Friday, May 22, 2009

I Am NOT J.R.R. Tolkien

by Helen E. H. Madden

I'm a bad blogger. I don't look ahead at the OGG calendar to see what topics are coming up next. I suppose I should, but then serendipitous little coincidences like the one I've experienced this week would never happen. You see, the day before Lisabet kicked off the creative process theme, I just happened to pick up The Treason Of Isengard and start reading, thus having the ideal topic for my post.

What is The Treason Of Isengard, you may ask. It's the second book of four in The History Of The Lord Of The Rings. You know The Lord Of The Rings; that big fat trilogy of books about hobbits and elves and men and dwarves all trying to get to some grim sounding place called Mount Doom so they can throw a bit of evil bling into the lava pit and save the whole world. Pretty cool, huh?

Okay, more than cool. I'm something of a Tolkien nut, and must admit here and now to my love for all things Tolkien. The Lord Of The Rings is a lengthy, dense epic of fantasy that set the bar for all other books in the genre. These tales don't just have back story and world building, they have a depth of history that could and have filled several books. But The History Of The Lord Of The Rings is the story behind the story. A documentary, if you will, of how Tolkien's masterpiece was written, and then some. Christopher Tolkien, son of the author, compiled all his father's notes and rough drafts and then spent four volumes outlining how the story was pieced together over the course of several years. Every scrap, every outline, every note is there to be read. It's an astonishing look inside one author's head.

The History is both fascinating and tedious. For example, Tolkien wrote the first chapter of The Fellowship Of The Ring five times before he could move on to the next chapter. In those first five drafts, Frodo's name changed at least twenty times. Bilbo's party was not a birthday party but a wedding (he almost got married and went off on honeymoon!). Histories and lineages of hobbits were hammered out again and again. And those were just the early drafts of chapter one! In later chapters, Frodo and his gang were led by a fellow hobbit named Trotter who wore wooden shoes. Trotter, over the course of many outlines and rough drafts, eventually went on to become Strider, also known as Aragorn son of Arathorn. The kingdom of Ond became the kingdom of Ondor, which eventually became Gondor. Most surprising, Tolkien never set out to write about Morgoth's attempts to conquer the world. That was an accident, a moment of creative surprise that occurred while Tolkien was writing that caused him to throw out just about everything he had at that point and start all over.

Keep in mind that The Lord Of The Rings was written during the years of the second World War. There was a serious paper shortage and no such thing as word processors. Tolkien wrote on scraps of paper and the backs of his student's old exam essays. Sometimes he wrote one draft in pencil, then wrote an entirely different draft over top that in ink. I do not envy his son the job he had in deciphering all those notes.

But I am grateful he did it, because watching Tolkien write, outline, stumble and grope for his story makes me realize that we all go through a similar agonizing process when we write. I am NOT J.R.R. Tolkien, but I know exactly how he must have felt as he tried repeatedly to settle on the name and history of Aragorn. I understand how hard it must have been figuring out how many days it took for Frodo and his friends to get from Hobbiton to Rivendale, and why the dates had to be written out over and over again to get the timeline just right. Most of all, I understand that "Aha!" moment he must have had when an anonymous and sinister black rider appeared out of nowhere to ride across the page, forcing Frodo and Sam to hide in fear. I understand because I've done it myself. I think we all have.

I'm not J.R.R. Tolkien, but at the start of the week, when I realized we would be writing about the creative process, I decided to record my own notes and drafts for the story I'm currently working on. Like Tolkien, I write in a scatter shot method, outlining and searching for the story. What follows below is look at what I went through before I hit my own "Aha!" moment for a story I currently call "The Loneliest Number."

18 May 2009

Notes for Heat Flash Erotica Podcast
Story: The Loneliest Number
Numbers theme, June 2009

One is the loneliest number

Three Dog Night – two can be as bad as one, it’s the loneliest number since the number one...

A woman with a partner who doesn’t understand her.

Want a sci-fi story to counter balance the horror and fantasy stories already written for the podcast – Neighbor of the Beast, Three Is A Magic Number

Also want an f/f story, since Neighbor is m/m and group sex, and Three is a m/f/f/f. Variety!

A woman married to another woman. Things aren’t working out, though they should be.

A telepath would always know what’s on other people’s minds. Wouldn’t that make it easier for them to respond to a lover’s needs and desires?

But what if they don’t want to respond, or refuse to accommodate those needs and desires?

Why wouldn’t the telepath help out her partner?

