Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lascivious, a novel

lasciv⋅i⋅ous [luh-siv-ee-uhs]

1. inclined to lustfulness; wanton; lewd: a lascivious, girl-chasing old man.
2. arousing sexual desire: lascivious photographs.
3. indicating sexual interest or expressive of lust or lewdness: a lascivious gesture.

1400–50; late ME < class="ital-inline">lascīvi(a) playfulness, wantonness (lascīv(us) playful, wanton + -ia -ia ) + -ous

So let's review. Amanda Quick's novels always contain
  • A heroine who is considered an eccentric spinster (at 27)
  • She is intellectual and also very naive in the ways of the world, men, and sex
  • She is accused of a crime she did not commit, and must clear her name
  • She needs the help of the hero to do this
  • The hero is always disfigured in some mild way,
  • he is emotionally reserved if not downright cold, hiding a tender and wounded heart.
  • The word the "ton" meaning London society. There is also always a ball. And the heroine never digs the threads of the day.
  • It's always in regency England.
I decided I couldn't take it anymore, and after digesting the fun and frustrating fluff, I came up with an idea for a novel about a heroine who was NOT innocent- not naive, and really truly not so much a heroine. I was so tired of the women being so damn good. Practically angelic.

So what about a wicked woman as my heroine? A woman scarred by life and embittered? A woman more like the heroes in Quick's novels, but so much juicier....

This idea slowly evolved into two very different stories, but they both featured the two issues I had with all the romances I had ever read: The innocence of the heroine, and the bright redemptive version of sex these authors kept propagating. That kind of sex is possible, but not the way they keep selling it.

I decided to write a story that took those ideas up, and I am currently writing one of those stories-

I began with a woman in Regency England, who was young and brilliant, and fell in love. She was betrayed by the man she loved, and went off to become a character named Madame Merrique- a madam of a brothel, and a spy. She took several young women under her wing, and trained them in languages, etiquette, and the ideas of love in her culture. They used their knowledge to manipulate men- and the most important part of their training is the crux of the story. To abhor love, to see it only as a means to their destruction.

the story takes place in modern day, narrated by a new student of Merrique ( the original named her successor, and this passing of the baton went on for generations. Like the Dread Pirate Roberts.) She stands at the decision of becoming the new Merrique, or choosing to love.

It has a lot to do with arguing with the current ideas of sex, of womanhood, of love and marriage. I'm reading a whole lot of books to research it, The Art of Seduction, The Book of the Courtesans, Seductress, and those are what I've got right now. Veronica Franco will also be a very big part of my research, but I'm not reading up on her just yet.

Next time I'll give you a clip of the story.

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