I recently read Stephen King's "On Writing". A fascinating book and a must-read for any SK fan and/or novelist out there, no matter what your preferred genre.
One thing he stressed was the importance of not letting anyone else see your first draft until it's finished. And generally, I agree with him. You have to get the damn thing written without worrying too much about details - the editing can come later. It's called a first draft for a reason.
Having said that, I recently hit a huge writing rut. Here's what happened...
In 2005, I wrote 5 novellas in quick succession. I churned them out, one after the other, just putting fingers to keyboard and writing what I wanted to without a care. Obviously, like all writers, I wanted people to enjoy the books, but I figured I'd worry about that later - if they liked it, yay, if not, then... well, you can't please everyone.
There were no reader reviews available on the site in those days, so the only feedback I got was the sales numbers in the quarterly royalty reports.
For a multitude of reasons, I was then completely out of the loop for the following 7 years. I barely thought about the books I had written and was busy with other things like getting married, becoming a stepmother and working and studying in the 'real world'.
When, earlier this year, I discovered that the books were still being sold, it was due to the reviews readers had left. And I'll admit I had a mixed reaction.
The good reviews made me feel wonderful, obviously. It was like being given an 'A' in school.
And the critical reviews? They stunned me. I was utterly unprepared for them. They made me realise that the readers really cared about things like character development, plot points and continuity, even though they were 'just' erotica.
I had mistakenly assumed that writing erotica was similar to shooting a porn movie - sod the acting, as long as the sex scenes are good.
When I was asked to combine two of my novellas into one book and do 'a solid edit', I did so with all the critical reviews in mind. I listened to what the readers had said they didn't like and took most of those suggestions on board (I say 'most' - sorry, if you don't like age-play or spanking stories, don't buy them and then leave a 1 star review saying 'well-written but I hate the subject matter'!).
So far, so good. But then I started writing my first erotic novella in 7 years. And I was really, really struggling. Why? I was thinking too much about the inevitable reviews.
Instead of just sitting down and getting on with it, like I used to, I found myself pausing after almost every sentence and asking myself: "What will they say about that? Will it offend someone? Is this character being portrayed the right way? etc."
It took all the fun out of writing.
So when my editor asked me how the latest book was coming along, I told her I was unsure about how it would be received. And when she offered to look over what I had done so far, I broke Stephen King's rule and sent her the first two chapters (around 10K words).
It was well over a week before I heard back from her. And in the meantime I didn't get on with writing it, instead I started a new novella - one I felt was 'safer'.
The response I received, when I got it, didn't so much get me out of my rut as haul me off the ground and light a fire under my ass. All I needed was confirmation that it was good, that I hadn't lost my touch, to be asked to 'please please please keep writing this'.
My spark has been rekindled and even though I currently have an awful case of the flu and the woolly-brain to go with it, I now find myself passionate about my book again and raring to go. And that makes me feel good. :-)
My latest novella for Blushing Books is coming along wonderfully and I'm really excited about it. However, I have noticed that, as far as pace goes, it's much, much slower than my previous books.
Novellas are usually 30-40K words long, on average, and with the exception of 'Taken In Hand', which I wrote on a chapter-by-chapter basis for the Woodshed, mine have been mostly even shorter than that.
And a lot takes place over the course of those works... usually the book covers a time period of at least a few months.
My new book is different. For some reason, I'm about a third of the way in to an average-length novella and so far, only the first two plot points have been addressed. In other words, our heroine has not yet had a single night's sleep.
I became aware of this fairly early on and tried to speed things up a little but it's just not happening! I find myself taking things slowly, going into detail, wanting to enhance and build suspense.
I really don't think this will necessarily always be the case from now on. In fact I'm fairly certain that the story in my next book will move along more quickly.
But this one? It's writing itself and forcing me to relinquish any notions I may have had of telling the whole tale within 30K words.
So I thought I'd ask all you lovely spanking fiction fans out there - what's YOUR preference? Do you like a story to be slow, leisurely, detailed? Do you prefer fast-paced action where a lot happens within a short period of time? Or do you just skip all the boring stuff anyway and scroll straight to the juicy bits?
Any comments on this would be greatly appreciated, I genuinely want to hear from everyone.
I went out on Saturday night and got a chance to play with someone I hadn't in a while (with D.'s permission, of course!).
Whilst the atmosphere could have been a tad more conducive to my headspace, (I was unceremoniously bent over the kitchen table in the middle of a roaring party with a tray of tempting cakes right under my nose), I certainly enjoyed it.
Various types of crops, canes and a flogger were applied vigorously to my backside and I typically found myself stamping my feet, growling and generally being a little brat, until my hair was yanked and a spare crop shoved between my teeth in order to shut me up.
As is so often the case when I play with this guy, it became a battle of wills - would he get tired first or would I break and use the safeword?
I think he knew I had won this round when he looked around to check whether I was okay and saw me happily munching on a doughnut. What can I say? It certainly tasted better than the crop!
Unlike those pretty, pale-bottomed girls you see in most spanking movies, I very rarely mark, even when receiving full-force strokes of implements. However, I was delighted on Sunday when I inspected myself in the mirror and saw a couple of lovely purple bruises and even a few cane tracks on my upper thighs. Even better than that, it is now Tuesday and sitting is still a tad uncomfortable.
