thoughts about writing sexy scenes in fantasy 

...but I also recognize that I've grown up in the fanfic generation and my opinion of what is appropriate has been shaped by e-rated longfic rather than tradpub books. lolllll

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thoughts about writing sexy scenes in fantasy 

I wonder if the explicitness and darkness and intensity of my sex scenes will be a problem for fantasy readers. The scene above is one of *many* in the whole middle half book, when things sort of reach their emotional peak, and I consider every scene utterly essential.

I've just never read an epic fantasy book like this. I hope it's okay. It feels vulnerable to commit myself to writing such an intimate character arc without knowing how people will receive it. I've gotten a lot of flaming reviews for hotter content, even in urban fantasy.

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A short sex scene from my book (NSFW! sex! explicit! violent! dubcon! but intimate and fetishy) 

When they had been in Selasdur, waiting to get married, Corvin had sucked marks into Esor’s neck and down his chest so firmly that black bruises appeared. The biggest had been on the crease where his thigh met his body, just above the rosy curve of his cock, where Corvin had bitten so hard that Esor’s blood drew a line over the bone. Corvin had reached his climax at the taste. He had spilled warm seed over Esor’s foot. Then, still shuddering slightly, Corvin had pulled a healing salve from the bedside and massaged it into every mark left behind. The healing salve had become lubricant for him to jerk a harsh orgasm out of Esor. Never once had Corvin asked if any of that was something Esor wanted; never once had it occurred to Esor that he could refuse. Pain and pleasure and blood and semen and stroking and biting had formed into an overarching mosaic of ecstasy without boundary.

Since returning from the Mountainhomes, Corvin had not bitten, nor had he stroked, and he had remained just physically distant enough from Esor that Esor thought he had control in the matter.

Esor thought, somehow, that he would be capable of saying no.

Cosmogeny from my high fantasy book's appendix 

> There has always been and always shall be Chaos.

Chaos is the simultaneous existence of everything and nothing expressed in uncommitted form. Changes from one form to another are not dictated by any rules. Intervals between changes cannot be predicted.

> Order is exceptional.

Without Order, there is no sustaining individual; without Order, there is nothing to hold feet to the ground, nor is there ground, and none can starve for lack of fruit because bellies seldom exist long enough to hunger.

> Chaos can be anything.

For the majority of existence, there has been only Chaos. But Chaos will transform. At times Chaos transforms into something enduring and self-sustaining.

Once, Chaos became the Woman. We call her the All-Mother, the vessel through which all came into reality, and the only being with true mastery over Chaos, because it is the rivers of her blood, the fields of her flesh, and the hair of her grasses.

We live Upon Her Divine Body.

PURPLE PROSE MONDAY is now a thing. I decided just now.

Search your manuscript for the words "like a" and post THREE SIMILES you wrote in your manuscript.

I'll start.

1) Wind from the Deep beckoned the Dwarrow down like a hand tugging on cloak hems.

2) Esor could not retreat into his robes like a turtle into his shell, but he made a marvelous effort at stuffing his chin behind his cravat.

3) Ilare quietly sang, "I have been so lonely," whispering from her like a brook rippling between stones.

Get purple with me! Post a simile or three, like a child pinning the tail on the donkey!

Day 29:
If your main character had three wishes, what would they be?

This is a tricky one for my dear Esor an Amen, petite bourgeoisie himbo with aspirations toward activism, but none of the temperance or humility for asserting real change.

His wishes would likewise be vague and ineffectual. Something like "I wish the Dwarrow would stop raiding our ports" and "I wish Corvin were in charge" and then also "I wish Ilare felt better." He's too distracted writing poetry to think up anything more useful.

CW for Writing Wonders day 25 - list of tropes for my book 

Day 25 - What tropes does your book use?

I write a lot of trope subversions (deliberate references to tropes, somehow flipped around as a method of analysis or contrast)

Here's a few tropes I brush alongside, whether sincerely or subversively -

Affably Evil tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php

Friend to All Living Things tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php

Romanticism vs Enlightenment tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php

Incest-ant Admirer tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php

I Have You Now, My Pretty tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php

The Evil Prince tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php

Not Quite Dead tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php

Impoverished Patrician tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php

Mad Scientist tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php

Uberwald tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php

response to an assignment in novel writing class 

I'm taking a novel writing class at college this semester, lmao. First assignment is to design a main character. I just wrote an entire historical fiction short story (~5000 words) about Thyra and Ulfhild, so my brain is still filled with lesbian Vikings.

