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Clare and Chrissy visit their good friend, Hindsight.

Clare: Greetings all to the July post of The Clare and Chrissy Show. I’m just back from a short jaunt away, and while I’m happy to be home I keep feeling like I’m missing something.

Chrissy: Or someone. Suffering withdrawal symptoms from your favourite holiday comfort i.e. your virtual pool boy and his tray of margaritas?

Clare: You know me too well *smirk*. I'm sure he's on his leisurely way over, despite the gloomy London weather, armed with his ever-present pitcher of frosty cold beverages ...

Chrissy: No rush, eh?

Clare: *taps fingers*. Haven't they arrived yet?

Chrissy: See what I mean? Back home with a bump. The margaritas are coming, trust me. First I wanted to share some news.

Clare: News that can’t wait until I have my fingers wrapped around a frozen margarita?

Chrissy: Well, it’s kind of that good news/bad news kind of thing. Which do you want to hear first?

Clare: I’m not sure I like the sound of this. Where’s a decent pool boy when you need him?

Chrissy: Clare…

Clare: Fine. go ahead with your good news while I examine the household budget and decide if there's enough extra to consider hiring the boy without bothering with a pool. The sons might have to share a room, but sacrifices must be made.

Chrissy: I'm quite pleased to announce that while it's squeaking in just under the half a year mark, I’ve finished the dreaded closet sorting projects.

Clare: Ooooh, that is good news. One we should be celebrating with a frosty cold beverage. So, having proven your housekeeping mettle, what could be so bad?

Chrissy: As part of the household re-org, we decided to move a few things around and get a new chair for the living room.

Clare: That sounds lovely! Some tasteful antique? All gleaming wood and horsehair upholstery?

Chrissy: More one of those huge command centers that recline and vibrate, and make it impossible to climb out of. Or so I hear. I've yet to have a chance to try it out.

Clare: The point, Chrissy. The point?

Chrissy: To make room, something had to go.

Clare: Nooooo!

Chrissy: Yep, I’m afraid we had to eliminate the Clare Couch.

Clare: Not my couch!! I loved that couch. I spent hours reclined on that couch. We came up with the idea for this blog while I was on that couch!

Chrissy: I’m sorry. But, it was never happy once you left, you know. The cushions never quite bounced back.

Clare: I need to sit down. Assuming there's somewhere still available to me, that is.

Chrissy: Pouting gives you lines, you know. If you need a moment to recover ...

Clare: No, no. I understand. I can be strong. *grits teeth*

Chrissy: While Clare recovers, I’ll mention we dithered a bit before coming up with this month’s post. There’s so much to talk about it becomes difficult to choose a single topic. Summer is such a productive time, and plans want to be made and shared. However, we’re taking a break from our desire to move forward into the rest of the year’s goals …

Clare: … at a snail’s pace …

Chrissy: … and instead, we’re taking a look back.

Clare: To quote from another rather dashing fellow, “Hindsight is a wonderful thing.”

Chrissy: And that fellow is…?

Clare: You Yanks. *sigh*. David Beckham, of course.

Chrissy: Of course. *coughs*

Clare: Chrissy and I recently participated in a chat. Nothing new there, you might say. But instead of using our old standby excerpts - first prepared when our story released and then never touched again – we needed to go through our work and come up with some new excerpts.

Chrissy: Not only was this a lot of work…

Clare: Can you say backlists?

Chrissy: … but also a chance to go back and take a look at how our writing had changed over time. It was quite fun.

Clare: You forgot to mention scary…

Chrissy: …and at times, let’s be honest, embarrassing.

Clare: Just like real life, looking back on where we’ve been or what we’ve written can be an eye opener.

Chrissy: Each story is a single snapshot in time. Bringing to mind the story behind the story. But unlike real life, when it comes to our writing, what happens to our published work stays in our published work.

Clare: At least until the rights revert back and there's a chance to do a massive re-edit.

Chrissy: I’ll never live down that giggle I found in one m/m piece I wrote. It jumps out at me now, every time I look at that story. I almost can’t see anything else.

Clare: Not to mention the twitching cock. *hums*

Chrissy: You just had to bring that up, didn't you? That was only once, and besides, even though I don’t claim personal ownership, the last time I had my hand on one the little bugger definitely twitched with interest on his way to bigger and better things.

Clare: TMI, Chrissy, TMI.

