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January 10, 2009
Posted at 3:32 am
 

Plot, what Plot?

A reader wrote me that "The Vals - Recruiting Jenny," read as though I'd gotten bored with the storyline, and stuck the beginning and ending on so I could post it. I regret that he got that impression, especially because there's some truth in it.

When I started writing, I had (almost literally) nothing in mind. I imagined a couple of characters and a situation, and wrote some dialog. Initially, I just wanted to see if the result was better than awful.

I loved it, the actual writing, and I liked some of what I wrote. So I started other threads (you couldn't properly call them stories) with other characters. My writing involved picking a thread and extending it.

I didn't think about posting or publishing anything, and I didn't think about ending anything; why would I want to?

Then I got the notion that I wanted some help, some criticism. I looked at a variety of Writing Forums without being attracted to any. Most of the writing was truly terrible; the moderators/editors were dictatorial, thought they knew everything, and seemed to dislike each other.

I thought about posting to ASSTR and ASSM. They constitute a vibrant community, but are just slightly chaotic.

The challenge of writing sex stories was interesting. How explicit should I be; how detailed should my descriptions of sex acts be; what names would I be willing to use for various body parts; how many fruits and vegetables could I use in descriptions of breasts?

So I started to write sex-threads.

Then I remembered SOL. A Reader's site rather than a Writer's, and the readers pay the writers by rating stories and providing feedback. I decided I would post something.

However, in order to do that, I had to have something with an ending. I looked through my threads and found something I thought I could end. I deleted a few thousand words and stuck an ending (of sorts) in.

Actually plotting a story, planning a climax and ending, is still on my to-do list. I have started some stories with plots, but I still have a number of threads with, I think, some good stuff in them. If you read more of my writing, you may well catch me bludgeoning a thread into a story again.

The reader accused me of leaving Jenny, "sitting in a hotel room waiting to get fucked." What a depressing image.

She's actually standing in front of a mirror, in her bedroom, waiting for Brad to come pick her up in his dad's BMW 750Li. He will take her to the hotel, and up to the suite; they will converse, they will dine, they will dance (it's a really nice suite); and then they will engage is some very nice fucking.

I didn't, of course, actually say all of that. But I did say that she was standing in front of her mirror waiting for Brad to pick her up.

The rest of it was supposed to generally follow from the 'feeling' I thought I had created. Apparently not.

IIRC, my initial thoughts about the Vals were simply that they incentivized the football team with sex. That was gone before I wrote the first word. This was the first Universe that I imagined. I know a whole bunch more about the Vals than I have written. I think it's an important part of writing to always know more, and to decide how much to say.

I always want a reader to be able to imagine a lot of the story. I'm still working on just how much of that works (and may always be).

I imagined the Vals to be a benevolent organization, largely dedicated to encouraging and protecting kids. Part of that was to reduce the objectification of girls, in order to encourage healthier relationships. They would achieve that by a) being role models who refused to accept it, and b) ensuring that the male role models in the school didn't do it. The latter would involve some form of initiation for those boys, notionally including a night with a Val while he was still young enough to be awed by it.

When I started the 'story', I expected there to be some squishy sex. When I first posted on SOL, I thought sex was more important to readers than I have subsequently learned. I'm happy about that, particularly because I decided it wouldn't work in this story.

I thought about writing the Official Fuck from Brad's perspective. I'd get to show Jenny as he saw her. I was going to let Brad introduce himself while he was trying to get his dad to let him use the BMW. He was going to tell his dad how important the date was to him, how much he wanted to impress the girl; without telling his dad that the girl was a freshman, and what was on the agenda; while he also thought about Jenny, and what was on the agenda. I planned on Brad (or whatever his name may have been at the time) sealing the deal with his dad by promising to master the iDrive system and to teach his dad how to use it properly. The drive to Jenny's was going to include Brad trying to figure the system out.

I ran in to two or three problems with that. If I introduced Brad as a POV character, he was going to have to be as well developed as Jenny, which meant a lot more writing (although possibly interesting). I would probably want to include his night with a Val (perhaps Becky); and I couldn't decide if I'd rather write about some younger boy's future night with Jenny. And the sex had become less important, and couldn't dominate the end of the story.

I had no thoughts about Beth or Mark when I started writing the 'story'. While I was writing the part with Beth in it, I decided that things were dragging (okay, I probably had her talk too much). That's when I added the prelude, to promise readers the squishy sex I still had in mind. I had expected Becky to tell Jenny about the 'qualifying' of boys, right up until they decided to go get something to eat.

When I finished the scene with Mark, I decided that the squishy sex had to go. The Vals were in the background; Jenny was in the foreground. She was stepping out into a larger world, and sex was only a part of that. If I wrote a big sex scene, I was going to have to write a bunch of other (perhaps less interesting) stuff to balance it.

So, as my writing moves beyond the free-association phase (wherein I seldom have any idea what my characters will do next), I hope to have endings all planned before I begin. We'll see how that goes.