Tag Archives: Sex

FF – Always Use Protection

No time, no time, muttered the rabbit. Tomorrow, I am giving a public reading of a 1000 word story and I either haven’t chosen it yet from my existing repetoire, or haven’t written it yet if I need something new. But FF is an addiction, and this story wanted to be told, even though I had to beat and crowbar it to make it 100 words. I’d be interested to know if you think it feels overworked, and if the character I was trying to draw still came across after the edits. It’s inspired by Marie Gail Stratford’s picture below, in in particular by the juxtaposition of two words on the picture. I wonder if they both stood out to anyone else.

mg-buildings

Always use protection

Angie reapplied her gloss. It was an unlikely place to meet the man of her dreams – especially when he’d be busy wowing the conference bar across the street – but a girl should be ready.

Trying not to think about her boss, she reordered and found guilty pleasure in the barman’s flirting. It was a long time since anyone laughed at her jokes.

Of course, he’s just playing for tips.

Any longer and she risked liking him, then disappointment when nothing happened. Angie dropped a couple of extra bills on the bar and walked away from a half full glass.

 

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Into The Unknown (aka No Sex Please, I’m British)

Writing what you know only gets you so far, and unless you’re writing a memoir, that’s not very far at all. All fiction involves, by definition, making stuff up: getting into the heads and lives of people who are not quite like yourself and then translating what you find onto the page.

Some writers love research. They are never happier than in the library, interviewing and shadowing other people, and generally immersing themselves in the lives they want to write about, and that’s great for them. It’s not for me; I find research slow and laborious; I find myself struggling to remember everything I’ve learned, and struggling to convert it into useful story. This is one of the reasons I tend to write reasonably close to home; realistic fiction instead of the epic fantasy or historical worlds of some of my friends and idols.

But whether you write close to home or years and light-years away, there are always details about which we need to know a little more. One of the subjects that can be a small but important element of that, is relationships and sex. However wild and crazy one’s youth (and my parents read this, so let’s just agree “not and not”), when one has been straight-forwardly married for a while, one’s memory and experience of such things tends to be limited.

And whilst one can get information vicariously, through friends and books, sex tends to be a subject people don’t like to talk about in anything but the broadest terms, and relationships tend to be presented with a gloss too. But good fiction often requires variety and realism – even if we stay away from explicit Shades of Grey / Harlequin / Mills and Boon -type writing, we may need to conjure happy and unhappy relationships, cheating or exploitation, fantasies and arguments. We need to demonstrate not just what happened, but how it felt and impacted the characters afterwards.

A friend recently told me about the Casual Sex Project. Before you fret, don’t worry, it doesn’t require participation. This is a website where real people, anonymously post real experiences of sex outside a romantic relationship. It’s eye-opening, occasionally eye-popping, and very graphic, so not for those of a prudish or sensitive disposition (and not for your work laptop / internet connection).

If you’re looking to write, even allude to, a character’s sexual experience that’s beyond your own – it’s an interesting resource. And much less cringe-worthy than asking your Facebook friends if they would help you describe what it feels like to have an affair / screw the teacher / sleep with your best friend’s boyfriend while she’s asleep in the same bed / whatever.

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Friday Fiction – An Old One

Back home after our flying visit to the UK, but with a long list of things to do and a lovely-but-extra-challenging toddler, I’m going to take advantage of Rochelle‘s invitation to report my previous story for her repeated prompt. It took a while for me to remember what I’d written about for this one, but when I went back (August 2012) and read it, I was actually more pleased with it than I thought I’d been. Do tell me what you think!

copyright-Lura-Helms-2-300x225

Sin

Alice felt Liam’s hand on her bra. She didn’t dare look down, but she couldn’t look at his face either.  She wanted so much to enjoy this, but she’d heard too many stories about how easy – and how terrible – it was to get pregnant. Her gaze flicked away to the forest that was keeping them safe from prying eyes.

But God could see them.

As Liam’s fingers touched her skin, she screamed. High in one of the trees, a single eye stared out of a sheep’s bleached skull. The animal was dead, but the eye watched – omniscient, eternal and judgmental.

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In Mon – Mind Clutter

In haste today, a post for InMon, courtesy of bekindrewrite. It’s not my favourite story ever and I’d love to hear your constructive criticism about how I could improve it, but I hope you enjoy it too.

