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J. J. Brown, Wordslinger

"I Sling Words As I Go Along."

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humor

So, Novel in Progress is coming along……

……and I’m really excited about it.  I haven’t been this excited about a writing project in a really long time, so I’m doubly happy.

So far, it’s clocking in at just over 94,000 words, but the actual number is in doubt, since I’ve got a couple of scenes to write, as well as the ending. The word count is also fluctuating because words are being added or sacrificed – they’re definitely getting moved around – and, since that’s how a writer pens, it’s all good.

What projects are you working on?

So, I’m working on some posts for my Patreon page….

…..setting some of them up to go live at a later date.  I like setting up multiple posts this way, so that I’m sure my subscribers are getting fun things to look at.

“What? The waste basket was trash-talking me.”

One of my tiers features the thoughts and adventures of Henry the Gray (my cat) and Best Bud Mare (my horse).

Henry the Gray is very laid back in his approach to life, which I find admirable.  He’s also somewhat sarcastic and does not approve of changes in his schedule.

His favorite things include: having morning meetings at the kitchen table; early morning inspections of the back yard; late night inspections of the garage; treats.

His dislikes include: vacuums; the garbage truck; the gardeners; having his stomach touched.

 

“Don’t look now, but there’s an apple on the ground behind you. Look out!!!”

Best Bud Mare has come a long way since I met her three years ago, when she was a little bit spooky and not sure of her surroundings or what was expected of her.  Now she comes right up to the gate, to see what I’m doing and always wants to be a part of things.

Her favorite things include: getting her itches scratched with the blue curry comb; taking selfies; learning how to do new things, like having her feet handled by the farrier; eating carrots; having her mane brushed out so that there are no more tangles; hanging out with her human.

Her dislikes include: loud noises; backing into a sneaky fence; being left out of projects; not hanging out with her favorite human; not getting brushed with the blue curry comb; apples.

 

So, their stories and thoughts and observations will be found over at the Patreon page I’ve established.

I’ve left some posts unlocked, so that those who are not familiar with my writing style can have a sample of what I’m offering before they subscribe.  You can find the unlocked posts here, where you’ll also be able to learn about the different tiers and what they have to offer.

Feel free to take a look.

Best wishes.

So, back in April, I was interviewed…….

……….by Heather Kirchhoff for Girl Who Reads. I had lovely interactions with her via email, prior to the actual interview, and I appreciate the time she took to ask her questions, all of which I found to be thoughtful and enjoyable.

It was a privilege to do this, and I am grateful for her time.

You can find the interview here.

So, you may recall that I have this horse……

…….named Best Bud Mare, and we discuss a lot of things. A couple of weeks ago, because I happened to be wearing a Dodgers ball cap, we got to talking about baseball, which happens to be one of my favorite non-equine related sports. I have a few favorite teams (Dodgers, Angels, Cubs), but I’m more interested in the game itself than who wins.

I tried explaining this sport to Best Bud Mare, who immediately loved the concept of running the bases and between the infield and the outfield. But she had a hard time understanding the need for a bat and why you had to hit a ball to run.

Best Bud Mare: I don’t get it. Why do you need to hit a ball with a stick?

Me: So that you can run the bases. And then the other team has to run to catch the ball.

Best Bud Mare: That makes no sense. If you want to run, you should run.

Me: Hey, I don’t make the rules. Talk to the umpire about that.

Best Bud Mare: Umpire? Do you mean to tell me that the game is run by blood-sucking umpires?

Me: Um, no, you’re thinking vampires.

Best Bud Mare: (panicked, not hearing) No wonder you need wooden sticks to play this game! So that you can stake the umpires!

Me: (shaking head, gives up trying to explain the difference between umpires and vampires)

It took awhile to calm Best Bud Mare down. Once she realized that umpires are NOT vampires and that bats are not used to stake them, she became quite interested.

Best Bud Mare: Why is it called baseball?

Me: I think it’s because when you hit the ball, you run to a base.

Best Bud Mare: Oh. (thinks) Can we play?

Me: We need two teams. And a field.

Best Bud Mare: Oh. (thinks some more) What’s a team?

I can see that this is going to be a little more detailed than I’d originally thought. So, I tried to explain baseball teams to Best Bud Mare.

Best Bud Mare: You mean there are teams of two and they pull wagons, like horses?

Me: Um, no. Wrong kind of team.

Best Bud Mare: Ah.