Chrissy: Well, you brought it up. Erh…wait, never mind… But what a great example of hindsight and context in action. Context raises his wooly head here because read more than a few romances (both het or gay) written three or more years ago and there’s cocks-a-twitching left and right. Then twitching hit the verboten list on the blog circuit, and other phrases became more accepted.

Clare: Really? You might have noticed this if you hadn’t been off looking at un-needed furniture.

Chrissy: Anyway. It made choosing an excerpt difficult as I wanted to use that section, but there he was, twitching away in all his glory, and if I believe everything I read, *cough* that’s now considered a turn-off. Not something that might entice someone to want to read more. A classic example of how rereading an older story can sometimes become a cringe-worthy occasion.

Clare: One that immediately fills us with the urge to re-edit the entire piece. Oh, the characters we should have renamed, plot points we should have developed rather than ignored, paragraphs we should have cut. Not to mention the examples of passive voice we can find, the sloppy dialogue tags. And the head-hopping, the head-hopping ... argh. The if-I-only-knew-then-what-I-know-now list can become endless.

Chrissy: And horrifying. Despite resolutions to truly live life without regrets….

Clare: …I’ll give you bloody regrets, you cold-hearted couch-replacer.

Chrissy: …it’s impossible when it comes to writing. We dare any author to read an older work and not find something they might wish they’d done differently.

Clare: And that's even after setting it to one side to "brew" a bit further before final submission, and all the subsequent edits. But both Chrissy and I agree that in the end, the experience preparing these excerpts became quite uplifting and gave us a good deal of joy and hope.

Chrissy: Hope that we continue to grow and mature as authors?

Clare: Well, that, and really, despite the obvious things we wish we could change with the snap of a finger - or twitch of a cock - the stories were still very enjoyable.

Chrissy: LOL. How many times did we stop and ask if we really wrote that? So, rather than looking at our older works with that oh-so-critical eye picking out each and every flaw…

Clare: …what would happen if we took a different approach and celebrated the *positives* in our past work?

Chrissy: Exactly. The old, half-full or half-empty approach, huh?

Clare: Sometimes we just have to be a little kinder to ourselves. Hindsight, while admirable, isn't very useful when all is said and done and the chance for edits long past. What’s the good of beating ourselves up over something already published?

Chrissy: It feeds into our masochistic tendencies?

Clare: That’s where a good pool boy comes in *smirks again*.

Clare and Chrissy: So, friends, other than a desire to tag along for Clare’s next travel adventure, how do you feel about our good friend, Hindsight?

Clare: As a reader, do you notice the progress of an author's work, if you follow them through the years? Do you have particular style triggers that you either *love* or drive you to throw your book (ereader) at the wall?

Chrissy: As an author, is it helpful or hurtful to read through older work? Can you share with us your own special example of "I can't believe I wrote that" and "how long before I live it down"?

Clare: Hmph. Like I'll forget the business of the couch any time soon...

Chrissy: Can I interest you in another frosty cold beverage?

Clare and Chrissy: Let us know what you think! Everyone who comments will be entered in a random drawing with one lucky winner receiving some of our sparkly Clare and Chrissy Swag!

Picture credits include: Brent Corrigan in "Every Poolboy's Dream" / Heinz's Spotted Dick sponge pudding / The Man With Two Heads by Mark Bryan.


JUNE Winner: tiggothy - Congratulations! Please email Clare at clarelondon11@yahoo.co.uk with your choice of eBook download from either of our current lists.


Missed any of our posts? Follow the 'sticky' post for these rambles of ours HERE.

Here's Chrissy! website // blog.

Here's Clare! website // blog.



( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 20th, 2011 12:32 pm (UTC)
I would love to get a recliner like that! If you ever get to sit in in, Chrissy, you'll have to report back and tell us how it is.

I never understood the whole anti-cock-twitch sentiment. I've seen the deed in action plenty of times. (Trying to be vague to avoid TMI) Maybe it was just an overused m/m word.

Thankfully my cringeworthy early efforts were never published...I wrote tons before people saw my stuff. But I did recently go back to a novel from maybe 2005-6 I thought I could simply edit, and the pacing was so terrible it was completely unsalvageable. The dialog sucked too, but I was prepared for that. I guess pacing is more subtle and harder to edit for. Plus it was exposition-ville. Ugh.
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:56 pm (UTC)
I'm thinking of starting an "I've seen a cock twitch" club. Or maybe just a TMI Club...

