If you’re a regular reader here, you know my life centers around two things – my family and my writing. The kids keep me especially busy, and it’s been tough over the years to figure out how to balance my work with my maternal duties. But it can be done, thus proving in at least one instance you can have your cake and eat it too.
Since you’ve all heard me rant before about my life as an erotica writer and stay-at-home mom, I thought I’d give someone else a chance to talk about the topic today. Someone truly talented who also deals with some of the same things I deal with. Today’s guest post is by one of my favorite erotica writers, Kathleen Bradean. Take it away, Kathleen…
Many years ago, I was dropping off eldest daughter at her grandmothers for a meeting of their mutual admiration society. I had a list of errands to run, so I was in a hurry. Not M. Oh sure, she wanted to see Nana (and had been bouncing in her car seat the entire drive over chanting “Nana, Nana!”) but on the porch, she stopped and squatted down.
“Potty?” (Children teach you concise dialog)
There was a double lane superhighway of ants streaming from the camellia, across the porch, and into the tangerine tree. Sure, I’d seen them, I guess, but who pays attention? Little kids do. The big details of the world – like how clean clothes end up in their closet or how rent is paid – are of no interest, but the tiny details loom large. That’s something a writer has to relearn. Characters are about the small details. Does your character hide her almost completed copy of the New York Times crossword in her nightstand drawer when she brings a date into her bedroom? Or does she kick her t-shirt under the bed real quick? Does someone have to open her medicine cabinet to snoop, or do they merely have to poke over the clutter around her sink?
“Honey, please don’t put the hair clippy on kitty’s ear.”
“Why is Barbie’s head floating in the toilet?”
If you ever despaired that every possible combination of words has already been used by other writers, kids will show that isn’t true. All kinds of seemingly unrelated words can be strung together in a sentence that has never been uttered by another human, and make sense (in context). Even if a dozen writers wrote about Barbie’s head floating in their toilets, the stories would be different. If they all used the same words, the combinations would still be unique.
While visiting my niece, I was ordered to join her tea party. M was never into that, and either was I when I was young, so my imaginary tea party skills were lacking. My niece glared at me. “You’re doing it wrong!” I apologized profusely to my hostess. Then I knocked over the tea pot and set it upright. My niece crossed her twiggy arms over her chest. “Aren’t you going to wipe that up?” My sister snickered in the other room.
Pink power is intimidating when wielded by a three foot nothing towhead. Even something mundane like sipping air tea and munching invisible cookies has an underlying wealth of imaginary detail. The problem was that I couldn’t tap into her vision of what we were doing. That, and I didn’t clean up my spill. A writer can’t expect readers to mind read. The scene has to be set, the important details conveyed. Otherwise, your readers will be at an entirely different tea party than your characters. It doesn’t matter if they envision the table cloth as a different color than you did, but it does matter if the tea party is high tea at the Four Seasons, or a cuppa with the neighbor while the kids chase the dog across the yard.
The good thing about all this is that you don’t have to have kids of your own to learn these lessons. We think we don’t have time to squat down and watch a line of ants on the porch, so we put blinders on and ignore it. Yes, we have to focus on rent and laundry, but take time to see with fresh eyes the stuff that you usually ignore. We may be in the same world, but oh, how very different it is from a shorter perspective.
Award winning author Kathleen Bradean’s stories can be found in The Best of Best Women’s Erotica 2010, The Sweetest Kiss, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 9, Zane’s Sensuality – Caramel Flava II, Broadly Bound, Where the Girls Are, Coming Together Against the Odds, Haunted Hearths and Sapphic Shades, and many other erotica anthologies. Read her reviews on EroticaRevealed.Com and Erotica-Readers.Com. Or let her seduce you 140 characters at a time on Twitter at http://twitter.com/kathleenbradean. Visit her blog at KathleenBradean.Blogspot.com, and find her stories in these anthologies: