The responsibilities of fictional characters in erotica

A lot of people have attacked the fictional character Christian Grey for being a bad dom. Of course, he’d be a terrible dom if he was real. He stalks lip-biting inner-goddess Anastasia, spanks her and takes a strap to her arse, all without her consent. 

I’m sure he behaved badly in the second two books as well, but I haven’t been able to read them. Call me a snob and call me a cab, but after skimming Volume One I was out of there. 

If Christian Grey were a real person bdsm communities would have warnings about him, for his weird, unethical and non-consensual behaviour. He’d finish up getting charged with assault and being in the centre of a massive media scandal: “Billionaire in kinky love-nest rape!” That sort of thing.

However, as a fictional character his behaviour is a lot better. He’s made a lot more women come, with Fifty Shades in one hand and their bits in the other, than any thousand real doms combined. Even if you include me. That’s a significant contribution to human happiness, and you can’t ignore it.

As a fictional character, my main criticism of Christian Grey is that he doesn’t do nearly enough spanking and commanding and binding the Anastasia of Steel. I skimmed Fifty Shades Freed looking for the bdsm scenes so I could critique them, but I never found any. I’m sure I just didn’t look hard enough.  

In the interminable schoolgirl spanking saga I’m writing, there are two headmasters, and they initiate certain of their students into various kinky sexual practises. Obviously, if they were real and lived in our world, they’d both belong in jail.

They’re not breaking age-of-consent laws, and the age gap between them and their charges isn’t all that great: about eight years.

But they’re in a position of authority and there’s no question at all that they’re misusing their authority in ways that, uh, conflict with the criminal code in any civilised society. 

On the other hand, these two imaginary men are written to give pleasure to their readers, and my impression is that my spanking headmasters, like the “naughty schoolgirl” scenario itself, appeal particularly to a female audience. I am that audience’s humble servant. 

There is, eventually, a happy ending to the Jennifer-and-Maddie saga, but at the rate at which time moves in my stories, that ending will probably arrive some time in 2021. In the meantime, my point is, I’m happy to write it and make it as sexy as possible. While being fervently against corporal punishment and sex between teachers and students in the real world. 

 

I’m not saying that fictional characters have no ethical requirements at all. We erotica writers who consider ourselves to be on the side of the angels (especially the sexy, spankable, fuckable angels) don’t write bestiality, or eroticise rape, or write scenarios involving people under eighteen, though the age of consent where I live is sixteen.

But still, there is a difference, a space, between fantasy and real life, and it’s a space that erotica writers spend a lot of time in. It’s fluid and it’s complex, like the best sex, and we need to defend our freedom to have erotic fantasies that are perfectly sexy without necessarily being perfectly ethical.

We know the difference between fiction and fantasy, on the one hand, and the real world, in the other.

We need to take action in the real world to challenge the beliefs and indulgences that make it far too easy for men to rape and get away with it, and to give support to organisations that support women who’ve been subjected to rape and other violence.

At the same time, we need to defend our right to have erotic fantasies, and to share them with others.

Erotica is a powerful tool for improving human happiness, and for helping people to find and explore their own erotic selves without censorship or condemnation. 

Pleasure is, at least, undervalued. It shouldn’t be shamed.

Plans

I’m going to get back to my schoolgirl spanking story, the Jennifer and Maddie saga, soon. 

This is a plan, or map, of the island to the south of the Australian mainland. For some reason you only have to say  “map of Tasmania” to make Australians laugh.

I also intend to publish it in a series of e-books. Probably in slices of about 40 pages at a time, since that seems to be around standard for erotic e-books. 

Which means I have to find a couple of women ready to be cover models. Pleated skirts and side-boob. No twats. Will be paid. Interested? Contact me!

I have to finish my non-bdsm novel, which I’d hoped to have done by the end of August, but I got held up by paid work coming in. That takes precedence. 

I have to tidy up a novel I’ve had provisionally accepted by a publisher. Because of fuck-ups in version control it needs one last go-through to lose the typos, repetition and inconsistencies. I want to save their copy-editor some work.

