Good day everyone!
I’ve been on a blog tour for a while now and recently re-committed myself to being here at my own place a couple times a week sharing my life, my writing, and swapping ideas and techniques will all my fine followers. As you all know I interview several people a month over here and I decided I would start anwering some of my own questions. Maybe more than once, since more than a few of them apply to more than one situation. Today the question that shouted at me was, do we have a moral obligation to our readers and how do we achieve that.
It’s my humble opinion that all romance authors hold a moral obligation to their readers, but none so more than those that choose to write in the realm of BDSM. Why? Because it’s a very unique way of loving that requires some special attention that’s why. The obligation here goes past the making sure that John has a condom on. People live this life and those that might read my work, might decide they are a dabbler and if I don’t stress the importance of safe, sane, consensual to them, I’ve not fulfilled my moral obligation. Now, how do I achieve that?
I will freely admit that when I first started writing BDSM, it was a bit herky-jerky. Like any other genre it takes practice to get it right, but it seems since I’ve started in this realm it takes a special kind of getting it right because of all the added factors. One of the standing factors that so many writers tend to forget is that there is still a story to be written about real people that have real lives and real jobs and real problems. So many times, these stories read like BDSM primers and it’s almost as if the writer has a check list of “points” they must hit, or a list of “positions and equipment” that must be used. In fact, I ran across one such story very recently. I’m an avid reader and this writer has been doing it a long time, but for some reason she chose a series to “come out” as it were after writing the first few books brilliantly, the last one I read was written like a BDSM for dummies book and I swore if I saw the words dominate, submit, submission, domination, Dom, Domme, sub, slave, or submissive one more time I would scream. It was all over every single page. And there was absolutely no story line other than the BDSM factor and if this woman was or was not Domme/sub or otherwise. Overdone, boring.
I’m deviating a bit…let me reel it back in to the topic at hand. The point is, when things like that happen, not only is the story junk, it fails to convey the message that this lifestyle is very, very real and people do live it and it fails miserably at conveying the necessity for safety and consent.
In my latest piece, Assumed Identity, which I’ll share a bit of in a moment, I could count the number of times my characters actually have sex on one hand. Too many times the focus is on the actual physical acts and less on the mental and emotional. I focused more on the mental/emotional aspect and wrote the story about normal everyday people that have everyday lives and the kinky sex, as some would call it, is a bonus. The conversations are not herky-jerky and contrived, and the issues of safety and consent are discussed freely and aren’t awkward. They don’t have to be. These people are perfectly “normal” save the fact they indulge in their desires. In order to get the safe, sane, consensual message across, I treat it like it’s normal everyday conversation for my players. This way it’s not forced and doesn’t come off as another “check point.” If you feel these people are “freaks” it will come off that way in your writing. If you’re writing this genre because it’s wildly popular but it squicks you out—maybe you shouldn’t. It will come off in your writing and the story becomes unnatural and the message is lost.
Needless to say, the story I mentioned above went in my DNF pile quickly. Write it real, write it safe, and write it natural…
“What’s edge play?” Julie asked quickly as she scooped a heap of mashed potatoes on her plate. “I’m getting in a copy of The Federalist Monday. It should be interesting to see what sort of condition it’s in.”
Blake stopped mid-chew from his station at Dante’s feet and Dante dropped his fork. It hit his plate with a clatter then bounced to the floor where Blake fumbled for it before hopping up to go to the kitchen and replace it with a clean one.
“I thought Allen covered that with you,” Dante said, grasping the arms of his chair.
“Allen skimmed over it and said I wasn’t cut out for it in his opinion. Mason thinks he was wrong,” Julie said, twisting her napkin in her lap. “What do you think?”
Blake came back in, handed Dante another fork, and fell back to his position between Dante’s legs. This was the first time since they’d been together that they’d displayed this part of their relationship so fully in front of her. She assumed it was because she had now been introduced to this side of life and would soon be joining their ranks. At least she hoped so. If she could do what Mason wanted. If not she was back to square one. Square one wasn’t all that appealing at this point.
“I…” Dante cleared his throat, apparently quite taken aback that she’d asked this. “You have a lot of the traits that would indicate you might be someone that could take that kind of intense play.”
“How do you know?”
“Do you even realize what kind of pressure you put on yourself to maintain a sense of everything being right in your world?” Dante asked with his eyebrows scrunched together. “It’s overkill. And I know about all your thrill seeking. You’re a closeted adrenaline junkie. Edge play goes past what normal play does for a sub. Endorphins to the nth degree. You need someone to control it for you, Jules.”
“Does everyone talk about me behind my back?” Julie asked, throwing her napkin down and standing. She shot a glare at Blake who was busy looking at the floor. Was there anything he hadn’t told Dante?
“No, they don’t,” Dante said with force, standing as well. “Only the people that give a damn about you do. Jesus Christ, Jules. All we want is for you to be happy and cared for. Blake’s told me a lot about your past because he worries about you and needed somewhere to go with it. He can’t hold the world’s secrets and not be expected to have a release valve. Hell, you need somewhere to go with it.”
“How do you know what I need?” she snapped, turning on her heel and knocking her chair over in the process. When Blake scrambled to right it, she whirled around and started for the door.
“Well, you sure as hell don’t know. If you did you’d have it by now,” Dante roared.
“I don’t have it because I’m…” She grabbed her purse and slung it over her shoulder. “It’s none of your damn business why,” she shot over her shoulder and headed for the door again.
One simple question and it had turned into this. What was this? Exactly?
“Stop,” Dante said, using his voice of authority.
“Fuck off, Dante, you’re not my Master.”
Julie heard Blake gasp and hurry off on his hands and knees. She could just see him cowering on his princess cushion with his head down. Before she managed to get the door open, both Dante’s hands landed on the solid oak structure on either side of her, caging her in. Her chest tightened as panic set in and she pushed against him in an effort to get him out of her space.
“Let go,” she cried as Dante leaned into her pinning her to the door.
“I. Said. Let. Go,” she gritted out. Her jaw was so tight it ached.
“I said no,” he answered before removing one hand from the door and wrapping it around one of her wrists before pulling her arm behind her back further limiting her range of movement. “Stop running, Jules. You ran from your life, you ran from Shelby trying to forget your life, and now you’re trying to run from us and from Mason. Stop. Running.”
Purchase Link: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=lila+munro&searchBy=author&qString=lila+munro
Thanks for coming by today!