Here is the sketch of the main character to fulfill the class assignment:

Thyra is a young Norse woman born well in a house of karls in the year 800ish. She grew up on a farm producing barley for commerce, though she spent much of her time in the garden with Mother producing beans, cabbage, and onions for the household to eat, and is known for her green thumb more than her cooking.

Thyra wouldn't dream of doing anything to displease her parents, which is why she adores troublemakers and envies their free-hearted ways. She thinks she was born better than some people, especially thralls, and her greatest fear is not losing status, but losing her parents' favor. She moves consciously through all spaces to avoid getting in the way of men. Thyra wants to stay small enough to fit in where nobody will notice her, except in the garden, where her stride grows long, her voice grows loud, and she doesn't mind telling thralls exactly what to do.

Like most young Norse women of any status, Thyra is married by the time she is thirteen; when given to the jarl's brother Skalde, she is fair-haired, tanned and freckled, and strong from her chores around the farm. She hates marrying Skalde and wishes that she'd been able to marry her rebellious childhood friend, Ulfhild.

I wrote a story today! Just some long thinky thoughts about it 

I can't believe it. I just sat down today and wrote an entire 4700-word piece of gay historical fiction. I've been thinking about it for a few weeks now, and it uses twelve years of research I have been doing on life in the Viking era, but I just wrote it all in one day.

I'm so proud of this story.

Some of my research into Vikings was, of course, on sex and gender. I read someone's masters thesis on it (I can dig up the citation if anyone else is curious) and I've been mulling that all month. I couldn't pick out a plot at first from my new understanding of how gender *might* have worked among the Norse of the time. But the more I thought about it, the more I started to "see" a sapphic couple and their lives together.

The result is actually really good (I HOPE) and I can't wait to share it. But I wrote this story in response to a prompt from a literary magazine, so I'm going to submit it to them first to see if I can get in. Failing that, I'll just post it.

I have NEVER written historical fiction before. Never! There isn't a hint of SFF or horror in this sapphic historical parable. So I also did something new today?? I've been writing this long, and there are still new things to do!

A lot of folks come at the Viking era with romantic ideas, but I’m coming at it having been to the Viking ship museum in Roskilde (Denmark) where I had a meltdown panic attack over detailed descriptions of murdering enslaved people. These guys would throw parties and get high on everything and then get a slave high and burn her alive on top of someone dead.

Vikings enslaved people who were poor or who got captured on raids. The livelihoods of the upper castes were intimately entangled with exploitation of thralls. Even Viking myth is like, so a god had a threesome with these ugly people. The ugly people gave birth to thralls, who deserve to be enslaved. Gross. Then the god had a threesome with average hotness people and they had the karls. (Working class.) The god’s final threesome was the hottest, so of course they had jarls. (Nobles.)

Twelve years ago, I was standing next to the remains of this enormous longboat doing breathing exercises, freaking out over the things thralls went through. So I guess that's where the story started. In Denmark. Climbing around on replica longboats with my baby, realizing that yes, cultures based on conquering are *monsters*.

And yes I am critical of American history similarly, have you read the way I write about America? lol. But I have blood from this region of the world, traceable back through Dublin (a frequent site of raids from Norse clans), so it has been fascinating to step back and write a nuanced queer story on a distant part of my ancestry.

(BTW: Viking was actually a verb back in the day. Like you'd "go on a Viking," but these conquering people might have defined themselves probably by their clans, like Ylfling. Also the Norse didn't wear those horned pseudo-Viking helmets. That's just a cartoon thing.)

addendum to long personal essay 

Author's note:

This is an old personal essay I recently rediscovered. I still really like it! I keep thinking about writing a memoir, so coming upon this has given me some ideas in regards to the ways I might progress in tone and theme.

