Sparkling. She sparkles.
She just does.
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.
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 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.
Ellie waited. She faced her own front door, kneeling, in her dressing gown. Her knees were parted and her wrists crossed behind her back. She was obeying a man she’d never met. She’d left the door unlocked. Her knees ached.
While they’d been flirting on FaceChat, he’d asked how she felt about blowjobs. She’d said she loved giving and was superkeen and supergood at it. There’d been a long silence. Much longer than she’d expected.
Eventually he’d said, “Goo-od. Yes, well, obviously I think that’s good.” Then he’d laughed. It was a good laugh, open, delighted, unselfconscious.
It was that, she thought, that had made her take the risk of meeting him. And of meeting him in her home, not in some neutral place. He’d suggested a coffee bar. When she countered by suggesting her home he’d sounded delighted. And then he’d given her instructions, on how she was to greet him.
So they could back out, either of them. But they weren’t expecting to want to. Ellie had waited, now for about twenty minutes. But she’d waited most of her adult life, so far. She’d decided to try to realise – to make real – something she’d dreamed of, lying on her bed, fingers and devices busy, crying out pleasure, but still feeling lonely.
But it wouldn’t necessarily be hotter. She wasn’t sure. But if he was the man she’d seen on FaceChat, then she’d already decided she’d take that, open her mouth for him.
She’d be overwhelmed with sensation, full and needed, under his control, not hers.
Her hips moved. She wished she could touch her cunt. Her cunt, wet but empty: yearning. But she’d wait, doing as she’d been told.
He hadn’t told her exactly when he would arrive. He’d just told her to start waiting, facing her door, at six. He would make her wait, of course.
It was the morning after my thirtieth birthday party. I’d got up, and started collecting dishes, glasses and ashtrays for the dishwasher. No one else was awake yet.
But a bedroom door opened, and Emilia Vivian emerged, in a manga tee-shirt that hung almost to her knees. Emilia was a doctor, a glowing light-brown woman with large, almost black eyes and an extraordinarily sweet face framed by medium-length black hair. She was small but contoured. She lifted weights.
Emilia was embarrassed to find me, and uncertain of her welcome. Last night she’d performed the party’s most spectacular piece of bad behaviour, launching a screaming attack on her best friend, accusing her of fucking her last boyfriend, of pretending to be sweet but always undermining her and some other girl on girl offences.
It’d been the least fun part of the evening, but I’d already forgiven her because the outburst had been so out of character, and because, only a few minutes later, Emilia had fallen asleep in that same friend’s arms. Wine sometimes solves the problems that it creates.
But Emilia was hung over, embarrassed and ashamed, so I hugged her. I let her go when she winced. But she emerged from the bathroom a few minutes later, having dealt with her bladder and her head, and wrestled her way back into the hug. “I’m really sorry, Jaime. I don’t know what … Well, I’m sorry.”
“Ah, love, it’s okay. You’d had a bit of wine. And … you probably had reasons.” I found myself hugging Emilia with one arm while reaching down to squeeze her ass with my other hand. Affectionately, you know. We had history, Emilia and I. In the years I’d been with a girl called Susie, we’d sometimes talked and gazed earnestly into each other’s eyes, and we’d once almost had sex.
I’d had my penis partly inside her when conscience, hers more than mine, finally won. It’s quite a late stage to worry about fidelity, but we’d stopped and separated. I’d felt noble, though I doubted Susie would’ve admired it. So Emilia and I were intimates, without having had sex. Or not exactly sex.
Emilia rubbed my chest with her forehead. “No, I didn’t have reasons. Not good ones.”
“Well, okay, but I still know you’re a wee love. You’ve got years of credit with me; you can’t blow it in one evening.” Emilia smiled up at me. “And I still don’t think it came from nowhere.” More smiles.
A nice man was being nice to her. And the ass-squeezing was probably a great comfort in her time of self-recrimination.
Then information from that bottom-squeezing hand swamped my brain. I added, “Though … if you ever do anything like that again, Emilia, I’ll put you over my knee.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
The previous episode is here.
Paul arrived on Monday morning. Janie clung to him while he listened to Monica’s report.
janie sat up straight, her arms bound behind her back. Her bottom and legs still burned.
When they were home at last, he said, “You were good. Mostly. I’ll deal with Monica’s report on your punishments later. What does that mean?”
“It means you’re going to punish me, Master. Every stroke Mistress gave me, you’re going to give me again.”
“That’s right. But that can wait. By the way, she’s not your Mistress any more. Call her Monica.”
“It was a lesson for you, Janie. You obey me because you enjoy it. I don’t think I could do anything that you wouldn’t get off on.”
“But you don’t get to submit just for your pleasure, Janie. You don’t want to choose what you submit to. You just submit. That’s what you want. That’s your deepest self.”
Something moved in her, and she felt herself dropping, down to her smallest, sweetest place. “You love me.”
“You know that.”
“You know me!”
“Well, I should, girl. We’ve been–“
Paul was silent. He looked at her for a long time. She waited, somehow half terrified. Eventually he held his hand out to her. She took it.