This chapter, much like Waiting for Aphrodite, ballooned in size as I wrote it. I think this is becoming a trend in my writing, and maybe even a good one. I've always thought my stories should be longer (or at least the sex scenes should be longer, as a scene needs to be of a decent length to properly masturbate to it.) I've always been attracted to long stories -- it's why I love television, and Tolstoy, and why in high school I was addicted to doorstopper fantasy novels that were usually not very good but were at least very long (in particular I was a Robert Jordan devotee). I suspect it's just because I'm afraid of endings. In any case, I hope that this is long because it's more detailed and not because I'm stretching things out. And even so, there are plenty of authors here who put out much longer chapters on a much quicker schedule.
As for the actual contents of the chapter, there was a lot to get to. Basically I had to introduce the setting and supporting characters for the next big chunk of story, hopefully without too much exposition. And of course I had to find room in there for sex, so that my faithful perverts wouldn't go home disappointed, as well as some character development.
The virtual-reality sex scene in this chapter was a bit of a challenge. The simulated brothel is basically an extreme version of the pornified sexuality that's become increasingly widespread in the past couple decades, and my goal with the scene was to demonstrate why this kind of sexuality is both seductive and ultimately dangerous. So the scene had to be both titillate and perhaps make you take a step back and question things -- not an easy thing to do in a genre that's almost entirely devoted to pleasing the reader. It's a tricky balance to strike. There was a scene in The House at the End of the Street that more or less does what I'm thinking of, when Richie has control of the house and imitates a porno lesbian scene, although I have no idea what chapter it's in. I hope I was able to convey that without making the sex totally unenjoyable. Because that's the tricky and important thing about patriarchy -- it can be insidiously fun, at least for hetero men.
The short Tom/Kayleigh scene was meant to contrast that. I don't mean to suggest that tender vanilla sex is better or more loving or "real" than any other kind of sex, although I'm worried the text implies that. I also don't want to condemn all pornography -- obviously, if I didn't I wouldn't be writing it. I'm just trying to acknowledge that sometimes sex isn't the best thing in the world and that some representations of sexuality are problematic. Hopefully this argument will be more coherent in the actual text than in this blog post.
I should probably end this before I spend any more time ragging on my stuff or going on about my politics. I hope everyone enjoyed the chapter. I'm working on Chapter 4 of Saying Stay right now, and it's looking like it might actually come out within a reasonable timeframe (e.g. less than two months). I'm not making any promises though.