I always enjoy writing about myself in this sort of way. I think I could get a lot of out writing a whole book of it, even though my life is very mundane and disinteresting if you just look at the events. I have stories I can tell that will pull people along, even if I'm wildly boring. haha

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2/2 - long personal essay about life and smoking and women (cw: cannabis, pet death) 

2 of 2

Five.

This morning, your cat died. She was in your arms, swaddled in a towel, while a gentle veterinarian injected the medicine to stop her heart. You carried your kitty to the car so she could be cremated. You set her in the back seat on the towel. That pile of fluff is all that remains of a life you loved and cherished and tended your entire adult life. When the car drives away, she’s gone.

There are cannabis cookies in the freezer, carefully labeled and stored out of reach. Each one has about fifteen milligrams of THC, you estimate based on how they make you feel. You eat two, three, four. You keep eating them until you feel nothing but dizzy warmth. Until your eyes are too dry to cry. It’s not healthy, you’re not coping, but maybe you don’t have to cope right now.

A couple of days later, your baby is brought back in an urn. You hold her. She weighs nothing. She no longer purrs and rolls over to get belly rubs. She doesn’t put a paw on your arm while you’re using the computer mouse. You make a shrine to her because she’s so big inside you, some of that feeling has to be set down somewhere else.

Two more cookies, three more, four. The months pass and you’re always stoned. But by the end of it, you can hold her urn and cry. You stop taking so much weed. The emotions come back and you live in a life without your cat. Somehow you handle it. You have to. Grief doesn’t feel better when you’re stoned, not the way that love and music do.

Six.

It’s an afternoon on the weekend. Your kids want to play LEGO. You popped a chocolate earlier, so you’re mellow, and life’s stresses have faded away. The house needs to be cleaned. The yard’s a mess. You haven’t showered. But now you’re on the couch, cozy and floating, so it’s easy to give yourself permission to fuck off and play LEGO.

Your son gives you the broken minifig without arms. He plays the one with long hair. You climb walls and jump off with silly cries and your children laugh and laugh and laugh. It feels good and simple, the way childhood felt. Anything can happen. The couch can become canyons. The pillows are trampolines. When your kids bounce, you bounce too, and their kisses feel like going to heaven. If only they could always be this happy. If only you could always let yourself be this happy.

Seven.

It’s raining. It doesn’t do that much around there. You grab the papers, the grinder, the funnel, a lighter. You settle under a blanket on the couch in your gazebo. Rain dribbles off the edges while you pack a joint.

Life’s been hard, and you’re tempted demolish that joint in one go. Suck it down until there’s nothing but a roach too annoying to smoke.

But you take it slow. A couple good hits and you stub it out. Then you lay back on the couch, close your eyes, and listen to the rain, knowing that there’s nothing to do today. The rain is like music. It feels good when you hear it. Sometimes the wind blows drops against your cheek. Your husband is with the children, your dogs are warm on your legs, and there’s nothing but you and a few puffs of smoke on a wet gray day.

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1/2 - long personal essay about life and smoking and women (cw: cannabis, pet death) 

1 of 2

One.

You’re in New York City for the first time. Your friend’s walk-up is cluttered and cozy, as homey as it should be, and it smells like weed. She smokes a lot. She eats even more. You haven’t done much before, but she offers a bowl to you, so you clumsily navigate lighter and pipe.

Truthfully, you’re scared to have a lighter that close to your face. But you’re in your twenties, your friend is in her thirties, she’s like your big sister. You want to look like you know what you’re doing. So you light it–flick–and your nose gets warm while you touch the flame to a corner of the herb. You inhale as it smolders. You get a little smoke. You think.

You go out on her balcony, which is small and made of wood so wobbly you’re not sure it can hold your weight, much less a charcoal barbecue. Neither of you know how to use a charcoal barbecue. You laugh a lot trying to get it to light in the wind. You keep a fire extinguisher on hand just in case.

You feel the warmth after another hit on the pipe. The vegetables you grilled with your best friend taste better. You laugh a little louder.

Two.

It’s cold outside, but you don’t want to smoke inside. You put on a balaclava. You wrap yourself in a bathrobe. You put on slipper socks. You huddle under a blanket on your balcony and light your bong, hands cupped around the pipe to shelter it from the wind. It still won’t light and your fingers are getting stiff. Grab the plasma lighter. It’s not as good, somehow, but it will make your herb burn even when the wind is blasting.

