Thursday, September 17, 2009

Darker Pleasures

Once upon a time (long, long ago) I co-authored a story with Jude Mason.

If Jude is reading this, I don’t doubt she will remember some of the fun (and the titillating pictures) we had on the Darker Pleasures website.

Jude had actually scored me the gig at Darker Pleasures. When the editor said he was looking for ‘damned good’ writers Jude kindly put my name forward. I don’t know whether she thought I was ‘good’ or just ‘damned.’

The remit was usually simple: make a story that fits with a collection of BDSM pictures the editor had stored on the site. The stories already incorporated an erotic theme and included some characters. Our job was to simply add a little bit of story to give a sense of narrative flow to the images.

Of course, not all the stories were accompanied by pictures. And, it was whilst we were discussing the scope that this left us, that Jude and I decided to work together on a story. In short, this was when Jude took my collaborating virginity. Rest assured, dear reader, she was gentle with me.

I have to admit, as experiences go, I enjoyed the challenge of writing with a partner. Everything that has been said so far this week is absolutely right. It’s a different writing experience when you’re working to accommodate and adjust to another author’s style. It can be faster, more immediate, and more rewarding. In our situation there was an onus to produce work of the highest calibre so that we weren’t forcing each other to stumble over poorly constructed sentences or clumsy content. There was also something of an unspoken challenge to try and be a little more innovative or unusual.

Co-authoring isn’t something I’ve done often but I have to recommend the experience. As well as reminding a writer about the importance of striving for the highest standard, it’s a pleasure to occasionally break the mould of the lonely practice of writing. In addition, the immediate feedback from a respected colleague is invaluable. And, the biggest bonus of all: if another reader says they don’t like part of your story, it’s always possible to place the blame for that portion of the narrative on your writing partner.


  1. Hey, Ash,

    I had no idea that you'd co-written anything with Jude. (Promiscuous pen-pusher, isn't she...?)

    I like your notion that having a partner holds you to a higher standard. I imagine that's true. You can't pretend that you've done your best when you really haven't.

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. Hi Lisabet,

    I certainly found that working with someone was making me produce writing to the best of my abilities. I'm (usually) a polite person and I try to consider the feelings of those I'm working with. Consequently, when I wrote with Jude, I didn't want to put her in the position of say, "Ash, this is crap," especially if it was something I would have addressed on a subsequent revision.

    Thanks for reading and responding,


  3. I just like where you mentioned you could push the blame off on someone else if a part doesn't work! };D

    Ah, sounds like you two had fun. I will have to try co-authoring sometime. If I can find time in my schedule for it and a partner who could stand me!

  4. Ash,

    You were a virgin!?


    Who knew?

    You never told me! Heck, I'd have left that big...uh... never mind. LOL

    The story was called, Orchestrated Punishment and was one heck of a fun story to write. If I'm not mistaken, it was our shared history of playing a squeeze box type instrument that got us going on the idea. I even remember the picture you sent me.

    Oh, I bet everyone's curious now... LOL Good memories and another really good experience for me co-writing.

    Great post, Ash. Thanks!


  5. Hey Ash,

    Jude scored me a gig at Darker Pleasures, too, and it was fun while it lasted. I'll have to ask her for a copy of your story--she keeps everything, you know. LOL

    Great post!


  6. Hi Helen,

    Sometimes, when the crazy ideas come, it's handy to be able to blame them on someone else ;-)

    Thanks for reading & responding,


  7. Hi Jude,

    Orchestrated Punishment! I remember it now. And I've also been remembering the fun times we used to have at Darker Pleasures. It really was a great site to work for.

    Thanks for reading & responding,


  8. Hi Jenna,

    I loved writing for Darker Pleasures. It was a hell of an experience. If you get a chance to read Orchestrated Punishment you'll see how we were trying to outdo each other on the craziness stakes.

    Thanks for reading & responding,


  9. Hi Ashley

    I also like that idea that a partner holds you to a higher standard. It gives you someone to write for. I've always believed that every writer has one particular person alive or dead that they write for.


  10. Hi Garce,

    I think that's true. We're all writing to please someone other than ourselves. Having a writing partner seems to capitalise on the that facet of being a writer and makes us produce material to a higher standard.

    Thanks for reading & responding,



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