The Method to My Madness, Part Three

  • Posted on November 29, 2016 at 4:11 pm

The Art of Making It Believable

By Cheryl Taggert 

Originally, a fair amount of what follows was an addendum to the end of Part Two of I Was the Daughter of a Porn Star. I have done some editing, additions, and deletions to create this blog post, so it is not exactly what appeared at the end of Chapter 60. I go more into why I did what I did, the concern with pacing, as well as addressing the remainder of the novel, which is Part Three.

I must say I am proud of this phase of my erotic novel. Normally, an author just lets the story stand for itself, but because I communicate with my readers through comments on the website, making me feel much closer to you all, I felt more was needed than just saying adios to a couple of characters who had played such a big part in this story.

I’ve known for a long time that Carlo and Gwen would die in the rescue, as well as Pablo. The other minor characters who chased Cindy and the twins through the brush died because the story required it, and I know that nobody felt the loss of them at all since they were what I would call “bit players” in the story. Besides, they were part of the “bad guys” and those losses are not mourned the way the death of a “good guy” is.

There are a number of reasons I chose to kill off Carlo and Gwen. First, there is this thing called making a story believable. Having our heroes unscathed at the end of this hastily concocted escape scene just would not pass what I call the believability test.  While much of what we write here is beyond that scope because we want to write the erotic scenes, not convince our readers that nearly every woman in the world craves sex with their daughters, etc., when I tackled the idea of writing a section that dedicated itself to a suspense angle, I knew I needed to prevent my reader from saying to him- or herself, “Oh, come on, now. Really?” at the end. Read any suspense novel, and more often than not someone the reader likes suffers by the end of the book, often suffering death.

That was the case here. I knew from the outset that one of the three women would have to die to create what is known as verisimilitude, which is the appearance of being real. That is also the reason Cindy is not the one to shoot Pablo, which would have been a sort of completion of a circle in the story. The idea of Cindy being well-trained in shooting a gun, despite not having a gun in her hand in at least five years, and making the shot is not believable. The idea of luck entering the story at this point would strain credulity as well. She was lucky enough to escape with her life.

As I say, I knew one of the women would have to not make it. If it were Cindy, the entire rescue would be considered a failure, regardless of having saved the twins as a sort of token happy ending, overall. If it were Kayleigh, we would lose a character we’ve known since chapter one, a heroine of the story overall. More than that, the loss of her mother would have to have a devastating effect on Cheryl, which I was not planning to create in the story.

This left Gwen. She was peripheral for the most part. She was fighting to save Cindy despite knowing she was playing with fire and risking her life. Her life had even been threatened to leave it alone, but she did it anyway. Unlike the other two women, she was not necessary to the rest of the novel. The decision, then, became an easy one, despite the loss of a character I liked, as well as everyone else reading this.

I once read that Agatha Christie wanted to kill off Hercule Poirot for years, but she didn’t do it for marketing reasons. This would be like James Patterson killing off Alex Cross. (If you don’t know this writer and character, think Ian Fleming killing off James Bond… same thing.) Had I written a series that included Gwen and killed her off in book ten or something, I would expect a tremendous backlash. Stephen King’s main character in Misery suffered the ultimate backlash after killing a favorite character. Gwen, however, only appears in the dozen or so chapters of this book where she takes part, so while I knew there would be backlash, I felt safe in saying good-bye to her. The good news is that I am considering bringing her back to life to be the heroine in my mainstream book, but with a different character name.

The fact that some of you have expressed your sadness over the loss of Gwen only means I did what I set out to do. That you care about my characters is the greatest compliment any writer can receive. It means they are more than words on a page. They have become real to you.

I set out to make Part Two an erotic thriller that would become a page-turner more for the suspense than for the sex, and I believe I have succeeded. I worried that the vast majority of you would stop reading this book because there were chapters totally devoid of erotic scenes. I am sure some did move on to other stories, and that’s fine. I cannot force people to read my work, and this is an erotica site, after all. That many of you not only kept reading, but also urged me to ‘hurry up’ with the next chapter is music to my ears. I am humbled by your admiration of my work.

It wasn’t easy to write the suspense portion of the story. I was always concerned with pacing, not wanting to venture too far into the suspense without having, for want of a better term, sexual relief (as opposed to comic relief). Pacing is an important aspect of any story. Readers would tire of a story in which nothing seems to ever really happen. Likewise, they would get exhausted reading a book that was always like waiting for the bad guy to jump out of the closet. There needs to be balance. Fortunately, the sex in an erotic novel is a natural moment to allow the reader to just enjoy the story.