Sarah’s Bag

Sarah tipped her handbag out on the bed. “It’s in here somewhere,” she said.

I thought about my Grandma Rita. She used to say a cluttered bag was a sign of a cluttered mind. Sarah’s mind clutter was probably normal for a girl our age, but it was overwhelming to me. Paper hankies mingled with empty sweet wrappers; crumpled receipts and shopping lists were jumbled together and a toy mouse with a broken feather for its tail scuttered across the duvet onto the floor. The college cat, Joey, appeared from nowhere and set about it with relish.

In truth, Grandma Rita wouldn’t have been focusing on the handbag or its contents – a hairbrush, now, and three sets of keys, one of which had a boiled sweet stuck to the fob. She would have been far too outraged that I had a girl in my room at all. Beds, she believed, were a source of temptation and therefore shouldn’t be even glimpsed by the opposite sex until marriage had been discussed.

I smiled at the memory. Sarah and I live in a different age, and the single-room living of university makes it difficult to avoid rooms with a bed in them. I wasn’t convinced Grandma Rita was right anyway, but then two condoms tipped off the pile and I tried not to look at them, the bed and Sarah in the way Grandma Rita had feared. We’d long since established that she didn’t see me that way.

In years gone by, my sisters subjected me to Disney movies more often than I care to mention. Now, I found myself half-expecting Sarah to pull hat stands and umbrellas out of the bag, Mary Poppins-style. Instead, she’d begun to put things back, unfurling each piece of paper in turn.

“I know I put it in here,” she said, stuffing the condoms in with everything else. Obviously Sarah wasn’t looking at the bed the way Grandma expected. “You should have just come to the Grad Hall yourself.”

“I know.” I should have, but I didn’t, and she’d picked up the tiny slip of paper holding my results and my future. You’d think she’d have been more careful with it: tucked it in her wallet or something. You might think she’d have read it too, but I knew she hadn’t. In spite of her cluttered bag, Sarah is so smart, she doesn’t stress about results; she trusts they will always be fine.

“I really should sort this bag out.”

I didn’t reply. Nothing I could have said would have helped.

“There’s loads of money here.” She’d found a twenty wrapped into a receipt, and there were coins all over the duvet. “I’m rich!”

“You could keep your money in your wallet,” I offered, my mind wantonly rolling on the bed with Sarah amid piles of cash. Blame Grandma Rita, she put the idea there.

“I do normally. But then I get given a pile of change and I just stuff it in the bag in a rush.” She was stuffing everything back in, still not sorting it. “Ah!”

My breath caught. She’d found the results. I needed at least a 2:2 in every subject to keep my career dreams alive and now I’d find out.

“I’ve been looking for that for ages!” She pulled the back off the oversized butterfly earring and stuffed it into her right ear. There was nothing in the left one to match and it made her look unbalanced.

“My tripos results?” I reminded her, becoming aware that she seemed to have forgotten the purpose of her search.

“Oh, I think I must have put them in my folder.” She zipped up the handbag and slid off the bed. Five seconds later, she pulled the tiny blue slip from her binder and handed it to me with a flourish. Grandma Rita never worried that having a girl in my room might tempt me to murder, but at this moment that seemed infinitely more likely than sex.

 

 

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Inspiration Monday – The Man With No Name

Steph’s prompts for InMon this week had the exact opposite effect of the Friday Fiction picture. I was almost immediately struck with a fully-formed idea for a story. It’s quite long, for which I hope you will forgive me, and comes with both a MATURE CONTENT and a COARSE LANGUAGE WARNING. Please be advised not to read this story if either is likely to upset you. It’s some way outside my normal remit, so I’d love to here your feedback – good and bad – on how it’s gone.

 

The Man With No Name

 “You brought him home?!” Alice squealed and slid down on the sofa towards me.

“That’s not the worst part.” Louisa loved knowing something about me before my sister. She took another chocolate from the box on the table and sat back.

“There’s nothing worse than that. She brought him home!”

“So you say.”

I watched them, passing my news back and forward between them, waiting until they let me speak again.

“This guy approached her with the most outrageous chat-up line ever and she brought him home!” Alice wasn’t going to let that go in a hurry.

