As writers we often do a hell of a lot of research for our stories. Whether we’re investigating blood splatters for a crime piece or ancient curses surrounding ghosts and vampires, we’re trying to make the information on the pages within a book accurate as well as enticing and sizzling. This can be more of a daunting process than you know. How many of you readers have noticed something in a book that is so blatantly outside the realm of possibilities you’re thrown out of the book, no longer enjoying anything? I think we can all say we have. I know many writers who read and search the Internet constantly, trying to learn about something they may never have the opportunity of experiencing in real life, only to be criticized by critics and readers for inaccuracies.
Writing is a combination of creating fabulous characters, mixing the background about locations, professions, creatures, politics, religion and copious other aspects. Weaving a story is just that – taking you through a moment in time or a lifelong sage, giving you tastes of another world through the eyes and imagination of a writer. We’re all a bit creative in other ways at well. I’ve found writers who are amazing chefs, incredible chemistry brainiacs and even lawyers, who sizzle when they write highly erotic pieces. Writing is a joy and for me, when I write something that truly stretches my comfort zone, then I’m the happiest. Why? Well, I think we all get bored with what we read and for someone like me, who can write very quickly and who has been blessed to have so many books published, I can get bored to death too.
So the question on the table is, just how far outside of your comfort zone would you go in order to learn about some aspect of life, love, or perhaps dangerous concepts in order to be accurate. Hmm… How far do you dare go? Think about that for a minute. If you were tasked to write a piece for school or work, perhaps you freelance writing travel pieces for magazines – would you try hang gliding or actually climb the slopes in Nepal in order to give the real flavor of the area or the wind through your hair? Would you eat something so disgusting like perhaps chocolate covered roaches in order to be able to accurately describe the texture and taste? Another hmmm… For many of us I think we might just say a resounding “yes” but for others, we scratch our heads and resort to Googling. Wikapedia tell you everything accurately, right? Wrong.
I know many a crime writer who wouldn’t dare explain the detective’s thought processes when he drew his gun and fired on a criminal without actually having had fired that very gun. They want you to understand the smell of the gun power, or the feel of the cold steel in their hands. They want to know the sound a bullet makes when it leaves the chamber and the very moment of tension and perhaps horror they feel when the bullet connects. In other words, they long to get it right.
That’s a very responsible way of handling something you don’t know about – you try it. But… Can or should we always? Often times there is no way we’re going to learn enough about a subject so we’re forced to resort to the Internet. Unless you’ve been in the CIA, you’re only ever going to be able to write about policies and procedures from what you glean out of books and from television. That’s just a fact of life. Does that mean you shouldn’t write about the CIA? Well, of course not. You simply add the details in that you can make accurate through qualified sources or research.
Now many romance authors aren’t going to have to do more research other than romantic locations or perhaps a profession or creature of the night they don’t know about. Those are fairly easy tasks to research. Well, I say that but… Then there are some that perhaps you can never truly write about unless you experience. This is MY personal opinion and that only. I know many authors who read so much they can make you believe they’ve been a pilot for years. For me, I do like to touch and taste, feeling and experience. Let’s take one particular genre that’s exploded over the last year or so. BDSM and the D/s relationship. How many of us really even know what BDSM stands for? Hmm…
B – Bondage; D – Domination or Discipline; S – Submission or Sadism; M – Masochism. Of course D/s is Domination and submission and often I have heard people say in order to have a D/s relationship there has to be BDSM involved. WRONG. I’ve written many a blog on this already so I won’t go into explicit detail here but D/s is much more than simply putting BDSM into the context. But, how many authors writing about BDSM or D/s live this or have even tried some if any aspects regarding the subject? Well, my guess is not as many as you think. Then again, you might be thinking, what’s so hard to write about a little flogging and handcuffs? Awe, the crux of the problem. There is so much more to the lifestyle, those who live it cringe when they see the majority of books coming out.
You can certainly talk with people who live or play in the lifestyle. You can even attend events in your area, some designed as methods of training in various kink aspects from cupping to electric play, flogging techniques to Shirbari, but… You’ve heard the old adage, until you try you don’t really know what it feels like. Would you allow yourself to be tied to an apparatus, such as the well talked about “X” Cross, just to know what the feeling is like? Would you trust someone enough to be spanked or even flogged in order to know exactly the stinging sensations from a piece of wood or leather striking your naked skin? For many of, we would say no, of course not. But for some, the experience is a vibrant part of being an immersed author.
Believe me I’m not suggesting or condoning whether you do or don’t. There are a lot of situations you don’t want to place yourself in, but if you could trust someone completely to train you in certain behavioral techniques, would you? For my author friends out that I’d love to hear your thoughts. For the readers, do you respect authors who go to this length in order to provide you with a detailed story? I know what you might be thinking, what have I tried in order to write BDSM? Well, let’s just say I enjoy learning and I’ve been lucky to have a Master Dom teach me some basics. He is very good at weaving a story based on reality. Have I gone any further? I plead the 5th…
Writers tells you a story using both their imagination and moments from their past as well as giving you a taste of something unusual. They world build. They give you characters with emotional needs and creatures who aren’t of this world. They also allow you into things that you may never try, but how beautiful the very idea of indulging in their private fantasies can be. I hope you’ve enjoyed.