Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Warning:  this post is not about D&D or role-playing.  Read ahead at your own risk.

I wrote this earlier today on twitter:

"Thinking about writing a book about two middle class noobs who try BDSM and find themselves TOTALLY put off by the culture.  Good idea?"

Wrote this first draft in the last hour or so.  Just consider it a stab at an opening.  I'm debating calling it the title above, 'Square.'


Entangled in their thoughts, they drove home the last ten blocks without a word. They rolled up their driveway and into their garage. She climbed out with her purse and the small backpack she liked to carry. He gathered his coat from the backseat and two bags with things they’d purchased at the mall. He followed her into the house.

“I’m going to take a fast shower,” she said.

“Hot chocolate?”

“That would be nice.”

He dropped the bags in the computer room. These had nothing special in them; two movies to watch the next weekend, a pair of jeans for him and a new cord for the computer. He tossed his coat next to the bag and turned towards the kitchen.

From the cupboard, he took down his cup and hers. He flipped on the kettle, which they kept full, and found the fixings for hot chocolate. Carefully, he concocted each cup differently, knowing she liked hers with more cream than he did. Then he put the instant cocoa, the sugar and the cream away and leaned comfortably to wait for the water to boil.

His name was Tom. Hers was Susan. They had been married for eleven years, since meeting together in Professor Hill’s ironhanded religious studies class in university. He had been wasting four years following a political science education. She had used her time wisely with a business degree. They had liked each other immediately.

Following university, Tom had decided to pursue a living through his summer job rather than his education. Every year he worked by framing houses and in other construction, making good money, enough to pay for most of his schooling. Sue’s student loans had been oppressive but his had been light enough to let him pursue another two years of education as a carpenter. He got his ticket four years into their marriage – just as Sue’s career was finally getting off the ground.

Sue made more money than him now – though they mutually agreed that he worked harder than her. Her days were consumed with expanding brand recognition, market placement and event coordination for a tiny stakeholder partnership focused on farmland and rural housing. The partnership had doubled in size since Sue had started with them, five years ago.

Tom had spent that five years building his own renovation business. He had wallowed for some years – but this last season was proving his best ever. As the kettle began to rattle on its way to boiling, Tom considered the troubles surrounding the Swiftson’s kitchen renovation that he had solved that morning. Another month and he’d have it sewn up – giving them more than enough money to finally reconsider their plans to have children.

It hadn’t been a great evening. They’d followed a friend’s advice and seen a very bad film. Tom guessed that Sue was upstairs washing the film’s ugliness out of her system. He smiled. That was like her. She tended to let things affect her physically. He wanted to talk it out, get rid of it that way – but she preferred a personal scrubbing.

The water boiled and he let it be. He’d wait until she started down the stairs before turning it on again. No sense in letting the cocoa grow cold in the cups.

It wasn’t long before Sue came down to join him, wearing her favorite plush white robe. He poured the re-boiled water into their cups and settled down at the kitchen table with her.

“Feel better?” he asked.

“Yes.” She sipped from the cocoa. “Nice.”

“Yeah, some things can be.” He paused. “It was a pretty bad movie.”

“Disastrously bad. Why would someone willingly go somewhere with a man like that?”

“Stupidity? She didn’t seem very bright to me.”

“Her? What about him. Every scene where he was supposed to be this big business guy was painful.” She put her hand to her ear, faking a phone. “No! No! I want it done right now! Because I said so!” She broke down laughing. “Great dialogue.”

He’d heard some of this in the car already – but he chuckled, watching her. “Yeah,” he said. “Pretty bad. That wasn’t the worst thing, though.”


“Well . . . I expected there’d be more,” he said. “I was thinking, he’s this rich guy, he can afford anything he wants. I figured when he finally does get the girl back to his dungeon, it ought to be a pretty amazing place. Then we got there and it’s what – a bed? A few walls with stuff? Pretty cheap.”

“What were you expecting?”

“I don’t know. I’m pretty stupid about these things. I expected to be enlightened – to see something I never imagined.”

“I can see that,” she agreed. “It wasn’t very much. Not after all the build-up. The book sold something like fifty million copies and the internet has been buzzing about it for a couple of years . . .”

Her voice trailed off as she saw his expression. “What is it?”

“Hm? I was wondering something, that’s all.”

“Go ahead.”

Tom frowned. “It’s not easy to say. Kind of embarrassing, actually. Do you –”

He stopped.

