The writer is like a person trying to entertain a listless child on a rainy afternoon – John D. MacDonald, “Creative Trust”
Due to the nature of the story reviewed here, I feel like I should give a warning. There are several terms here that should blow my linetrap/Bailey Jay post out of the water. If you’re sensitive to vulgarities, it’s highly recommended that you not continue reading this post.
I recently read a story. A poorly written story. A story that could have been saved if the writer was willing to visit an editor, or, at the very least, handed it to a friend first. Or better yet, a total stranger. Handing a draft to a friend is a recipe for a bad story, unless your friends are also writers. And writers who aren’t going to sugarcoat their thoughts about your piece. I’m lucky enough to have friends like that. Some are teachers, some are published, but the majority are brutally honest.
I’m not going to say I was expecting a masterpiece when I downloaded a story with the subtitle An erotic tale of Anal Excitement. And I did get what I paid for – at the time, it was free. But is it too much to ask for that writers – even self-published ones – take the extra mile and edit their work?
I took the liberty of highlighting a few passages to share with you, so that you don’t have to experience the story in full (unless you really want to). [Note: There was a lot to work with here, so you’re just getting the ones I loved the most.]
Part of me was torn apart, but the other part of me had seen this coming.
Re-re-repetition is awful. “PART OF ME was torn aPART, but the other PART OF ME had seen this coming.” What about if it were written like this, I felt torn, but part of me had seen this coming or The news left me floored, but I knew it was inevitable. They aren’t the best sentences, but there’s no repetition to cut through. Moving on.
There was a number to dial, and I left a message for ‘Wolf.’ ‘Hey Wolf, I’m Stephanie. I found your ad in the paper, and you sound just what I’m looking for. Call me.’ I left my number and smiled to myself.
“When in doubt, opt for less rather than for more,” wrote John D. MacDonald. “We all know about the clumsiness the beginning writer shows when he tries to move his people around, how he gets them into motion without meaning. […] The reader knows how people get across cities, and get in and out of buildings. The reader will make the instantaneous jump.” While the quote isn’t the best example of what I’m trying to state here, still works. A number has to be dialed in order to respond to a personal ad in the newspaper (though, who does this anymore? With the advent of the Internet, people are turning to online dating sites and Casual Encounters on Craigslist). So why not just state she left him the message? And why even mention the message?
I left after 4 hours feeling amazing, my dark red hair shone in the sunlight, and my pussy felt delightfully tender and smooth now that it was waxed into a small strip. It excited me walking through the throngs of weekend shoppers, my silky underwear rubbing up against my bare slit.
Our narrator, feeling liberated (for some odd reason), treats herself to a beauty treatment with her cheating husband’s money (I’m okay with that). So she gets her nether regions waxed. So when she says that her “pussy felt delightfully tender and smooth now that it was waxed into a small strip,” she’s not talking about her vagina itself, but the pubic hair. Still, the sentence reads weird. And I can’t figure out a way to fix the sentence without it getting too wordy. Considering that I’m a not a female, how does pubic hair make one’s vagina any less tender? I couldn’t say mine protects my most sacred places like a shield. I’m aware the message she’s conveying, but perhaps tender isn’t the right word. Or perhaps, she meant to say tender as in delicate because she just got a whole bunch of hairs pulled off like a Band-Aid (I’ve seen a video of this procedure, what the fuck is wrong with some of you?).
And what’s with waxing one’s pubic hair down to just a strip? A little trim here and there, and it’ll save you some pain and still look hot as hell, am I right? And I get it, stating the fact that even her underwear is getting her off signifies how horny this woman is. But there’s just so many adjectives already.
‘I’m free tonight if you would like to get together for a bottle of bubbly.’
I’m a stickler about archaic words and phrases. If the term cutie-pahtootie sent me into a blind rage, can you imagine what the phrase “bottle of bubbly” did for my libido? Who even says that anymore? How hard is it to write champagne? Which brings me to my next question, who the fuck drinks champagne on a casual encounter? Sure, alcohol, but champagne? C’mon!
She later goes on to call it “the bubbly liquid.” I kid you not.
I nodded in reply, my heart fluttered in exhilaration, until I realized he couldn’t see my head bobbing up and down.
