I don’t know how I got the horror level between Carousel and Aerial mixed up in my head, thinking that Carousel was less horror-ful and Aerial more so. I think it’s because Carousel is more gleeful, more of a novel of wicked fun. However, Carousel was definitely closer to the horror genre. Aerial has a lot more angst, but not as much horror – or rather, the horror is subtler, more psychological than visual. Each Arcanium novel has been horror in a very different way, as it should be.
I fell in love with Aerial all over again while editing it, though. There’s something about otherwise straight men being coerced into gayness that just does it for me. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s a corollary of my love of hate sex or angry sex. Aerial is MM and MF, and the MF scenes are super fun, but the MM scenes are the ones that reach the deepest emotionally, so they’re also the ones that get my motor running the most.
In the future, I think I’m going to have to go over the first chapter or two a third editing pass after my usual two (which in this case cut out about 4500 words, not too shabby). Those consistently seem to be the chapters I have the most trouble with. I have such trouble writing endings (because I never know when to end and what the ending means for the characters), but it’s the beginnings that are the least clean. Aerial in particular had a whole section of the first chapter that I rearranged like a ragged patchwork quilt. It makes sense the way I write, since the first two chapters are usually when I’m still trying to figure out how my characters work. Since Aerial was my first dip into a male protagonist (sustained over the whole novel rather than one of several perspectives), I was feeling especially nervous with Seth’s characterization.
One of the things that I noticed when I wrote these particular men was that they’re more profane in their speech than my usual. All my characters are pretty much the same profanity level in their thoughts, but it doesn’t always translate into speech with my women. I suspect this is a socialization thing, and it’s something I also notice when teenage and young men get together without women around.
As usual, I’m excited about Arcanium being slated for publication, and I’m terrified about the reception of the human oddity portion of Arcanium. Aerial is the first book that directly involves the sex lives of some of Arcanium’s oddities, with contortionist Valorie and conjoined twins Joanne and Jane.
The next book will be the first novel whose protagonist is an oddity, even though Kitty, Arcanium’s Bearded Lady, had my heart from the very beginning and I’d originally intended for her story to be second. As long as her story is told, because it’s going to be dark and sweet like the most wicked and decadent kind of chocolate. I’m looking forward to Ringmaster, even though I’m not sure whether I’ll write it this fall before Call for Blood (Sanctuary Book 3) or this winter after Call for Blood. I have some things to work out, but if things go my way, I might be able to fit in another one or two books before NaNoWriMo.