Home > Thinking, Writing > Characters Have Minds of Their Own

Characters Have Minds of Their Own

There are people in my life that will never read one of my erotic stories. Not because of their hangups, but because of mine.

I have spent my entire life trying to slay the demons of “what will people think,” and I thought I’d beaten them all until I starting writing smut. It was like every demon riding the junior high school school bus with me got comfortable in my office as soon as I wrote the first chapter of the first novella.

The one that starts with graphic phone sex.

In the past, those demons perched on every mental surface were enough to convince me to abandon every manuscript after one chapter. Maybe two. This time, I clenched my jaw and refused to turn my head from the monitor. My son was napping, I didn’t have anything to do at work, and by god, I was going to finish something for once in my life. And I did.

And lo, she said, it was pretty damned good, so she mailed it unto the agonizingly slow gatekeepers of publishing.

The next time the kid napped, I wrote down an interesting idea I’d had during the first story’s creation. That turned out to be pretty damn good too, and original. 30% explicit smut, but good. That one sold. (The first one, if you’re new here, was rejected-with-feedback, and I rewrote it… and by rewrote it I mean I gave it a plot and three more chapters.)

Being a non-fiction writer accustomed to immediate reader feedback, praise, and a weekly column that regularly drew the suggestion that I should quit writing and die in a fire (you see why the prospect of ordinary old rejection didn’t put me off for a millisecond), I wanted to tell the world. But I froze.

Hello, demons. I don’t mind if you stay, but I’d appreciate it if you’d stop eating all my favorite snacks.

Two other story ideas had come to mind during the writing of the second. I finished one of them and submitted it. If you scroll down, you’ll see a blog entry about my husband having a brilliant idea. It was so compelling that I started writing it while I meant to be writing something else. And in a tiny corner of my soul, the part that can’t banish demons, I was glad, because this idea was awesome and yet it probably wouldn’t have much sex. A story I could show all my friends and my favorite professor from college! A heroine unlikely to get into bed with anyone until marriage, probably at the end of the book! Yippee!

Yeah, well. Guess who’s lying on her side in post-orgasmic bliss giving the hero a handjob. I can’t blame her, really. She’s been awfully lonely since her husband died, and as a self-made woman, she’s too rich for her old friends and her family is too poor for her current associates. And I can’t blame her lover, either, even though he should have said no. It’s been awhile since he felt a hand down there. He’s got clockwork arms that frighten off most potential partners and he’s too proud to hire a prostitute. Of course, they really shouldn’t have spent the night together, and there’s going to be trouble over it, but… but I still would have liked to have a story I could show to my mother.

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