So I went with @genrelibrarian to a writer’s workshop tonight at the local library. The workshop was being run by the extremely talented Laura Resau (Her website here), who discussed character and setting. It was a great night, and I had a lot of fun.
One of the things that Laura discussed was a part that she excised from her book What the Moon Saw, about slug sex (don’t ask – it’ll take more time to explain than required, and by then, you’ll be fed up with it and not want anything else to do with it). Anyways, It stuck with me for some reason, and when we got to the writing exercise for the night, we had to write a scene where we described a scene using all the senses.
Now, before you guys go getting all up in arms – this is not about slug sex. I promise! As for it being tasteful, well, I never said it was going to be good, just no slug sex.
With that out of the way, I present my writing exercise.
Returning to the apartment, I unlocked the door, and put my shoulder to it. The oppressive mugginess had swelled the door, and it required me to throw my bulk against it twice. The wood squeaked and squealed in protest, before popping open with a damp thock!
Stepping inside, the heat was worse. All the curtains were pulled, dimming the room substantially, making it almost impossible to see. My foot collided with a mess of empty aluminum while I swung the door shut. Wedging itself at the edge of the jamb, I sighed and trudged down the trash strewn hall, the odor of stale beer and week-old pizza assaulting my nose.
As I stepped into the living room, I was mildly shocked to see the debris had only multiplied marginally. The stench, however, seemed to fill the room, much like a fat man in an elevator after a chili cook-off. My eyes drifted over the carnage of the room to settle on the source of such olfactory offense.
Kyle was sprawled along the length of the couch, reading something. His feet wiggled obscenely, flashing grotesque bits of dirt and fungus, While his shorts, once a nice pair of bermudas I had loaned him, were crumpled and stained, wadding up near his crotch. His gut lolled out from under his grey-ish shirt like molasses waiting for the signal to drip lazily onto the floor.
I had hoped to slip past him, but a pizza box caught my foot halfway across the room.
Tipping the magazine slightly, his gaze met mine. I felt a slight tickle of fear in the back of my throat. A small smile played threateningly at the edges of his food crusted mouth. I knew if I looked at the title of whatever he was reading, I would be treated to a verbal recounting of his literature.
I couldn’t help myself.
To my horror, I saw The Best Arthropod Erotica of the Year, Vol. 6.
Looking back up, Kyle opened his mouth.
“Oi! Listen ta dis!” He was off and running. “Slowly, we slid across each other, the slime trail I had laid across her back glistening wetly in the moonlight. She was a magnificent specimen, and I could feel the pressure building in my abdomen. Before I knew it, I-“
“WHOA! ENOUGH!” I shouted him down. I was feeling nauseated, and not just from his reading. A subtle crosswind had managed to blow the air from his mouth in my direction and the stench of apparent raw sewage was killing my resolve to stay in the room. Stomping off to my room, I could feel his greasy smile boring into my back.
‘If I could just get him off the lease’ I thought to myself as I slammed the door to my room.
Alright, I apologize. I guess some slug sex managed to sneak in. However, this scene actually started out with the magazine itself. For some reason, I thought of the title of the magazine, and started thinking backwards. Namely, who the hell would read something like this in the first place? What sort of demeanor would this person have? Is there really enough arthropod erotica to justify a book, much less six volumes? After laying that out, I just had to figure out who would be interacting with this type of character.
Am I going to follow up on this? turn it into a story?
But, you never know.