One thing that I have always loved about writing stories is the idea that I can finally allow my mind and my emotions to exist in a world that I, alone, can actually control! Hehehe, and that probably sounds pretty narcissistic, but it's the truth. In the worlds that I create, the shy guy can get their first kiss from the prettiest boy on the block. The lovable 'friend zone' kid can get the boy of his dreams to finally see him for the perfect mate that he is. Justice is always served where needed, bullies and evildoers always get their comeuppance, and fate is always conspiring in the favor of my main character.
Naturally...spoiler alert...real life doesn't always work that way. To be honest, it's a coin flip decision, figuring out whether you're going to be treated fairly or unfairly by life itself. Sad, but true. But a guy can dream, right?
Being able to write fiction and fantasize about what a perfect world might be like if it followed our individual ideas of love and romance and beauty were at our very core is an exciting and satisfying release for any creative mind that decides to take it head on. However...I, personally, believe that there has to be a little bit of room left for the readers to enjoy their fantasies too. Them being engaged in the stories we write is half the battle. Maybe even more so. And I'd like to talk about that a bit more this week. Feel free to join me if you like. Hehehe!
You see, one thing that can be hard for me to do sometimes is to take 'myself' out of the equation when I'm writing. I cling to every emotion, every expression...my stories are SO personal, and so closely connected to who I am as a person. I can see and feel and almost touch every last part of my story as if it were real. I think it's a good thing, and I love being able to bring my personality, thoughts, dreams, sense of humor, and fears, to my readers. But I also try to remember that this is their experience too. The idea for me as an author is for us to share that experience. I can't create a sense of perfection for my audience, because we all have drastically different ideas about what 'perfection' is. How can I possibly 'tell' somebody what they want? That's just not the way to go. So...how do I get around that and still bring that heart and that extremely personal touch to my stories that a wide audience can relate to and identify with.
The answer is...leave room for their input.
Hehehe, don't look so confused. I'll explain. LOL! When has 'Comsie' ever NOT run off at the mouth?
I always enjoy reading your comments on these weekly entries, and I love to hear about how you guys handle all of these writing tactics on your own. I can remember a few times in the past where some of you were talking about 'sex scenes' in your stories, and how sometimes you just allude to a sexual encounter and then get back to the story. You don't have to graphically describe every thrust, every kiss, every heavy breath and droplet of sweat, involved. The sex is simply suggested, and the audience understands what happened when the story 'faded to black', right? This is a perfect example of leaving room for your audience. Because, even though we don't write out some lengthy description of what was going on in that scene, in the minds of your readers...they're probably picturing the most erotically charged sex scene they've ever seen! LOL! It's true! Tell me you haven't done it yourselves. Wherever the author leaves off...your personal fantasies fill in the details. And nobody is ever going to write something hotter than your own sexual desires. Those desires are tailor made to you and you alone. Giving you an opportunity to explore and enjoy those fantasies during the story, makes them a part of it. They personalize it, and therefore...become much more involved.
That's the secret!
It's the 'eye of the beholder' theory at work. If everybody reading this were to post a picture here of who they think is the most beautiful boy on planet Earth...chances are, despite some similarities here and there, no two pictures would be alike. So, when I describe my characters in my stories, you may notice that the details lay out a 'guideline', but I don't go out of my way to make them overly specific unless I feel it's needed for the story. I may describe hair color, eye color, vague body type...but other than that, I use words like 'beautiful', or 'gentle', or 'delicate features'. I describe them as being bashful, or intimidating, or merely cute. And that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Instad of trying to force my version of 'cute' on my readers, I try to explain that my protagonists finds them to be stunningly gorgeous...and I give them room to interpret what their idea of 'stunningly gorgeous' means to them. Maybe they're picturing the typical, soft bodied, boy next door. Maybe they're picturing the sexy track star with the rock hard abs. Maybe they think back to that very first crush they had in the tenth grade, or they might think back to that first boyfriend they nabbed in college. Hell, maybe they're thinking of a singer or actor that they're currently obsessed with. The point is...when you give you readers room to create some of the details with their own vivid imagination, they become more attracted to the story itself. The perfection in their own minds becomes an overlay for the story you're giving them...and that symbiotic reader/writer relationship gets enhanced tenfold.
The way to accomplish this is to simply allow certain specifics about your characters or events in the story to be vague and malleable, according to who might be reading. That doesn't mean that you should purposely exclude details. You still want to paint a picture that will bring your readers into the world that you wanted to create...but there are ways to finesse your wordplay in ways that gives a description without intruding on your reader's imagination.
If you write, "I thought he was so beautiful! He was about 5' 7", and rail thin...150 pounds, tops. He had a few pimples, but nothing major. And a lip ring on the right side of his bottom lip. An emo boy with reddish brown hair and spiked bracelets on each wrist." there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. This is a detailed description of a character that you wanted to create, and it's perfectly normal for you to do so. So if that's the picture you want to paint, then go for it!
However, in most cases, I would personally write it a bit differently...
"I thought he was so beautiful! Slender, with longish reddish-brown hair. I liked his bracelets too. I just couldn't get over how cute he was. Scattered pimples and all."
So what's the difference? I left more room for the reader to put the picture of this boy together. I don't mention how tall he is. What if my readers want to picture him as being really tall and lanky? Or what if they want someone shorter? What if the term 'rail thin' turns them off? They might like someone with a bit more meat on their bones. What if the term 'emo boy' puts a certain vision of what that means...and they decide they're not into it? What if they don't like lip rings? All of these things come into play when writing a story. ESPECIALLY when it's a romantic or erotic story. So it's something to think about. This is why it can be difficult to write fanfics sometimes. What happens if you pick a fictional character or a celebrity that other people don't find sexy? They skip it, immediately. You want to avoid that. Let your readers define the characters for themselves. Give them an outline, sure...but unless a super detailed description is needed for that particular character...leave the window open for them to do some creative world building of their own.
I learned this after years of having readers give me ideas or pictures or drawings of how they imagine my characters would look. They're all so different! But I LIKE that. When they read the stories, they have the best cast, the best score of music, the most erotic and visually appealing love interests, imaginable! The story that they're building in the back of their minds is FAR superior than anything that I could ever hope to type out on this screen. So it's almost like we're developing this project together as a team. And I find that to be a bonding experience, personally. Sometimes they have hotter sex scenes in mind, sometimes they have more action packed fight scenes in mind, sometimes they're imagining the saddest song ever made during a heartbreak scene...and I won't even try to match that. Hehehe, let them build it their way. It's a big part of the process when it comes to building and maintaining a loyal fanbase and increasing their personal connection to the characters in your story.
So...set the stage, pick the costumes, and flesh out your characters and scenes however you want...but always remember that the reader is a big part of this creative effort. Whether you know them or not. Detail is essential in literature, but sometimes...less is more. If someone is beautiful...let you readers figure out what beautiful is. If someone has longish blond hair...let your readers determine how long 'longish' is. If your characters made love all night long...sometimes it's sexier to just say "We made love all night long. Over and over again. And every orgasm was better than the one before it." Trust me, your audience will imagine what that must have been like, and it will be everything they ever dreamed of! "Wow! You're story was awesome (enter writer's name here)!" Hehehe, well THANKS! You did half the work! ::Giggles::
Junk food for thought! I hope this helps!
Seezya soon, you guys! And happy writing!