Monday, January 18, 2010


Dog Rattling Pheasant,

George Armfield Smith (1836-1875),


A fit of sneezing seized Calvin the Corgi as he bounced down the front stairs this morning. Imagine a slinky shaped like a dog.

My dog indentification continues.

Having flushed game, I'm yipping and yapping in vain pursuit, i.e. am hock-deep in revisions, dog hair and dirty dishes.

Could have said crotch-deep - but I don't write erotica.

Moot -- because I can't. But am glad I don't.

Recently read a review of a novel which made it obvious the writer had decended into pure porn, having decided that an endless sequence of sex scenes are a perfectly adequate substitute for a plot. Made me wonder if the elastic sides of that particular box had been stretched as far as they can go and are likely to snap back on on the genre.

Revision is something like running through an endless swamp. One teeters from one tussock to another, unsure what is solid and what is not. All the time terrified that a single mis-step will dump you into quicksand and rejection will close over your staring eyes and twitching head with impersonal finality. To be truthful -- which isn't publically wise, I know -- I'm betting on the quicksand.
All the news isn't horrible. Saw last week that after snow storms swept the country, bobbies in England used their riot shield as sleds.


fairyhedgehog said...

Could have said crotch-deep - but I don't write erotica. What's it called when you laugh and snort at the same time? That's what I did.

I love your writing. Good luck with the revisions.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

In revisions I spend a lot of time (having heard a lot about what other people think) examining what I think. What's my purpose here? Have I achieved it?

It gives me a guidepost.

I imagine there's a lot less quicksand than you think.

Bernita said...

I donno, Fairy. Snortle, maybe?
Thank you.

"I imagine there's a lot less quicksand than you think."
I hope so, Betsy, she said gloomily.

Dave F. said...

Made me wonder if the elastic sides of that particular box had been stretched as far as they can go

haha, If what I read is about to appear on TV - not yet stretched as far as it can go...

STARZ (a set of cable channels) has created a new show about "Spartacus, Blood and Sand" and it's going to show lots more than anyone has seen on a story of Ancient Rome (unless you read the contemporary histories of Romam Empire). When a producer/writer says that there were discussions of how many penises they could show per episode -- Ancient Rome is back in all it's flagrant splendor.

One point is being made that modern civilization still entertains itself with violence and sex -- consider Pro Wrestling and extreme Fighting.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Dave, the show ROME on HBO showed A LOT. And it's fun to shock the Christian morality majority.

raine said...

Made me wonder if the elastic sides of that particular box had been stretched as far as they can go and are likely to snap back on on the genre.

As a 'hot-romance' writer who loves plotting...I hope so! Think the popularity of the extreme erotica has been a reaction to all the 'closed-door' years, & that too will change. Everything in its time...

Starz, huh? ;D

Best of luck with the revisions! I can't imagine them not liking your work.

Bernita said...

A nation of voyeurs and circus-goers, Dave?

Thank you, Raine.I hope so too. I want story! And romance!

Dave F. said...

A nation of voyeurs and circus-goers, Dave?

As a person who has had made the investment in tickets to the Pittsburgh Symphony every year since 1974, I do sometimes feel like I am drowning in a sea of peepers, leering snoops, armpit sniffing fighters, football players, jocks and (shudder) mouth breathing, body painted fans.

Yes, professional wrestling and cage fighting is Circus Maximus with costumes, oiled slick, shaved and steroidally enhanced bodies and blood sport hidden in back rooms.

Somedays, I lament popular culture.

Rick said...

If the decline and fall of the Roman Empire hadn't happened, we would have had to invent it.

On revision, my thought is only revise a passage if you're distinctly making it better. (Or need to retcon it to fit some other passage you made better by revision.) Otherwise you're just rearranging the deck chairs - whether or not the ship is the Titanic.

Gabriele C. said...

The amount of sex in ROME was one of the problems I had with that show (the other was the mucked up history.) Call me prude, but I don't want to see all those sweaty details.

Good luck with the revision, Bernita.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sex scenes. Egads. I've been working on some lately. I don't find the task easy.

starvingwritenow said...

"sex scenes a perfectly adequate substitution for a plot"...LOL! This is one of the reasons that, sadly, I haven't read a romance genre novel in almost two years. I am hardly a prude, but I got very tired of wading through heaving bodies (crotch deep!) to get to plot. I guess I am of an age that I don't need sex explained in detail any more, I know what's what.

Okay, that sounded bad! LoL again, I don't know how else to describe it!

BernardL said...