Raise your hand – who here doesn’t know the motion a head makes when nodding? Anyone? You in the back there? Oh. I thought I saw a hand go up. So everyone knows what nodding means, right? Okay. We won’t have to cover why the last part of this sentence isn’t necessary. Let’s cover why this sentence isn’t that necessary at all.
Sure, throw in some comedy. Why not? A lot of seasoned erotic writers do it. But a nod is a reply, one that doesn’t work too well on the phone. I nodded. My heart fluttered with exhilaration. And what’s with that word, anyway? Exhilaration? Running is exhilarating. Climbing a mountain. Swimming. Fucking. All these are exhilarating. Getting a phone call? No, that’s more like exciting to me. I know that exhilaration might look like it works, but it doesn’t bring up the same image for everyone. As generic as exciting is, you don’t want to throw around a word you pulled from the thesaurus either. Or better yet, why add it at all? Why else does a heart flutter?
The narrator moves on to say, “‘That’s sounds good to me!’ I burst out, ‘Would the Renaissance Hotel on 58th Avenue be okay? Say 9pm?” (Why didn’t I add this to the quote, because it only just bothered me.)
Okay, we know the narrator already did something stupid like nod her answer into the phone. We know that Wolf cannot see her reply, so she blurts one out. So why not write more in the lines of this: I nodded. My heart fluttered. “Is the Renaissance Hotel okay? Around 9 PM?,” I said, realizing he couldn’t see my response.
He undressed me slowly, kissing my porcelain flesh as he did so. It felt so forbidden, lying there on that hotel bed, with a stranger running his big, strong hands over my body. I gasped as I realized I was naked, and glanced up to watch him unbutton his white shirt, and slip out of his slacks.
Wait. Wait. Wait. WAIT! Is Wolf a Rock Biter? Will Stephanie be sucked away by the Nothing, while he weeps to Atreyu, asking “They look like such strong hands, don’t they? Like big, good strong hands, don’t they?” And where the fuck is Bastian? Oh, they’re not in the story? Lose it, then.
What shocks me most about this paragraph is that the narrator doesn’t know what happens when a person undresses her. “He undressed me… I gasped as I realized I was naked.” So either he did it slowly or he ripped off her clothes. Which is it?
He knelt down between my legs, and his tongue darted out to touch my sex lips.
Sex lips. Seriously? Sex lips. Why not pussy? Why not clit? Why not something other than sex lips?
He parted my ass cheeks, and ran his tongue around the rim of my tiny rose. I tensed. No one had ever touched that hole before.
And here I thought sex lips was a bad term to use. What’s next, she’s gonna use the term “balls deep” to describe his performance?
It hurt at first, but he pressed and pushed slowly so as not to tear my delicate anus.
I don’t think even Steve Almond could fix this.
He was balls deep now, and I could feel the muscle walls of my ass clamping around his cock, trying to push the unfamiliar intruder out.
Well I’ll be damned. She did it. She actually wrote “balls deep.”
And question, what’s the ratio between familiar intruders and unfamiliar ones? Because, I’ve been under the impression most intruders are unfamiliar, unless stated otherwise.
Wolf drew his cock nearly all the way out of my butthole, then shoved it back in suddenly, and I yelled out, ‘Oh my GOD, yes, fuck my ass baby!’
Who even says that? I mean, c’mon! Who says butthole in a sex story? Seriously, though. Porn clichés are bad news. They kill the story. No one who isn’t paid to say it, says anything remotely close to that. Especially on their first time.
I milked his cock with my ass until he shot his creamy load inside my anus.
Now that’s a trick I need to see. Possibly in Tijuana.
He bucked and came too, his hot liquid splashing against my pussy walls.
Here, obviously, we’ve jumped ahead into the next sexual act, shortly after the first. I won’t even mention how there wasn’t any cleaning before he dove into her vagina, and how unsafe that is outside a story and porn scenes. But if we’re going to for visual effect of year, why not just say his spunk filled her pussy? Why splash? I’ve seen the video of a penis ejaculating inside a vagina. There’s no splashing.
If you made it this far, you’re a trooper. Give yourself a pat on the back. I’m not saying I’m the best writer in the world. But if Marilyn More and I were in a writer’s club, these are the suggestions I’d make on the margins of her draft. They’re aren’t to bash her credibility as a writer. They aren’t even there to suggest she try something else. What I am stating is that she work on it some more before releasing it into the world.