(Not) Playing it Safe


i generally don’t check the Freshly Pressed articles on WordPress because a) I’m bitter that I’ve never been freshly pressed, b) I can’t stand the new set up of WordPress and I don’t have the time or energy to go looking for shit and/or c) I’m not all that interested. Take your pick, it’s all the same to me. However, hoping for a bit of inspiration, after the rather disastrous reception my last two blogposts received (I regret nothing on the phone front). I decided to check out the freshly pressed blogs and came across this gem, about debut novels and playing it safe.

It’s an interesting article on it’s own but if left me wondering… what constitutes ‘playing it safe’? Did Bridge of Memories play it safe?

If I understood this concept correctly (which is a big fucking if), then I’m going to say no, if for no other reason because my main characters in a Y.A. fantasy were a) gay b) sexually active c) Eric gets pregnant and has a miscarriage  Three things which you will not often find in most novels, particularly not the Y.A. kind. (Or even N.A. which is generally what I lean towards these days–even for book 1). The fact that they are sixteen and swear like sixteen year olds do may not necessarily be that edgy, but it’s definitely not safe either.

I would definitely agree with Mr. Sanchez’s opinion that playing it safe is not the best advice for a debut novel, but I think one person’s definition of playing it safe might differ from someone else’s.

And as some authors (hopefully) have learned, being edgy doesn’t always work for them. the Casual Vacancy is arguably edgy for J.K.Rowling, even if not a debut novel (and especially when compared to Harry Potter) but either because we are so used to the Potterworld or some other reason, a lot of the ‘edge’ to TCV come’s off more uncomfortable than anything else. While I am loathe to ever compare Ms. Rowling to E.L. James, Fifty Shades is a perfect example of a debut novel that did not play it safe but that came off more uncomfortable than  was necessary.

6 thoughts on “(Not) Playing it Safe

  1. First, thanks for the link to my post. Very glad you read it, in spite of your distaste for Freshly Pressed…

    I do agree that the definition of “playing it safe” does vary from writer to writer. Personally, from what I’ve read, I think the whole “Fifty Shades of Gray” thing is poorly written garbage, but it’s edgy in that it’s brought submissive/dominant sexual relationships into the mainstream. And I certainly think what you accomplished with your first novel is precisely what I was suggesting by not playing it safe.

    • After your post I may have to reconsider my feelings on the freshly pressed page. As for Fifty Shades I would agree its terrible as well as being wholly inaccurate about the whole BDSM world (from what I have seen of it at any rate).

      And thank you, I definitely thought I didn’t play it safe and it’s nice to hear that I was right in that assumption. I don’t think any novel should play it safe if it can be avoided. Thanks again for taking the time to read my post and comment :D much appreciated.

      • I admit I tended to ignore Freshly Pressed for the same reasons you did, because I wasn’t being Freshly Pressed. But now that I’ve been Freshly Pressed, my feelings have changed.

        And thank you, once again, for reading my blog and for taking the time to post thoughts of your own regarding my little essay.

      • I could totally see that, and I think in time I’ll probably read more of them if I feel they speak to me. I’m still struggling with the layout changes they made. But your welcome. And thank you for commenting here. I always love new comments and they’ve been kind of scarce here for a bit.

  2. Eric gets pregnant?

    Peculiar mental image, Arnie The Governator is involved…

    Either way, sounds like you didn’t play it safe (and nor, by the sounds of things, did your Eric character…)

    • Yes. I imagine it does sound rather bizarre. Its explained (somewhat) in book 2 as being rare but possible. And no I suppose he really didn’t play it safe haha.

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