Wednesday, June 16, 2004

BYSTANDER: One Piece at a Time

I've been gradually posting new chapters of a story called "Bystander" on the Perils of Batman Yahoo group for the last couple of days, despite (more likely because of) the huge pile of paying work staring me in the face right now. This is my first bat-tale in a long, long time; I actually finished the rough draft a few months ago and finally decided it was time to get it out there.

I love the serial form: post a little bit here, then wait, then a little bit more. Cliffhangers aplenty. (Not much happens in the new story for the first five or six chapters; it's all about building suspense--what WILL happen, when something finally does?)

Obviously I trace my fondness for the format to the "Batman" TV show and those interminable waits from one night to the next to find out how -- or if!-- our heroes were going to escape their latest deathtrap. In a more high-minded state, I think about how Dickens used to serialize his novels, which naturally shaped their form and style, and I remember how a friend and I used to say that soap operas had so much potential as a storytelling device with their gradual unveiling of character development and texture... but let's pretend I didn't just say that. Basically, I fetishize the phrase "tune in tomorrow--same bat-time, same bat-channel" as much as the batsuit. To me, the sexiest part of these stories is the wait between "to be continued" and "in our last episode..." In a way I wish I could draw it out even longer.

Anyway, the new story is an attempt to do something new, at least new for me: tell a slash story from the point of view of an everyday citizen who is wrapped up in one of these wild comic-book plots. Kind of a sex-friendly version of the graphic novel MARVELS. (BTW, the end of the story has given me an idea for a new one, but lemme get through this one first.)

The other thing I love, in addition to keeping readers waiting for the next installment, is the chance to refine and revise: first I write the rough draft, then I sit on it for a while, then I rethink and tweak the language (and whatever plot inconsistencies I happen to catch) before I post it to a Yahoo group, then I come back to it again before posting it on my "Secret Room" site. Probably doesn't sound very sexy, but I love the process. In its own way, it's as erotic to me as the original scenario in my head.

Now, THAT's a kink.

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