My friend Spencer has a book coming out today. Here's a post from him about the writing process.
A Musing Story?
As writers we are often asked where our ideas come from. I'm working on a fanciful answer to add to the mystery of Spencer Dryden that might make me the darling of bloggers everywhere. I like the notion of the muse riding on a purple unicorn blasting me with pixie dust. I'm going with the muse idea because there is no rational explanation for my novella, "Bliss". It's very different from everything I have written so far in my short career. Most of my stuff is erotic short stories laced with humor. "Bliss" is dark, at least for me.
"Bliss" is the story of a woman's struggle with sexual shame. The story takes place in the mythical town of Bliss, New Hampshire, where an outwardly successful woman, Christina McArdle, is facing a big interior struggle. So a guy who normally writes male POV erotic fiction with plenty of humor starts writing a dark tale of suspense from a female POV. Where did that come from?
I don't have a good answer. In fact, "Bliss" jumped ahead in line of another of my writing themes, a madcap science fiction/fantasy. I'm the guy behind "The Gueschtunkina Ray Gun"—one blast from this weapon puts a woman into a high state of sexual arousal. It's fun and funny and I hope you'll be reading the series one day. But Christina's story wouldn't go away so I just kept writing.
Christina is in a classic shame bind. She has unaddressed psychic trauma from an assault as a girl. The repressed incident has manifest itself as problems with intimacy as an adult. Her husband has lost sexual interest in her and she doesn't have the tools to address the problem. She goes to a shrink. Well that's not enough fun, so the story heaps on dark undertones of religious repression via a misogynistic pastor on a sexual purity kick among the men of his flock. Sinister forces come into play. Christina's challenge is that she must cast out the demons of her past and present or lose the love of her life.
I tested the story on my writers group (ERWA a fine place to go) and was amazed at the way the story resonated with women readers. I had set out to write an erotic romance but the story had enough twists and turns that it is better described as romantic suspense. It took me a couple of rejections to figure that out. I sent it to Breathless Press and bingo, the great surprise of my early writing career. I still don't know where it came from so let's just go with the muse thing.
I don't have enough lines on my CV to be dispensing writing advice. I can say what I did. I wrote the story I wanted to hear, then figured out what to do with it.
I am very anxious to hear reader's reaction to the story. I hope you'll not only read it but take a moment to send me your thoughts. I need to get some feedback to the muse, maybe she's got another tale for me.
You can reach me via my website: http://www.fictionbyspencer.com/
On twitter @SpencerDryden
I'm also on Goodreads and google + and Facebook
In the prosperous community of Bliss, New Hampshire, in 1995, Christina McArdle is living a feminist dream. In short order she has become the first female partner of the venerable, male dominated CPA firm of Driscol, Ryan, Jensen and Palmer. The honor followed by her selection as the first female member of the prestigious Maplewood Country Club.
But Christina fears that her career success has come at a terrible price. Her husband, Ben, has lost sexual interest in her. Unable to ignite his passion for her and desperate for understanding of her own inhibitions, Christina turns to Dr. Rachel Morissey, a sex therapist, who helps Christina uncover dark secrets from her past.
Christina's path to recovery is blocked by a misogynistic pastor who traps her and many other women of her church in a shame bind that serves his purulent interests.
Her journey to freedom requires Christina to break bonds from past and present or lose the love of her life.