Liner Notes for June 2016

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Welcome to another month of Liner Notes, the recurring feature on my blog that explains just what was in my head when I decided to write last month’s stories. This was a slightly light month, due to Simon’s vacation, but it still left us a few things to talk about. So shall we?

Neuromancer: While on my never-ending quest for inspiration, I saw this in the track listing of Billy Idol’s “cyberpunk” concept album. Obviously, my first thought was that it had, in fact, been used before. My second thought was that it was kind of a shame that my first thought was true, because it’s a perfect title for a short story about erotic mind control due to the fantasy convention of “(blank)mancer” being the title of a wizard specializing in a particular field of magic, and “neuro” meaning “mind”. My third thought was to see if anyone ever used it that way, because Gibson sure didn’t and it’d be a shame to leave that totally fallow. When I couldn’t find anything except articles about the novel populating Google’s search results, that led to my fourth thought, which was to use that in the story as a nod to Gibson and get writing.

I knew when I started that it would be about Bev meeting a neuromancer on a plane, and I knew that what seemed like a Harry Potter-esque induction into the secrets of the craft would actually turn dark when he revealed that he knew Bev’s secret shame. (A secret shame inspired in equal parts by 100 Bullets–the idea of planting kiddie porn on a computer to destroy someone’s life–and Steven Grant and Warren Ellis’s all-too brief run on X-Man, where Nathan Summers confides in someone who the writers seem to be setting up as a supporting character, only to reveal they’re the villain.) (That’s also where I borrowed the idea of just short-circuiting all the “this story is unbelievable!” bullshit by having the protagonist just remove their ability to doubt it.)

Having settled on that, I then got to the end and decided that the story was too fucking bleak to be readable. (Also resolutely unsexy–I went back in and added the stewardess sequence to help with that.) I went ahead and split the difference, making it a craft induction and a revenge story all at once, and called it good. Lots of people want a sequel to this one, so I must have done something right.

X Marks the Spot: I will admit that over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment out of the blog Hypno-Fantastico. Lex and Lizzie, the couple who run it, are very fun to read, and they have a lot of interesting stories to tell about hypnokink (stories that only got more interesting when Lex started up a website selling erotic hypnosis videos, Entrancement UK).

All of that is by way of prelude to explaining that they were completely and totally the inspiration for this story and I don’t even pretend otherwise. The title sparked an idea of a touch trigger “somewhere” on a person’s body and the very enjoyable search for it, and it did seem like something Lex might do, and things just sort of went on from there.

Incidentally, at least as far as I’m concerned, there never was an actual implanted touch trigger on Jennifer’s body. She was being induced all over again by the full-body massage and eye fixation, and by the end she was so suggestible that all he needed to do was tell her she’d go under and she did. But of course, YMMV.

Open Wide: Not much to talk about with this one, really. I saw the title and knew it would be a good “all-purpose” trigger, with each usage deepening trance and suggestibility. I also felt like writing something about that feeling I think every submissive, especially a hypnokinky one, gets at some point in the relationship–that wild feeling that maybe you’re letting someone else have too much control over you, but that worry is tied with so much excitement that you can’t bring yourself to stop. It wound up being the two things intertwined in a sort of flashback/flashforward model.

And no, I don’t know whether Paul was sincerely listening to her to make sure that everything was green in their D/s relationship, or whether that was another subtle way of deepening his hold over her. Take it as you will.

And that’s all for June! I’ll be back next week with another post, but Liner Notes will be back in August!

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