Me: So, anyway, there are different baseball teams and they have names like the Cubs, or the Dodgers or the White Sox or the Phillies….

Best Bud Mare: Ah-ha!!! So there are horses in baseball!

Me: Um, no. Wrong kind of filly.

She wouldn’t talk to me for the rest of the day after that.

So, you’d think writing erotica would be easy……..

………and, for some, I suppose it is. The set up is simple, the situation clear and the end result is fairly obvious. Also, you could just throw a couple of hot babes and some dinosaurs together and, wow, red-hot Flintstones sex in Bedrock.

The reality, for me, anyway, is a little different. While having far too much fun with the, um, you know, research, I did find myself struggling a little with the actual writing of my erotic tale. Since this is a new genre for me as a writer, I expected it to be a challenge in many ways. Not necessarily with background or snippets of dialogue or even character, mind, but working to describe the sensuality of the setting and what transpires between the two primary characters as they engage in a verbal dance that will eventually lead to the, ah, physical culmination.

I’ve been aware from the beginning that I was very much inside my head, intellectualizing and falling back on logic and structure and continuity instead of leading with my heart, embracing the feeling of what I wanted to do. This was reflected in the Narrator’s voice – she sounded quite prim and proper and kinda boring, if you ask me. Bland, too.

I worried about this, because, as my first venture into this genre, the worst kind of sex is boring sex, even if it’s in the written form (and I’ve read my share – if I have to put the book down during a sex scene in order to figure out the how, the why and the number of partners involved in a diagram, then it’s poor writing). I want to put my best effort out there in any kind of story, thus my research not just about time and place, but in how other writers handled the language of sensuality and intimacy.

Putting that kind of pressure on myself wasn’t helping, as you can imagine. Performance anxiety, I suppose one could call it. I’m not giving up on it – I gave myself a specific challenge and I plan to see it through. But when I went to put what I’d learned into practice, I came up against a wall. Like a stubborn horse, I balked at using certain words, wanted to shade things so that the outcome wasn’t obvious, like it was a mystery or thriller or something.

I have to laugh at myself for that last one – erotica isn’t like a mystery, where red herrings abound, only to reveal whodunnit in the end. Erotica is an intimate journey between two people where the outcome isn’t in question, only the when. (Porn is altogether different – in my opinion, erotica is about intimacy and connecting, porn is about the fuck).

So I push on and do what I normally do – get the bare bones of it out on paper and change what doesn’t work. I’m getting to know the characters as I go along and I’m finding that the Narrator is a bit feisty. I recently wrote a full-blown scene where she blithely issues a challenge to her male lead, which he proceeds to take her up on while in a public place. And this led to back-tracking and fleshing out bits earlier on, so that when I finally am able to place this particular scene into the main body of the story, it’s an ante that’s been upped.

And that’s when I realized what’s actually going on here – I’m circling into the project, not from the inside out, but from the outside in. I’m navigating this story in a way that allows for discovery and more than a little fun and many occasions to laugh at myself.

So maybe writing erotica isn’t so different than writing a mystery, after all. All writing is about discovery and human nature, either of the self or of the outer world, isn’t it?

Where does one get story ideas? Well…….

…….story ideas come from a variety of places – a half-heard conversation, a funny incident with a dog, or a knock on one’s door. Take this, for example.

A couple of years ago, while enjoying a day off at home, I heard the doorbell ring.

A police officer had stopped by to report that a 911 call had been received from my house.

“You’re kidding,” said I.

“No, ma’am, I’m not,” said the officer.

“Well, there hasn’t been an active landline at this address for three years,” said I, amused.

“Well, you’re going to have to call the phone company about it.” And the officer gave me the number in question.

So I called the phone company and informed them of what had just happened. The woman who answered didn’t think it was one of their numbers, but transferred me to a technician named Vince.

I told Technician Vince what happened.

“Well, that’s one of our numbers,” he said, “but it’s not active.”

“What do you mean?” says I.

“Let me put it this way,” said Technician Vince. “If you were calling to install a landline phone in your house, this is the next number in the queue that would be assigned to you.”

I pondered this. “So, you’re saying that the police got 911 called by a ghost number?”

Technician Vince laughed. “Yeah, I guess you could say that.”

“Well, now, this is just plain weird,” I said. “Because the irony is, I’m watching ‘Ghost Whisperer’ on TV.”

Much chuckling on both sides ensued.

True story. I have the phone number in my box marked Story Ideas.

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