College sucked. I had no idea how sheltered and controlling my childhood was until I went to college. Everything I knew about college came from H.P. Lovecraft and B-movies. It was a reality shock in so many ways I can’t even begin to describe. It didn’t help that I had the Roommate From Hell, a pot smoking rich kid who was sleeping with a gorgeous blonde that he didn’t like. I thought the only kids who went to college were nerds like me.
It also didn’t help that my finacial aid was in limbo for 80% of the semester. When my aid did come in, my mother was pestering me for a cut of the money. There were days where I just dreamed of pizza like most boys dream of the Swedish Bikini Team.
So college sucked. I got married and worked in the same college town that I had so many unhappy experiences. I lived in an apartment building that had mostly college students. Years after I was done with college, I was still soaking in that enviroment.
Brenda McKean was a wish fufillment story. I wished that instead of running into spoiled potheads that I had ran into some sort of group that would have taken me under their wing. In a way, I wanted substitute parents. Since my own parents were more interested in my finacial aid than they were in me, I wish I had a group that would have shown me the ropes, taught me basic social skills and made me feel less like a freak.
I had this idea of a secret society that would take nerds in and give them sexual adventures beyond their imagination. I made her a female student because I like female characters and quite a few female readers said I wrote beleivable female characters. On a more selfish note, female writers were known for getting many times the fan mail that a male writer gets. Since this story was important to me, I really wanted to get some input. I created a female identity to get fan mail and to create another myth like Arthur G. Thomas.
The actual story was called “The Secret League of U.T.” Get it? Get it? Oh I am being so dirty. The initials spell SLUT, a word that I had begun to percieve as a positive reclaiming of sexual identity rather than an insult. Here’s a sad secret: I had no idea what U.T. stood for. I hoped I would figure it out sometime.
The biggest problem the series faced was my conflicting interests. I wanted to tell a story about a nerdy girl who joins a special sorority. There are some elements of sororities that are very submissive and those elements fascinated me. Brenda has to push herself to prove she is worthy, yet also do exhibitionistic things to get her out of her shell. As much as I was interested in elevating Brenda, I was also just as interested in the domination aspects of the story. As a writer, I know now that you really can’t write anything unless you do it with a clarity of purpose. Brenda’s story was trying too hard to satisfy too many of my own goals.
As for the fan mail, well that was certainly an experience. Because Brenda came across as submissive and naive, the majority of my fan mail was from men who desperately wanted to train her to be their naive submissive. I wasn’t getting fan mail, I was getting offers.
One type of fan popped up over and over again. The man would decimate my story and point out every typo, bad sentence structure and any other error he could imagine. Then they would offer to be my mentor and editor. This was also followed by questions about my personal life and an insistence that I anwser them right away. The e-mails would piss me off so I had a rule that I would wait 24 hours before responding. The interesting result of this was that the ‘fan’ would write an angry follow up letter berating me for not responding. Now, it’s now like I didn’t respond for a week. Some of these angry follow ups would be within the hour! These angry stalkers would then escalate into threats and ultimatiums.
Instead of increased dialogue about my story, having a female alias just generated stalkers. Interesting side note, the female stalkers were about 30% of the stalker total. Of course they could have been men for all I know.
The series ended after only three chapters. The stalkers who would tear down everything I wrote and then expect my submission really burned me out. I also ran into a problem where I felt like I just couldn’t write about a woman coming of age since I am you know, a guy. Looking back now it seems painfully obvious that I should have made a male character and I would have been able to write a whole book on the subject. Funny what you learn as a writer.
Here are the links to the story chapters-
I will be using elements from the story in my new Society stories. I have already used the Evil Roommate in a book I wrote about another college girl. The Wet T-shirt contest was recycled and expanded in another Coming of Slut story of mine. The most important thing I learned from Brenda was that the story of a Secret Society can not be told from the point of view of one gender, much less one person.