She’s burdened with other people’s needs all day long, due to work.

What kind of work does she do? Criminal investigation, ambassadorial work, translation...

The ambassadorial work might be best, a planetary ambassador who solves major conflicts, a negotiator.

Or maybe a healer of some sort, a psychologist who’s sick of dealing with other people’s needs at the end of the day, seeing what’s in their minds, so she tunes out when she gets home.

She’s a superstar, a futuristic Dr. Phil maybe, and her wife is the envy of everyone because they all think that these two people have the ideal relationship.

The telepath – Rhianna, Rhian

The wife – Lalla, Lal (same name as Data’s daughter in that one ep of next gen)

The public thinks Rhian is the most sensitive person alive because she helps so many others in her work, but they don’t know that when she gets home, she doesn’t want anything to do with anyone, especially her wife who’s feeling lonely.

“Communication is key in any relationship.” Rhian says it, but doesn’t practice it.

When Lal wants some attention or affection, she gets rebuffed. Lal tries taking care of Rhian, but Rhian doesn’t even allow that. She can see what’s going on in Lal’s mind, and it grates on her nerves – the loneliness, the need, the desire. She accuses Lal of being perverted, insensitive, oversexed, when really Lal just needs what any wife would need from her partner.

Then Lal tries to handle things herself, but gets in trouble for that. She can’t even masturbate when Rhian’s around, because that disturbs her too.

“You think I want to listen to you play with yourself all damn night?!”

19 May, 2009

This story is depressing, I want something funny. Wonder if I can make that happen.


What would make this funny, change the mood? Lal’s mood. Not a woman depressed by the end of her marriage, but a woman liberated from the shackles of a relationship.

How do you surprise, seduce a telepath? Is that Lal’s problem? She can’t surprise Rhian anymore?

Other ideas for the phrase, “The Loneliest Number”

A person uncomfortable in crowds? A group mind? A woman who can never get any peace because she’s a telepath?

People who are lonely are people who aren’t understood or appreciated.

A woman with multiple partners and multiple demands. Everyone wants something from her, but no one’s doing anything to take care of her, especially the people who should know better (getting back to that telepathic partner idea again).

Alone in a crowd, lost in a sea of lovers. Alone in an orgy?

Getting closer to an idea...

“Oh yeah? Can you read my mind now?” When her partner finally gets around to taking care of her, it’s too late. Lal is fed up, and mentally tells Rhian to go fuck herself.

Rhian was hot, no doubt about that, but too much trouble to deal with in real life. The fantasy was better.

***A woman who had a fantasy of never being alone, got what she wanted, and then realized she preferred the fantasy.***

She’d always dreamed of being with Rhian. The dream just turned out to be better.

Or she always dreamed of being part of the collective.

What’s the collective? A commune of lovers?

A woman who’s been alone her whole life dreams of having a large number of lovers, and realizes she was better off alone.

How is she better off alone?

She can do what she wants, she can have what she wants. She doesn’t have to answer to anyone else’s demands. She doesn’t have to put off her own needs to take care of others.

It was a bait and switch. The collective advertised for a new partner and Lal got picked. She thought it was her lucky day, but then reality turned out to be kind of lousy.

Yeah, she was getting sex with lots of gorgeous partners, but at what cost?

What’s the price of being part of the collective? What job did Lal end up with? What position did she fulfill within the collective that she didn’t end up liking?

Mother, maid, cook, bottle washer.

When Lal gets fed up, the collective asks her what’s wrong. They’ve given her everything she could ever have wanted – sex, clothes, money, a home... (Group sex. Someone snores. Maybe Lal can’t get any sleep? Maybe she’s tired of being woken up repeatedly for sex, even with really great partners? Would she be the only woman taking care of a band of young, attractive men? The live-in groupie for a band known as the collective? So much for my f/f story idea!) Lal tells them to read her mind, and mentally tells them to fuck off.

One of the most successful bands in the history of pop music, the Collective. A group of telepaths who play together in perfect harmony. Lal is a huge fan of the Collective, fantasizes about them all the time. She wonders what it would be like to be part of a group so close knit.

The Collective does the same to her that every other lover has ever done. They’re not better lovers because they can read her mind. Just more manipulative. Lal is crying at the beginning because she realizes Jae is just using her to get what he wants from her (what does he want?). The Collective is doing the same, only they’re a bit better at it because they can read Lal’s mind (?). But Lal starts to see a pattern. She’s done this before, for Jae and every other boyfriend she’s ever had. She does all the cooking and the cleaning. The sex is great at first, but then she’s doing all this cooking and cleaning and before she knows it, she’s completely wiped out and too tired for sex, or else she wants something and the guy(s) aren’t available for her.

She always falls for the same kind of guy. This time, she just fell for five at once.

What are Lal’s needs? She’d like someone to cook for her once. She’d like to not have to pick up after everyone else. She’d like a little down time. She’s not a maid, dammit! These guys can afford a maid, Jae could afford a maid (a robot maid), but they never get around to getting one for some reason. Or else they hire some attractive woman and Lal feels threatened so the maid has to go and Lal’s stuck cleaning house again.

What else does Lal need? Someone to listen to her. But the guys live such exciting lives, they’re too busy to listen to her. She gets ignored. Yeah, the sex is still great, but...

And after a while, sex with five guys ever night gets a little old.

She talks it over with an old girlfriend, maybe.

Some people are better off on their own.

How quickly does Lal come to realize she’s not going to get hers in this relationship? What’s the first sign?

They guys aren’t all that great in bed. She’s not getting an orgasm, but is left incredibly sexually frustrated. At first she thinks it’s because they work so long, they’re too tired, and they just wear out/fall asleep after they get off. But it happens all the time, and when she asks about it, they say, Next time, babe, we promise. But right now, we’ve got to get up early for rehearsal, recording, whatever, tomorrow... and they fall asleep. It’s incredibly frustrating too, having two guys that gorgeous in her bed, but not getting off herself. She tries to explain. “It’s just that the best way for me to get off is for a lover to...” but then she hears the snoring and realizes they’re both already asleep. Detail that first love scene where the buildup is there, but the specific thing Lal needs (a hand or tongue on her clit, more foreplay, etc.) doesn’t happen, or gets rushed or interrupted, and then when the guys are done, Lal’s left hanging. Eventually, she realizes she’s going to have to take care of her own needs, and she starts masturbating while the guys sleep on either side of her. That actually might wake them up, but only so they can get off and leave her hanging once again (she doesn’t even get to finish up her own orgasm, the guys wake up and go at it with her and then go back to sleep; the next morning they accuse her of being a hungry, naughty little minx and skip off to rehearsal when Lal asks about solving that particular problem {“Yeah, about that. I was thinking maybe this morning we could... “We got ya, babe, but we have to get to rehearsal in five. We’ll take care of you when we get back”]). Pretty soon, Lal realizes she’s just getting sore frustrated, and can’t even masturbate without making things worse.

20 May 2009

A woman hungry for a little physical affection can’t get laid properly in a group mind. She’s always left wanting more. Sure, the gang all say they love her, but what they love is that she’s always available for her. If they really loved her, they’d give her what she needed, pay proper attention to her and make sure she was satisfied.

She’s the groupie for the band, president of the fan club, closer to them than anyone else. And she’s slowly not becoming a fan because these guys don’t pay attention to her needs.
She’s always fantasized about being with the band. Then one day she won a backstage pass and she’s been on the road with them ever since. She didn’t know it would be like this.

And maybe that’s where it starts, with Lal watching the band from backstage, contemplating how it feels to be around them. She can feel the music pulsing in her veins, feel their emotions swirling around her. They’re telepaths; they project their feelings and thoughts into their songs for the audience to hear, and as their lead groupie, Lal maybe has special access. Or maybe she doesn’t. She’s just like everyone else, only she gets to sleep with the band, and that’s not all that great to tell the truth.

They’re no different off stage than they are on. Or rather, she’s no closer to them.

She used to live and die for these guys. Now after touring with them for a year, she’s done.

Are they even paying for her to tour with them?

It’s 6AM. I think we finally have a story idea hashed out. Time to write.

Writing for 20-21 May, 2009

The Loneliest Number (first draft, unedited)
by Helen E. H. Madden

Caz held the mic close to his mouth and poured his heart into every word he sang. His lyrics and emotions flowed through the speakers and into the audience, sweeping them away with a wave of bittersweet desire. Behind him, Paulus stroked the luminous strings of his photonic guitar. The play of light and sparkling notes blended with the harmonies of Orpheo’s emo-synth. Beneath it all came the sound of Jai’s drumming, like the beating of a broken heart.

