In the interest of not being up all night, he texted to me, I shall only text you five times.
This amused and delighted me; a bondage of sorts, self-imposed and unrequested, unexpected even – and like any really good bondage, a sweet commingling of restraint desired (because one needs sleep) and restraint to rail against (because to stay up past our bedtime, to connect through impossible and invisible currents on the air carrying carefully constructed communiqués back and forth… it was like whispering on the phone late at night once had once been; it was like that time I curled up in a cool divot in the sand against a warm body, murmuring a half-remembered snatch of Dave Matthews Band’s Satellite into the starlight night over the beach; it was a quiet magic).
Bondage done well as me both reveling in the feel of what holds my limbs down and apart, or sometimes up and together, delighting to have someone indulge my desire for it while at the same time giving me something to jerk and lash and strain and struggle against, trying to refute physics to close the gap and get to touch what is there before me, just out of reach. And it is knowing that, because the person I let bind me is the sort of person that knows what I want, I will eventually get it when the time is right, which is not always right away when I want it.
I will not relate his texts here, but I will note that one of them included a scenario that first made me chuckle. On it’s base raw surface, it seems a pseudo-goth scenario of the sort that, were I to see it as the single-sentence summary of a piece of erotica, I’d likely pass it over to search for something a little more creative, a little more inventive. Yet as soon as that chuckle passed, I got a clear and visceral sense of being in exactly the situation described, and it plumbed my stomach. I could feel my cheeks getting hot in the darkness, blushing at the screen of my iPhone. My response was delayed as I began to truly consider and enjoy the idea not as a skeletal outline of setting and position, but as something actual possible (Heck, probable) to come about.
Powers above and below, but it got me hot.
It still does, just thinking about it now, and it has tweaked my brain a little bit in terms of my erotic writing. Very often I am searching for the more inventive, the creative, the clever. I very much enjoy thinking about things differently, about finding a way into a scene or bit of plot via a path separate from the norm.
Case in point, another writer chucklingly said in conversation,
“In sex between a winged fairy and a vampire, what positions would work best?”
While I understand it in the context of our conversation, that it seems a silly sort of pairing, I couldn’t help but braindump all the questions I would have asked in response.
It really depends… aside from the one having wings, and the other being a bloodsucker, are both the creatures in question humanoid? What physical gender are they? Do they have any racial quirks – like can the vampire only bang while sucking blood? Do the fairy’s wings fold or tuck out of the way for certain positions, or are they perhaps useable for achieving loft for positions not afforded to a normal wingless humanoid?
This sort of intensive examination of what lies before me and what an be made of the unusual portions of a scene/story/pairing is, I believe, one of my strengths. Heck, I didn’t even get into asking more specifics about the wings, nor the flavor of vampire (Twilight? Hamiltonian? Ricean? Stoker?) which could affect still more positions available and their relative efficacy. Yet given the text I was sent and how it has consumed my brain in the intervening hours, I am set to wonder at my ability to take more ostensibly mundane scenes and make them live and breathe, to have them get my readers off (as it were) by firing their imaginations the way his words did mine.
A story lives or dies by the breath of the characters; if they’re not living on the page, they’re not going to live in the minds of the reader. No one gets invested in a set of stick figures* – characters have to be people for the reader to care about them, to identify with their successes and failures, to move with them through the conflicts that define their story and the touches that limn their trysts.
If I can do this, and do it well, if I can make my characters be people that my readers give a shit about, that I care about as more than just a vehicle to illustrate my own clever way of thinking about something? THAT is what is going to improve my work from where it stands now. I need to find their flaws. I need to feel out their mundanities. These are the things that will create the boundaries of their character and, in so restraining them, define them as the creatures that strain and yearn to be more than text on a page.
* xkcd notwithstanding, natch.