The winner of the Twelve Reasons giveaway is Cora Zane, who should e-mail me at LynnViehl@aol.com with your full name and ship-to info so I can get these books out to you. Thanks again to everyone who joined in to help me celebrate the twelve very cool books of December.
While we were having fun here, I got a few e-mails on some of the hullabaloo regarding Thomas Nelson Publishers and their new "content filter" for their authors (Thomas Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt blogs his side of the story here.)
Let's see, I'm a writer of Christian fiction. If I understand Mr. Hyatt correctly, and I really lived according to biblical standards, I wouldn't be a writer -- women generally didn't hold down jobs in the Bible. They did walk around swaddled in a veil and robes made of homespun wool while being stuck in an arranged marriage raising twenty-one kids (if they hadn't already died in childbirth.) Or, if their family had kicked them out for not agreeing to the arranged marriage or whatever, they became hookers, enslaved, or died of starvation.
Sure, I'm going to do that for a publishing contract.
I do find this story ironic, as just last month I finished reading Nathaniel Philbrick's excellent book, Mayflower, in which he describes the enormous struggle and many deprivations our ancestors suffered in order to get away from people in England who imprisoned, ostracized and otherwise discriminated against them for their religious beliefs. Religious freedom is one of the fundamental reasons we founded, you know, America.
Assuming that Thomas Nelson Publishing will start a new content filter trend among publishers, and we'll all be forced to sign papers, what will other publishers require us to swear that we believe in or will adhere to in order to work for them?
Five Genre Content Filter Agreements of Tomorrow
Romance: I swear that I believe in true love, marriage, and happily ever afters. I will wait for my true love, and save myself for the honeymoon, unless: 1) I am coerced into having sex by a boy in high school or college, in which case it will be date rape or a fumbling quickie, during which I will not orgasm; 2) I find myself in serious financial trouble involving a beloved parent with no medical insurance but in desperate need of an organ transplant, which will force me to marry for money, in which case I will only marry a much older man who is unable to consummate our marriage due to closet homosexuality, an unspecified health problem, or a kindly paternal, protective nature (if possible, all three); or 3) I have sex with my true love before we are wed, in which case I will assure that I hit my head and develop sudden, total amnesia about the event that will only clear up after we are married. If I have babies with my true love before marriage, I will runaway and assure that the first is kept secret from him until baby is out of diapers and I get my figure back. If I have difficulties in my relationship with my true love, I will not dump him, but treat our problems as mere black moment preludes to our pending, unending happiness.
Science Fiction: I attest to these facts : I am an atheist and I believe in nothing but technology, logic, intelligence, physics, or anything else that highlights the sterile perfection of pure science. If I must have gods, they will be Heinlein and Vinge. I will write at least one novel about the singularity. I will have no meaningful personal relationships, and will not kiss, fall in love, have sex or do any of that mushy stuff with chicks. I will worship talking computers, NASA missions, outer space vistas, planets my species could never travel to, much less live on, and other cool futuristic things that make me feel as suave and powerful as Captain Kirk from Star Trek. I will never actually admit that I watched Star Trek.
Fantasy: I vow I shall do what'ere I can to emulate those fine manly lords of science fiction, only I shall substitute magic, dragons, Middle Earth, Tolkien and Lord of the Rings for technology, chastity, NASA, Kirk and Star Trek. Instead of tattered garments, I shall dress in period costumes which I shall purchase from the nearest SFCA merchant. I shall, as often as possible, be manly among many men of my ilk, but I shall elevate fine women to the status of faerie queens on pedestals, where they cannot meddle in my manly business. I shall hang at least one blunted, scale replica sword on the wall in every hall of my castle. I shall refer to my castle by a grand name with "dragon" in the title, even if it be only a single-wide trailer.
Erotica: I promise that when I'm not writing, I will personally test all the positions, partners and playthings that I write in my novel. I agree that I'll be too tired and happy to do anything else.
Mystery: I am signing this document as proof of my agreement to write the truth and nothing but the truth, at least before I tweak it. I will name my protagonist after an obscure 13th century Dutch painter, an obscure 13th century English poet, or an 80's porn star. No character of mine will ever have a successful or happy personal relationship, although they will frequently get laid offstage. I will write in every story at least one threatening ethnic sidekick with excellent underworld connections and a heart of gold whose main purpose will be to serve as a walking deus ex machina. (Male author) At cons I will sport an interesting beard, wear an interesting hat, or walk around in a cloud of Lagerfeld. (Female author) At cons I will maintain perfectly groomed helmet hair, wear navy or black suits that disguise my breasts, and never be seen without my thick red lipstick.
What do you guys think about this? Would you sign any sort of content filter agreement to land a publishing contract? Would you be okay with signing one even if you were lying about what you believed?