Yes, you can.
Two writer friends and I were discussing my reasons for excluding “The Worst Faery in New York”, Pre-Chaos and “Touched through Blood and Dust” from the Blooming Howls collection.
“There was just too much adult sex,” I told them.
Before I could explain what I meant, one of them yelled (I was so taken by her outrage; everyone should feel this strongly about sex). Anyhoo, she yelled, “You can never (ever!) have too much adult sex.”
“That might be true for inside my head,” I said. “But for an individual tale that is part of a collection? Yes, you can.”
I removed the stories, my Wicked Luvs, because the tone and intensity of the sex didn’t fit. The same was true for the kind of violence and humor. The themes of the tales in Blooming Howls go from ominous to reflective. There is implied sex (both healthy and terrible)… But what happens between adults, in the stories I took out, is explicit enough to make it too much for a collection that includes teenagers and parents fighting bad guys together. Does that make any sense?
Lum, Darlene and the ladies from “Touched through Blood and Dust” (not together *cough*) need their own book-space to be as ruthless and sexual as they like. What about Pre-Chaos, you might be asking? After revising and re-revising the 51,000+ words of the novella, I decided to stop fighting it: this novella has been wanting to be a novel for some time now, and who am I to oppose that kind of desire? And yes, the desire is high, raw and vibrant in Pre-Chaos, New York.
At one point during the process, I found myself trying to dilute the sex and the killings in order to make the stories fit together. After my Muse recovered from her disgust—and I apologized until my throat hurt, for almost altering the plot to fit my needs—we decided to bring you part of what you missed; sometime around the Winter Solstice, methinks. I’m not sure about Pre-Chaos just now. I enjoy publishing shorts stories on my own, but I’m yet to figure out if I feel the same way when it comes to full-length novels. We’ll see…
Are you bothered by collections where the stories lack harmony of sex and violence between each other? And for those of you who have read Blooming Howls, can you see why explicit sex (and Darlene’s ways) would have been a disaster for the collection? By the way, I giggled after rereading the phrase “harmony of sex and violence.” So go ahead, roar; you know you want to.
Too Much Johnson has nothing to do with this post. I was just searching for an image that illustrated the concept of “too much.” When I saw this poster, I nearly died laughing. I had to share it.