OldFan asked me a question that I started to anwser till it turned into a rambling multipart response. The question was-
I notice that in general your stories seem to be somewhat shorter these days (except for the occasional long multi-parter) than they used to be. Is that just how your style has evolved, a reflection of your posting medium, or maybe just not having as much time available?
Actually, I have more time now to write than I have ever had. My wife leaves me alone when I tell her I want to write, which is an incredible change from the ex-wife. I can actually write when I want to instead of waiting for her to leave the house or getting up at 5am to get some writing done. But for all my extra time, my stories are much shorter. What is up with that?
The first reason is as an observer of other mediums, I notice that good movies and comic books start the story as late as possible. When I first started writing, I had this urge to explain everything. I wanted the reader to know a lot about the character, be fully informed on why the plot is happening and I wanted to establish everything ahead of time. I think this comes from being a newbie writer but I also think it comes from living with a highly critical woman who used to nitpick me to death. I over explained because I was trying to head off criticism from my ex-wife.
The thing I learned over time is that readers are smart. Not only that, but readers have a wealth of previous reading to draw from. Even my youngest readers have been raised on countless television shows and Harry Potter. They understand that when they read an erotic story, something sexy is about to happen. If the story begins in a work environment, they start to fill in their own erotic feelings about work. If I start the story in the bedroom and in the middle of sex, they bring their own expectations about what happened right before this moment.
I’ve learned to do a lot of this by evoking certain cliche triggers. I can mention that someone is curvy and people insert their own definition of the word, along with the personalities they associate with it. I can mention a woman is older, and readers imagine anyone from 30 to 80. It’s not laziness on my part although I sometimes accuse myself of it. Reading the responses I get from my readers, I notice that they infer a lot of things that I didn’t put in, but their inference made the story more enjoyable for themselves.
I also can’t discount the effect blogging as had on my story lengths. Back when I felt compelled to post every single day, I was forced to approach stories with the attitude of “What do I really want to say here?” Sometimes what I wanted to say was a single moment. Over time I realized that this brevity was actually a good thing. If all I really wanted to say was a few moments about an employee bent over and saying how bad she is, why add anything else to it? That is the erotic moment I want people to think about, and in so many cases, anything extra is unnecessary. The fast pace of blogging forced me to edit myself and I think every writer can benefit from that.
I hope that answers your question. if anyone else has anything, let them rip.