Sunday, July 29, 2012

How to Research a BDSM Novel





For those of us who write erotic romance novels, especially those with BDSM themes, we occasionally get the snicker, a wink, a smart-ass comment and annoying questions, like: Do you research all those naughty scenes in your books? The quick answer is YES, but not the way you may think.

It took me a long time to decide to write a BDSM novel. I’ve read many over the years and was intrigued by the power dynamics and sensuality. I hesitated about writing my own books because I knew there was much more to these stories than dressing my characters in lots of leather, having them wield whips and chains and making up safe words. The depth of emotion and intensity in the relationships are very complicated and, I believed, difficult to portray well unless well researched. Although the stories are fiction, I wanted to portray the lifestyle as accurately as I could. Writing my first book did take a lot of research and courage, and I may have gotten a few details wrong. I’m still learning. I’ll be taking a three-day workshop on the topic in NYC soon, and look forward to spicing up my next BDSM novel with what I learn. More on that later.

Why? Why do couples/partners become involved in the BDSM lifestyle? There are probably many reasons. Some may enjoy the thrill of escaping into a sensual fantasy world. The excitement of exploring the forbidden and intense physical stimulation. And/or the joy of sharing deep intimacy and trust with another person. Please share your thoughts on this.

Here are a few suggestions for researching the BDSM Novel:

-Ask authors who are experts in the genre. I asked author Joey Hill lots of questions at  RT Convention one year. She gave me lots of suggestions and resources to check out.

-Read tons of fiction books in the genre.

-Read numerous non-fiction books. I’ll give a list of some at the end.

-Sign up on www.fetlife.com and perused the various groups and read posts to get a feel for the various kinks, lifestyles and lingo.

-Check out online stores for bondage furniture, hardware and bondage wear to dress you characters, furnish your dungeon and provide implements for your characters to play with. Go to fetish or sexy lingerie shops.

-Go to workshops. Yes, there are workshops on BDSM out there. Dr. Charley Ferrer, World Renowned Clinical Sexologist, TV/Radio Talk Show Host, Award Winning Author  is giving a 3-Day intensive workshop in New York City called BDSM for Writers. Attendees will visit a BDSM club and understand how to use BDSM psychology and power exchange between the characters in your stories, get the details of a scene right, add sensory details to liven every scene. Yes, I’ll be  attending this http://www.bdsmforwriters.com/Conferences.html

-Go to conferences. Many conferences are giving workshops on BDSM. Romanticon October 11th-14th http://ecromanticon.com/  . I’ll be doing a workshop with Joey Hill: BDSM Romance: Why Do We Love it. And also BDSM, Hurts So Good with Desiree Holt and Francesca Hawley.

-Talk to those in the lifestyle. If you’re open and honest and ask sincere questions you’ll usually get open and honest answers in return. Online sites like Fetlife is a good site for that. Post a question saying you’re a writer and would like to learn more about such and such. Some authors who write in the genre are also involved or connected in the BDSM lifestyle and they may be open to be a resource. Participating in the lifestyle is not a prerequisite for writing it well. You can write about an astronaut walking on the moon, a gladiator fighting in ancient Roman, or a caveman (a real one, not the hunky Ellora’s Cave one) discovering fire even if you’ve never actually experienced those lives.



Websites:

http://www.dungeondelights.com/store/index.php
http://eXtremeRestraints.com
http://www.purplepassion.com/Home.htm
http://www.bondagefetishstore.com
http://fetlife.com
https://www.bondage.com
http://donsubfriends.com/1home.shml
http://www.asubmissivesjourney.com/pageb.html
http://www.dungeonfuniture.com/frameset-about.htm
http://www.leathernroses.com/
http://bdsm-education.com/sitemap.html
http://www.sexuality.org/
http://www.stockroom.com/gear/bdsm_furniture/
http://www.toys4lust.com/furniture.htm


Books: (just a few suggestions)


BDSM for Writers -  Dr. Charley Ferrer
BDSM the Naked Truth -  Dr. Charley Ferrer
Screw the Roses, Send Me The Thorns -  Philip Miller and Molly Devon
The Mistress Manual -  Mistress Lorelei
The Loving Dominant -  John Warren and Libby Warren
SM101: A Realistic Introduction – Jay Wiseman
The Ethical Slut – Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy
Sensual Magic: A Guide to S/M or Adventurous Couples – Patrick Califia
The New Topping Book – Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy
Two Knotty Boys Show You the Ropes – Two Knotty Boys and Larry Utley
The New Bottoming Book – Hardy and Easton


My stories that have either a BDSM theme or elements:


TattooWitch” in SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, Vol. 1
DESERTOF THE DAMNED
DAMNEDAND DESIRED
DAMNEDAND DEFIANT (coming August 15th)




9 comments:

Cari Silverwood said...

"Why? Why do couples/partners become involved in the BDSM lifestyle? There are probably many reasons. Some may enjoy the thrill of escaping into a sensual fantasy world. The excitement of exploring the forbidden and intense physical stimulation. And/or the joy of sharing deep intimacy and trust with another person."

Kathy, from my experience, many are drawn to aspects of BDSM because it is almost a subconscious desire. In particular the Dominance/submission aspect. People just 'know' that they will enjoy being either the sub or the Dom.

The same is true of S/m. Those I know who are masochists simply 'knew' they wanted it - spanking, being hit with a belt, whatever.

Even from childhood there is often a fascination with pain, or bondage, or whatever. You see a picture of bondage and there is a definite allure.

For sure there may be some who just go - "oooh, I'd like to try that, and see if I like it". But perhaps they are more kinky than truly into BDSM.

For your research, if you have a look here, at our website, you'll find some true stories of women/ or couples and how they got into BDSM, and why.
http://bdsmauthorsplayroom.blogspot.com/
These shouldn't come up as true links. You'll have to copy and paste.
If you google my website, the link to the BDSM authors Playroom is there too.
http://bdsmauthorsplayroom.blogspot.com/2011/12/real-people-real-bdsm-little-sm-and.html
You may know all this already, of course.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruby Duvall said...

Blah, Blogger hates me. One more time! Ruby Duvall here, not "Unknown"...

I'll be at Romanticon and am looking forward to your BDSM workshop! I've never written it and am intensely curious!!!

Kathy Kulig said...

Cari, Thank you for your wonderful insight. And thanks for your website link. I surely will check it out.

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Ruby, Look forward to seeing you at Romanticon too. The BDSM workshops are going to be great. Lots of fun and we'll all get to share info. and learn.

Misa said...

This is probably the most measured, truly helpful post I've ever read on writing BDSM. Thank you!

Kelli Scott said...

Thank you for the info. I don't "get" it and am hesitant to write it other than playful, spontaneous bondage or spanking. I also don't want to get it wrong.

Kathy Kulig said...

Misa, thanks so much. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Kelli, I was hesitant too about writing it for that same reason. I do my best in "getting it right" but I keep reading and talking to people trying to learn more.