I won’t frequently announce that I’m working on commissions, even while I’m talking about working on other projects, just because I find the process of publicly announcing them until they’re able to be read kind of tasteless in a way. I don’t think I can articulate it any better than I have… it’s something I feel as opposed to explain well. That said, my latest commission piece is now finished and able to be read! It’s a “short” story clocking in at 30k words, and is called, “The Mystery of Lakeview Mall.” If anyone cares about the continuity of my stories, it is canon, whatever that means to you.
***Go read it now if you want to enjoy it, because the rest of this blog contains plot spoilers for the piece!***
I’ve voiced before that when it came to the Coronavirus pandemic, a lot of erotica authors rushed to make stories about it but it usually boiled down to one boring type of story: two people, usually something taboo like housemates or siblings get stuck at home due to the pandemic lockdown, and they end up getting closer and having sex out of desperation for something to do. As a premise, it’s not the worst thing ever if the author can write dialogue well. But two problems usually arise: one, that very criterion I just listed doesn’t get met, and two, every story ever about it becomes the same.
I received a commission that asked for some very specific kinks, which is where a lot of the kinks in the story came from. The commission gave me a lot of room to improvise (for example, the mall itself was not given to me by the commissioner, and was something from my own imagination), but one thing they specified was that they wanted the events to take place in the current day. I wrote one story before which took place in 2021 (and if you knew which one before reading this newest story, congratulations on your attention to detail), but I managed to skate by without having to make any specific references to 2020 and the pandemic. As I began writing this story, I realized that pretending Coronavirus had no impact on this world would be making just as much of a statement as overtly saying it did. Crazy, right?
COVID, like anything else worthy to make the newspapers, is a world event. Stories that emulate the world make conscious choices which world events to keep and which to omit. You might think this is personal opinion, but this is the closest thing to objective fact that can exist in something as fluid as literature. If you’re writing about a woman in a Western country and she has a job or can choose who to marry, it’s clear Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in your story’s universe. If not, someone else wrote something of equal merit. Hell, if books exist in your universe, someone invented the printing press. You don’t have to shine a light on every single event in your story’s world (a good author is marked not just by what they choose to mention, but what they choose not to mention as well, after all) but pretending certain events didn’t happen “because it’s fiction” is just lazy. I couldn’t just not mention it at all and pretend I was playing both sides if I decided to write a story set in 2021. With an event of that much merit, I had to choose whether I included Coronavirus or not. The result is what you read. It may sound like splitting hairs, but imagine reading a story that took place in the 1930s where everyone lived as prosperously as they did in the 20s. You’d think the author was consciously writing a story where the Depression didn’t happen to make a point. This is the same thing.
I think The Mystery of Lakeview Mall says plainly enough what COVID meant to the world in which I wrote my stories. You don’t need me in this blog post going over any and all ways my world differs from the real world in that way, and you certainly don’t need me harping on about my philosophies regarding COVID here. My dayjob is in healthcare, so at any rate, I also would prefer not to talk about it. COVID’s bureaucracy and conspiracy theorists take up enough of my life as it is.
For those that care about the expanded universe of my stories, I hope that the choices I made are interesting to you all. I also hope you like the story. Despite it being 7000 words shorter than Only If You Want, my longest standalone piece to this day, it unquestionably has the most sex of any sex story I’ve ever written. So if you’ve been hoping I would someday write a story that seemed more like an actual sex story and less like a YA novel that has sex in it, merry early Christmas. And hey, it’s horror themed, at least slightly, so, happy early Halloween too. I’ll talk to you all next week.