Stories: Beginnings and Endings

I've been thinking about story endings

In an erotic story, the sex must be hinted at, then soon appear – rarely is there time for a long prelude…unless, perhaps, the implications build and build convincingly.  How, then, to end the story?  There should be some quality that somehow puts the sex into a different context:  perhaps that there is a realization that something special has occurred; or that one partner has the advantage, but in the end the other is in control.  Or simply a surprise twist that makes the story different from what it seemed.  Here is one example.

THIS WEEK'S SHORT STORY

THE ROYAL ASTRONOMER'S VISIT

HUNTER BYRD © 2009

"A tiresome event," thought the Royal Astronomer. Too much food, too many speeches. He'd looked forward to meeting the young queen, whose interest in his work had led him to accept the invitation, but she'd left after a perfunctory toast. The king was slowly getting drunk, his full attention on the erotic tableaux performed by three unclothed dancers. The Astronomer's attention wandered there briefly, but was not captured.  Bored as well with the silly chatter of minor courtiers, he made an excuse, and found his way to the apartments provided for his visit. He paused at the door, seeing a motion of curtains inside. "Rodney?"

"No sir." She was nude, wearing only the bright band of steel on her neck that marked her as a slave of the castle. "Your assistant became somewhat ill from the wine; possibly he isn't used to its potency. He's in the dormitory now, and should be fine in the morning. I'm here to assist your toilette....if you will allow it."

Without asking, she took his cape and hung it. He strode into the chamber, darkly shadowed with red and purple curtains against old cherry wood, and sat on the carved ebony chair. She approached, knelt, and began to remove his boots. "Do you have a name, slave?" he asked. Her eyes did not meet his. "I am called Marin, my lord. If you will stand, I will remove your clothing," she added. "Your bath was drawn as soon as I was told you'd left the great hall. It is very hot, and will need a few minutes to cool."

Erotic Books vs Erotic Stories

I've been writing erotica for several years now.  I did submit one story to Clean Sheets, which was published ... but I didn't see the point of giving away more stories.  But if you are reading this post, you probably arrived because of one of my books.

So now there's a reason to share my work.  I'll try to post a story every Friday, at least until I run out of them, since part of this blog is to share my thoughts, past and present. 

One difference between erotic stories and books is that books can afford character development and humor.  Stories need to get to the sex; no one wants to get a long introduction when a simple one will suffice.  In my book, The Road To Welkin, the first sex comes in Chapter 16.  Anyway, before I tried books I wrote a number of short stories.  Since the above book is very much about polyamory, I took a very long time to get my character to accept that there is love, affection, and good sex that doesn't require monogamy.  So here's a story about polyamory that moves at a short story pace, not taking long to get to the erotic part.

Like many of my stories, there's some personal history that inspired it.

THIS WEEK'S SHORT STORY

MUTUAL ATTRACTION

© Hunter Byrd, 2010

I picked up the phone. Sometimes I have a sixth sense about it being bad news. This was one of those times.

"Stephanie, it's me, Mandy. I need to get away. For good, this time. Can I crash on your sofa tonight?" Todd, Amanda's S.O., was into another abuse cycle, I figured. Once every couple of months, he'd find something to be hypercritical about. Then something else. Then he'd start verbally trashing her, ultimately accusing her of cheating on him. At first it would be simply nasty, then it would escalate daily, and finally he'd storm out of the apartment, and she wouldn't see him for days. He'd come home late one night, stinking of cheap perfume and booze, full of apologies and excuses, expecting her to welcome him back. To fuck him. To forgive and forget. And when she complied, he'd be a model mate. Until it started again.

"Sure, Mandy. But if you mean it, pack everything you want to keep. Because my guess is when he finds you missing, he'll throw all your stuff away."

Mandy was my mirror image, same fine hair, short nails, minimal makeup, only I was blonde, she was brunette. We'd been roommates in our senior year, and shared an apartment for two years; we were so close in size that we routinely shared each other's clothes. We'd shared everything but boyfriends; Mandy tended to go for the dangerous ones – me, the shy nerds.

Thoughts About Polyamory

PART 1 – A personal journey

I think what repels most people  about sexual play with people other than their mate is driven by fear or insecurity.  Such as:  what if it turns out she is really turned on by him, and decides she wants to keep on fucking him? (Unspoken fear: because he's more attractive, a better lover/has a bigger cock/makes her come harder)?  (Choose your own insecurity.  It's OK, own it; talk about it.)

A lot of sex in the US, after the "honeymoon" or initial few weeks or months, becomes a routine.  Not that it isn't good.  But monogamy has conditioned us that you can be in love with only one person at a time, so you shudder at the idea of sharing your mate.

One way of getting around that is swapping partners, but that usually happens among couples that are already pretty good friends, and everyone takes care not to "fall in love" with the other person.  That is actually a reasonable first step, but it is still hard to get to.  And "the stars" have to be aligned for one mate to suggest it.

Thoughts as The Road To Welkin is Published

This is a scary time.  My second ebook is about to be published.  BookBaby has been patient with me, and my deplorable habit of changing things that have already been approved, but finally the whole thing got proofed for the very last time.  (The next time I read the first chapter, I was horrified: a really blatant, dumb mistake had somehow escaped me.  Too late to change it, and no, I'm not telling what it is, because maybe you, like I, won't notice.) 

Mostly I'm scared about reviews.  To my knowledge the advocacy of polyamory in science-fiction is chiefly in the works of Robert Heinlein (Stranger In A Strange Land).  A genius, of course, but his misogynistic side – which was perfectly consistent with his other views, like pro-military, libertarianism, and ultra-conservatism – keep him a legend in science fiction, not in erotica.  So I'm in very rarified company: sci-fi readers may find me presumptuous, while erotica readers may find my futurist world too simple: after all, Margaret Atwood's "Maddaddam" trilogy is about science gone mad, and the complex creations of its mad scientist more wildly imaginative than my reversion to a primitive rural culture.

THE ROAD TO WELKIN:  IT'S NOT ABOUT THE SEX

It's not about the sex.  Well, it didn't start out to be – it was going to be an "adult romance."  Originally, Austerity was going to gradually fall in love with Fidéle.  But it became clear that her entire life prior to her escape was one lived in dread of sex.  Meeting a handsome magician was not going to cure that fear.  So I began with a lesbian relationship, then another.  Letting her become Fidéle's friend (with reminders of their mutual attraction as a kind of playful tease) seemed a better way to get where I was going.  Then I realized that there is an entirely different world out there.  And I started by portraying the first commune, "The Family," as a group marriage within which there were many sexual relationships, just to get Austerity thinking.