but I dropped the A.  Would Erica Filler sell more books?  Hurm.  Something to think about.  Anyway, if you want to think about my book business as General Motors I attempted to structure them this way:

  • P.T. Dilloway:  Cadillac
  • Paul L. Madden:  Buick
  • Claire Lachance:  GMC
  • Eric Filler:  Chevy

The Eric Filler name was mostly for the older books and ones I considered more R-rated.  So it seemed the natural one to use for the purpose of erotica books.  Then in Reign of the Supermen style again I eliminated two of the names, leaving only P.T. Dilloway and Eric Filler.  So anyway if you wanted some Darth Vader moment where I was burned by lava or something, too freaking bad.

Anyway, to make "Knox Kingston" and his ilk happy I will say the situation is kind of like when a girl decides to become a stripper.  First you say you're just going to do it a little while to earn some money for college.  But then the money is really good, so you just keep doing it.  After almost a year you're not that keen on continuing but the money is still there, so you keep going.  Since I'd make a lousy stripper I might as well keep writing books until something better comes along.

Of course if you have a problem with that, what you should do is go buy my P.T. Dilloway books that don't involve gender swapping!  I mean if I sold as many copies of Higher Power or Chet Finley vs. the Machines of Fate or the Tales of the Scarlet Knight series then I'd be doing more books like that.  As I've said before, if you don't want crap then don't buy crap.

There you go, my whole decline into Caligula-like depravity.  It was a real wild fucking ride, wasn't it?

4 comments:

  1. You're not the only author I know that has switched genres in order to sell and in most cases this involved romance or erotica. If you can make money of it and you can write it, then I'm not going to judge it. There really isn't much point in continuing to write something that doesn't sell. Of course, some people do, but most authors want to be read. Also, you will have time to write other things too eventually.

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  2. I have a profound respect for any transgender person. Not only does it mean they are coming face to face with an uncomfortable truth, but that they are ready to embrace what will make them happy. Caitlyn Jenner has suffered all of her life (as an example) being born a person that she obviously is not. It disturbs me that someone could so callously comment on gender swap fiction and say to another person, "You just want to be gang banged by men." I can't believe how ignorant a comment that is. To be clear, I'm not faulting you. I'm just taking issue with someone who clearly doesn't understand what "transgender" even means.

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  3. Nothing wrong with being a little practical. I think Knox's comment is pretty off-base. People are interested in gender swap fiction and erotica, so give the people what they want.

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  4. Interesting to see the genesis of the idea and how it ties it to classic literature. Eric Filler does good work

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