In the front row, Lalla Wade watched the Collective with tears in her eyes. This particular song always made her cry. It wasn’t just the lyrics or the music, but the emotion the guys felt as they performed. At one time, someone had really broken their heart. She knew who, of course, and why, but that didn’t blunt her reaction to the emotions the band telepathically projected to the audience. The guys wept as they performed, and the audience couldn’t help but weep with them. That was the reason why the song was the hit of every show.

Caz crooned the final words of the lyrics, wringing out every last drop of sorrow from the closing notes. Then, as the audience wiped their eyes, Jai picked up the beat. Paulus and Orpheo joined in with a soaring riff and suddenly the entire place was twisting and grinding, rejoicing in the exuberant throes of love rediscovered. The Collective had a new gal who outshone all previous flames. Caz whooped and skipped across the stage, whipping the audience into a frenzy. He pointed to Lalla in the front row.

“This one’s for Lalla!” he shouted into the mic. “The woman who healed our broken hearts and made life worth living again!”

Caz began to wail into the mic. The crowd roared with approval. Lalla faked a smile and nodded. This song she could resist, especially after listening to it for the last three years. The song was nothing spectacular, just some happy, upbeat little ditty that Caz and Jai had thrown together the morning after Lalla’s first night with the band. The song had gone platinum in just a few weeks, and fans considered it the Collective’s best song ever, which was true but also really sad, considering how lame it was. Paulus and Orpheo joined in on the chorus. The saccharine lyrics made Lalla wince, and she wished she could plug her ears. How many times had she heard this drivel? Too many.

The band opted for the super-long concert version of Lalla’s song, turning the vapid tune into an orgy of happy feelings and mindless good times. They repeated the scant lyrics over and over until the audience was frothing at the mouth. Lalla wanted to crawl into a corner and scream with frustration.

“Oh my gawd, you really must love this song!”

Lalla glanced at the squealing girl beside her. She was a slender thing, barely in her twenties, wearing a second-skin mini-skirt and a hot pink shirt with the faces of the Collective emblazoned across her torso. The points of her nipples stood out clearly beneath Caz’s and Orpheo’s pouting mouths.

“Oh yeah, this is my all time favorite,” Lalla lied. “Number one with a bullet.” **A bullet to the brain**, she added silently.

“What’s it like traveling with the band?” the girl shouted, never taking her eyes off of Caz’s gyrating hips. “I mean, you must be really close to these guys. Really, really close.”

Lalla sighed. “Well, it’s been okay—“

“Oh my gawd! Caz is taking off his shirt!”

The girl jumped up and down, shrieking as the lead singer tore away the silk garment and twirled it over his head. He threw it to Lalla, who quickly stepped out of the way as the rabid fan girl beside her dove to catch it.

“Oh my gawd! Oh! My! Gawd!” the girl screamed. She buried her face in the sweat-soaked garment and inhaled. “It smells like him!”

Lalla caught a whiff of the steaming shirt and cringed. She prayed Caz would take a shower tonight before coming to bed tonight.

The concert lasted another hour. By the time the third encore was over, Lalla was spent. Being the Collective’s number one fan, she took the brunt of their emotional outpouring during every performance. The last dregs of adrenaline still coursing through her body were all that kept her on her feet. When the auditorium lights came up, Lalla said goodbye to the swooning fan girl in the pink shirt and let security lead her away to join the boys.

The two burly guards escorted Lalla to the main dressing room backstage, where she found Caz and the rest sprawled in various states of undress.

“Heeeeey, there’s our girl!” Caz lifted an arm from the couch he lay on and beckoned to Lalla. “Come give us a kiss, baby.”

She tottered over to the couch and slumped next to him, reluctantly allowing herself to be smothered by the sweaty lead singer. She felt one of the other guys settle on the couch behind her, hands slipping under her blouse to squeeze her breasts. Caz’s hands went straight to her skirt, pulling up the hem and trying to slide between her legs.

“Not here,” she murmured, pulling away.

“What?” Caz gave her a disbelieving look. “But you always want a little post-concert cuddle in the dressing room.”

Paulus snapped a towel at Caz. “Give her a break man. Our girl’s tired.” He reached out to Lalla and pulled her up for a kiss. “Besides, we don’t all fit on that couch. Let’s get back to the hotel room and do her proper.”

The rest of the band nodded in agreement. Inwardly, Lalla groaned.

The minor orgy in the limo served as foreplay. Lalla spent the short drive to the hotel on Caz’s lap with her legs spread, skirt hiked up to her waist, blouse unbuttoned and bra pulled down. She couldn’t tell who’s hands played with what part of her body. Was that Jai’s thumb rubbing at her clit? Orpheo’s fingers pinching at her nipples? And who’s cock was she squeezing in her right hand?

