Author Topic: Source of Inspiration  (Read 369 times)

Offline jakbird

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Source of Inspiration
« on: April 21, 2022, 10:30:44 PM »
Being in a loquacious mood I said to myself, “Self, why not write about writing?  Narrow it down, explain how you come up with memorable characters.”  Made sense to me; I bet my fans, both of them, would be fascinated at finding out where the depravity originates.

For an example I’ll use a recent series of short stories, the Stox Box series, and how it evolved.  But first a little background on your humble author.  As one might conclude from wading through the turgid prose of my catalog on Gromet, the majority of stories deal with dominant males and submissive females in a (this is unexpected) dominant/submissive theme.

It is no great leap of deduction to conclude, hey, this guy is some kind of control freak.  Indeed I am, of the worst sort (warning, we may be talking toxic masculinity here).  Since those in the law enforcement profession take a dim view of assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment, brainwashing and other assorted traits of the psychopath, I am forced to take the pragmatic approach and vent my irrefutable misogynistic tendencies (see, toxic!) through the medium of fictional accounts of what would otherwise be the subject of salacious TV mini-series and reality crime shows.  Okay, background in place.  We’ll leave the debate over which mental hospital is best suited for my new writing desk for another time.

On to the stories and characters; it all began one evening, in a galaxy far, far away.  There I was, firmly ensconced in my comfy chair, mind wandering, considering what completely different idea might work for a story.  Thanks to divine intervention (from above or below, hard to say) a glimmer of a notion began to grow like a festering wound.

One of Gromet’s categories is Packaged, Encasement & Objectification.  I’d never tried to create a story like that, so naturally I assumed I’m an expert at it.  Encasement, hmm, a shipping crate.  Not a UPS Christmas package, something in line with the crates used for jet engines or turbine shafts.  Something big enough to wrap around an adult, along with whatever else is necessary for the story.  Objectification, reduce the protagonist to the helpless, the ‘lump on a log’, bereft of any ability to interact, doomed to lie in state in that crate, the object being encased.  And finally packaged, all gathered together in a nice, neat bundle, with the functional bits hidden away from the outside viewer.  To the casual observer, it’s only another wooden crate, one among thousands, nothing to distinguish it from any other.  Only the unfortunate inhabitant on the inside has any reason to care about what happens to just one more package.

That’s the general idea, now to specifics.  There has to be the control aspect.  After all, it’s my story, that’s what I like to read about (yeah, unapologetic selfishness, disgusting isn’t it?).  Wooden box, so wooden restraints, gotta keep to the theme.  The prime example would be those lovely wooden stocks and pillories prevalent in earlier centuries.  Puritan style stocks for wrists and ankles, cruel and often deadly pillories for the neck and hands.

Stocks were deliberately public, to humiliate the offender in front of the community.  In my story the idea is turned around.  Private penance where the victim is rigidly bound by planks with customized cutouts, all fixed in place inside the box.  Immobilized from head to toe, trapped in the pitch dark interior, cut off from the world with no possible way to escape or draw attention in hopes of the cavalry riding to the rescue from the outside.  The Stox Box is born.

The star of any bondage story, the prop, is in place.  Now I need someone to experience it firsthand, and some idea of what that experience entails.  Now I could throw someone in the crate, put it in the back of a truck and drive cross-country.  No, there are plenty of stories in that vein.  What about something a bit less commonplace?

The parallels between the Stox Box and a coffin are obvious, even if never stated explicitly.  That looked promising.  No, I never kill off characters, not that kind of a story.  However, perception is reality when you don’t have much else to go on.  I can work with that.

In goes a nameless character, no description, not even gender.  I leave it to the reader to fill in those details.  Add a supporting character, the equally androgynous ‘friend’, so that the story can progress.  Our protagonist volunteers for the box, seeing it as a poor man’s isolation tank.  The ‘friend’, our antagonist with a streak of cruelty, rounds out the little melodrama.

I won’t spoil the story by describing what happens next.  Text is on Gromet, first in the Stox Box series.  It was originally intended as a one shot story.  I had no plans to continue it.

The story grew on me.  No hate mail or death threats from the first installment; I took that as a sign that either no one read it, or it wasn’t that bad.  Either way, I decided to steer a course for the literary iceberg by starting a sequel.

The box was still the star.  My protagonist would return.  The antagonist, ehh, not so much.  We’ll get to the new villain in a moment.  I needed a hook, what happens with the box and its resident?

Cramped, dark spaces, what lies deep in our subconscious mind that generates paralyzing fear?  Of course, creepy crawlies, spiders, eight legged creatures hiding in the dark, brandishing fangs dripping with venom, intent on inflicting agonizing bites if the person inside moves.  Perfect, gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

How does the spider get in there?  We’re going to have a third party show up with the cuddly beast, so let’s put the box on exhibit at one of those trendy bondage play parties.  All night long our protagonist will remain tightly bound inside the box, a fun time for anyone into being controlled.
And now we come to the new antagonist.  Again, I wanted to move out of the usual stereotypes.  Even better turn a stereotype upside down, use it to build an image that was far from the character’s real personality.

