In which I explain a few things about Anomaly

Anomaly by Thea Atkinson

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Poor Anomaly.

It’s not a great seller. It tries to make its creator happy and slip in a few sales each month, almost as if to say, “Hey Ma! Look at me. See, I can be good.” But really, they are only enough to get me thrilled and happy for a few moments, kind of like a little reminder that my favorite child was born with a few sadly genetic defects that I passed on and now it’s doing its best to have a happy life.

I gave it so many handicaps, this child of mine. It has a bad blurb. It has a homemade cover. It doesn’t fit nicely into any real niche that I can promote it in or that readers can say, “Yes! I love that type of book.”

And it has a transgender character.

OK. That’s probably the deal breaker. I’m sure some readers aren’t interested in reading what they think is a gay novel (to put it bluntly). I’ve had other writers tell me that’s a great promotion opportunity. A ready made marketing audience: LGBT. I resist that. Not because I’m afraid of being labelled a writer of gay and queer novels, but because Anomaly just isn’t that.

It has a transgender character.

That’s it. It’s not a novel about transgenderism–although, admittedly, that’s the device used to propel the character. So I don’t feel comfortable writing to a queer audience and trying to pass off my character driven novel as a LGBT genre. They would throw stones at me. Rightly so. I did my best to honor the issues and honor the humanity of the LGBT community, to make J’s journey authentic, but it isn’t a novel written for that market.

Neither is it just pure plot driven story. I write character driven fiction, So the novel is about the character. It’s about J. A person. A human being who wants something. J has flaws. J has needs. What J needs most is to find peace within.

Don’t we all want that?

I think Anomaly speaks to many issues that we live in, that our psyches process and purge a hundred times a week: the need to be loved, to be accepted, to find happiness. J is his own worst enemy, like many of us are.

Can we find love? Can we find happiness?

Above all, can we find that place within that says, “Yes, I’m going to be OK. I want to be OK.”

So every month, I have a few sales of this book that I believe is my best work so far. Robert Duperre gave it 4.7/5 stars. Big Al gave it 5 stars. These are discerning readers and honest reviewers, so I think my little handicapped child is doing OK. Its psyche, its parts, its soul, its very completeness of being is just fine, thankyou. No need for me to worry.

This little child of mine is tenacious. It’s time I told it I’m proud of it.

And I am.


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Thea Atkinson is a writer of character driven fiction.

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15 comments on “In which I explain a few things about Anomaly
  1. […] plentiful, it’s the backbone of our economy. J is a pleasure lover and an addictive personality. If you’ve met J, he can grow on ya. I imagine he spends his evenings now reading spiritual literature and heaping […]

  2. […] In which I explain a few things about Anomaly ( […]

  3. kindle touch review…

    […]In which I explain a few things about Anomaly « Thea Atkinson[…]…

  4. Silentnovelist says:

    Anomaly isn’t on my Kindle – yet. But it will be. The issue of gender identity and sexuality is one that interests me. My protagonist can’t be pigeonholded, sexually. Her affections determine how she expresses her sexuality. Gender is irrelevant.

    It seems to me the difficulty of marketing a character-driven novel like Anomaly is the dilemma of how to ‘categorise’ or ‘tag’ it. I understand the desire not to market it specifically to the transgender or gay community, because that seems to imply it fits into that box, and that box alone; yet the theme of the book is universal, as is the appeal.

    The best character-driven fiction cannot be categorised, or be determined by the number of readers; or the price. How to find a wide reading audience within the limitations of ‘genre’ definitions seems to me the main stumbling block. I don’t have the answer to that, I’m afraid.

    I’m glad you are proud of your favourite, if slightly flawed child. I look forward to reading J’s story. Great post.

    • thanks so much, Diana, for taking the time to write me such a thoughtful and thought-provoking comment. Tags have indeed been difficult for Anomaly as has genre choice, but I’m content to let it find its audience–even if it is slow.

      I do hope you’ll come back again, and I’d love to have you guest post sometime. This comment has got me thinking about genre again and characterization. I do hope you’ll take me up on it. You’re welcome any time.


  5. Dan Holloway says:

    Fascinating post, Thea. My best novel has a lesbian protagonist for whom sexuality is never an issue. Our characters will be what they will be, and we write them as we find them. I’ve never understood why certain characteristics *have* to be the central drivers of our characters. For some they are and for some they aren’t, and your absolute first duty is to your character’s integrity and not your readers’ expectations

  6. Viv says:

    Having read all but your newest and the novella, I do think this is your best work.
    I think that the pain and the integrity of J trying to get peace is what makes it so real.

  7. AF says:

    Sadly, the commercial side of writing is often more about creating work that is “saleable” rather than what’s good, or what the author wants to create.

    Personally, I write because I love to do it. If others like it that’s one heck of a wonderful bonus. If it also sells, that’s a bloody miracle! Still, miracles do happen, so they say.

    Superb post that describes precisely how many authors (including me) feel about their creations.

    • wow. Thanks Adam. I’m so pleased you said so. I know I should be thinking ‘genre’ but I don’t. And I’ll probably never get to sell books the way John Locke or Amanda Hocking does. Still: I’m Ok with that. grin.

  8. Great post Thea.

    I think this: “Neither is it just pure plot driven story. I write character driven fiction, So the novel is about the character. It’s about J. A person. A human being who wants something. J has flaws. J has needs. What J needs most is to find peace within. Don’t we all want that?” Is what makes Anomaly a story I think anyone can relate to.

    • Thanks for saying so, patricia. It’s good to know some readers get what it’s about and burst right past the term ‘transgender’ to the story and the heart of the tale. So glad you stopped by. I did notice “Being Human” seems very much like this: the vampire plot device really seems to just be the skeleton around which you build your flesh. (story) is this the case?

  9. Thea, a fascinating post. Really important not to judge success or failure by sales numbers alone. What’s important it that the target audience like it. If that’s a small audience so be it. We write for our readers. Sales and financial rewards are a bonus.

    • Amen, MArk. you always get to the heart of the matter. Would you say “Snow White” is more geared to genre than Sugar and Spice was, or is it very similar: ie: plot with good strong character. I never really thought S&S was just pure thriller. it seemed to cross over for me into character driven because you and Saffi displayed so much attention to the character’s motivations rather than just wrapping them into prescribed plot bits.

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