I agree. There really is no substitute for plot and real romance, especially in the erotica genre.

Bernita said...

Dave, that was very well expressed!

"just rearranging the deck chairs"
Rick, other than minor tweaks like spotting an awkward sentence, that's exactly what I feel I'm doing...Maybe if I squint at it the way you suggest, I'll do better.

Thank you, Gabriele. I need all the luck I can get.

Charles, I suppose one way to deal with sex scenes is to view them as action/fight scenes - wrestling as erotica.

This was not a romance novel, SWN, not even a hot romance. No romance at all. Just sexsexsex.

Right, Bernard. The romance is what makes the erotic bits interesting. Otherwise, who cares?

Frank Baron said...

Revising is the part of writing that's work - and I think it's safe to say most of us dislike it. But as you, (and every non-tyro knows) revision/editing is usually what makes the difference between something being publishable or not.

I'm sure your buffing will result in a story that shines.

Rick said...

The romance is what makes the erotic bits interesting. Otherwise, who cares?

Marketers, perhaps. I read not long ago that the off-Hollywood porn industry is struggling due to Internet competition - and their response is to shuck what little plot they had, and just get right down to the business at hand. As it were.

Bernita said...

Eh, Frank, thank you for your vote of confidence.
I wouldn't mind the "work" - would even enjoy it - if I could be sure I waas fixing the right things.

"shuck what little plot they had, and just get right down to the business at hand."
Dear me.
Rick, I didn't know that porn movies had any plot to begin with!

Rick said...

I don't think there were ever a lot of surprising plot twists - pretty much on the level of 'bored housewife + TV repair guy = voltage surge.' But now they don't even bother with that much, it seems.

SzélsőFa said...

good luck with the revisions, Bernita!
I prefer not to read about any sex scene, perhaps this makes me a prude... but I hardly see it fit into the flow of the story, just about any story.

laughingwolf said...

uh... what was sex, again? ;)

Bernita said...

Ah, a context at least. I understand now, Rick.

Thank you, SzelsoFa.
Sex fits rather naturally in romance stories, whether it's overt or not.

You remember, LW, the jiggly, dangly bits.

SzélsőFa said...

but I doubt a book with only one (a romantic) plot would ever get my attention....
there has to be other threads beside...and where there are, then the author may just focus on those instead.
i think i'm biased in this field.

writtenwyrdd said...

Revision does feel like an endless quagmire, I'll give you that, Bernita. But I bet you could write erotica if you wanted to.

Bernita said...

SzelsoFa, you have a right to your taste, biased or not.

Maybe, Written. But not well.
A scene, yes. Not an entire novel focused on multiple orgasms with multiple people which seems to be the current trend...

Natasha Fondren said...

Love the elastic analogy! LOL!

For me, a sex scene has to have heart, conflict, underlying suspense, and advance the plot. Otherwise it's blah.

Bernita said...

Right, Natasha, More than blah, it's bleah!

writtenwyrdd said...

Well, I have to confess that I find a story that is just a loosely linked collection of sex is really BORING. I find it boring to write, as well. I do write erotica, but it has to have a story. Sex isn't on every other page.

Demon Hunter said...

Ah, revisions. I don't look forward to that. I'm past the halfway point of my WIP and plan to be done by the end of the month. After I let it sit--revisions.

It would be interesting how you conduct your revisions. A friend mentioned hers on her blog and it really helped me out. :-D

Lana Gramlich said...

I know what you mean, as relates to painting. Right now I'm working on a gyrfalcon painting & after numerous revisions to one area of the beak, it's still just not right. It's easier for me in ways--I have to try to portray it as it appears--but the trick lies in doing it as the EYE sees it, which isn't necessarily how it actually is...Blarg.

Bernita said...

DH Dear,it won't do you much good, I revise all the time when I'm writing and have no set system for completing the final edit. Very hit-and-miss, seat-of-my-pants style.
One thing I would suggest is to review any beta reader comments to see if any issues raised were addressed.

I know, Lana. Rules of Perception.
Someone (it might have been Whirl) mentioned on their blog, that we have to see stuff thought the eyes of an editor who is trying to see it through the eyes of the reader...
Makes one's eyes cross.

Whirlochre said...

That's the peril/joy of venturing into 'novel' ground.

I liken it to armchair mountaineering.

You have the crampons, the ropes, sight of the summit etc, but once you're on the cliff face, you're on your own (unless you're a plagiarist and go climbing with a friend).

Bernita said...

That analogy invites dialogue like "Don't look down," Whirl!