Saturday, December 16, 2017

What Women Want

Once upon an age ago, when I still had a proofreader to get feedback from, I asked her about a story I was working on. My friend - let's call her Susan - had read my stories and enjoyed them for years and offered me a lot of helpful feedback. So I asked her about an idea I'd had for a story set in a high school. The basic idea was an insensitive guy leaves a girl for a prettier, more popular young woman. She comes into possession of a device that lets her transform anyone in any way she wants. Pretty good setup for a TG story, right? I thought so too. I asked her to think about the situation and tell honestly what she thought she as a young woman that had graduated from high school not so many years before would do in that given situation.

Her answer surprised me. Actually, to be honest, she gave me several answers / scenarios. All of them left me confused and disappointed.

In one, she used the device to make herself better looking and joined the cheerleading squad to drive her ex mad with jealousy, so she could turn him down when he wanted her back. In another, she turned herself into a duplicate of the other girl so that the ex would have to choose between them based on personality instead of appearance. In another, she made all of the nice girls pretty and all of the mean girls ugly. Then there was the one where she turned herself into a copy of the girl so she could act out and get the girl her ex had chosen in trouble.

I think you get the idea. None of her ideas was in any way involved turning her ex into a girl.

When I asked her why, and this is the point, she said something that has stuck with me. I don't remember the actual words she used, but the idea she communicated to me was pretty potent. It boiled down to the idea that for the ex to pay, he still had to be her ex. If the girl in the story turned him into a girl, he would be too focused on his own predicament and not focused enough on her and how he had hurt her. She didn't want to change his body; she wanted to change his mind and mend his ways. Or put another way, the only revenge she wanted was emotional, and in her view a physical transformation could only get in the way of that.

Susan's feedback made me feel ashamed that I hadn't done a good enough job imagining the inner life of the women I was writing in my stories. What did they want? Why did they want it? Were the motives I gave to them realistic, or simply opportunistic attempts to move the story in the direction I wanted it to go?

While Susan's feedback hasn't stopped me from writing stories where the antagonist is a woman seeking revenge for ill treatment (The Birthday Girl is a great example of this), it has made me hyper-aware that the reasons a woman might transform someone are more complicated than a simple desire to make a guy "pay" for his bad behavior. In The Birthday Girl, for example, a transformation that first appears to be revenge for ill-treatment is revealed to be more about a desire to do whatever it takes to break a cycle of abuse. Punishment has very little to do with it. Preventing other women from being subjected to a cruel man's emotional abuse is the point. Katrina makes a huge personal sacrifice, giving up her very identity in exchange for one that is less than ideal, all so she can protect other women from a man she views as a menace. The man's transformation and potential redemption are secondary to Katrina. She doesn't transform him to punish him, or to save him; she transforms him to save herself and other women from him. If the way she goes about doing that seems like revenge, it's only because her goal is to force him to open his eyes and accept the reality that he is a woman and the world will see him and treat him that way. That's a story that I never would have told if it hadn't been for my proofreader's feedback.

All of which is prelude to my point. The story I'm currently working on - CJ, a Halloween story - is about a group of college students, most of which are female. While my own college experiences inform the story, Susan's feedback about her perceptions of motive have led to a story where the women relate to each other on an personal and emotional level, while the men in the story are focused so hard on the physical that they almost can't see the emotional impact of what they say and do. The main character, who is of course transformed, becomes torn between these two perspectives. That leads to an epiphany about how they see the world, and a choice about how that revelation informs their sense of self-identity. I owe that element of the story to Susan's perspective.

Damn, I miss having a proofreader.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

New Story: "Texas Hold 'Em"

My latest story, "Texas Hold 'Em" is now available for sale on Amazon.

I started working on this story in June of last year (2016). It was originally one of my procrastination projects, based on a simple, sexy premise: a guy loses his manhood in a poker game. Poker led to Texas hold 'em, which made turning the main character into a sexy Texas cheerleader an inevitability. The name of the game also led to what I think is an obvious double entendre. (Double. Get it? Bah-dah, bum. *Tish.*)

The story was originally supposed to end after chapter 13, Into The Sunset. By the time I got that far, though, the story and its characters had taken on a life of their own. What I intended as a short, fun, sex romp became a more serious dramatic conflict that segues into a romance. It felt very organic as I was writing it.

As for the romance itself, if you liked the ending of "The Party Favor," I think you may like this story's ending even more. I think that what I'm most proud of isn't where the story ends up, but the journey the main character takes to get there.

Story Description:

The popular saying about everything from Texas being bigger is the main reason Ken's favorite football team - and their famous cheerleading squad - is from the Lone Star state. When he has a chance to win big at his weekly poker game, he bets big and loses even bigger. Now he's stuck as a buxom Texan beauty, forced to cope with a body that's a real handful ... and then some! But the real game begins when the night is over and the stakes are raised to include his marriage, his children, and the direction the rest of his life will take.

