Celebrating a Somewhat Trashy Novel

For the past few weeks I’ve been procrastinating on finishing my latest short novel, a noir thing called Baseball on the Bayou: The Colton Lacombe Story. The book is 99% ready. Realistically, I could address the handful of small changes that still need to be made in an hour. But my feet continue to drag, and I’m not sure why. 

Though I hate to admit it, one reason is because I’m still bruised by some critical comments an amateur editor recently made about the manuscript. 

Much of her commentary was the kind of half-baked stuff that’s made the news recently with authors like Roald Dahl and the guy who wrote those Goosebumps books. I should be careful about noting an older man’s “turkey jowl”, the editor-turned-sensitivity-reader warned, for example, because it’s ageist. And I should avoid describing someone standing in a doorway “like a Johovah’s Witness” because it might offend religious readers. 

Those notes just got tagged and deleted as the symptoms of the woke mind virus that they are. They don’t serve any purpose to me other than illustrating how easily the constitutionally weak among us will bend to social pressure. 

But there’s one piece of insightful criticism about my new book that did actually cut close to the bone . . . it’s the one that inspired the title of this blog. The criticism came in response to a spot in the narrative where one of the characters makes meta-reference to her life feeling like a “trashy novel”. The editor commented: 

“Obviously this is not a trashy novel, but it’s interesting that you made the comparison. There do seem to be a few common elements: steamy sex scenes, depiction of women as sex objects, hard-drinking and violent men, low-life criminals, macho swagger.”

After thinking about it for a while, my conclusion is that the first part of the comment, “obviously this is not a trashy novel”,  is false. And I think my former editor knew it was false. She just opened her commentary that way in order to cushion the blow . . . in fact, that reluctance to offend is probably the same reason she flagged all the other insensitive language. Because no one wants to be accused of writing a trashy novel . . . right?

Here’s the part where the stoic, macho part of me wants to say that in my case, I set out to write a trashy novel, and that I’m damn proud to have hit the target. But that’s not really true. I would like to make that claim, but I can’t.

I set out to write a crime story about a baseball player. And the truth is, it came out kind of trashy. It’s not something I planned. 

My only plan for my writing career is to consistently produce page-turning, South Louisiana fiction. And to learn and improve each book. 

I’m not trying to be anything other than who I am. In fact, in a way I’m writing the books to explore who I am. 

It might turn out that the best I can do is to write damn good trashy novels. And honestly? I can live with that. 

Baseball on the Bayou: The Colton Lacombe Story will be out soon! Watch this space for details. Meanwhile, check out the cover . . . totally trashy, right? I love it!

Published by New Bayou Books

Jason P. Reed started New Bayou Books to spark a revolution in South Louisiana literature. The goal of the company is two fold: to discover great new writers from Acadiana while building a global community of readers and listeners. Join us! Sign the enlistment form.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: