Sitting pretty (gingerly)

28Jun13

sittingAre you sitting comfortably? Then I will begin. When one is writing spanking fiction and associated articles language can be evocative. But that very evocation is also subjective. For instance:

“You are going to be severely punished young lady,” he said. “I am going to spank you so soundly that you won’t sit down for a week.”

Now by any standard a spanking that left a girl unable to sit down for a week would be pretty severe, but the reader knows that this is an exaggeration just as any poor unfortunate girl about to be spanked in real life knows.

The truth is that severity is all relative. This is the beauty of spanking fiction. If the actual details are dusted over, then reader can supply the level of severity that they desire.

But what of the language? Severely punished is more colourful and therefore more evocative than just punished. What if he had said: “You are going to be punished, I am going to spank you and you won’t sit down.”

Not only is it ambiguous, but you won’t sit down as a phrase alone is an instruction not a prediction and therefor has little power leaving the whole sentence rather flat. In reality no one is going to say that in the emotional heat of making a threat. Most threats tend to be exaggerations.

In fact the phrase, “You are going to be severely punished young lady,” he said, “I am going to spank you so soundly that you won’t sit down for a week,” is rather a moderate statement. A sound spanking is always associated with a punishment, a mere spanking could be a game or a birthday treat.

Compare it with the phrase, “You are going to be very severely punished young lady. You are going to be very soundly spanked until you can’t sit down for a month.”

For some this is overkill, for others it just elevates the punishment to something that is meaningful for a serious transgression. Even if it is understood that being unseated for a month is again an exaggeration. One can nevertheless presume that things have been escalated. Maybe a month is too long but the suggestion is there that he is going to go for it and the young lady might not sit down for days.

While writing such usage might be rare as it leaves the author without anywhere to go. But the language can be spiced up and emphasised without reference to the severity.

“I am going to take your knickers down and spank your bare bottom cherry red,” for instance is if anything less severe but perhaps more evocative.

It may or not be an exaggeration; bottoms rarely go cherry red under a spanking, although it does happen. It depends on the girl’s skin type. But who is going to get a cherry and make direct comparisons?

We actually most of us would, given half the chance, but you get the point.

Now some of the examples above could be said to be poetic or dainty. They belong in a middle class English novel perhaps, but what if someone wants something earthier.

“I am going to take a strap to your backside girl until it is so shiny red that I can see my face in it.”

Again this is all exaggeration but the language and threat are rougher somehow.

Backside is not a word I would often use, but it does suggest a workaday approach to punishment without being crude. Compare it with say:

“I’ll give you rose tinted glass, I am going to leather your arse girl until I can to see to shave in it.”

The language is equally evocative but conveys a different scene. The imagery is again an exaggeration, but it leaves some uncomfortable with a chastiser who thinks in such cruel terms. It all depends on who you are and what you expect.

Notice how a departure from bottom to arse and backside coarsen it. I don’t tend to use arse outside dialogue, for one thing it is generally masculine. If you don’t know what I mean consider this:

Bottom, bum, behind, hiney, hind-end could sound more appropriate to a woman perhaps than arse, ass, backside, which to my mind are decidedly masculine. But this is subjective and may depend on where you learned your English; Surrey, England say or Houston, Texas.

There are also neutral terms like buttocks, butt, glutes etc, but these sound too clinical. I particular hate the word butt, which has gained currency in British English in recent years and have never so far used it. Ass is equally bad (although not used in the UK by anyone whose education extends beyond beyond American TV) except in its biblical sense where it means donkey.

On a side note, such variation is essential when using voice for a story. Some are too American for an English story or vice versa. Also many are too modern for a period piece.

How much you are aware of any of this when reading depends on a variety of things. Personally noticing it is not so important to how you feel about it. But if a story doesn’t appeal to you then in all probability it is these issues that are wrong for you.

Remember accurate use of language is not as important as what it evokes. Some actual writers from the past sound remarkably modern and not what one would expect. The fault lies with the reader here and not the writer. But if a modern writer ploughs on with historically accurate language that sounds unconvincing to the time and place, then poetic license is required.

For example:

The lord put down his sword and advanced on the maiden with an evil glint in his eye.

“I’m gonna spank your ass until it is the colour of a coke can,” he sneered.

The words ass, coke and can are all anachronistic in this context. This is true even if a linguistic scholar can prove that in medieval England arse was actually pronounced ass and can was in common usage. The truth is unimportant here, when establishing an authentic voice, how it feels is the measure.

