Venus on Mars

The Bodice – to Rip or Not to Rip?

Posted in Author's Notes by janmillsapps on July 8, 2011

Bodice Ripping - How to Get at the Good Parts?

It all depends on whether anyone notices, and sadly, on whether anyone appreciates the results.

So if I write a bodice ripper, I can sell it and make money – it’s formula fiction and there’s a market for that. If I write literary fiction, nobody cares – an unpublished manuscript is the writer’s equivalent of an unripped bodice.

Unripped, the bodice and its contents are intact, its secrets contained. Ripped, the bodice is split open and its secrets spilled asunder. A book contains its pages and the words on them and an unpublished book will remain that way, its contents never revealed, its treasures never plundered.

A book caught up in the publishing business offers hints, titilation, about its eventually being ripped open and its passions explored, but all such possibilities are in the clumsy hands of the “rippers” – agents, publishers, publicists, reviewers – meanwhile the writer (“rippee”) remains the passive recipient of their sometimes questionable and often lackadaisical efforts.

So the problem with ripping is in the act itself –  it’s supposed to be a passionate act, but the rippee is usually not a part of the action.

But there’s a new ripper in town – and it’s the rippee herself.  My character Lulu (Wrexie Louise Leonard) writes and then rips, removing pages from her journal. The missing pages function as an untold story; a partial narrative remains behind that must be augmented and assembled by the reader – which becomes the opposite of ripping (stitching the story together, binding the errant pages into the book). The result is a complete and mutually satisfying effort.

So I should let my own written words inspire and guide me.  If I write and then do my own ripping, I can decide when and to whom to reveal myself, rather than depend on someone else doing it for me and to me – i.e. being “ripped off.”

I have something amazing here – great content, still contained. At this point my thoughts and my words are still my secrets. I can flirt with them, flaunt them, allow them to generate all sorts of ravishment fantasies – and eventually reveal them. I’m in control of when to rip or not to rip, how to rip and for whom.

Surely Venus on Mars must do her own ripping!

Fulfillment publishing, vanity presses – these used to be pejorative descriptions for self-publishing. Does anyone really want to see this bodice ripped? Yes, I do, and thanks for asking.


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