Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Lesbian Chocolate Sex Scene, or Life With Exordium

This appeared today on the Book View Cafe blog

Among the joys of living with a fellow writer (in this case, my husband, Dave Trowbridge) are the unexpected things that come up during dinner conversation


“How was your day, dear?”

“Splendid! The lesbian chocolate sex scene works better than ever.”

It always was a terrific scene. Even in the original print version of Exordium 2: Ruler of Naught. I wondered what he and Sherwood (Smith, his co-author and co-conspirator) have done to make it better. Ruler of Naught, like the first Exordium volume, The Phoenix in Flight, have been extensively revised for their Book View Café ebook editions.

He goes on, “They’ve covered themselves in chocolate and are licking it off one another, and this of course distracts the enemy general enough to change the course of the entire space battle.”


We experience stories in different ways. Some are meant to be told aloud and fall rather flat when transposed into a fixed medium. The reverse is true as well, for not all writing reads aloud well, or transcribes into another medium like film well, which is why the movie version of a novel is different.

What has any of this to do with lesbians and chocolate (not to mention alien chastity devices for men and supraluminal battles in space)? Be patient, my friends.

Some writers like to talk about their works in progress, or brainstorm ideas and plot snippets. I used to live with an engineer, and when I’d get stuck on skiffy stuff, we’d go for a long walk and I’d pick her brains, which mean explaining what I needed the technogeekery for. This doesn’t work for everyone. For some writers, talking about a work-in-formation or a work-in-progress dissipates the creative passion, so there’s none left for the actual writing.

At last comes the moment when the story is finished, either in draft-ready-for-critiquing or final published form. Assuming your friend/spouse/partner actually wants to you to read it, that’s a very different proposition from listening to the fluid amalgam of ideas.

This woman is infuriating, you are muttering. When is she going to get to the part with the chocolate? And the sex? Hold on…

A special delight awaits those of us who get a peek at the process of revising a finished work. Nothing is truly finished, we know that. At some point, we just have to turn it in and move on, or the nits and bits will eat our lives. There are always editorial compromises, and “this is the best we can do right now”s. We learn by doing, we improve our writing by practicing it in a thoughtful manner, and our ideas change and mature as we go, as well. When you put those together with advances in technology and science, not to mention the growth of the writers, a work of the length and scope of Exordium practically begs to be revisited.

Okay. The scene. But wait! In order to truly understand it, you have to know about the furniture that’s been ejected into space. Oh, and that the man looking on (one-eyed, of course) has an… um, “Emasculator” attached to the… um, masculine part of his anatomy. Not, I point out, voluntarily.

I read the original print version when Dave and I were courting and honestly, if I hadn’t had such a personal motive, I might not have made it through the first 150 pages. It’s not that I dislike space opera; on the contrary, I find it great fun, especially when done with wit and intelligence and bravado, all of which Exordium has in generous quantities. The opening seemed to be one sequence after another in which I got introduced to a character, began to care about him or her, and then the character would get killed. Once I got passed that, I was hooked both by the sweep and forward movement, the vastness of the story, but by all the unexpected elements that come out of nowhere and fit perfectly anyway.

So I was delighted to hear that when Dave and Sherwood decided to offer the Exordium series as ebooks through Book View Café, they rewrote that beginning.

Ah, yes. The chocolate scene. It occurs twice, actually, as if once were utterly insufficient for chocolate. Once is when it’s actually happening, in part as revenge against the one-eyed man, and once when the recording is re-played. Did I mention the furniture? That’s an important motivation.

If you, like me, appreciate the role of chocolate as an instrument of military strategy, an alien race that reveres The Three Stooges, space battles in which the speed of light plays a crucial role, exiled princes and galaxy-spanning empires, plots and action, romance and betrayal, and elegant manners and fart jokes, you’ll find much to delight you in this series.

Oh, the scene? Here’s a tidbit, from the middle of the battle:

The main tactical screen jerked and froze. Multiple screens smeared into unintelligibility. The hyperwave discriminators had finally overloaded.


“Communications!” Juvaszt shouted even as Terresk-jhi stabbed frantically at her console, and sat back as an image appeared on the main screen.


Juvaszt’s jaw dropped. The entire bridge crew stared.


Anaris blinked, but the image on the main viewscreen was still there. Incredibly still there: two naked women, one small and spare, one tall and spectacular, writhed on the deck of a ship in a tangle of limbs, their tongues following streaks of some viscous dark liquid across each other’s body…


In writing, as well as lovemaking and warfare, timing and placement are everything.

There’s more — of course there’s more — but you’ll have to read the whole book (which you can download here. Which means you really should start with The Phoenix In Flight. Which is on sale, to help you get started. Enjoy!

2 comments:

  1. You had me at 'lesbians and chocolate'! Scooting over to BVC now ...

    ReplyDelete