This is the legendary Louise Brooks, who will never get lost in Tasmania.

I’ve also got to tidy up another non-erotic novel, which has a few problems that can be fairly easily repaired.

It really should be on the market, so I’ll take the time to make it at its best and most saleable self. That should take about five day’s work. 

Then I get back to the novel I was supposed to have finished by the end of August.

And I need to do some paid work soon. The bank account is starting to look a little sad. 

And that will keep me busy enough for a while.

Why I write such good books 2: Trust writer’s block

I’ve had a lot of trouble with the chapter I’m writing at the moment. It’s the one in which the main characters decide how they are going to act and what they need to achieve by the end of the book. 

So it’s very talky, with little action. And a lot of new information gets dumped on the reader, quite late in the book. It has to be done well, so it reads easily and feels like a natural continuation of the story, and not just something that’s necessary for the plot.

Just can’t type another word

I wrote only about a page and a half in two days. That’s unusual. I eventually realised I was blocked. 

I’ve learned to trust writer’s block when it happens.

It generally means that I don’t believe in what I’m writing. It’s a sign that something’s wrong with the foundation I’m trying to build on.

There’s a structural or logical fault somewhere, and I can’t go forward till I’ve gone back and fixed it. 

So I did, and I found that I needed to offer some of the information earlier in the book, and foreshadow that there was more to come. So I put those changes in, felt better, and now I’m back working on that difficult chapter and making progress. I expect to finish it today.

So another writing rule I’d suggest is:

10  Listen to writer’s block. It’s often trying to tell you something.

Socrates disrespecting his daimon

Socrates said he had a daimon, a spirit that accompanied him and sometimes whispered to him. It never gave him ideas or ‘inspired’ him. Its power was only negative: that is, it would warn him when he was going wrong.

He’d need to re-think, go back to an earlier, more secure point in the argument he was making, and go forward from there.

Think of writer’s block as your good and helpful daimon. Your eudaimon (good spirit).

Don’t let it stop you working; it’s telling you to go back and fix the place where, earlier, you took a wrong turn and got lost. Fix it, and fare forward!

 

This post is a sequel to an earlier post on ways to make progress when writing. You can find that post here

Why I write such good books

I’m being amazingly prolific at the moment. I’m writing four posts every week, as well as speeding along with the writing of a non-erotica novel.

That’s a weird kind of genre, “books that aren’t erotica”. It’s obviously an extremely obscure, niche market. But anyway, there I am.

Someone asked me, on Twitter, how I manage to do this, pumping out several thousand words, every week without fail. 

So here are my rules. 

Also, keep your audience in your mind. A writer needs bums on seats. It helps if, as I do, you have a thing for girls with books, and girls on chairs.

1  It’s easy to edit, hard to do the first draft. So when you’re writing the first draft, tell the story. Write the dialogue. It will be thin, almost for sure.

But it’s there, once you’ve written it. You can fix it later. 

2  When I’m about to do a first draft, I generally have earlier pages that I wrote yesterday. So I start by going back and editing, tidying it, thickening it with more character interplay, more detail of observation.

That gives me a sort of “run-up”, so that when I get to the end of the stuff I’ve already written I’m in the story, in the style, and I have a clear sense of where I’m going. So I’m ready to write the new stuff. 

3  With posts, sometimes I just scribble a few words, and save the draft, if I’m too tired, or uninspired to get it finished. It means that the next day, when I come back to it I’m not looking at a blank screen, but at some thoughts I need to clarify and arrange. 

“She’s just gratuitous, isn’t she?”
“Yes.”

4  Similarly, when I finish a chapter, I generally start the next one. Usually I only write the name of the book, the Part of the book, and chapter whatever number it is. Sometimes I suggest a beginning for the chapter. A knock on the door, a meeting on the street, whatever it might be. Again, that means that the next day, I’m staring at a beginning and not the dreaded blank page. 

