Actually coming in a day ahead of schedule, I’ve finished the first draft of Chapter 3. I’m aiming for about 6,000-8,000 words per chapter, but this one came in at 9,800 words. There was a lot of material to cover: erotic flagellation in the late 17th and 18th centuries, the culture of sensibility and the Gothic, and the life of Sade. I’ll probably trim some of it in revision. I’m not writing a biography of Sade, just telling his part in the evolution of BDSM.
I didn’t even get to subjects like the Hellfire Club. It’s become apparent that this book can’t be an encyclopedic work. It has to be a story, and that means deciding what is and isn’t relevant, and removing the latter, sometimes ruthlessly.
Onward. The next chapter is about Orientalism, and covers centuries from the expulsion of Muslims from Spain in 1492, to Babary Coast white slavery, to the erotics of slavery in 19th century literature, art and sculpture.
After dwelling on this project for the past eight years, I’m also thinking a bit about what would come after this. This isn’t the only book I want to write, nor even the only book on BDSM. Some ideas: a non-fiction book about Story of O, the “threat porn” idea about the use of porn as propaganda (e.g. PETA), a more forward-looking book on the future of the BDSM subculture (will it follow a similar trajectory to gays or transgenders, or a different path?)