I could see Louisa’s brain moving behind her eyes. She was desperate to ask about the chat-up line, but to do so would be to give away the high ground. She’d been there when we woke up this morning; that was her position of power. But she hadn’t been there when he appeared last night, and Alice had.

I came to her rescue. “It wasn’t the most outrageous chat-up line ever. That would be like ‘Do you want to see my collection of iguanas?’”

They both looked at me with a mixture of pity and condescension that made me want to leave right there and then.

“That wouldn’t be outrageous,” Louisa said, “Just crap.”

“Promise me, if anyone ever opens with that, you’ll pepper spray him,” Alice warned. “I’ve got to take care of my little sister.” She loves that – eighteen minutes and she’ll be rubbing them in forever.

Now they were united, Louisa clearly felt more at ease. She leaned towards us, elbows on knees. “So, come on, what did he say?”

“He said…”

I interrupted her. This was my story. “He said ‘So, are you going to take me home then?’ It wasn’t that outrageous.”

“Do you fuck on first dates?” My sister was squealing again. I gave her the same sign to cool it I’ve been giving since my first hangover, after our sixteenth birthday: I reached over and hit her on the arm.

“Shut up.”

“Will you two stick to the story?”

“OK. So, he said that and obviously I thought he was a cock, so I ignored him.”

“Ignored him,” Alice said, “I’d have slapped him.” She’d dropped maybe three decibels and half an octave. I hit her again.

“I ignored him and went to the bar. But he followed me. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘You’re here because you’re looking for someone to go home with, same as me.’ I didn’t answer. ‘And we could spend the evening bumping and grinding here with all these sweaty bastards, waiting until we’re drunk enough for you not to care that I sound like a bit of an asshole. Or, we could just get on with it and have some fun.’”

Louisa hadn’t moved from her interrogation. “So you agreed? On the back of that flimsy argument?”

“No. What do you take me for?”

“Nothing. But you did end up bringing him home.” Louisa and I have shared flats for nearly four years, and lived in close proximity for three years of university before that. She knows exactly how many notches are … or rather aren’t … on my bedpost.

“So she comes to me and says we should get outta there,” Alice said.

“I did. And my caring supportive sister says…”

“’No way, Jose, there’s too much talent here. Just tell him to go fuck himself.’”

“Fair point,” said Louisa. “Joe’s is a decent joint on a Saturday and you’d paid to get in.”

It’s nice to know who your friends are. “So I head back to the dancefloor, get into the music, try to forget about the guy and about my ever-supportive sister.” I shot her a glare. She’s immune to them and just poked me with coral pink toes.

“And then I end up pulling this cute bloke from the army and that’s the last I see of her,” said Alice. “For the record, by the way, I did not take him home. One of us has to maintain the family’s reputation.”

Louisa caught my eye and we both collapsed at once. Alice pretended to be offended for all of three seconds then joined in. My sister’s bedposts would both be sawdust if she bothered notching them.

“Aw, shut up. Tell me what happened after.”

“All I know is, I get up in the night to take some more painkillers,” began Louisa, who’d cried off last night because of her period, but seemed much better since she’d switched from paracetamol and bed rest to Cadbury’s and me-bashing. “And I find the hallway strewn with clothing like something out of Indecent Proposal.”

“There was, like, one shoe.”

“And a shirt. A man’s shirt.” She raised an eyebrow.

“Hardly makes me Sharon Stone!”

“Who cares?” Alice had let go of the gain control again. “How did you get from ‘Go fuck yourself’ to ‘Come fuck me’?”

“I don’t really know,” I admitted. “He came back and started talking more normally. We just got chatting, and then kissing, and then…” I wanted to make it sound persuasive, but my brain wasn’t playing along.

“And then she brought him home and fucked him!” Louisa’s outburst rivaled any of Alice’s for volume, although she would never match my sister for squeak.

“Can we use another word?”

“No!” They both yelled at once.

“This isn’t Jane fucking Austen!” Louisa added. “And you still haven’t told her the worst part.”

“Tell me the worst part.” Alice was sitting up now, her back against the arm of the sofa and her feet digging even more into my thigh. The thigh that had been wrapped around him just a few hours ago, I realised. It was weird, how distant a memory it felt and yet how fresh at the same time.

“She doesn’t know his name!” Louisa threw a chocolate into the air. It missed her mouth, bounced on her cheek and hit the floor, ruining her commanding moment.

