So, since, as Noelle mentioned in her latest blog, our current WIP has some D/s elements in it, I thought it would be helpful to do some research.
Research is always helpful and necessary, but especially when you have absolutely no clue at all. No, correction: Research is essential to an author’s work.
I had a very vague notion of BDSM, like everybody has these days, because you can find references to it, as Noelle also pointed out, everywhere. Ideas like it’s something BAD. The conception of it being DISGUSTING. The thought that it’s something SINISTER. The impression that it’s got something to do with MORTIFICATION. In a word that it’s morally unacceptable.
Yet there seems to be a strange attraction to it. People, who call themselves authors, are writing about it. And quite a lot. What's the perceived kink or threat BDSM is associated with then?
So, since research is an essential tool to writing fiction that seems believable enough, I thought that researching the facts of BDSM and comparing them to what has already been written and is out there on the market (and hence conveying the “reality” behind that acronym) might be the best course of action.
Wrong. I soon had to find out that the fiction clashes with the facts. So, the next step, naturally, was to find out why that was so.
The facts are that BDSM is something that can affect your daily life, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It refers to one’s sexuality — the admittedly darker fantasies some might have and others don’t. The homo sapiens doesn’t act like dogs mating on the street (not usually anyway). That’s why we’re called homo sapiens after all. There’s more to us than the basic needs for food, shelter and sex.
95% of what is out there on the market that claims to have anything to do with BDSM is an insult to my intellect. Let’s be honest: Who of you authors that claim to have written a story featuring BDSM elements has done some research if any at all?
I expect there’s silence in the room now, maybe an insecure murmur every now and then, embarrassed shuffling your feet… Exactly. Just as I thought.
Well, at least you got the safeword right. You totally messed up the concept, but at least you tried. But still, you failed. Miserably.
Let me tell you what you did: You took your deepest, darkest fantasies that you deemed were kinky enough that they could be regarded as having something to do with BDSM and lived out something on paper you’re clever enough to never want to experience in real life. Why? Because you wrote about abuse, rape and violence and nothing else.
Sure, they might be fantasies involved in SM play. But still: unsafe, insane sex and intercourse that is not consensual has nothing, I repeat: NOTHING to do with BDSM.
What you wrote has as much to do with BDSM as a goat has with fishing.
Yes, a goat may come close to the pond where there are fishes, because the grass is a lush green there, but it will never ever catch a fish (even if it wanted to).
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a RL dominatrix that has a serious problem with tolerance. I just did my job, which is research in case you’ve forgotten, and found out a thing or two.
I’d really appreciate it if other people, who think they’re authors just because they wrote something and it got published by coincidence, did the same.
Because failing to accept this part of an author’s — of our job insults the reader’s intellect.
Research is an essential tool. True, it’s not done in thirty minutes. Half an hour is definitely not enough unless you’re a genius and are capable of reading ten books and a hundred websites at the same time while talking to people involved in whatever you’re researching. Researching the past is much easier therefore, at least you cannot talk to people anymore who have witnessed the French Revolution for example. But I’m afraid there’s no way around also talking to people if you’re dealing with a topic where there are real people out there who have first-hand experience. It goes without saying that research is something very time-consuming and that it takes days, weeks, maybe even months.
Take the time to research. Or if you think it’s not necessary, you may think about finding another job.
Just my two cents.