Liner Notes for August 2018

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It is that time again, when I go back over the stories I wrote almost a year ago and published almost a month ago to discuss a little bit about what made them happen. Let’s get started, shall we?

Umbrella: Honestly, my first thought on seeing this title was astonishment at realizing I hadn’t already done a story where someone hypnotizes someone else with a twirling umbrella. It’s one of those weird Hollywood tropes about mind control that pops up every once in a while, simply because of the vague resemblance between an umbrella and a hypnodisc, and I was kind of stunned that I hadn’t jumped on it. So of course, I had to.

It seemed pretty obvious that this would be a covert hypnosis situation, because that’s one of the things umbrellas are good for – looking like things normal non-hypnotist people would carry around with them in public. And if you’re going to start a conversation to draw someone’s attention to an umbrella, an argument over whose umbrella it is seems like a pretty good start. And if you’re the sort of person who argues (or pretends to argue) over the ownership of a cheap umbrella, you’re going to have a certain authoritarian cast and emphasis on rules as important for their own sake. Miriam more or less evolved to fill her role in the story, and Ryan followed more or less in the form of “what kind of a person would bump into a woman like Miriam and not be able to extricate themselves through strategic rudeness?” And after that, it was just a matter of writing the induction.

X’ed Out: I admit, ethical brainwashing really makes me squirm. It’s become one of my very real, very personal hot buttons over the years; the thought of making permanent changes to a submissive’s actual personality is incredibly hot (again, with the enthusiastic consent of the submissive obtained before said brainwashing begins). And one of the things I have played around with is the idea of ‘editing’ thoughts, using that red pen imagery to have someone cross out the parts of their mind that they’re not ‘supposed’ to be thinking at that moment. So this one was a natural for me.

The main thing I wanted to get across in the story – along with really hot masturbation and mindless obedience – is that a) this was the subject’s informed and enthusiastic choice, even if she is an unavoidably unreliable narrator, and b) she has not given up her life to become nothing but the plaything of her Master. I really hope I succeeded, because I do think that there’s a place for consensual brainwashing in a loving D/s relationship, and it doesn’t need to be full-time to be fun. Even a tiny alteration can be hot, in the right context between two people who enjoy it.

Blank Contract: This was a commissioned story, requested by a fan who really loved my story “Submission” (one of the first stories I ever wrote, way back during my first tour writing for the EMCSA all the way back in 2001-2002). I hadn’t really written it with a sequel in mind, but they were very enthusiastic about the idea of April expanding her hypnotic domination and threw out a bunch of suggestions for ways she could use her gift for hypnotic writing. The lawyer one seemed like the most natural place to extend the story, given that contracts are full of eye-watering jargon anyway.

I had a lot of fun writing the jargon, honestly; there are certain concepts that do get woefully misused by legal laypeople (not that I’m a lawyer myself, but I at least know enough to know what I don’t know). The idea of using a ‘contract of adhesion’ to claim that by reading a document, you agree to be the author’s personal slave is just amusing enough to me that I loved that part of the story.

Deeper Than Blood: I was a bit worried by the story that came to mind on seeing this title, because the immediate connotation was definitely powerful, unshakeable hypnotic control that overrode the person’s will even to the extent of self-preservation. And while that felt like it could go in a number of different directions, most of them felt very dark… but that title was enticing to me. It felt like it needed to be a story. So I started to puzzle out a situation where “harm” could be a positive thing. That led me to medicine, where anyone with a chronic or serious condition will tell you that you have to do a lot of painful things to keep from getting worse.

I decided on “chronic” over “serious”, because I didn’t want it to be any darker than it was shaping up to be, and I decided on a bone marrow draw because that’s a procedure that isn’t actually dangerous or risky, but which would definitely make me want to run screaming out of the room. And at that point, it all gelled together pretty nicely – the story would be about someone who doesn’t like needles or blood or pain, using hypnosis and D/s and genuine love to make herself do a medical procedure that she would otherwise be too frightened to undergo. I still don’t know how to feel about it – I know it’s not ‘sexy’, certainly, but I think it wound up being very sweet and kind and loving. And I hope it felt that way to you, too.

And that’s August in the books; join me next week for another blog entry, and next month for another Liner Notes!

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