Had to delete this story for reasons I can’t explain at the moment
Okay, your grasp of writing fundamentals (sentence structure, grammar, etc) is excellent. I appreciate your care in ensuring that your story is mechanically correct from that perspective. You’d be amazed at what I’ve seen out there masquerading as “writing” here and elsewhere.
The problem we have here is that we have no character-building, no scene-setting, just straight to the payoff (in an ABDL story, that’s obviously the diaper part). It’s a smut piece, and if that’s what you intended, then cool, but I literally have no reason to care about either one of these characters. I know nothing about them; they’re just two cardboard cutouts in a scene. If you had started the story, for example, back at Ethan’s apartment as he got himself ready to have a date with this strange woman that entranced him so when they met for coffee a few days back, or something like that, I’d have a chance to get to know Ethan, and maybe get a little glimpse into what Kendra was about as well. I could build some empathy with one, or the other, or both with a little bit of that sort of backstory work.
I appreciate the feedback! Perhaps I jumped the gun a bit. It was my hope to try to catch the readers attention with a look forward at where things will end up, but I suppose the weight of what’s happening it’s essentially… weightless, if you haven’t gotten to know the characters beforehand. Much appreciated!
Also, wow! Hundreds of people read this! I really appreciate that! Unfortunately, I don’t know if anyone enjoyed it or not. Would it be inappropriate to post my twitter or email in case folks who aren’t registered here want to provide more feedback?
I really wouldn’t recommend putting your email address. This forum is open to the public and search engines. You can do it if you like spam though. It would be better if people would just register to comment, but a lot of people aren’t comfortable doing so or are under 18.
I see, spam clogging things up could be annoying. Perhaps just the Twitter then? I’ll think on that a while, not sure whether it’s a good idea or not. In the meantime I think I might write a part two to this, giving Ethan and Kendra a little more dimensionality as WBDaddy suggested.
Thanks for the responses! I should have some time off this weekend, and I plan to do some serious digging on this forum, checking out some other stories and getting a feel for the community.
You could certainly do a second installment where you dial back in time. You did already play this card, so it’s not the ideal way to build your backstory, but it’d be better than just pushing forward with two characters largely devoid of personality.
The other option you have with Kendra is to walk us through what she’s doing while Ethan is trapped in that crib. What does the rest of her life look like? How does she interact with people she’s not kidnapping and trapping in a crib all day?
Or simply do a rewrite. There is no shame in that.
I’d think very carefully on this. As Penguin stated, it’s an open forum. Not everyone who peruses abdl sites is an abdl or abdl friendly. Putting an email or twitter out there is a potential troll feast.
As much as I enjoy the works of your critics, I feel compelled to offer you a different perspective. Decent smut is hard enough to find as it is, but sweet smutty fiction that plays to this particular constellation of kinks is rare. Most people don’t have the technical skill, the resolve, or the sense of pacing required to really pull it off, so if it’s at all possible for me to share my learning and maybe help break through some of my own blocks in the process, I’d love to help.
If you intended for your first foray into this genre to be a character-driven exploration of the performative nature of toxic masculinity through the perspective of a heteronormative man as he is forcibly rehabilitated by a captor whose efforts to enculturate him with a value system that enshrines bodily autonomy, individual liberty and enthusiastic consent demonstrate a psychotic disregard for them, then go to town. But if instead your goal was to write a saucy erotic vignette with an emphasis on maternalistic dominance, forced infantilization, bondage, humiliation, and diaper fetishism, then this was a damn fine start. You opened with your protagonist lamenting his circumstances and gave us a titillating preview of things to come. Your first chapter offered us some insight into how and why he was abducted, and closed just before Kendra put him back in diapers.
If you want to keep going, you have my attention.
Your opening was nice, but I found your description of the room to be too sparse. I need more. How large is the room where Ethan is being held? What is it lavishly decorated with? What does Ethan hear when Kendra returns to him? Can he hear Kendra’s footsteps shuffling up the stairs? Does the door creak on its hinges as she pushes it ajar? Does the deadbolt clink into place as she unlatches it?
What color are the walls, the mittens, or the leather strap across Ethan’s chest? Should I imagine a kinky sex dungeon or a bedroom that doubles as a little nursery? What does Ethan think of the color palette? Does it seem feminine to him, or just oddly bright and colorful? Does it seem strangely grim and masculine? Are there posters along the walls? What about paddles, floggers, whips, or other implements? What kind of shelf space can Ethan make out, and what does he see on the shelves? Diapers, coloring books, novels, books on feminist theory?
How does all this make Ethan feel? If he hears Kendra coming, do the noises make his belly turn to water or kick up swarms of butterflies in his tummy? If she’s been gone long, does the knowledge of her return remind him of the cold, soggy diaper slumping against his crotch? Do his cheeks flush with shame, or is he maybe relieved that someone is here to clean him? Does he feel grateful, even though he knows this is her doing? How far gone is he by the prelude?
Laying on your back for hours on end will make your body ache and give you sores, and Kendra’s prolonged absences put Ethan at considerable risk, especially in bondage. How does Kendra keep him from developing rashes, cramps or bedsores? Do her precautions afford him any chance to escape? How often does she change his position? Does she ever turn him around? Does she massage him? Does she let his hands air out? How does she get him from the crib to the bathtub? Can she carry him? Could she overpower him?
