Making of: A Love Song for Robby

The Making Of: A Love Song for Robby
The Beginning
   I was 13 when I picked up some Isaac Asimov books at a garage
sale in Regina, SK…and I was HOOKED. After a few short stories, robots now rivaled mutants as my favourite science fiction creature. Mutants, in my mind, work in science fiction as either a representative of science gone wrong or how the lowest people in our society are currently treated (see: X-Men or the Chyrsalids)
Robots can also be an expression of science gone wrong…as well as a comment on the place of the working class, on the place of technology in a future society (or our own), what it means to be human/conscious/have a soul…
I wish I could say that that was the main inspiration for Robby…but if you’ve been
following PTSDiaries you could probably guess that it isn’t. For those of you who are new or who haven”t been following PTSDiaries, I’m a survivor of sexual abuse perpetrated by my ex-boyfriend. I don’t remember how exactly those two elements came together because I wrote “A Love Song for Robby” (“Robby”) when I was 16. I imagine it was during one of my male friend’s conversations about sex-bots or my friends impassioned ideas to change the world or during a news report. I do remember thinking: would it be easier for society if pedohiles had an inanimate object to take out their urges on? Who would get
it? How would it work? Would it actually stop the offending, or just act like a band-aid?With those ideas, I was off and running.
Research
Despite my experience, I wanted to write a story about a young boy being abused by a family member. It is an unfortunate fact that the perpetrators of most child abuse is someone known to the victim, most often the parent. I didn’t want to get that squicky, so I made the abuser the brother of my main character, Andy.
I wanted my main character to be a boy after I disliked the first draft of the story where I made Andy a girl. The more research I did, the more I wanted to write about a male. In my research, I realized that male victims of sexual
abuse don’t have a platform to speak out, and due to toxic standards of masculinity, were often silent for years and years and years. I wanted to tell their story, because I felt that mine, as a sexually abused girl, had already been told.
I wanted to make my story about a boy and his robot and sexual abuse believable, sensitive and most of all, touching heartwarming (bad choice of word, there). I watched several documentaries about abuse, and found several websites that helped me make “Robby” accurate. Here are the best ones:
I also researched robotics as I rewrote and rewrote the story. I was particularly interested in the Uncanny Valley hypothesis (http://www.theage.com.au/news/entertainment/when-fantasy-is-just-too-close-for-comfort/2007/06/09/1181089394400.html?page=fullpage) in terms of how human I wanted to make Robby. The Uncanny Valley Hypothesis basically postulates that the closer a robot comes to being human the creepier it becomes. The exception, of course, are robots indistinguishable from humans, but that comes with it’s own set of problems. I decided to make Robby very cartoon-like, much like these robots:
I also researched how sex bot technology was advancing, (Very well, evidently: 

). Of course, more important than finding a robot to bang is the ethics behind such robots. I found these two links in my last re-write. Though it may feel cheap, these experts can explain the complex ethics behind robots built for sexual gratification.

Of course, research can only do so much.. (and should, because most of this research left me wanting to shower)
Editing
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve rewritten “Robby” or edited “Robby” or considered smashing “Robby”.  The first big edit was after the first time I presented the story in Creative Writing Club way back in high school. The second was after I found it again after a computer crash and had to rewrite it from the halfway point. The third was after sharing it with my adult writing group, the phantasts. The fourth is ongoing—since my story was edited before the contest, and then more edits for it were suggested, I’m counting both under “contest edits”.
Publication Attempts
If there is a science fiction market, I’ve sent Robby to it. I’ve sent it to anthologies, I’ve sent it to magazines. This is over a period of six years. The first time Robby came even close to published (ie: not a form rejection) was when I sent it to L. Ron Hubbard’s  Writers of the Future contest, where it placed as an honorable mention. After this, I sent it to the In Places Between Contest, where it made the top ten (ending up winning) and was published. FINALLY.
But not quite.
The judges of the contest gave me some very excellent feedback, and recommended trying to publish it further. I already made a cool one hundred twenty five and got the thing published. Am I going to push it further? You bet. I want as many people as possible to see this story, and hopefully touch some hearts in the process.
The moral of the story
Robby and I have had a 5 year journey together. No matter how young or how old you are, the journey to publication is long, hard and full of rewrites. Most importantly, it’s never ending. Is it worth it? For freaking sure. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing your work in print and receiving positive regard from your peers. Nothing is more rewarding than people telling you that they loved your work. Moral: Determination is worth it. All of this is worth it.
Keep writing.
God Bless,
Kelsey J.
I made a companion pinterest board here: https://www.pinterest.com/kelseyjaymills/making-of-a-love-song-for-robby/

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