I had a crazy idea for Nanowrimo to do either this summer or November. It’s so far outside of my style that I have no intention of getting it published. It’s just a fun exercise.
The book would be about the Biddenden Maids. According to legend, they were conjoined twins from a rich family who lived in England during medieval times. I’ve read its normal for Siamese twins to get married, so I thought one of them could marry a man the other didn’t like. The other would later fall in love with him (of course), and this would cause chaos.
That’s what I call a messed-up love triangle.
As I’m going back and forth on whether or not to write a novel that will spend a significant amount of time in the bedroom, I’m reevaluating my standards. Some of my readers might remember I have yet to take a firm moral stance on how much sex is okay to put in books. It shouldn’t be too graphic, too vulgar, or too gratuitous, but what does that actually mean? How much do I personally believe is too much?
Since I don’t plan on anyone seeing this book but me, I did consider throwing moral caution to the wind and writing whatever I want. But that goes against my philosophy that you should never write something you’re too ashamed to stand by.
I first developed this philosophy in a college creative writing class. One of the students read a poem he wrote about sexual frustration. I actually thought it was good. Sexual frustration is something we all go through, and I appreciated his openness in talking about it. At one point he described peeking through his window blinds watching the college girls go by and wishing he could be with all of them, which I found hilarious because I’ve seen guys doing that.
What I didn’t like was how in the last two lines, he drastically changed his stance and said he actually wanted to fall in love and be with only one woman. Obviously I think that’s the best moral choice, but it told me he was too embarrassed by his piece to fully support it.
I told him, “Look, if you want to be a pervert, be a pervert and stand by it, but if you’re ashamed of this, you shouldn’t have written it.”
In retrospect I probably shouldn’t have called him a pervert in front of the whole class, by I believe in what I said. Never write something you’re ashamed of, and never be ashamed of what you write.
If I decide to write this conjoined twin story, I will write it asking myself, “Do I have the nerve to support this, or will it embarrass me?” Because once I write it, it’s mine, and I’m not going to hide what’s mine.