SU Author Interview – Tara Sue Me

Tara Sue Me author of The Submissive, The Dominant, and The Training

1. What does BDSM stand for?

“B&D” (Bondage & Discipline)
“D&S” (Dominance & Submission)
“S&M” (sadomasochism)

2. What is your experience with BDSM (in or out of fanfic)?

I have no real life experience with BDSM and I think anyone who’s read my author’s notes for The Training can probably recite my disclaimer in their sleep.

However, do I think experience is always necessary? Do you have to “write what you know”? I don’t think so. I love historical fiction and as far as I know, not one of my favorite authors actually lived in those time periods. Let’s face it, most author’s don’t write what they know. That’s the fun part about fiction: you get to make it up.

Now, should it be realistic? I’d say yes to that. I’m an awful history snob and I can’t read historic fiction if it’s not accurate. I think the same standards should apply to BDSM. Do your research (says she who made up ‘turpentine’), find people in the know. I would never have thought about writing The Training if I didn’t have MsKathy to guide me and tell me when I was doing something wrong or potentially unsafe.

3. If you could give one tip to new writers what would it be? (this can be about BDSM or just a general tip)

Read, read, read. Read all the books you can. You will never be a writer unless you read.

After that: write, write, write. Write everyday if you can. My new goal (and I’ve tweeted this) is to write 500 words a day at least five days a week.

Join an online group of writers of varying degrees: published and unpublished. Get involved with people who write in your genre and people who don’t even read your genre. Everyone brings something to the table. Pick what’s useful and leave what’s not. Listen to the voices of experience. Learn and follow the rules before you decide to break them. Know which rules you can never break.

Get a cheerleading section: people who love you and support you and will tell you all day how wonderful you are. Then get tough-as-nails betas: people who tell you like it is and make you do your best. Both sets of people are invaluable.

Wait? Did you say one tip?

4. What is the biggest issue you see in smut writing today?

I honestly don’t read a lot of smut. But if you want to know what makes good smut, it’s when you involve all the senses (taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing). And when it becomes more about what the character is feeling as opposed to what they’re doing (or having done to them). How is the sexual encounter changing the couple, or the character involved?

And often times, you don’t need to spell out everything.

Take this:

He was hard against me. I reached between us and took him in my hand.

I don’t have to tell you what the character took in her/his hand, we all know, right?


5. How do you come up with ideas for your stories?

All my fiction has been a result of thinking up stories I’d like to read. Different twists. Taking things in a new direction.


6. What is the writing process like for you?

I have different processes for fanfic and original fic.

For my original fiction, I never outline. I know how the story starts and I have a general idea on how it’ll end, but the middle part, how to get from start to finish, is a complete surprise. You can do that with original fiction, because once the manuscript is complete, you go back and rewrite it and rewrite it and rewrite it and you take out what doesn’t work and add in what’s missing and, most of the time, the final product is a lot different from your original draft.

Not so with fanfic.

With fanfiction, you post as you write (or most people do), so I think it is crucial to have at least a vague sort of outline so you don’t end up with a 250,000 word story that’s nowhere close to being complete. (Most original fiction is between 80,000 and 110,000 words.)

I write both on the laptop and in a notebook. Matter of fact, probably about 95% of The Training was written first in a notebook, transcribed into the computer, and reworked from there. Longhand is very stream-of-conscious for me. It’s all about getting the words down. Go back and fix them later. The only thing you can’t reword is a blank page.

7. I’m pretty sure you all have kids. How much time do you dedicate to writing vs reading vs betaing vs RL?

I have a fairly intense Real Job, so that takes a large part of my day. I do most of my reading/writing after the kids go to bed.

8. Besides Bella & Edward, what is your favorite pairing to read/write?

I love a good Edward/Jasper or Edward/Emmett.

9. Which or your fics (The D, The S or The T) was the hardest for you to write?

TT was definitely the hardest. I wrote TS in two months and TD was basically the same story. But everything was so new and different with TT. There’s freedom in that, but a lot of pressure too.

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