5  Don’t wait for “inspiration”. You get more done by writing uninspired prose, and fixing it later. Write something every day. Even if you think it’s crap, and you can’t believe how bad a writer you are, etc, later – after a walk, maybe – you’ll see that there’s the germ of an idea there, and you fix it and fare forward. 

6  I plan. Every chapter, I know broadly what’s going to happen. So I can make sure that the characters get off their arses and do the work I need them to do. A plan means you never have a completely blank screen. You start each chapter knowing what’s ahead of you, what your goals are.

Don’t help yourself to too many good things by other people. Still, I stole the title of this post from Nietzsche. But it could have been worse. It looks like someone else stole a quarter of his moustache.

7  Get the games off your computer. You can tell yourself that you’re relaxing by playing Freecell or whatever, but they’re just a time-thief.

They give you an excuse for not working while you’re at the place you should be writing. Worse, they’re designed to be addictive, and I’ve found the best solution is to go cold turkey.

If you want to relax, get out of the chair and do something else. Read a book, do the laundry, tidy the kitchen, cook something, go out for a walk. Talk to someone. Masturbate. Fuck.

8  Music can help. For some reason I write happily to Norwegian death metal. It helps that I can’t understand the words so I don’t get distracted. But music can help you blot out the world, and focus on your imaginary world, the one you’re writing. 

9 Celebrate your victories. The end of a chapter always makes me happy. I party, in a small, happy way.

 

I have to go knock posts into the ground, now. I mean wooden posts, to attach the garden taps. A bit of physical work is good, too.

 

Another important rule is here.

Hyenas that look like Donald Trump

This isn’t a political blog. And this isn’t an argument, just an expression of disgust. The trough-snuffling corruption, the ridiculous lying, the cruelty, the bullying, just piss me off.

I’m busy. I’ve got a book to finish, and the smell of the end in my nostrils. So I’m not going to write politics. But yeah: we have to stop voting hyenas into positions of power. It’s a really dumb thing to do. 

Travelling Riverside Blues

I’m still travelling. I just had breakfast in the halls of one of the colleges of Oxford. The river I’m beside at the moment is the Thames, which is a rather gentler river while it’s up in Oxford.

I’d like to take a girl punting on the river, but she’s not having any of that. It could be the way I emphasise the word and waggle my eyebrows when I say, “I want to punt you.” 

That’s probably it. 

Here’s a pic, by the way, of the lane in Oxford that was in Medieval Times called “Gropecunt Lane”. Sadly it’s been renamed into the more decorous “Magpie Lane.” 

I had a half-arsed theory that maybe “magpie” was a Medieval way of referring to sex workers, so that the new name isn’t quite as decorous as people think. My reasoning, such as it is, was that the “mag” in magpie was a reference to the character Magdalene, also known as “the other Mary”, in the New Testament.

I was right about that, but my theory went on to speculate that since in Medieval times Mary or Magdalene was thought to be a prostitute, then maybe the word “magpie” was slang for a sex worker. So that the name “Magpie Lane” is still, in a sense about groping cunts. 

However, there doesn’t seem to be any example of “magpies” ever having been a slang term for sex workers, so my brilliant theory seems to be utter crap. Oh well. 

Anyway, I want to apologise for the relative lack of posts on this blog lately. I seem to be producing only one or two posts a week, and I’d hoped to keep up my usual rate of four a week while I was travelling. But I’m in England, at the moment, which isn’t my usual home, and I’ve got a girl with me who, even if she doesn’t want to be punted on a cold river with plenty of passers-by, does require a fair bit of maintenance and general looking after. And that’s fun to provide, so I’m busy at the moment. 

I’ll be alone again, on Monday evening, and I’ll be on a night bus or train to Liverpool. I might write something then. Then I’ll be in Ireland for a few days, chasing up some ancestors, but I may even get back to my usual schedule while I’m there.

I’ll be in France after that, then Switzerland, Germany and Italy. Then, in the middle of May, I’ll be back at home in my mountains. I’ll keep you posted!