You don’t have to answer these questions in the prelude, but they would give us a better idea of the arrangement. This is the kind of detail that will make for a much more immersive experience overall, especially if you space it out and draw our attention to these details when they become relevant.
Also, you may want to take a look at your favorite works of fiction and pay attention to the way they’re written and formatted when two characters speak. For instance, I notice you tend to put breaks between dialogue and actions. Although this is sometimes useful if you want to gloss over something (e.g. one of Ethan’s friends shouting for a waitress, an exchange of pleasantries over a meal), this can contribute to the sense that you’re summarizing when you’re really going for an enticing description.
For instance, instead of this:
If you really want to step up your game, keep an eye on your adverbs. Although there are times when a well-placed adverb can touch up a sentence with just the right level of detail or help smooth out your prose so as to give your voice a distinct cadence, it’s usually a sloppy shortcut preventing you from using a better verb or adjective. What does it mean that Kendra has a “lavishly decorated” bedroom? And don’t bedrooms usually have windows? Why isn’t she taking him to a basement?
There are other little things you could do that will make your prose more immersive. There’s no need to tell us that Kendra rebuffed his advance; instead, consider using a verb to do the heavy lifting. Don’t say she rebuffed his advance, show us how (e.g. “she caught him by the chin”). As opposed to saying that she “gently stroked his cheek”, consider “brushed her fingers across his cheek” or maybe even “Kendra caught him by the cheek and brushed a fingernail under his chin”, because brush is a verb that conveys gentle strokes, and this scene takes place right when attention to detail is most important. This sounds trivial, but you’d be surprised how people reach for adverbs when there are verbs that are so much better suited.
If you are committed to writing smut, you might also consider less clinical language when we’re talking about body parts. Sometimes it’s useful to talk about parts of parts (e.g. the back of her nails, the crooks of his knees, under his chin.) I don’t know how specific is too specific for a forum like this, but you can work around that if you’re clever. Also, this line jumped out at me as an example:
If it were me, I’d say something like…
Hopefully this should help steer you in the right direction, whatever path you choose. I think you’ll find that people can be very forgiving if you know how to make them all tingly with your words. It’s a lost art.
I don’t think we’re as far apart as you indicate.
My main complaint was the snapshot-like nature of the opening round - We’re at the bar, we’re at her house, she’s putting him in a diaper. It was a big rush. Patient narrative, even in a vignette, capturing all the details of each scene, makes all the difference. Even Harlequin writers take care to set scenes and build (mostly cardboard, granted) characters before they bring the smut.
You know, I suspected we weren’t, but I didn’t want to put words in your mouth.
I know what you mean, and I’ve seen this haste to get to the action kill a lot of stories as well, so it’s an entirely fair complaint. On the one hand, there’s nothing like a slow build with a big payoff if it’s done right. On the other hand, I’ve killed stories by dragging them out to the point where I can’t pull the trigger because the effort it took me to hold off made me overcritical of the story, or tired me out to the point where I just didn’t feel up to it anymore. A lot of really strong writers who love to role-play are often very enamored with these lengthy backstories and opportunities for character building, which sometimes make for these intense, cathartic and utterly amazing experiences, but can sometimes also be clunky and unhelpful, depending on the nature of the tale.
With a story like this, if I were going to take it slow, I wouldn’t have her kidnap him on the first date. I’d have them go on several dates, and I’d write about the highlights. Maybe show him becoming gradually and hopelessly more obsessed with Kendra, show him gradually alienating his friends (they make it to Nationals and he can’t stop talking about her, they lose their shot at the Finals and Peter blames him), talk about how he loves being with her but he loves the sex even more–maybe the first time we see them they have wild sex and he’s the little spoon, the next time we see them she’s tying him up–now his work is suffering because he’s stealing every spare minute to chat with her. Next thing he knows he’s getting laid off, his friends have found another head prop, he has nowhere else to go, and she’s spanking him because he couldn’t hold down a job like an adult. Make it so that by the time he’s bawling into a gag and suffering through a diaper change in her basement, no one knows or cares that he’s missing.
That’s one way. But I also felt like that’s the kind of project I would end up revising to death, and the story was salvageable as is. I’ve paid for worse on Amazon. So another possible route was to just utilize attention to detail to give us some more insight into Kendra’s character so that there seems to be a little more to her. What’s on her bookshelf? Are there pictures laying around, and what kind of person is smiling back at Ethan from these photographs? Maybe after he gets to a point where he isn’t going to run screaming into the street she starts bringing him downstairs to watch television with her and we see what kind of shows she watches, or we learn about her career through snatches of conversation. It’s the author’s first story, and if I had it to do over again, I think I’d much rather have written several finished stories that were all gradually better than to have revised a few stories until my prose became well-developed, and then revised them a few hundred times more.
Even on a story like this, just filling in the details - dialogue, interaction, imagery - can make all the difference in telling a successful tale. The plot doesn’t have to be complex or even unique, it just has to be engaging, and little things like how they flirted with each other at the bar, the small talk in the car on the ride home, and yes, the details of the scenes - tell us about the certain rooms of her house she leads him through as she takes him to what he assumed was going to be her bedroom. Maybe she offers him a drink? Maybe she teases him a bit to work him up in preparation for the big capture.
So many possibilities, even with a simple trope as the sum of the plot.