Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Striptease

A friend of mine and I were solving the problems of the world via protracted phone chat/bon bon eating marathon last week when the conversation turned to her work in progress. Her local critique group felt that she needed to front load more backstory. I cringed.

I hadn't read her current project, but I'm not a fan of this strategy. When I'm reading a mystery or romantic suspense novel--and that's the genre pool she and I read and write in--I want to experience the story through the close point of view of the main character. And I want the protagonist to reveal the story bit by bit, as she lives it--dances it--like a striptease.

If a striptease artist walked on stage fully naked, (or nekkid, as we say in the South, when one is unclothed and up to something) it would be something other than a striptease. Some may get their jollies this way--in states where this is legal--but not me.

I love the mystery, the suspense--the tease. I want to see the dancer all dolled-up in layers of clothes and accessories--fur, jewelry, hat, scarves, belt, gloves, high heels, skirt, jacket, blouse--you get the idea. Then, piece by piece, each article--each clue--is peeled away, revealing the next. The striptease is a long, sensual dance, an art form unto itself. Reveal too much too soon, and you ruin the dance for me. I don't want to see the garter belt until the very end.

Y'all know we're talking books here, right?

Peace out,


P.S. Mamma, I swear I've never seen a strip tease dance in my life. You well know I was raised better than that.


Ellis Vidler said...

Fun post, and I absolutely agree with you. The striptease is a good analogy. Drag it out and make it tantalizing!

Valerie Keiser Norris said...

Great analogy!

And right, you've never seen a striptease.

Donnell said...

Love the word nekkid, but does your mama know you used it. Great post, Ms. Boyer. I LOVE it :)

Susan M. Boyer said...

Val, chuckling here. We'll talk. :)

Donnell, yes, Mamma does occasionally read my blog, so she probably knows I've used the word nekkid. If not, she will find out. For a long time, I didn't know she was reading. This proved problematic, and has changed a few of my habits. :)

Thanks, ladies! :)

Tracy said...

Could not agree with you more!

I love the...

....anticipation. ;)