By the time the limo arrived at the hotel garage, the boys had Lalla writhing with frustration. The driver looked the other way as she stepped out of the back seat, clit buzzing, nipples swollen and erect, wearing nothing but her high-heeled boots. Caz and Paulus carried her between them to the elevator, followed by Jai and Orpheo. Before the doors were closed, they were on her again, rubbing against her, whispering in her ear, pouring their desire into her brain. Lalla couldn’t resist. She got down on her knees and took the first cock she could find into her mouth. Between the garage and the penthouse, she tasted them all.

The elevator opened directly into the foyer of the penthouse. The Collective, plus Lalla, made it as far as the red leather couch in the living room. In spite of Paulus’ earlier complaints, that was where they stayed. Caz bent Lalla over the back of the couch so he could thrust into her. Paulus stood on the other side, coaxing her mouth open for another blow job. Jai and Orpheo sat to either side, stroking Lalla’s swaying breasts as they waited for their turns.

“Oh man, you feel good,” Caz said as he slammed into Lalla’s dripping cunt. “This is exactly what I needed after a hard day’s work. I love you, babe.”

She supposed he meant it. She could certainly feel Caz’s need and desire as he fucked her. She could feel them all; every little emotion, every sexual need. Paulus was on the verge of coming, and she could feel how badly he wanted to release inside her mouth. Jai wanted Lalla down on her knees again, sucking his cock. Orpheo would be content with a hand job, so long as it finished with him spraying all over her naked breasts. And Caz? Caz wanted what he always wanted, one good, lengthy fuck with Lalla calling out his name when he came.

None of them knew what Lalla wanted, though. Even though they were telepaths, none them had ever listened to her thoughts. They only projected their wants and needs onto her. They were the band, after all, and she was their number one fan. Anything they wanted, she would do.

The orgy lasted well into the night. Around 3AM, the boys were finally spent. Jai and Orpheo crawled off to bed. Paulus fell asleep on the couch. Caz dragged Lalla into his room. He pulled her into bed and threw his sweaty arm around her.

“Caz?” She rolled over to face him, pushing her hips against his. “I’m not done yet.”

“Oh baby,” he murmured. “I’m wasted. The concert just wore me out. I’m sorry...”

He fell asleep without another word. While he snored, Lalla stared at the ceiling, her clit practically screaming for attention. It wouldn’t have taken much, just a few minutes of gentle stroking to send her over the edge and into bliss. But Caz was done and the rest of the guys were out too. After a few minutes, Lalla got out of the bed and headed into the bathroom. She turned on the shower and stepped in. As hot water coursed over her body, she took care of the problem herself. It didn’t take much. Just a few well placed strokes of her fingers brought about the orgasm she so desperately needed. When it was over, she leaned against the tiled wall and cried....


  1. Helen, OMG! I'm rolling here. Ask a simple question...

    Does your family ever accuse you of being chatty?

    The new WIP looks great, BTW.

    Have a great weekend!


  2. Hey, Helen,

    Thanks for letting us listen in on your inner conversations.

    What I found fascinating is the way you use questions to lead yourself on. I do the same thing (though I rarely write down all the stages). What if? Why? What's the background? What does this character really want?

    It's not really free association. It's more like guided fantasy.

    What I find fascinating is the way your story morphed from your earliest ideas to the semi-final cut. Just about the only aspects that you retain are the notion of telepathy, and the dissatisfaction of the main character.

    I'd love to see you write the F/F version, though, too. It's sounds a bit more subtle.


  3. Hey guys! Sorry I didn't respond until today. I left Friday morning for a convention and had no luck with an internet connection all weekend. I just got home last night.

    Jamie, yes, I am the talker in the family. I can go a mile or more a minute. The ability to string lots of words together is not limited to what I can do with my mouth, but also extends to my hands so I suppose that's why I'm a writer ;)

    Lisabet, I always ask questions when I write. It's a game of "What If" and when I'm stuck for ideas, I keep asking questions, sometimes the same question over and over until I get an answer. As for that story, I wondered also if the f/f version would be more subtle, and may get back to it. The story looked to be much longer than what I wanted for the podcast, so it's been put in the 'pecolate' stack until I have a few more ideas worked out. But it will come back for another round of brainstorming and writing ;)

    Thanks guys!!

  4. So when do we have a chance of seeing/reading this new story? I love the sound of it!



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