Spanking Stories and “The Reveal”
This essay is about a storytelling technique that may be appropriate for some, but certainly not all, stories in this genre. For the ones that lend themselves to this technique, its use can be very effective at creating dramatic tension.
I’ve been thinking more lately about how much some spanking fiction resembles monster movies. Don’t laugh. In the genre of horror movie making there is something called “the reveal”. This is the point in the film at which the true nature of the monster is revealed to the viewer. Up to that time the viewer has seen only glimpses of what lurks in the dark. Or maybe nothing at all, maybe only hints— like a badly mangled body, a derelict spaceship, the ravings of an old gypsy woman, a curious legend told by the villagers, etc. In short the suspense is building, but there is no payoff yet.
In spanking fiction we have the same thing. Some writers, and I am one, like to hold back on the reveal to build suspense. Maybe there are exchanges between the hero and heroine that hint at some future reckoning. Maybe there are ominous sights or sounds, like someone emerging from an office in tears, or approaching that office fearfully. Maybe there are subtle threats. I like to make my threats subtle—not “I’m going to spank you”, but something like—
“Tell me Anne, am I not your guardian? And are you not my ward?… And is it not my responsibility as such to provide proper guidance to you, to see to your education and general welfare?” Peter stood and removed his coat. As he spoke, he pulled a heavy chair from the wall toward the center of the room.
“Yes, Sire,” said Anne, watching his movements, not sure where this was leading.
“And is it not my right, and indeed my duty as your guardian to correct you when you fail to live up to your responsibilities?”
—This is from “Anne of Wulfstedt”.
I don’t like to immediately give away the fact that someone is going to get a spanking. Now we of course know, since this is the genre in which we write, that this is going to happen. But that is true of our monster movie as well. It’s not the “if”, rather, it’s the when and how, and often the “who” or the “why”, that forms the interesting part of the story. I did this recently in another story. The story describes the arrival of the soldiers, the king’s displeasure, and a ruined wedding; but it’s not until the king’s chamberlain rises to read the king’s warrant that we know exactly what will transpire on the morrow (A Princess of Vernonia). In yet another tale of mine our new schoolgirls wonder what is the big deal about detention on Friday? (Friday Detention) In a variation on the old shoplifter theme, my character Cynthia thinks she is going for “counseling”. I don’t reveal the fact of impending corporal punishment until well into the plot (Cynthia’s Case).
Horror movie producers know that the longer you hold back on the reveal, the bigger the payoff. Whether it’s Captain Dallas in the air duct on the Nostromo, or the anguished Larry Talbot on the night of the full moon, the reveal shifts the dynamic from “what is going on here?” to “what do we do now?” In the spanking story it’s frequently the wondering as to how much the hero is going to put up with before he turns the heroine over his knee. In the old romantic comedies this scene frequently came at the end of the movie when the hero had finally “had it up to here” with Miss Heroine. By then the tension and anticipation are killing the viewer.
In the spanking story, at the reveal we find out that he/she is going to get it and why, and usually how. We are now at the story’s climax. The story telling is mostly done and now it’s all smacking and kicking and screaming. Maybe there is a coda. But if it was a compelling story, it was about the journey, not the destination. Still, the “destination” should be well described. The reader has been patiently awaiting the payoff.
It’s not always this way, of course. Sometimes the story is in the mind of the spanker or spankee as he/she reacts to events that are already set in motion. And, if your story begins with the heroine facing the wall displaying a red bottom, this is obviously not an appropriate technique for that story. So whether one holds back the reveal or not depends on the nature of the tale. All things being equal, if the story stands on its own and the CP aspect is a major subplot, I’d choose to delay the reveal. It builds dramatic anticipation in the mind of the reader and makes the final denouement all the more exciting . Once you get there and it’s out, all you have left is a description of the action.