I should have a warning about the contents within A Story About Self-Confidence: What’s In A Name?, a month~long story at Eville Medical in the Sammohini Arc of “The Story” for its sexual content, drug/alcohol references, violence, and whatever else might offend people. Oh! Let’s start with offensive language. The only offensive language is the aforementioned cultural provocation. Otherwise, no fucks, no shits, no damns, and only one crap was given in my first novel.
“Compartmentalized Regressive Anomic Pseudoaphasia” memory.
Besides CRAP memory, I was intentional in not including any swear words, mainly because Sammohini is a sensible character that doesn’t like swear words herself, but it has this weird sort of immaturity. That’s not to say the converse is true. It’s just weird for me to work in a workplace where people don’t swear. One notable example was when I worked at the newspaper, one of the reporters was told she had to do something annoying, and she let out an exasperated “fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.”
Otherwise, I think I was a quarter of the way through the novel before I even noticed.
There’s no violence and the only thing even approaching anything action is the scene where Alex does a stunt to jump down some rocks to get to the eye clinic, whereas Sammohini has to be more careful. Stories of violence don’t interest me much. My favorite movie, The Holy Mountain, has violent scenes but isn’t violent. My favorite movie, EarthBound, is a role-playing game but doesn’t have anything overly violent. Those favorites probably reflect in what I look for when I create my own works.
That was boring. How about the drugs?
Well, besides the irony of the smoke area at the hospital, Josh, Fairydust, and Hank all smoke. Whether that’s cigarette or cannabis isn’t stated. Sammohini is shocked but not overly offended by their smoking, so she may have smoked once in college, but I’m almost leaning closer to probably not; without asking… On that note, before I write the second novel, I’ll write an interview short story where a character representing me, as Zombiepaper, will interview Sammohini in my mind palace, and we’ll cover at least three main themes – back history context that might be useful for readers to know about, clarifications on the first novel, and expectations on the second novel.
That leaves the alcohol and sex.
When Sammohini gets wasted at Zbigniew’s Teriyaki, well, that’s probably going to be offensive to people. It’s been almost seven years since I’ve been drunk, so my depiction isn’t accurate as it could be, but that’s a terrible reason to break sobriety, and besides, she doesn’t drink that often either. That said, I think it’s a fairly effective glance into the mind as it is in an inebriated state. I was inebriated by headaches by this point, so I leaned into that more than if things had been in good shape.
So, about the sexual content.
Editor and beta reader J.D. and I talked about the novel as it was:
[November 13th, 10pm]
J.D.: Can Sammohini have a love interest?
Zombiepaper: She had one before the start of the novel.
Zombiepaper: She might meet someone through the clinic project, but it’s not quite clear yet.
This dialogue inspired me to explore the whole sexual side story.
It’s ambiguous partially because I enjoy ambiguity, and partially because Sammohini wasn’t comfortable revealing that information. She shies away from it later on when Hank opens up about his own infidelities, and there’s that whole weird interaction between Hank and Linda that leaves more questions than answers. That is mostly resolved by the end of the novel, but it’s something that needs a bit of in-universe clarification.
There’s also a large continuity error from the older short stories.
I wrote another short story called “The Gig Life VII” some years ago where she had already met Samuel and gave birth to Alejandría, which is on the Sammohini Arc page that I haven’t read or referenced in years, honestly. Most of the details could still be useful, but she doesn’t have any children when she’s reached her second year working at Eville Medical, so I imagine she might wait until she’s in her late 20s or early 30s to have any children.
Another question to ask in the fictional interview…
I’m not overly concerned because I imagine that the major details will sort themselves out and the minor details are just like anything else about the content. There will be content that is rude to polite society, like sex, drugs, violence, and then there will be content that will be rude to readers, like typos or continuity errors, and all of these are looking at the novel through different perspectives. Some people really don’t want to read anything with any sexual content.
I can empathize with having content warnings.
At the same time, though, life doesn’t have content warnings. I had three colleagues talk extensively about alcohol one day while I was writing the novel, having a good old time, and I just felt terrible hearing all of that. I said nothing. If you don’t like the unedited content, there will not be an edited version. This is as it is. I will probably be more careful editing future novels so I will have a lengthier editing cycle, so I can be more considerate over whether any content might be too weird, too controversial, or too vulgar for polite sensibilities.
That said, this novel ain’t no Post Office.
I love vulgar materials. I love content that challenges and provokes my perceptions of reality. I may not enjoy all of it, and some of it I’ll discard shortly after consuming, but I value being shocked outside of my comfort zone. I wrote this first novel with the notion that I would enjoy reading it, so I imagine there are other people like me, too, that want to read fresh materials.
If not, then hey, I’ll keep writing until I’m done writing my fiction.
|Quotes:  I borrowed IDKFA’s brainpower for this clever acronym among other things, which were all cited within the credits section.|
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium, my personal experiences, and my professional experiences.|
|Inspirations: My sensibilities were probably destroyed watching Genocyber when I was a preteen, exacerbated over years of finding extreme media in all fields – even forsaking pop music for the weirdest music – so I am not a good person [end sentence there for whether you’re unsure if you’re going to be offended reading the novel] when it comes to figuring out whether others will be offended reading about certain materials. At least I’ve honestly represented the most offensive materials that are in the novel. I also really enjoy pornography.|
|Related: Other 2019 Novel writings. The Sober Living part about my colleagues shows how I’ve developed some callouses toward things in life, so I would expect a little bit of talk about sex shouldn’t offend others, but see the section above for more thoughts.|
|Picture: Is this picture offensive?|
|Written On: December 26, 2019 [54 minutes, from 7:18am to 8:12am with many moments of distraction, while listening to DRAINO on repeat, written in WordPress]|
|Last Edited: December 26, 2019 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|