You take a couple deep hits that make you cough plumes into the chilly night, and the smoke is sucked away to disperse against the crystalline starlight. The harsh hits are bad for your lungs. You go inside, take a shot of Pepto to soothe your throat, puff on the inhaler to open your lungs. You settle into bed with a cold nose, cold fingers, and a dizziness that makes the room sway in the wind with you comfortable in its womb.

Three.

You’ve gotten good at baking with cannabis. People like your cookies–some of them say you can’t taste the weed on it, which isn’t true, because your husband cringes to nibble. But many people like the skunky taste. You like the skunky taste.

You’re careful with the cookies. You can’t have children getting into them, so you entomb them in a bag, carefully label it with contents and date, and stash it in the very back of the deep freezer. Since you’ve filled it with almond slivers, oats, and raisins, your kids won’t eat them even if they find them. But you want to be sure. You want to be responsible.

You’re so responsible that you don’t try the dough or the cookies. The butter must be infused, and the cookies baked, cooled, and stored, before your kids come home from school. You don’t want to be stoned when they get here.

Once they’re safe, you clean the skillet where you made cannabis ghee and prepare an omelet. It doesn’t taste like weed. Only when you’re sprawled on the couch in awe of the music melting through your muscles do you realize you didn’t clean the pan enough, and now you’re very, very stoned despite your naive efforts. On the bright side, while your cookies do taste like weed, your omelet did not.

Four.

It’s a cold, windy night on the Pacific coast. It’s so dark that the beach and the ocean are indistinguishable from each other. You’re in love with the woman at your side, sneaking onto the boardwalk amid the dunes. You haven’t told her about this big warm secret coiled in your belly. Your bodies hold warmth between them while you shelter the pipe. It’s the second pipe you bought on this vacation. The first one wasn’t properly drilled with holes, and it weighs down your pocket. It’s pressing against her thigh. She smells like coconut oil and she’s beaming at you when flickering lighter shines gold on her face.

You both inhale. You take all the smoke inside of you and breathe with each other, seated on the sandy steps. The ocean roars slower than your breath. There’s a dark shape on the shore. You can’t be sure if it’s a signpost or a man coming to bust you for getting stoned on the beach in the middle of the night. It’s scary. But being scared is funny.

Her skin is so soft, so smooth. You don’t know it yet but six months later, you won’t be talking. This moment that makes you giddy with the joy and desire will be only a memory. The shape on the beach is a signpost. Nobody cares you’re smoking in the dunes. You’ll still have the pipe without a hole drilled properly, and sometimes you’ll hold it in your hand and remember how her braids felt against your lips.

I'll coruscate for you, if you want me to; I know you've been lonely in lightless liminality so long. When my spine bends the body twists and light travels where your fingers once wanted to go. I'll coruscate. You'll watch. We'll stand apart, separated by photons and a few breaths and beads. When the light comes in, I'll shine it your way, if you promise to look. Lift your head up and open your eyes until you see. I'll coruscate for you, if you want me to.

I am almost definitely subconsciously avoiding my book so I don't finish it.

I'll include fewer names for the version that goes into the book. This sprawling tree is mostly for my reference, but I'll have to narrow it down to just characters who matter to the book.

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I literally spent all my working hours today creating a family tree for one Great House in my fantasy book. I taped together two large pages to fit them. I need to make this pretty somehow (and digital?) but I have no idea how to approach that.

Any suggestions for making pretty family trees for a fantasy book's appendix?

Day 16
What does your main character find fun?

Esor likes spending time with other people. He likes sunlight, running, climbing in trees, and shoving his friends into very cold ponds. He's all about rough housing--an overgrown boy-child, really, which is unbecoming of any A'lvar. But hanging out with his friends is the only time he isn't wound tighter than lyre strings, honestly.

Writing Wonders Day 8:
Name one scent and one sound that evokes pleasant memories for your MC.

Esor's mother is a seamstress and he grew up living above her workshop, the Silver Selvage. He'd feel right at home among the sound of her apprentice choir singing fabric and the scent of indigo derived from woad, used for dyeing.

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