Alice stared at me with new-found respect, covered by a look of extreme scandal. “Is it true?”

“Because obviously that’s the worst thing here,” I said, feeling my cheeks prickle with heat.

“I expect him to forget your name,” said Alice, “But he’s only like the third guy you’ve ever slept with. You can’t forget his.”

“I haven’t.”

“So what is it?”

“I don’t know. He never said.” I whispered it, wondering why this of all things should be the point I was ashamed of.

“He never said!” Louisa was catching Alice’s habit of echoing things she found extreme.

“He’s probably a Norman,” said Alice, as though that explained it.

“Or a Brian,” Louisa agreed. “I wouldn’t tell people if I was a Brian.”

“What’s wrong with Brian?” Louisa doesn’t know, but Alice’s first boyfriend was called Brian. She’s never quite got over him.

“Nothing,” I said. “I don’t think he’s ashamed of his name. He just didn’t say.”

“So. When you were fucking him…” She caught my eye. “Sorry, when you were making love to him, what were you screaming?”

“I wasn’t…”

“She was.” I can always count on Louisa to back me up. “I can give you a sodding transcript.”

“I don’t think you need to,” I said, glaring at her. She’s immune too. I need to get lasers fitted to my eyes.

There was a moment’s silence: deafening compared to the conversation before it. I tried to think of some way of changing the subject, but this one was too novel for either of them to let it go. I took a handful of chocolates and waited for the next question.

“Did you give him your number?” asked Alice, eventually.

“If he gave you his, you could save it under The Man With No Name!” Louisa shrieked at her own joke. I pulled my phone off the table and stuffed it into my pocket. Later, I changed his entry to “ZZZ”.

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Friday Fictioneers – Fireworks

This weeks’ FF inspiration comes from Lora Mitchell  and is hosted as ever by the incomparable Rochelle.

As an extra challenge, Rochelle has asked us to include a genre heading above our stories this week. Which leads me to a great admission – I don’t really know what genre most of my writing falls into. Occasionally, I have been known to write a thriller, chick-lit or something else specific, but for the most part, I just write mainstream fiction. The characters are realistic, live in our own world and do things we could do. The MC is not necessarily female, though, and the focus is rarely her love / sex life, so I don’t think it’s chick-lit. If I think of the books I read which have a similar style, they are not found in one fo the genre sections of the bookshop or library, and the “genre” note on the back of the book almost always just says “Fiction”. So I think my genre is just Mainstream Fiction, but that feels like a cop out.

Suggestions on this, or any comments / crit about the writing are always welcome.

fireworks-lora-mitchell2

MAINSTREAM FICTION

Fireworks

We’re together under the midnight sky. I can feel his warmth as we move, slowly, carefully at first, then quickly, but still with care. Gasps and sighs fill the air around us.

We come together, perfectly timed. Mine, a flurry of sparks, escalating in a series of stronger and stronger bursts; his, a single world-shaking flash.

I want to enjoy my own moment, but it feels overshadowed by his – always higher, stronger and bigger. It makes me feel a little blue, even in the moment of delight.

When the night is over, what remains falls to Earth, spent and cold.

******

If you were thinking of suggesting the genre “Erotic Fiction” for this story, ask yourself whether this is in fact the story of two people who set up and let off fireworks for a public display, or indeed from the POV of the firework itself (thanks, Ted). Then consider whether you’ve just got a dirty mind 😉

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Friday Fictioneers – Sin

Today’s picture comes from Lura Helms, through Madison Woods’ friday fiction page. As ever, if you’d like to read the other stories, go to Madison’s site. Mine is below. Not an easy one this week – the picture didn’t say anything to me for a while and then what it did say is nothing like what I eventually wrote. The Muse is clearly feeling capricious! Anyway, I’d love to receive your comments, good and bad.

Sin

Alice felt Liam’s hand on her bra. She didn’t dare look down, but she couldn’t look at his face either.  She wanted so much to enjoy this, but she’d heard too many stories about how easy – and how terrible – it was to get pregnant. Her gaze flicked away to the forest that was keeping them safe from prying eyes.

But God could see them.

As Liam’s fingers touched her skin, she screamed. High in one of the trees, a single eye stared out of a sheep’s bleached skull. The animal was dead, but the eye watched – omniscient, eternal and judgmental.

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