What better than ‘the girl next door’?  It’s a classic movie character: a young woman, rural, a bit shy, on the naïve side when it comes to the world at large.  She always wears a simple dress, not unpleasant to the eye but not the height of fashion.  In short, about as far from a threat as one can imagine.

And that’s how Psycho Sally came to be.  She is all those things, if you didn’t look too closely.  Behind the carefully crafted façade there lies the intelligence and cold indifference of a true psychopath, oblivious to human suffering, concerned only with getting as much from this world, and the people in it, as she can.

She isn’t violent.  Too dangerous, society frowns on serial killers.  No, she seeks out her victims with one thought in mind, crush their ego like a walnut in a nutcracker.  Her greatest joy is seeing someone’s personality disintegrate before her eyes.  She is precisely the type of person who would drop one of her pets into the box and close the lid.

Sally wants to help, because she cares.  That’s her trademark, the phrase she repeats over and over to the poor soul trapped in her web, which just happens to be the box once she discovers it.  The catch, she’s helping herself, because that’s the only one she cares about.

How does it all turn out? Well, I’ll leave that to those who care to read the stories.  I will say Sally is someone I would never wish to encounter, be it on a dark street or a crowded public place.  She is relentless.

So that’s my source of inspiration.  I hope those two fans found it interesting….


Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide

Offline jackierabbit1

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Re: Source of Inspiration
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2022, 09:23:53 AM »
Is it perfectly terrible to say that I didn't read the story (Stox Box) because the title didn't hook me? I hope not, but that's the honest truth of the matter. From your description of both the box, and the characters, it sounds like something I would enjoy reading, so now I'm going to correct that little error.

 I do far more writing than reading, but that's no excuse, so I don't intend it as such; and not that it would work here, but if there were a cover picture of some kind, I think that would more easily hook somebody like me in. I'm actually more of a visual learner at times, an odd characteristic for somebody who writes, but I guess you could say that I attempt to form pictures with words; perhaps we all do though. I may be alone in this title hook thing, but I think not, as I struggle with titles for my own work. From your description of your story the title sounds perfect though, so in this case this may well be more of a perception thing on my end.

Thank you for sharing, for taking the time to write here on the Plaza. I personally know how much it takes to get something coherently down on paper, the investment in time, and I also know how nice it is for somebody to just drop a little note on the forum saying what they liked, or even didn't like.

Thank you again, Jackie.

Offline subgrrl

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Re: Source of Inspiration
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2022, 03:11:21 PM »
I really enjoyed the series - although, I just noted that part 5 is on my stack of 650 to-read-list...

Although I 90% loved the series, I'm going to spend some words on the 10% part that I did not love... only because I am interpreting your post as an opening for constructive feedback. Of course, this feedback is also completely my opinion.

I appreciate the experiment that you made where the gender of the protagonist was unspecified. However, it did not work for me. The question of the gender bothered me as I read the story detracting from the wonderful detail of the scenario. For me the protagonist's gender screamed "male". For whatever reason, erotic fantasy works better for me with female protagonists. I could not force myself to map "female" onto the protagonist. Sometimes, I guess, the enjoyment of finding good erotica is to have the full picture unfold completely from an external, uncontrolled source. The creation of fantasy and the consumption of fantasy, perhaps, are two different things. So, I would have preferred a commitment to the tortured protagonist's gender. Also, I think it would have increased the depth of the individual's response to things that happen to them if they had been a specific gender.

I like "packaged" stories, so, for me, the title (with the keyword "box") worked just fine. I flagged the story as "to-read" immediately.

<>--+-


Offline jakbird

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Re: Source of Inspiration
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2022, 03:18:03 PM »
I have to agree about the lack of gender.  It was an experiment, fun for one or two stories but quickly burned out.  That won't happen in the next story, not 'box' related, which I'm given to understand is in the queue.  For reasons which will be made obvious the protagonist has to be anatomically male.
Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide

Offline jakbird

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Re: Source of Inspiration
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2022, 03:25:47 PM »
"the title didn't hook me? "

What we need is something like movie trailers for coming attractions:

"In a world full of bondage, a predator lurks in the dark.  Ripped from today's headlines, the startling story of how one woman tortured her victims.  See the walking vegetables left in her wake, hear the screams of agony when she sinks her claws into her unsuspecting prey...."

Add to that a lurid pulp magazine cover, one of those "True Detective" or pre-code comic book magazine stand classics.
Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide

Offline jackierabbit1

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Re: Source of Inspiration
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2022, 12:30:36 PM »
Well, it works for the movie business, just sayin...

 It's probably been done before, but I've had this concept for a story in which an illustrator for erotic comics draws something wild for her publication, and a short time later some fiend recreates it with real people, bondage, torture, all the fun stuff. This happens over and over again, and she even agrees to help the cops by drawing something specific so that the cops are waiting on him, but the plan backfires. She comes to the conclusion that the only way she can stop this fiend is to draw out her own graphic demise, only to learn at the final moment that she herself is the actual criminal...