I went back to my (in)famous bodice-ripper last summer that I wrote at the end of the 1990s. 300k words with crap dialogue tags, head hopping, exposition, excess punctuation in dialogue etc etc. I still love the characters - it was my first attempt at a m/m relationship, even before I'd read any! And to be honest, my test readers never found all those things a problem. But it just makes me wince now, plus I can't see I'll ever find the time to go back in and revamp it.

It's fascinating how one's style changes, not just in increased knowledge of the rules, but like you say, in the grasp of pacing and balance.
Jul. 22nd, 2011 02:16 pm (UTC)
The fat cat has now decided the new chair is suitable for his rightful seat, and I'm battling both human and feline for a turn. Who will win?

Your insight into your older work is a classic example of how writing is more than just putting words onto paper.
Jul. 20th, 2011 12:33 pm (UTC)
Hehe, actually, I have recently read early works by two authors I love and noticed many an instance of head hopping and the odd twitching cock - I will mention no names, so as to protect the authors involved!

Style definitely matures, and I know my writing is much better now than it was eighteen years ago - my first story for Dreamspinner in the Necking anthology had some seriously hokey dialogue (warning NSFW!):

“Perhaps you’d like us both to suck on your nipples,” Mark continued, “Or maybe you’d like to kiss me while Pedro gets to work on your beautiful prick.” I gasped at the idea, or was it at the sensation of Pedro sucking my nipple so hard it stung? “Or perhaps what you’d really like, what you’re gagging for, is for us both to go down on you.”

“Yes! Yes please, both of you. Please!” My hips wouldn’t keep still, straining upwards in search of some kind of pressure against my erection.

There was a rumbling laugh. “Oh, you English! So damn polite, even when begging to have your cock sucked.”


I don't know whether to be embarrassed by or proud of this story. It is a big pile of porn, but I still think it's hot ;)
Jul. 20th, 2011 01:50 pm (UTC)
I adore this :). Especially the English politeness and the "gagging for it" - because that's what makes it so realistic!! LOL

I wince at the structure of some of my older stuff, but I can "remember" the feelings when I wrote them, the enthusiasm and the fun I had. I reckon that trumps my adverbitis and excess use of eclamation marks!!!

Jul. 22nd, 2011 02:18 pm (UTC)
There's a lot to love in this little snippet. Not to mention the fact there's no way a US author could get away with using "gagging for it". No matter how much we want to.
Jul. 26th, 2011 06:49 am (UTC)
Thanks Chrissy - I'm probably oversensitive about this story because Dear Author reviewed the anthology and commented on the dialogue being stilted.

Hehe, sometimes I just don't realise how Brit certain phrases are. We do have some fantastic slang :)
Jul. 20th, 2011 01:05 pm (UTC)
Probably like actors you should never watch/read your own work again. And everything comes back in style. Before long readers will be begging for twitching cocks. And yes, I've seen it. It was research, yeah, that's what it was. ;-)

I can't say what turns me off really. There are certain authors whose voice just doesn't work for me. I can't say exactly why, it's nothing particular in that they make specific mistakes, although I do find a simplistic voice annoys me. If it reminds me of something a high school freshman wrote, then it's likely going to turn me off, but if you ask me to say what that means, I have no clue. LOL But I'll know it when I read it. Don't keep repeating someone's name. That's annoying. "Hi Jim. Would you like to go the movies Jim? I love popcorn. Do you love popcorn Jim?" Arrgghh. Jim is the only other person in the room damn it, stop saying his name! Whew.

Ah, Brent. He's at my blog today too. *mutterlittleslutmutter*
Jul. 20th, 2011 01:19 pm (UTC)
Oh oh, it's me!!!!
Jul. 20th, 2011 01:26 pm (UTC)
I "unscreened" you, honey :). Anything for a fellow Brent fan!
Jul. 20th, 2011 02:50 pm (UTC)
That drives me mad, to tell you the truth, the use of the character's name all the time. The reader should be able to tell who's talking from the dialogue, plus as you say, it's not natural. This is why I sometimes act out my dialogue to see if it stands as realistic - much to the fright of the family :).