(Transgender Erotic Fiction, Approximately 78,200 words)

The story is my longest to date. So long, in fact, that I'm working on a paperback version. Yes, it's long enough to be made into an actual book. It comes in at about 280 pages in dead tree format (closer to 190-200 in my standard working format; the smaller page size adds to the length). That version is going to be on sale as soon as I can get the *insert choice profanity here* formatting to do what I want it to do. If you can't wait, the ebook is priced at $5.95, unless of course you have Kindle Unlimited, in which case it's FREE with your subscription, as are all my stories.

Enjoy!

- Sara

PS - For those of you keeping tabs on what I'm up to, my Twitter feed is now probably the best way to keep track of me. Most of the time, I post there. If I have too much to say for Twitter to handle, I still use Blogger but include a link back to the post here in my Twitter feed. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Blank Page


The blank page is often used as a way to portray writer's block. The image of a tortured writer staring at a blank page with nothing to write has become so common that it has become cliche.

I do not find that to be the case. I find the blank page liberating. Michelangelo is once purported to have said, "Every block of stone has a statue inside of it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it." In a similar vein, I would say that every blank page has a story inside of it, and it is the task of the writer to discover it.

And therein lies the problem. Unlike blocks of stone, every blank page is the same. If offers no clue as to what lies within. Worse still, every word is a chain meant to tame the infinite, invisible beast of imagination. It gives the beast shape and scope. It gives it more clarity and definition, delineating its nature, describing both what it is and what it isn't.

How sad it is to me to think of the poor soul that looks on a blank page and sees only ... nothing. For me, the blank page is a wonderment. A miracle, even. In it, I see worlds of infinite wonder where quite literally anything is possible.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Rejected

I got word by E-mail that my submission to Topside Press was rejected. I was copied on the E-mail as a BCC, so I suspect this was a mass rejection.

This is a first for me. My first story, "Shoes," was submitted to TG Forum. They were kind enough to publish it even though publishing fiction wasn't really what their site is about. "Shoes" was on their site for many months until they did a site reorganization, at which point they removed it from their archives. I never did find out why.

Reluctant Press published me with such speed and gusto my head spun. Right up through my last contacts with them, they were polite, courteous and eager to publish me.

When I was looking to self-publish "Alien Body Suit: Under Her Skin," femur, the head honcho over at TGComics.com reached out to me when I posted in the forums there looking for an artist. The next thing I know, we're collaborating on publishing not one, but two of my stories. You all may have seem my posts here about the sequels, which will also be published there. (I hope and expect.)

While the results of my efforts at self-publishing have been mixed, falling about halfway between Reluctant Press and TGComics, they've still been a fun, profitable endeavor. I would have to call that a success.

So getting rejected by Topside Press is, I must say, kind of a downer.

:_-(

Ah, well. Back to work.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Going Slow

New blog post! I know it's been a while, but it's been a lot less newsworthy year than last year. I'm sorry to the few fans I have for my silence.

So, what's up, you ask? Writing. The difference this year is that almost none of it is in service to one project. I've had bursts of creativity all year that lead to very productive outpourings of story content, but never on the same story, and never on any of the projects that I feel are the most important to complete. All of my ideas for more mainstream TG novels are percolating. The sequels to "Alien Body Suit: Under Her Skin" are still plotted and outlined but not started. (OK, maybe part of the first chapter of ABS:IM has been worked on, but that's it.) There's a story for a Topside Press collection that has a deadline of December 1st that is only half written.

What I have been working on are two 100+ page stories that are only getting warmed up. One starts off in a way that reads like standard TG transformation fiction but evolves into a family drama. The other has a similar hook at the beginning that's becoming an identity crisis for the main character. I've also worked on maybe a dozen other stories that are 20 - 50 pages long with a variety of themes and transformation methods.

It's very frustrating professionally to find myself wanting to play instead of doing the work that's needed to move my career forward. In terms of pages written, this might actually be my most productive year ever. In terms of projects completed, it's among my worst. The only real silver lining I can see is that if these longer works ever get put up on Amazon, the large page counts will mean more pages read and more revenue for me. I'm also hoping that a longer work at a reasonable price will result in more direct purchases. All of that will - I hope - put me closer to being financially independent as an author.

That's the real goal: to make enough per month to quit my day job. Once I'm my own boss, I'll have an extra forty hours a week to write. Writing at a rate of about a page an hour, that's about 160 pages a month. More if you figure in an extra five hours a week saved by eliminating my commute (20 extra pages a month) and that I'm likely to eat and write at the same time through my lunch (5 hours a week, 20 pages a month). That's a full length novel every three months figuring in editing and rewriting of drafts. Four novels a year. At shorter lengths, that would be two stories a month, or twenty-four stories a year. With those kinds of numbers, I might actually have a body of work I could be proud of before I'm ready to retire.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Monkey Brains

I found this article online today:

Wiring Monkey Brains Together

Looks like "Head Games" has a basis in scientific fact.  :-)

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Sound of Silence

As anyone that reads this blog regularly would know, I normally do a New Year's resolution for my writing plans for the coming year. We're in the first week of February and it hasn't appeared yet. That's not because I have no ideas for what I want to do this year. Instead, it's because I feel like my time to write has been squeezed down to almost nothing. I'm finding it tough to get motivated about planning to write when my time to do the work of writing has all but dried up.

That's all I have for the moment. Just wanted to let the world and those that read my writing know that I have not forgotten you.