I have written entire stories based on a single picture, so to say that I'm a visual person is an understatement, and yes, a true detective type of cover art would be magnificent.

Thank you again for sharing, and let me know if you want to write the comic book illustrator story, I think it would be hot, and I also think you could bring that particular story to life, Jackie.

Offline jakbird

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Re: Source of Inspiration
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2022, 05:35:38 PM »
Okay, I'll give your idea some thought, see what I can devise.  I am at a disadvantage, snice my last encounter with comic books was the Silver Age of Stan Lee, the Legion of Superheroes, R. Crumb and Air Pirate Comics.  Artwork has changed significantly since those days, though a throwback to pre-code, early 50s comics might be promising.  Maybe a look back at Bill Gaines and Tales From the Crypt....

As for being the choice to bring to life stories about depraved psychopaths, umm,I'll assume good intentions rather than a left-handed compliment.
Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide

Offline jackierabbit1

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Re: Source of Inspiration
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2022, 09:35:34 AM »
I sincerely meant this as a compliment, but I also think you could get inside the head of such a character, it would be an amazing story. As far as the comic books, you have a distinct advantage over me in that I've never been into them, other than a few in the Sunday paper when I was a child, and the ones that made it onto the little screen, I.E., Batman, Superman, ect...

Maybe this illustrator does something quite tame for her day job, (back in the days of the comic pages in the Sunday newspapers), like Garfield or Blondie, and maybe this is how she lets her alter ego out to play, doing kinky dark comics for a true detective type of publication? You could even call it Peril magazine, and if your story took place back in the heyday of such publications, you could make it all work out timeline wise.

Just some crazy thoughts running around inside my brain; here I've brainstormed with you for just a few minutes, and we've almost collaborated and written a story together. You have the beginning, the middle, and even the end, all that's left now is the details, which I know you're good at.

Now this also just occurred to me, but you could tell the story from the perspective of the investigating detective, instead of the illustrator, if that was more to your liking. He or she could be fascinated with the rope work, or the medieval restraints, or the whip marks even, so much so that he insists that the living victims be left in place until he can arrive to study the crime scene personally, documenting the scene with hundreds of pictures.

 In any event, your heart has to be into it, and I don't mean to give you the hard sell here, but I think you could do this story justice, best wishes and good luck, Jackie.


Offline jakbird

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Re: Source of Inspiration
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2022, 12:46:36 PM »
"A town ready to explode, a creature of the night prowling the streets, and the police haven't a clue.  The Artisan, in crafting his deadly instruments, must have victims to feed his creations.  Yet who's creations are they?  Is it the Artisan, or the illustrator of the edgy comic book, unwittingly stoking the fires of hate within one of her loyal fans?

"You can't miss reading this story of the eternal struggle between good and pure evil.  Watch for The Illustrator, coming to this website soon...
Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide

Offline jackierabbit1

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Re: Source of Inspiration
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2022, 10:34:36 AM »
A very hot promo, and I love the working title too. Stox Box was good by the way, but I haven't finished the entire series just yet.

Jackie.

Offline jakbird

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Re: Source of Inspiration
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2022, 11:50:21 PM »
I am informed by reliable sources that there is a story in the website queue that concerns a graphic story illustrator, and someone known only as The Artisan. 

"A town ready to explode, a creature of the night prowling the streets, and the police haven't a clue.  The Artisan, in crafting his deadly instruments, must have victims to feed his creations.  Yet who's creations are they?  Is it the Artisan, or the illustrator of the edgy comic book, unwittingly stoking the fires of hate within one of her loyal fans?

"You can't miss reading this story of the eternal struggle between good and pure evil.  Watch for The Illustrator, coming to this website soon..."

That's the trailer from last April.  it took a while but all good, or very bad, things come to those who are forced to sit and wait.
Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide

Offline jackierabbit1

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Re: Source of Inspiration
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2022, 08:10:04 AM »
I am so looking forward to reading what you've come up with here. I find the concept extremely hot and sexy; bondage, display, even a mystery in there somewhere, all the elements of a good erotic story.

I can hardy wait, Jackie.

Offline jakbird

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Re: Source of Inspiration
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2022, 07:26:33 PM »
I suspect my efforts are far more modest that expectations raised from the trailer...but isn't that how it usually turns out when you get past the opening credits?  I'm not too sure about the erotic nuances, since the story is inspired by the (now 70+ year old) Tales From The Crypt comic books.  On the plus side, that series was the poster child for censoring comic books for the next thirty years.

I did have a bit of fun slipping in references to old silver and golden age comics, and the old Superman TV show from the 50s (yes, old enough to have grown up with Clark, Lois, Jimmy, Perry White and Inspector Henderson).  Truth, Justice, and The American Way, from the days when superheroes inspired us all without the burden of political correctness.  Hopefully The Artisan doesn't inspire anyone...

The story was far afield from my preferred subject matter (megalomaniac male dominants), but one advantage of writing for the fun of it, in true amateur tradition, is being able to wander into unknown and challenging literary endeavors.  If it doesn't go so well (as I'm afraid this story will be) I am consoled by the fact the publisher cannot demand a refund.
Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide

 

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