Love that Brent, he's been my favourite guilty pleasure for years. I've snapped up the photo you have on your blog to cheer me up in days to come!
Jul. 20th, 2011 01:12 pm (UTC)
OMG!!! This feels like Wed. not Monday. I seem to have posted some long rambling post under anonymous but it's not showing up so maybe you have to approve it? I have no clue. Anyway ... it was me, rambling about Jim and twitching cocks and Brent Corrigan. Sigh. I'll check later and if it vanished I'll report. I hate that LJ lets me post anonymous as default. Grrr. Don't encourage my forgetfulness.
Jul. 22nd, 2011 02:21 pm (UTC)
Hee! Clare found you. And Oh.My.Lord. would that type of name repetition drive me insane.

And yeah! another member for the TC club. Under the heading of research, of course.
Jul. 20th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
It's so HARD to let a good couch go, especially when good times have been had on it.

I have to admit that I have a fondness for all the secret and unseen novels lurking in lever arch files, cassettes, floppy discs and CDs in my cupboard and even the more recent secret stuff on my hard drive. Until very recently I wrote just for myself, purely for the love of it. I never spent hours agonising over whether a particular phrase would brand me an idiot, I just let the story flood out with a big silly grin on my fizzog. Now I read them and cringe, sure enough, but I remember the joy. That was such a nice feeling.

Writing for someone else to see is another matter. Am I being disrespectful, simplistic, racist, ageist, fattist, sexist? Is that thing twitching or merely shifting a little as it fills? *phew* so much to worry about!
Jul. 21st, 2011 01:13 pm (UTC)
You've summarised so perfectly the change in approach from writing for fun to writing for pay :). I'm sure many people still enjoy it, but I have found it a definite and definitive step into a different world - and many times, it's much more restrictive.

Mind you, I went through all those years in fear of being strung up for writing a poorly-labelled death fic, so maybe the restrictions are always there, the minute you show your work to anyone else at all LOL.
Jul. 22nd, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
Always remember the joy. {{{hugs}}). That's what's more important. Someone, if bored and with more time on their hands than the rest of us, will always find something to poke at if they are so inclined.
Jul. 22nd, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC)
Darn it, you're so wise, love *hugs*. And you always put it into such succinct and supportive words.
*had one of those days*
Jul. 20th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
First: *squeeeeee* Thank you! I'll go do eeny-meeny-miney-mo in a tick :-D

Second: Yep, I definitely see favourite authors' styles change over time. I don't want to name names (after all, some of us will be meeting up in less than a week!) but I re-read an older book of one of my favourite m/m authors recently and was astounded at how much her style's changed in just a couple of years. There's also a het romance author I've been following for ten years now, and her style (and charcters!) has definitely matured in that time - going back to read her earlier work now it's almost as if there's a layer missing that I've grown used to from her more recent work...
...and in my own stuff too, there's some things which I keep hold of solely to remind me how far I've come :-D
Jul. 21st, 2011 12:57 pm (UTC)
I've followed quite a few authors over the course of years, and I can definitely see changes. It's only natural, after all. Adds to the fun and freshness, too!

I like that idea of holding on to things to remind yourself. I don't think I've ever deleted anything I wrote - not intentionally, anyway! - and it *is* intriguing to go back and look at them sometimes. Often I can't even remember writing it ... *sigh*.
Jul. 22nd, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
I remember buying a very prolific het author's backlist and having a good gorge on her work. In the end the experience was frustrating rather than enjoyable because 15 books along the formula stayed the same. I mean, by the 6th book, the throw-away and depreciating (yet totally bragging!) comments on how the heroine's bosom was so much bigger than average and such a hassle to deal with grated.

This author could have done with a bit of re-reading and wondering at how she hadn't changed.

Jul. 21st, 2011 12:09 am (UTC)
Not a fiction writer, but I'm usually happily surprised when I go back and read longer things I've written - the distance of time helps me appreciate them more.
Jul. 21st, 2011 12:55 pm (UTC)
That's a really great viewpoint - that time actually leads to more appreciation, not painful wincing *g*. Good for you.
Jul. 22nd, 2011 02:30 pm (UTC)
Fine wine writing. It only gets better with age. Hindsight is truly your friend.

Jul. 22nd, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC)
Let me applaud Ms. London's graphic hunting talents for this post. Not only some fine pool boys, but the Heinz product had me laughing out loud.

I wonder what they would think if we wanted to use that on a banner for the TC Club?
Jul. 22nd, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC)
I snuck that one on at the last minute, I know you hadn't seen it before LOL.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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