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I’m a writer. For money I mostly write about things like water distribution rights, health policy, social housing and other things for organisations who pay me for the research and writing work.

This is what happens to starving writers. Thomas Chatterton, dying in his garret. The model, oddly enough, is George Meredith, who was also a starving poet when he posed for this.
You don’t want me to die in a garret, in my snazzy blue pants, do you?

But I’d like to complete the shift to being a purely creative writer, who makes a living by selling stories I want to tell.

I’ve written a non-fiction book on bdsm, and two novels. I’ve put off the actual selling part of the writer’s job, because although I’ve sold many other products for paying customers, self-promotion doesn’t come naturally to me.

But you can help me, and it won’t cost you a cent. Please subscribe to this blog!

There’s a subscription note at the top of my right-hand sidebar. If you can’t see the sidebar, just click the Jerusalem Mortimer banner above, and it’ll appear, along with the other posts on my front page at the moment.

Fill in your email, click subscribe, and, well, that’s it. That’s all you need to do. 

I know that about 2,300 people visit my blog each week. The value of subscribing, for you, is that you get notified by email of my posts as they come out. I post four times a week, and the posts tend to tell stories, sometimes sexy, sometimes funny, sometimes both. I also write occasional information and opinion pieces, though mostly I’m a story-teller.

So I wouldn’t be flooding your in-box. I generally wait till I have something substantial to say before posting. If it’s just a joke, an opinion, or something small, I’ll probably just tweet it. (You can also subscribe to my Twitter feed, using the link on the right sidebar.)

Books should not be free, or there won’t be any new books that people have put hard work into.
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Your subscription helps me because it shows potential publishers that I do have an audience, and so it might be worth giving me money and sticking my writing between covers.

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An Award!

This is most amazing! I’ve listed in the Top 100 Sex Bloggers! 

This is the third year in a row! So I’m doing something right. 

This makes me feel very happy.

I’m very grateful to the amazing Molly for her hard, dedicated work making this award thing happen, and to Chaturbate for generously sponsoring it. 

If you’re feeling kindly, remember that we writers like being read, and we love feedback! (Money makes us orgasm, but I aint asking for no cash. At this time.)

But, going back to feedback, drop me a line! Use that Contact Us button above this post. Or comment on any post. 

I’m looking forward (or pathetically hoping) to hearing from you! Ask me anything! Or better yet, tell me anything!

 

Sexual authoritarians and bdsm 3: the “bdsm is patriarchy” argument

Some anti-bdsm critics argue that bdsm is essentially a cover for male on female domestic violence. There is something that looks like evidence for this perspective in the mainly US Christian sects that endorse female subservience and in which girls and women are property, passed from their father to their husband, whose orders they are supposed to obey. 

There’s a knowing tone to a lot of “domestic discipline literature. For some of the women, at least, it’s about the sex

Many of those sects explicitly endorse non-consenting, or at best semi-consenting (where the woman consents to the relationship and its terms, but has little choice if she wishes to remain in the culture she was brought up in), physical violence under the name “domestic discipline”. 

“Domestic discipline” is a movement, again mainly in the US, in which women, again mostly Christian, accept their male partner’s right to spank them, or use harsher discipline methods involving belts or paddles. It’s a more complex movement than it may seem. 

The movement includes relationships in which the woman really is consenting, and enjoying being a submissive woman under her partner’s discipline. Women writing about their disciplinary experiences (which may include some pure fantasy), make it clear that they take their “discipline” as sexual and both partners enjoy it on those terms. 

In other cases it’s clear that the men in these sects have used the Bible verses that insist on the subservience of women to men, and are working out their own desires on non-consenting women, who are beaten and are largely unable to escape. Those men may be driven by the desires that drive on bullies, and not necessarily by any sexual enjoyment of the beatings they hand out.

But bdsm as a culture insists on clearly stated consent, without which nothing can happen. The rhetoric of “domestic discipline” may happen to suit a couple in which the man is dominant and the woman submissive, and they have no other vocabulary to set out the desired terms of their relationship. But bdsm is a very different beast. 

