Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Long Long Time Ago...

I can still remember when....

No I'm not going to sing American Pie but somehow it got stuck in my head. Anyway, I can still remember when I first started writing and I was struggling to put the pictures that I saw in my head into words.  Especially without using the same words over and over again.  I recently self-published a compilation of some of my favorite shorts that I wrote for Literotica (available here: clicky) and before I self-published I went through and edited / re-vamped them.

Most of my edits were grammatical (I have a tendency to overuse commas) and some of them were just switching out words for synonyms. much?! Yikes!!! And, of course, since they aren't free, I tried to make them better by adding more character development to most of them and by writing a couple additional sex scenes for a few of them. They're still just short stories... but yeah.

All proud of myself I asked my husband to read them and tell me what he thought.  He finished the first short story (An Exchange of Fluids), which is one of the ones I was rather proud of because I'd revised that one fairly heavily and extended the scene in it, and he looks at me and says "Are there any other words you can use for 'dick'?"

Well yes you wanker, you shaft, you  meat head, you one-eyed snake, stinking trouser trout. Gah. I consoled myself with the reminder that those were older stories and it's possible that I just didn't catch all the repetitions while I was editing. But you'd better believe I'm now keeping an eye on trying not to overuse the same descriptors... and holy crap is it hard. Because I'm always writing about the same thing: sex.

So how to change it up? Well, I've found that writing from different perspectives helps.  A man thinks differently from a woman, an older person thinks differently from a younger person, and the writing style for a first or third person story really changes the thought process and emotions of the characters.  "The Photographer" was a story that was fascinating for me to write because she's not experiencing the physical sensations that the characters involved in sex are; she is quite literally outside of that scene and, not only that, but for the most part she has to focus on her work and not her own body.

Interestingly, I think she's one of the characters I have most in common with, mentally.  I am, at heart, a voyeur.  The vast majority of my stories include things that I'd rather watch happen to someone else, and when I write or read I don't picture myself in the story, I'm sitting there watching it unfold. I've had some people ask me how I can write about things that I don't know about... I really have no idea. Over active imagination perhaps?

While I try to experience at least some small semblance of the physical acts that my characters participate in, a lot of it just comes from my supposition of what such and such would feel like.  I have gotten tons of comments, both good and bad, from people who think that I'm a male or a gay male. I assure you that, other than my strap-on, I do not have a penis (except in this dream I once had, and that was really awesome). But it makes me feel like I've done a good job of imagining what things feel like for a man... at least I hope so.

I think that being open to writing things you don't know about, being willing to open that door and take a risk, is a lot of what's helped me grow as a writer. I don't want to play it safe.  And sometimes I get swept past the grammar and the repetitious use of certain words, because I'm so involved in the story rather than the mechanics.  Because, in my opinion, that's what makes it fun.

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