So, here comes my latest short story: The Scriptwriter, which is now available in all formats on my website and on the other usual suspects.
This is a case where form rather than content has definitely been the driving force as a cursory glance at the story will confirm. The entire story is in the form of the kind of script that I imagine would be written for a pornographic movie with the additional conceit that this pornographic film is about a scriptwriter of such pornographic movies. So clearly this is a short story that is deliberately self-referential as well as being slyly satirical of the very thing it pretends to be.
Interestingly, this is a story that has got a much more negative vote on Stories OnLine than most of my stories. That’s always something well worth considering because of what it reveals about the readership. I don’t think it’s been punished for reasons of plot, style and characterisation (as a glance at the most popular stories on the site will show: few of them have much in the way of redeeming qualities in those terms). It might be I’m being punished for presuming to be stylistically adventurous, but I wonder why someone confronted by prose that isn’t the normal series of short paragraphs with interminable dialogue should be bothered to even vote it down.
No. I suspect the cause is more like the reason my short story Her Husband’s Ex was voted down and that is because it is perceived as a criticism of the target readership. And in the case of The Scriptwriter I imagine that is because it satirises a form of entertainment that the target readers indulge in rather too frequently and in which they recognise something in themselves that they don’t like.
As I say, I’m don’t think I’m being punished for style, sexual content or even lack of sexual activity: there is considerably more of the latter than in most of my stories even if every half an hour of sex is reduced to a handful of short phrases and a note of its duration.