New Story Posted: A Miraculous Affair
I want every story I write to have something different about it than the others. That’s been my conscious goal for about a year now, but realistically, it’s probably been my goal since I released Panopticon. Even though this piece I just posted was a commission and I had to adhere to the guidelines and requests of the commissioner, I hope I brought a unique and interesting experience to you.
This piece was a bit of a challenge to get going. Immediately I have a few issues with its pacing – I think I have started to enjoy making the beginnings of stories slice-of-life a bit too much and too heavily padded the beginning, for example – but it was also fun to, simultaneously, depart the real and dive into the surreal. It was a fun experiment, and the commissioner is happy with the finished product and ask I not tinker with it too much, so, perfectionist streak aside, I’m happy to oblige.
**(Huge spoiler territory)**
By the way, I realize how hypocritical it looks to stand on my soapbox about feminism and then release a piece that clearly has a pretty sexist ending, so for the record, the commissioner, who is herself female, commissioned it as consensual kink and escapism with a specific request for what is apparently called “bimbofication.” Plus, go figure, the reader isn’t meant to think Cameron is a hero or even a remotely good person. I know that a lot of readers don’t care at all about that stuff, but we’re sharing the space with people who do care about that, so I thought this disclaimer might ease the tension felt by those who do care. I see you, and understand your qualms. If you ignored the spoiler warning and feel uncomfortable about sexism “winning” in a story, it might be wise to give this particular story a skip.
(For those confused since I highlight on my commission page that I refuse to write stories about discrimination, I guess it’s more nuanced than I made it sound: I refuse to write stories that nakedly endorse discrimination. Again, Cameron is very clearly the bad guy, and while Jacqueline is happy in the end, it’s meant to have a soft horror effect.)
Originally, my plan for the end of the story was to, shortly after the slap, have Jacqueline be confronted in a private place by Cameron, then held down by her friends, then the mind control takes effect and she tries to fight it. The commissioner then requested that Jacqueline instead grow to enjoy it, and pointed out – wisely – that my plan just sounded like a slightly different version of And Ophelia Blinked. I loved the collaborative nature of this commission, because she was totally right in her criticism of my original plan. Had this been my own piece, it would have been weaker. I loved learning from that experience.
For this piece, that was the something new. I wrote about mind control before, but in a frankly less subtle way. That’s right, this piece you just read was the less subtle mind control story I wrote. Looking back, And Ophelia Blinked has a kind of stupid ending monologue where the anti-hero straight up goes, “haha yes, these were my intentions and this is what is going to happen, let me tell you these things explicitly because that’s what good storytelling is.” In hindsight, oops.
It was kind of fun to play with the dissonance between the POV character and (hopefully) the reader. It came at the sacrifice of realism, even through the dialogue, but aiming consciously for realism doesn’t really work as well as having it fall in your lap.
The best piece I have ever written was Teacher’s Threat. I got insanely lucky that my mind dreamed up a sexy scenario but also managed to play it out perfectly. I’ve tried to acquire a reputation for having my stories, or at least my dialogue, be “realistic.” That said, it’s hit-and-miss with Mutual Benefits in the realism department sometimes. Then there are stories like First Impressions, where realism wasn’t the explicit goal in the first place. Realism can be exhausting, and I think I peaked with Teacher’s Threat. I’ll never write a more realistically-written story, or even a story as good as that, in my opinion. I happened to get acquainted with the right ideas at the right time, and the story came out great. It won’t happen every time.
Sorry for openly boasting for a whole paragraph. I felt like it was relevant. My point is, it was fun to play with non-reality, and this particular flavor of non-reality was the newness I contributed this time around. We shall see what the next story brings. I’ll talk to you all next week.