Saturday, July 17, 2010
It is my honor today to have author Angela Cameron here as my guest. Angela is the creative force behind the highly rated erotic vampire series, BLOOD AND SEX. You can read my review of the first book in the series, MICHAEL, here.
What struck me most with Ms. Cameron's writing was her ability to execute the use of BDSM (bondage/submission) so eloquently. The New Sensuality, is all about tasteful, artful erotica, and so I present to you Angela Cameron on writing tasteful, artful BDSM.
Light Bondage: The Vanilla Writer’s Guide to Writing Tasteful BDSM
Okay, so maybe it’s not an entire guide, but I wanted to say a few words about writing BDSM for those who aren’t so fetish savvy. Lisa here was kind enough to let me hijack the blog to do so. (Thanks, Lisa!!!)
Those who’ve read the Blood & Sex series know that the sex comes with a little kink. Actually, in some cases it’s probably a lot of kink, but it’s not done in a way that sends fetish virgins running for the literary hills. As someone who doesn’t read a lot of fetish stories, that’s a fine line to walk. Everyone’s version of “extreme” is different, defined by their life experiences.
So how do you know how much is too much?
And for that matter, how do you know what to write to begin with?
Since I can’t fit a complete guide into one blog post, I’ll give you the ten basics.
1-Research Fetishes - Okay, this may be obvious to some, but I had to do a bit of research to have any idea what I was writing about. I started out in an erotica writer’s group where I read the work of those who write fetish material. I learned from some of the top erotica writer’s, by reading their works and asking questions. I joined a private, small group of people who were open and honest about their adventures, even in front of me—the innocent one in the group.:-) Then, I went even further, interviewing a legal prostitute from another country to find out what makes men tick in the bedroom. Even sixteen years of marriage couldn’t give me the wealth of information she did. Most of it wasn’t even about intercourse, which was eye opening for me. She saw a level of honesty from other women’s husbands that many wives never do. Understanding the psychology and personalities behind sexual preferences is key. You wouldn’t want your hero who should obviously be a dom getting spanked, now would you?
2- Learn About BDSM - Take the research a step further by looking into BDSM. If you’re going to be believable, you need to know what you’re talking about. You may not get technical or need half the information, but you still need to see the big picture to understand your characters’ love lives.
To understand the areas fetishes fall in, take a look Encyclopedia Dramarica's The Basics and The Lingo and More
A sprinkling of the appropriate actions, attitudes and gear can make the story more believable.
3-Consider the Character – Use all that information you gathered and apply it to picking the right flavor. Just as the clothes, car, and fighting style make the hero more rounded, so does their sexual preference. Every character in the series has their own preference, dictated by their personality. It goes with their own subconscious needs.
When writing the Blood & Sex series, it was important to consider who they were to know who liked what. For Michael, it’s about being a bit dominant. There’s a power struggle between him and Tori that goes with their both being powerful individuals in their own right. For Jonas, it’s about a bit-o-bondage that goes back to a childhood connection between pain and love.
4 – Take It Slow - Write the sex scene into the story just like you would any other. Don’t push the character (or the reader) into a fetish. If the first scene throws a reader straight into the deep end of the kink pool, they’re likely to panic. Worse yet, they’ll put the book down and walk away. A nice resolution for this is to make one character inexperienced in that area and let them learn as the reader does.
5- Progress Naturally – It has to be natural. For most characters, that means the first time or three might be vanilla sex. Then, as they trust the partner more, they’d introduce the fetish into the mix. It may be just a small bit at first, maybe holding down the arms. The next time, they might introduce furry handcuffs. And, as time goes on, the preference comes out. The revelation of what the character truly wants is usually the last step, when all emotional issues are resolved.
6- Keep It Simple - There doesn’t have to be a lot of complicated words or gear, just the subtle suggestion of something a little more than just straight sex. Describe what’s happening and nothing more. Don’t get caught up in using the right lingo and ruin it all. If you write the scene from the less experienced partner’s point of view, it’s likely to come out best with inexperienced language.
7- Avoid the Extremes - Most vanilla readers can enjoy a little slap and tickle. They probably won’t understand the intricacies of being ball gagged and whipped without a huge setup.
8-Stay in Love – The sex scenes need to be filled with the understanding of love between the lovers. Each time the reach new territory, there should be a new level of intimacy achieved. For some this will spell more love, for others it will bring forward new issues to deal with.
9 - Don’t Overdo It - It’s not overly done. Their entire stories aren’t about their particular flavor of sex, but it’s definitely an important part of their life and their journey. Michael, for example, exudes dominance. But Jonas keeps his bondage locked in the dungeon. Do what makes sense for that character, and remember that even a dominatrix needs a day job and probably teaches Sunday school.
10—Have Fun! – Start with a kink that appeals to you. Just like writing anything else, if you’re disgusted by bondage, don’t go there. It will show.
So, tell us about your favorite characters. What fetishes do they have? Who’s the best author you’ve seen at writing this type of “tasteful” BDSM? Feel free to post examples.
And if you have any questions, post ‘em here for us to discuss.
For more information on Angela Cameron's works, visit her blog.