On a final note, if you are intending to write a spanking story then you may want to consider some of these things, whereas if you read a story and you notice these things then maybe the tone and voice are wrong. Remember it is not what you think that is important, but what you feel.



9 Responses to “Sitting pretty (gingerly)”

  1. 1 paul1510

    Damian,
    interesting, I’m surprised you didn’t mention ginger! 😉
    Paul.

  2. Your way with words is one of many good reasons to keep reading your stories. I myself love eloquent details. Foul language is a real turn-off to me. One a man once told me he would “render my posterior painfully aware of the realities of the palm of his hand”. It was a bit much even for me, but I still prefer that to “I’m gonna spank your ass”. 😀

  3. 3 Kia

    Fascinating- a bit of a behind the scenes look into the making of your stories. Not to mention helpful- I’ll need to keep some of this in mind for my own writing.

  4. 4 Tiptopper

    Some writers write dialog as if they are speaking it rather than how the character in the story would say it. For example a member of the Hell’s Angels would sound one way and a college professor would speak entirely differently even if they were communicating the same thought.

    Other examples, teenagers don’t sound like adults and younger people use profanity much more often than older people.

    “Turn the music off.” vs. “Can the fucking tunes!”

    Dialog is the hardest thing to write correctly because you have to get into somebody else’s mindset.

  5. These are some of the many reasons I enjoy your work as well.

    I like it to evoke a tummy-turning feeling inside and if the words are vulgar it cheapens the whole intent. I’m then turned off. This rarely happens when enjoying you stories.

    Although, unlike Paul, I don’t want want to read about ginger! That’s just mean. None of us sweet girls deserve that!!

    Keri

  6. 6 Svetlana

    Fascinating topic. A few (highly subjective) comments:

    I’m usually turned off by vulgar language in the narrative of a story as well. With dialogue, it depends on characters, situations. Oddly enough, I’ve heard (and … um … used) my language’s equivalent to “arse” most often in an all-female environment, so DJ’s comment about it being masculine made me grin. Stories that avoid vulgarities in the narrative are usually quite good at restricting their use to dialogue where it really fits.

    The bigger problem is often stilted dialogue. Sometimes that fits just fine, for example when the disciplinarian is meant to come across like a pompous person, but sometimes it feels too “written” to sound real.

    “Severely” is an interesting phrase. In a narrative, it works well as an attribute to a punishment that is not described in detail (happening off screen if you will), but that the reader is meant to imagine as severe. In dialogue, it often doesn’t work for me because in my experience that’s just not how people talk. It can work when the story has established that, between the characters, “severely” is code for something very specific. If not, it paints anyone who says it (even a submissive character) as a bigmouth.

    As an aside, too much dialogue about punishment can hurt a story in my opinion. Dialogue is great for fleshing out the characters and making whatever drama leads up to punishment seem real. Reading how someone talks tells me a lot more about her than a ton of attributes. However, when it comes to punishment itself, I prefer dialogue to be as Laconic as possible. There can be exceptions, like when someone gets introduced to discipline for the first time or as a cover for being nervous, but usually too much talk hurts, and sometimes it really gets to the point where I want the girl to come back with “What’s your plan? Talk me sore?”

    Anyway, it’s thrilling to read how a writer who turns out very polished stories at an astonishing rate thinks about this.

  7. 7 Brucie

    I couldn’t agree with you more about “butt.” I can’t believe the people who routinely use “bare butt” in spanking talk and figure it’s erotic. What an ugly word. Oh, and spare me “hiney” as well – Good God, what a joke. “Bottom, “bum” and “backside” are my faves.

    I’ve got otherwise excellent videos where the incomparable Chelsea Pfeiffer talks about the “ass” on her lap. That doesn’t really work for me. It’s got a crude edge to it that doesn’t fit.

    The writer of “The Hearth and Hair Brush” stories (Robert) does a good job of describing the traditional domestic discipline experience. My own passion has always been for F/mf bum-warming encounters, and he tells those very well.

    • 8 Michael

      Can’t resist a belated comment on this thread. While I agree whole-heartedly about the coarseness of “ass,” I have to say a word or two in defense of “butt.” Having grown up in rural America, this is very much a corporal-punishment touchstone. Not only would it be accurate for a story set in that environment, but it pushes the buttons of us Americans who have grown up with it.”Bum,” on the other hand (or under the other hand), for the American sensibility, has about it the comic whiff of the British music hall.

  8. 9 Richard

    I do one thing you may combider wrong if a common term seems wrong i will use a more bookisi one after all i’m writing for my enjoyment alone what the people accidently may find any of my entries my think matters not in the least


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