Sunday, 27 March 2011

Schoolgirls and pigtails and spanking, oh my!

Fans of schoolroom discipline take note: the first in Becky Sharpe's new series of stories set in a strict boarding school for girls has just been published for the Kindle.

The Girls of St Abelard's: Caught Red-Handed centres around two pupils caught sneaking into the detention room after hours. Severely punished female bottoms guaranteed!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Writing about writing

I thought it would be nice to post every now and then with a little bit about my writing approach and to outline some of the things I'm interested in (in a literary sense).

First up we have 'self-reflexive' fiction, or metafiction. This is quite an appropriate subject for my first post on writing, actually, as metafiction can be thought of, amongst other things, as 'writing about writing'. In contrast with the 'traditional' fictional text, the metafictional text is self-aware; self-conscious. What I mean by this is that, whereas traditional fiction typically conceals its status as a made object, metafiction makes its status as such explicit. It breaks the illusion, as it were, and reminds the reader that what he or she is reading is just a collection of words composed by a writer sometime, somewhere.

I'm fascinated by the potentiality of this type of writing and the effect(s) that it can create; even when that effect is nothing more profound than a little added 'zing' (though it can often be much more than that, of course). I sprinkled self-reflexive snippets into a couple of my stories in Spank! – just subtle moments, not anything that interrupts the narrative to the extent of, e.g., the narrator's interjection in The French Lieutenant's Woman – to give the stories a touch more texture, and to make the reading experience a little bit different.

What sort of moments do I mean? Well, in 'A New Dimension', spankee James, when told by his newly-dominant wife just what he has in store, thinks to himself:

"Surely this kind of thing only happens in spanking stories?"

This line not only conveys James' excited disbelief at the imminent realisation of a long-cherished fantasy; it also serves as a knowing wink to the reader that the narrative James inhabits is aware of its own status as escapist spanking fiction.

I go a little further in 'The Magic Book', a tale explicitly about the blurring of boundaries between reality and fiction. Georgina, freshly transported into the position of a maid in a BDSM story, reels as the reality of her situation dawns on her:

"One minute I'm reading a spanking story, and the next I'm in the bloody story! This is impossible!"

In so articulating her predicament – from within a spanking story that is itself within a spanking story – she calls attention to the ordinarily backgrounded conventions of realist fiction and the unconsciously-accepted demarcation between reader and fictional text, and (unwittingly) invites the reader of her story to share in the dizzying sense of wonderment she feels at their transgression.

That both Georgina and James are identified as readers of spanking fiction is no accident: this detail creates an immediate and overt commonality between them and the readers of their stories. This bond, I hope, helps strengthen the reader's identification with them and intensifies the vicarious thrill of their spankings.

I should probably point out here that a story doesn't necessarily have to have a metafictional dimension in order to be innovative or enjoyable (something hopefully proven by the other stories in Spank!): at the end of the day it's just another technique to be used. I guess its appeal to me is that it's a kind of bringing-to-the-surface of things that normally remain unsaid; a naughty little bending of the rules. And so, of course, it's fun!

N.B. If anyone finds themselves magically transported into one of the stories in Spank! (and has their bottom vigorously tanned as a result), do write and let me know. Personally, I'd love to find myself in Eleanor DeBauchert's unfortunate position...