There are a lot of forms of negotiation for scenes. They range from the very thorough 18-page checklist created by Jay Wiseman to the famous “Hey, wanna do some stuff?” negotiation technique of Philip the Foole. My own style tends to fall somewhere between the two – I do have several specific things I ask about, but the last thing I want is a “laundry-list” of the things my bottom wants to have happen.
The Very Short Story
In my vanilla writing job I recently came across a game designed to improve listening skills in children. It’s called the “Very Short Story,” and it’s brilliantly simple.
The adult provides a short arc of plot points, with basically one sentence: “A girl walked down the road and picked a flower.” The children in the game then take turns embellishing the story, everyone adding in elements, while listening to the elements from the person before.
It occurred to me that this might be an interesting way to negotiate a scene somewhere between a checklist and the anarchistic wanton wonderland of Philip’s mantra. Something like this:
“I’m going to tie you up.”
“You’re going to tie me up with hemp.”
“I’m going to tie you up tightly with hemp.”
“You’re going to tie me tightly with hemp and take pictures so I can see how beautiful the rope is.”
“I’m going to tie you tightly with hemp and let you thank me for the beautiful pictures by kissing my boot.”
“Hmmm…I’m not sure I can do the boot worship thing. How about I thank you by showing how clever I am with my hands even when they’re tied?”
“Ah…interesting. That works. And then?”
“You’re going to tie me tightly with hemp and take pictures that make me feel so beautiful that I want to use my hands to get you off, while you tell me what a good slut I am for you.“
And so on. All kinds of elements of negotiation are in there – the pragmatic stuff like “tight” and “hemp” and “not into boot worship.” At the same time elements that might not have been discussed are put into play: “hand job” and “call me slut.” Hearing the story, the top can perhaps even work some of it in advance, like working the slutwordcraft into the beginning of the scene, or taking the time to think about what ties are good to photograph and are tight and work well with hemp.
At least, that’s what it seems like to me. This is just an idea, never been tried, never been tested. But if any of you use the “Very Short Story” technique to negotiate a scene, let me know, ok? I’m interested to see what happens.