I delete stories from my hard drive every now and then, to try to keep the WIPs and barely noted ideas down to a dull roar instead of an overwhelming avalanche. Mostly, I’m glad to see them go. Once in a while, a story keeps nagging at me for the reasons I started it in the first place. Luckily, I have a means to bring such stories back from the dead, since everything is saved to an external drive from which I can go back in time and find what would normally have been lost forever.
I did that a few days ago, and I found myself wondering why I would rescue a story that would take me back to a genre that I don’t really want to pursue: BDSM. I read quite a bit of BDSM fiction for a while because it’s a psychologically interesting topic for its concern with the balance of power between two individuals. I also read as much as possible about the subject as it actually exists and functions. Besides balance of power, there’s also the question of pain and why some people like to have it inflicted on them, why some like to inflict it, and why others like to read about it. But BDSM, as it’s depicted in about 99% of novels, got very boring. Sex and pain was pretty much the whole of it. I came up with a few story ideas but didn’t develop them, for various reasons.
But this story stuck with me because it would violate all expectations for the genre, and allow me to explore a relationship that was technically BDSM, but wasn’t based on sex or pain. I discarded it mostly because it would be a one-off and stick out like a sore thumb in the areas I was moving towards — primarily near-future SF. A lot of writers will adopt a pseudonym when they write something drastically difference from their usual. I won’t go down that path. My writing life is complicated enough without adding an extra name.
So I have this very strange story that I’ve rescued and that’s now challenging me to work on it. And I just read a blog post that gave me the idea for an unexpected twist that I might never have thought of. So if I ever come out with a story about two men, one a dom and one a submissive, one of whom is a vampire, remember that you read about it here first.