Nothing quite like a sore bottom to sharpen your focus, is there?
I wasn't ever spanked as a child. I was a very, very good girl for one, and besides, my parents were really rather liberal. I think I received one open-handed slap on my thigh when I was about 10 but I digress...
It wasn't until I was 26 that I received my first taste of corporal punishment. Up until then, I had certain ideas of what various implements must feel like and based my fantasies around those conceptions.
When reading spanking stories or watching videos, I therefore had definite preferences. I loved reading about paddling, hairbrush spankings, birching and strapping. Wasn't a huge fan of the cane, though I can't really explain why. And as for floggers... not at all interested.
Over the past seven years, I have had the pleasure of countless spankings from a variety of people and I got to experience pretty much all of my 'fantasy' implements (as well as some new ones, but that's for another post).
Not one of them felt like they had in my imagination. I had always assumed that wooden paddles or thick hairbrushes, being heavy, would be all thud and no sting. Oh boy, was I wrong! The birch, having played such an enormous role in so many of my fantasies, was an incredible disappointment. It has to be one of the whippiest, stingiest implements out there! Yowch!
But the flogger... oh happy days! The heavier the better and there is nothing more certain to get me into a happy place than the repeated application of a big fat flogger to my bottom.
I have mixed feelings about the cane - again, that's material for another post.
So my question is this, dear readers, what's your preference? Do you like whippy, stingy pain or do you prefer those heavy, bruising thuddy blows which seem to make your whole body vibrate?
Do you have a favourite implement and if yes, was it the one you always thought you'd like, or not?
The two age-play books I wrote 7 years ago, set in the fictional community of Pebblesville, have easily been my best-selling novellas so far.
In 2005 when they were first written and published on Bethany's Woodshed, there was no review option for readers, so I had no feedback other than the number of total sales.
Now, of course, things have changed.
I am, therefore, really excited to announce that both books have been edited, combined into one long novella and are due for imminent re-release, both on Blushing Books and on Amazon.
The title has been changed to 'Abbeyville' and I have gone through the entire book with all the comments I received in mind, making several changes where I (and/or the readers) felt they were necessary.
So... if you've already purchased the 'Pebblesville' books, you can look forward to receiving an updated re-release on the house - Blushing Books are just awesome like that. And if you haven't already got a copy, watch this space for links to the new, revised addition!
I'm sorry, I know it's been done to death by pretty much everyone but fans have asked me how I feel about all the hype that particular book has generated.
So here's my own, personal take on '50 Shades'...
As a real, genuine, living it 24/7 submissive type, and as someone who has been writing bdsm erotica for years, I'm rather irritated by it.
This is because a) the standard of writing is absolutely horrendous, and b) the book does not portray a healthy bdsm relationship in any way, shape or form. Nor is it even remotely realistic in many of it's key plot points.
Yes, I understand that it is meant to be a fantasy and if you've read a couple of my novellas you'll know that I'm hardly one to always portray healthy bdsm or realism when I'm writing.
However, therein lies the rub. Whilst 50 Shades is erotic fiction and sold as such, subsequent promotions, media portrayals etc. have led to it's being seen as a type of 'how to' book for bdsm. This is, in my opinion, potentially incredibly dangerous. It's like watching a 'Fast and Furious' movie and then assuming you know how to drive a car and understand all the elements of road safety.
I won't even go into the unresolved psychological issues that the protagonist 'Christian Grey' appears to have.
It seems unfair that there are so many incredibly talented erotica writers out there, who have been catering to their readers' innermost fantasies and desires for years, only to have someone who writes at the level of a 2nd grader end up making an absolute fortune doing the exact same thing.
But it's not all bad. The book has certainly brought the world of bdsm-themed erotic literature into the spotlight in a way that hasn't been seen since 'The Story of O'. This must surely lead to some of the better authors out there gaining increased recognition for their work - or at least, I hope so.
And I must admit that I too, experienced immense pleasure whilst reading... no, not the book, but some of the Amazon reviews on the book. They are exceptional and I would highly recommend you have a look!
I've always wanted to be a writer. It felt like it was my destiny, something I was born to do. And I soon discovered I was blessed with a talent for it.
In addition to that, I've been fascinated by spanking for as long as I can remember - but I always thought I was the only one and that there was something wrong with me.
Then, with the advent of the Internet, I discovered I was not alone. In fact, many, many people the world over shared that fascination.
Needless to say, it did not take long for me to combine those two passions and start writing spanking erotica. At first I wrote it for my own reading pleasure; a guilty little secret. But when I discovered that there was an entire website devoted to just that sort of fiction, I thought I'd have a go at submitting something.
Therefore, back in 2005, I wrote five novellas for what was then known as Bethany's Woodshed. And they sold reasonably well.
'Real life' took over and prevented me from writing any more for a few years. But now I'm back. The Woodshed has become Blushing Books and I am delighted to announce that I am once again writing for them.
During my hiatus from BB, I became quite active in the local bdsm scene, started doing some erotic modelling and learned a lot about my own submissive and masochistic tendencies. I do hope that this newly acquired maturity and experience will make my new books even more enjoyable for any fans of spanking fiction.
So check back often for insights, recommendations, announcements and general musings about spanking and other stuff. I also welcome feedback, questions and comments so please... don't be shy! Contact me!