In theory and in practice bdsm is not about “men dominating women”. It may involve women dominating men, or men dominating women, or women and men taking turns, or it may involve only men, or only women. Moreover, most men and women in bdsm change their role according to their mood or their partner’s.

People may have complex preferences: a bisexual woman may take either a dominant or submissive role when she is with a woman but take only the dominant role when she is with a man. A man may switch with women but prefer to be submissive when with men. There is a kaleidoscopic array of possible combinations, in which the individual figures refuse to keep still to be counted. 

It’s also argued that bdsm perpetuates a male style of thinking and acting that oppresses women regardless of the gender of the participants. It “eroticises power differences”. Patriarchy, the argument goes, requires domination and submission to exist, so it preserves itself by conditioning people to be aroused by dominance and submission.

Bdsm therefore reinforces patriarchy even when the woman is dominant and the man is submissive, or no women are involved, or no men are involved. Inequality in sexual activity – of any kind – is “unnatural” and a betrayal of women. In a post-patriarchal world, with genuine and thoroughgoing sexual equality, people would only ever have gentle sex and only be sexually excited by equality.

The argument demonises a lot of human interaction that the people involved enjoy, and casts women as perpetual and permanent victims regardless of how they perceive their own relationships. It allows no improvement, except by the replacement of the human species by another, gentler, and perhaps duller species that does not currently seem to exist.

(To be continued.)

Writing and money

I’m a reasonably good writer working hard on becoming better. Sometimes I’m sexy, sometimes I’m funny, and sometimes I get the human stuff about thoughts and emotions right. And when I read stuff I wrote, say five years ago, I usually think it’s good, but I can also see ways in which it could be a bit better. That means I’m getting better.

I have a non-fiction book on the historical, psychological and political issues raised by bdsm’s existence, and by the forming of a bdsm community right now.

I also have a bdsm novel, which is a literary novel with rom-com elements, set in the real world. That novel’s currently with beta readers. Once I get their feedback, and adapt and amend where necessary, those two books are off to agents and publishers, so they’d better watch out.   

When I said, “set in the real world”, I mean I don’t do vampires, werewolves or secret islands or dungeons, and, using the words “real world” in a different sense, I don’t do billionaires either. 

I’m currently working on a second novel, which is harder edged, though the bdsm incidents take place between adults who know what they’re doing and are doing it because they want to. The non-consensual aspect is where ordinary people get hammered by violence, racism and corruption. I’m working hard on that novel now, and I expect to have it finished by October. 

Butterflies are free. Unfortunately, good as butterflies are, they’re not the best things in life. If given money, I promise not to blow it on butterflies or cocaine.

With this blog, I guarantee to have four posts a week. Though I’m counting this post as one of them, which is cheating a little. My blog posts are mostly true stories of bdsm life, though the disgraceful long story that continues every Wednesday is most definitely not true.

Truth or fiction, my goal is to have it real, sexy, and funny, as life can be. When you find yourself doing life right.

I’m serious and passionate about some issues, but I think writers are entertainers first, and moralists and philosophers second, if at all. That’s one of the things I believe passionately

On this blog I’ve been writing a long story with the comically click-baity title, Humiliation of an ex-Nazi submissive, and that has many more episodes to go. However, I’m taking a break from it at the moment, because writing it takes a lot of mental focus. Right now I’m putting everything I have of that capacity into the novel I’m writing.

Fortunately, there are two stories I’ve been meaning to tell for a long time, which aren’t quite as demanding, and should be shorter. The first of those starts on Monday. Tune in! I think you’ll like it.  

 

Help me build one of these!

The reason I’m writing this is that I’m setting up a Hat-Tip Jar. I need money, to pay for the running of this blog, and to get to Eroticon in London in 2018. 

I don’t think I’ll put any content behind a pay-wall. I don’t want to run ads. But if you like what I’m writing, then please, chuck us some money. 

This hat-tip jar will exist soon. I’m a techno-klutz, and right now it’s late at night. But it’ll be here in the morning!