That will be different in my mainstream novel, of course. No publisher would buy a book in which the main characters — a mother and daughter — were engaged in an incestuous lesbian affair, regardless how much he or she enjoyed that aspect on a personal level. But pacing is an important thing to remember when writing, regardless of the subject matter. Pacing is having the right amount of one aspect in the story before moving to another. As a writer, you want just enough, but not too much.

This is how cliff-hangers are created. Just as you are getting interested in one character’s exploits, a chapter ends and you are somewhere else with another character and situation, and that other character and his or her situation that you were so interested in must wait until later to be resolved. This keeps the reader reading, hoping to return to that other situation soon. When you finally do return, you have grown enormously interested in that other character and situation. It’s urgent as a writer to make these choices correctly.

Part Three of this novel will involve the character Cheryl as a young adult, ages 18 to 24. She is of legal age now, and her life continues to be filled with sex and love, which are the reasons for the story in the first place. She will attend a local university for some very personal reasons, and meet new and exciting friends — many of them children. She will also meet the love of her life (I wonder what name I will give her??) and deal with the intricacies of being in a committed relationship, much of them autobiographical. I will go ahead and tell you that I will write about how I first met Lisa. Some of our old friends will return, like Deanna, who didn’t have much to do once the rescue of Cindy started being planned, as well as Deanna’s sister Elizabeth, who is newly married and sneaks to have sex with Deanna. I am also bringing back Nikki, the daughter of Rick and Tera, the production assistants who asked Cheryl and Deanna to seduce their daughter. We haven’t seen her since she was five. She would be fourteen now that Cheryl is eighteen. She might even have a little sister to share with the girls… and my readers. 😉

So I hope you come along for the ride that is Part Three of my longest erotic novel. Funny thing is that when I started this, I thought it might go twenty chapters, twenty-two at most. As of this writing, I have completed chapter 64, with at least another dozen in the plans.

So sit back, grab something to sit on if you are a girl or something to come into if you are a guy, and enjoy what I hope will be the hottest chapters I’ve written to date.

Previous articles in this series:

The Method to My Madness  (June 12, 2015)

More of My Madness  (February 16, 2016)


No comments on The Method to My Madness, Part Three

  1. David says:

    Can’t wait Cheryl. I enjoy your stories, and everyone else’s very much.

  2. PoppaBear says:

    I, for one, was sure that Carlo would die, but Gwen was a surprise, although your reasoning is impeccable.

    Good story, Cheryl, and now back to basics. Right?

  3. Drod says:

    I love this series, Cheryl. But, I’m still bummed about Gwen. Still, I understand your reasoning.

    I’m way too emotionally involved, I know. 😉

  4. Evan says:

    Can’t wait!!
    Thanks for the explanations and details, and letting us into your head 🙂

  5. sue says:

    I loved reading Charles Dickens and he killed off characters I loved left and right. But many of them I felt sad about losing in the story. So anyway great job Cheryl. and I did like Pablo getting killed,sorry I shouldn’t but I love it when the villain gets what’s coming to them, though the death was well done, him not knowing how or why he died, he’s just dead. Very real. Anyway, yeah ready for lots more sex.thanks.

  6. Cheryl says:

    Thank you all so much for your supportive comments! This particular blog series not only serves to help you get inside my head to see how I go about writing my stories, but it also helps me learn about myself as a writer. When I force myself to explain the process of writing, I understand my own mind and the way I think and create more clearly.

  7. Cheryl says:

    I just revisited this blog post, and I am rather intrigued by something: I had planned to bring back several characters (Deanna’s sister Elizabeth and Nikki, the daughter of Rick and Tera), yet by the time I got to the end of the story, they had not made so much as a bow. This illustrates that I am not much for planning out each chapter well in advance. Mostly, I got involved with the relationship between the fictional counterparts to myself and my wife, Lisa. Once that took over the story, the ideas I had once had to bring them back went out the window.

    I apologize to anyone who kept reading the book, hoping for a return of these characters. I certainly intended to bring them back for one last fling. However, as I’ve stated in previous blog posts in this series, my stories tend to take on a life of their own, and I frequently just follow along as the one putting the words down on the screen.

    That’s what happened here. You will notice that the vast majority of Part Three concerns the relationship between Cheryl and Lisa. That took on a life of its own, and now we are left with the memories of those other two characters.

    As I write this comment to my blog entry, the only chapter left to publish is the final one, chapter 88. After that, I have an Author’s Afterword that will post as another in this series about writing. I hope you read them both.

    I may one day pick up these characters again, especially Nikki. She seems like a good “spin-off” character to write about.

    But don’t hold your breath. Other projects are brewing, and those must be seen to first.

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