Monday, March 2, 2015

One Three Three: Encounters

I've been thinking about a friend who writes what she calls Dead Poet Erotica--- erotica about the young Sylvia Plath or the young Anne Sexton. It's not quite historical romance, and it's not quite fan fiction.  Yes, she does give her characters--- Plath at seventeen or eighteen, Sexton at nineteen or twenty ---the lovers they should've had. Yes, she does create a character that's very much herself to sleep with both Plath and Sexton. But she does know both biographies and she has a very clear grasp of both writers' poems and the critical studies of both.

Still, Dead Poet Erotica does edge toward the "celeb-parody" stories you see at various on-line erotica sites. You can probably imagine what those stories are like. Choose a name--- almost any young actress, singer, or model from the past fifteen or twenty years ---and someone has written "celeb-parody" erotica about them. The plots are simple enough: hot young celebrity has unexpected encounter with another lovely celebrity girl, hot young celebrity has secret life where she's sexually insatiable with strangers of all genders (and occasionally dogs or horses), hot young celebrity is sexually humiliated and used by men who'd never have a chance with her in real life. There's a strong streak of envy and bitterness in many of the stories--- I do have to note that. Sometimes there are stories where two girls (e.g., Taylor Swift and Emma Stone, or Emma Stone and Emma Watson) have sex and then do become a couple, but there are very, very few stories where there's anything like romance between the celebrity girl and anyone male. The authors' imaginations run to punishing the girls for being unavailable or just for being famous and wealthy. Yes, some very ugly envy- and class-based revenge tales are out there. And very, very few tales with male-female encounters that end in any kind of romance or connection.

My friend did ask me if I'd ever wanted to write stories about any actresses or models I've fancied. I had to tell her that I actually hadn't.  Writing erotica is hard. Let's be clear about that. I've always said that erotica and biography are the two hardest genres to work in. Erotica slips all-too-easily into bad comedy. Go find some porn novels from the 1970s or 1980s, go find stories at erotica websites...and then read them aloud. Try to keep a straight face. You won't be able to do it--- you won't.  I'll be honest enough to say, too, that there's a risk to writing down fantasies if you're male (there's a risk even to admitting to having fantasies, if you're male). There's the term "spank bank" lurking somewhere, and the cultural disdain for male lust and any male manifestation of the Solitary Vice. It's shameful to admit to fantasies if you're male, and probably an admission of being "creepy" if you're male and write erotica--- a fortiori if you're writing about someone real.

If ever I were going to do "celeb-parody" erotica, though.... Well, first off, I'd have to purge the "parody" part, since the goal wouldn't be to mock, degrade, or humiliate the fantasy girl. I'm not interested in any of that.  I wouldn't write something driven by envy or ressentiment--- I won't do that.  I'd probably be tagged as "creepy", though, since I would want to do some biographical research on the girl who'd be the center of the tale. That comes with all those years of academic training, though. I'd want her name and description to be correct, and I'd want to have other things--- career points, nicknames, favourite designers ---be correct. I'd probably look for interviews on line and try to get the rhythm of her voice and get her personality down.

What else, now? Well...let's think. How do you get her character to meet whoever she'll be pairing with? If you were doing two hot young celebrity girls together, it would be easy. They'd be able to meet at work--- on set, backstage, at awards ceremonies or after parties. To have her meet someone male, someone outside her usual circle--- that's hard. Let's say that no male character who was essentially me could be anything like the pizza delivery guy.  There'd have to be some reasonably plausible way to have the characters meet, some reasonably plausible way to have them open a conversation.

I suppose the next part would be where I'd lose the whole sense of inevitability that drives erotica. My male character would (obviously) be my stand-in, and he (obviously) wouldn't be someone whose body or sexual magnetism would make sex happen instantly. There would have to be conversation, and some way for my character's failings (age, looks) to be put aside. That could  It would have to be the conversation, and lots of dialogue kills erotica, doesn't it? There were would have to be some reasonably plausible reason for the girl to decide that, yes, this is worth exploring.  And there would have to be some way to get my character past his obvious fears.

I think I would want to imagine the girl sitting astride me on a sofa or holding me close to her while she sat on a desk or a table. I'd have to explain that, given my age, there was at least some possibility that my body wouldn't work, and that I just needed her to promise not to laugh. She'd...what? Take my jaw in her hand and hold it. Shake her head and say..."No. Just no. You don't get to be afraid. I'm the one in the locked hotel room with a stranger who's probably older than my father and who's already said he wants to blindfold me and tie my wrists. Sorry--- you don't get to be the one who's afraid." And she'd kiss me.  That's very much a scene I'd want to write. I'd want, too, for her to run a thumb over my lips and grin. "All those degrees," she'd say. "You'll figure something out. You can do more than one thing." Well, I'd want that to happen in real life, too.

I've always been someone who can describe scenarios to a lovely girl by phone, but writing sex scenes is something I'd have to learn. I'd have to learn how to avoid the mistakes that would turn the sex scene into low comedy...or into something purely mechanical. If I made things true to my own life, there'd be a great deal of talking during everything. I've never understood films or novels where people don't talk during sex.

The resolution of the story... Well, romance isn't likely between a hot young celebrity girl and my character. But there's no reason that even what both know to be a one-night thing can't end well, can't end with grace and something close to enjoyment.  Politeness, anyway. I'd want both characters to want to say "thank you".  The characters might not exchange phone numbers, but they'd neither of them have any regrets. That would be important.

Well, I suppose I might try to write something like this. I might--- after all, I do have female characters in mind.  The trick of course is write them into stories that are reasonably plausible. Verisimilitude counts, of course.  Which means that research counts. It's just hard to think that the attitude any characters I create always take--- verbal, cool, slightly detached ---would go with erotica.

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