My Writing Process & What I’m Working On Now
The sweet and dirty Christie St Claire was kind enough to nominate me for this blog tour.
So, here goes!
1. What am I working on?
At the moment, I have a couple of things bouncing around inside my head, trying to find their way out. One is a new story, which I think will be told over a three or four episode arc. The first part is tentatively called “Untouched.” It’s about Allison – a small-town girl who moves to the city in search of a more exciting life. She ends up in the kind of dead-end existence that so many people fall into – a job she hates but can’t afford to quit; just going through the daily grind to survive, but without any of the joy and excitement she came to find.
Her best friend’s bachelorette party accidentally introduces Allison to the world of BDSM; a world whose existence she had never suspected, and to which she finds herself powerfully drawn. One thing leads to another, and Allison begins an online relationship with an enigmatic stranger who invites her to explore her newfound desires. Allison sets a condition before agreeing to participate; no one is allowed to touch her. She thinks, by setting this condition, that she is keeping herself safe. Not safe from the online stranger she has decided to trust, but maybe safe from herself; safe from allowing herself to go too far. But, she completely fails to realize just how much beyond her comfort zone she can be guided, and still stay within the letter of that constraint.
I wanted to write a story in which I, as the author, had to stay within my own restrictions. Could I write a seriously erotic story, full of my favorite powerfully-charged sex, where no one even touches the heroine? It was an idea that tickled me, and I think my readers will really enjoy it once it’s published. I find the main scene as sexy as hell, and I hope others will, too.
While I’ve been trying to focus on this Jennie, the heroine of my Pessumae Christi series about a very kinky order of nuns and the priests and others who love them, is simply refusing to leave me alone. She keeps filling my head with scenes and ideas from the next stage of her journey, and I don’t think she’s going to quit until I tell her story. So, I expect there to be another part of that series, before too long. I have no idea what the title will be, though.
Aside from that, I’ve got some ideas for an urban fantasy – possibly erotic, but maybe not.
As you can see, it’s pretty crowded inside my head. I just need to get all this stuff out of there, and onto the page!
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
To be honest, I don’t read very much erotica. So, I couldn’t tell you for certain that my work does differ from others in the same genre. But, I can tell you what I try to bring to my stories.
There are really two things that I focus on in my writing. The first is to fully involve the reader in the action, as much as I possibly can. In the end, it’s just words on a page. But writing has so much power to evoke feelings and sensations. I was watching a TED presentation the other day, and they were talking about scanning people’s brains while they experienced something, and again while they remembered it. Apparently, there isn’t much difference, in terms of what goes on in our brains. Remembering and imagining are very similar, too. So that means if I can really paint a picture with words for my reader – if I can involve all of her senses and really put her right into the story – then I can give her an experience which is almost real. To me, that’s extremely powerful.
The other thing is also about making the story real. One of the reasons I haven’t read much erotica is because a lot of it leaves me unsatisfied. Other writers in this blog tour have made a distinction between porn and erotica, and I think there is some truth in that.
Now, I have nothing at all against porn, but if a story is too porny then I tend to find it unsatisfying. Detailed, kinky sex is not enough, all by itself. If characters in a story meet, and then in the next moment they are ripping each other’s clothes off for no good reason, then I simply can’t invest myself in them. If I don’t care why they are having sex, then it’s impossible for me to care that they are having it.
The most important sex organ we have is our brains, and the reasons why my characters engage in kinky sex are just as important to me, if not more so, than the ins and outs (pun intended) of what it is they’re doing together. So, like I said, I can’t really tell you that this is something that makes my writing different from other work in the same genre, but I definitely try to make my stories believable. Okay, they are sexual fantasies, and most people don’t behave like this in real life (although, you’d be surprised – just because most people don’t, that doesn’t mean nobody does). But, I put a lot of effort into creating scenarios where it becomes plausible that my characters would do the things they do. Whether or not I succeed in that is up to my readers to decide, but that’s certainly what I’m trying to achieve.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Because it’s so much fun!
Sex has always been endlessly fascinating to me, ever since I learned that it existed. When I found out that vanilla was not the only flavor, it just blew my mind.
Sex is such a primal driving force behind so much of what we do and the reasons why we do it. There is so much mixed up in it; desire, intimacy, pleasure, joy, aggression, power, territoriality, jealousy, lust, revenge and even anger. When I decided I wanted to write, how could I not write about sex? BDSM takes that and turns it up to eleven.
I’ve always been interested in people and cultures who break the rules. I’m not talking about the sensible rules – the law, not harming other people, that kind of thing – I mean the rules that seem to be there for no good reason. How am I allowed to look? What am I allowed to wear? Who am I allowed to have sex with? How am I allowed to have sex? Society has a whole bunch of rules about that, even when it’s nobody else’s damn business. I think that’s really interesting, and so are the people and sub-cultures who look at those rules and go, “You know what? I don’t think those apply to me.”
Another thing is the idea that someone can make herself powerful by submitting to someone else’s will. It took me a long time to get my head around that, and I think there are lots of people who still don’t understand it. I’m talking about people outside of the BDSM community, of course. You look at a girl who is tied to a cross being whipped, and it’s hard to imagine how that could be empowering her. And yet, when you really understand the inner strength and self-confidence required to put yourself in someone else’s hands that way, it’s amazing. So that is a theme which comes up in my stories over and over again.
Finally, writing is a great way for me to sublimate my serious blindfold fetish!
4. How does my writing process work?
Sometimes, I’m not sure it does.
I’m a really slow writer, as my long-suffering readers will attest. The self-discipline of producing a certain number of words per day really doesn’t come easily to me, at all.
In terms of how I go from nothing to a story, it usually starts from a single idea, often a picture. I might see an image in a movie, or a photograph on the web (these days, I’m addicted to tumblr), and it will just stick with me. I’ll start imagining who the people are, how they’re feeling, and how they ended up in that situation, or maybe what they’re going to do next. That will rattle around inside my head for a while until it becomes the skeleton of the story. Then, I usually start putting together an outline in Scrivener, moving scenes around and sketching out characters. After that comes the hard part, taking what’s in my head and translating it into words.
I’ve learned to save the most fun parts until last. Usually, the part where I write about the original seed idea of the story is the most fun for me, and I have far too many partially-written stories on my computer where I wrote that part first and then lost my motivation. So these days, I try to make sure that whichever parts of the story are harder for me to write are the parts I do first, so I save the best till last.
I’m trying to train myself to get the words out first, and then go back and edit them afterwards. But, that’s a little unnatural for me. I tend to edit as I go which means that there usually isn’t so much to do at the proofreading stage, but I think I would produce work much faster if I could get into the habit of letting the words flow out quickly and messily, and then going back and cleaning up afterwards. That’s the theory, anyway.
Thanks for reading. Now it’s time I got back to cranking out those words!
Up next on the #MyWritingProcess blog tour:
E. K. Sabins has been writing sexy stories for her own enjoyment since high school when she read Anais Nin for the first time and got really, incredibly…inspired. Yes, we’ll call it that. These days her stories are a little more involved and lot more raunchy. She loves to write BDSM because of the intensity and the delicious power exchange between dominant and submissive. In real life she loves both sides of the whip, and being the person you’d least expect to be writing sexy stories on her laptop/tablet almost everywhere she goes.
Checkout her blog here
Hi! I’m looking forward to Jennie’s next adventure!
A great post Imogen. I’m looking forward to your small town girl finding her way to BDSM. Christie xox
Thanks for a great post Imogen. Small town Allison’s introduction to BDSM sounds fun. Christie xox