“Do I ever think of trying bondage again?” Sue asked for him.

“Bingo,” he said.

“To be honest,” she started, “Maybe a little. Recently. Since everyone started talking about it all the time.”

“Me too,” he said without enthusiasm. “What was it? Ten years ago.”


“And it was bad. Really bad.” He snorted, amused. “You had that little quirt from your grandmother that was kind of a joke. And I tried to tie you up. That didn’t go very well.”

“I had never been tied up before. It was weird.”

“You freaked out,” he said.

“Huge. Remember the handcuffs?”

“Ouch. Yes.”

“Big strong man. So you got your wrists cut a little.”

“A little?” Tom extended an arm. “You see that? Right there? That centimetre long scar?”

“It’s hard to see it between all the other scars.” His hands were full of places where working construction had left their mark.

“You know which one it is. It’s the oldest one.”

Sue leaned forward and kissed it. “There. Is it better now?”

Tom kissed her.

“We were pretty young and stupid, you know,” she said, nose-to-nose with him. “We could probably do a better job of it now.”

He drew back. “Are you saying you want to try right now?”

“No!” she giggled. “But . . . just think about this a minute. We could, you know, explore a little. Read a bit. We have the whole internet. We could learn things we didn’t know last time.”

“Make a plan.”

“Yeah,” she nodded. “Just see what other people do – then decide what’s best for us. How does that sound?”

“Well, I gotta admit . . . I did like some of the things in the movie.”

“Which things?”

- finis

I think I'd definitely cut off the first chapter there . . . and pick the story up with Sue in bed and Tom in the bathroom - and her calling out things she's finding on her smartphone (without Tom and Sue having sex).

I am quite serious about writing this.  42-47 thousand words?


  1. If there's one thing I can always count on when "The Tao of D&D" pops up in my blog feed, it's that I will probably end up reading something that takes me completely by surprise.

    Go for it. I can't honestly say that I would rather read this than a book full of adventure hooks, but the last thing a writer should do is stifle a book that is dying to see the light of day. If this is what's knocking around inside your head right now, then so be it.

  2. Do you mean the internet culture they might find by looking for information? The culture of people they meet in the real world? Or the 'culture' of the experience? As they all mean quite different things.

    God knows why anyone would think it a good idea to engage with an online culture, though I guess you did say they were middle class noobs.

  3. Yep. Their squareness is palpable.

    Is it supposed to be a satire though? I can't tell how funny it is supposed to be. As is, it's that sort of slow drip, impending disaster sort of funny that is also kind of uncomfortable.

  4. This sounds hilarious. I don't doubt you'd do the research to get it right either.

    If you do write it, I will buy it.

  5. Probably not. Not so much because I object to the content, but mostly just because it really holds no interest for me.

  6. ~47 thousand words. At your blog pace, maybe a little less, say 50wpm. That's 15 hours of writing and twice as much of editing, if you are going to publish it. Do you want it so much? Then by all means go ahead, of course.

    I'd read it, expecting it to be good fun. Pay for it? Not as much as for your DM'ing/philosophic material, I'm afraid. At a third of the price of DFD, however... I could call it "Alexis Donation" and run with it. Probably. Not overly enthusiastic, though.

    You wanted opinions, didn't you?

  7. Scarbrow, Oddbit,

    For something like this, opinion is the only thing that matters. Obviously, this isn't the sort of thing that most of my readers read - but where it comes to marketing, we writers have to work with the footprint we have.

    There are lots of other people in lots of other groups on the net who would happily buy this book - I will do my best to find them in the future. In the meantime, I suppose I'm just explaining where my focus is and why I might not be working on my next D&D book (which is out there and will be added to the collection, absolutely).

  8. That sounds really awful. Of course nothing you write would be nearly as bad as what you refer to, but that doesn't make it good.
    Who cares what I think.
    Maybe I'm in the same boat as preston, and I just don't get it, but maybe you want to just to compare yourself to someone else? That strikes me as a bad reason.
    So do it if you want to. Who cares what I think?

  9. I'm trying to imagine who the target audience might be for this. Personally, it doesn't seem like it would do much for me and I probably wouldn't buy it, although I've bought all your other books. There may be a market for it, but it might not necessarily be represented by fans of this blog per se.


If you wish to leave a comment on this blog, contact alexiss1@telus.net with a direct message. Comments, agreed upon by reader and author, are published every Saturday.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.