Wilderness: A Tale of BDSM and Christianity

I recently published an erotic novella titled Wilderness that mixes both BDSM and religion.

Sacrilegious, isn’t it?

Set in Kuala Lumpur, Wilderness is about a 27-year-old woman named Charlene who begins questioning the existence of God when her mother dies. Her boyfriend Timothy is a good Christian boy who doesn’t believe in premarital sex.

When she meets a stranger called Patrick, she is drawn to his dark impulses. Charlene is torn between the two men as she struggles to resolve her grief and rediscover herself.

For the uninitiated, BDSM stands for bondage-discipline, domination-submission, sadomasochism. Sexual violence and the problem of evil are explored in Wilderness. There is a quasi rape scene (which is subject to readers’ interpretations) along with a church sermon on miracles.

I first wrote Wilderness as a short story in October 2011. My friend (and soon-to-be editor/ publisher) John Ling said the characters had unusual depth, which could be explored further in a longer piece of work. Thus began the painful labour for Wilderness.

It was my first time writing a full-length work. My previous publication was a short story titled City of Flesh in the MPH anthology Urban Odysseys: KL Stories.

I discovered that I knew close to nothing about writing fiction. My editor would bring up all sorts of alien things like the Rule of Three, how to respect characters, foreshadowing, and how to show rather than tell. Adjectives, adverbs and fancy words (like mellifluous) are mostly banned.

I can’t count the number of drafts I had written before my editor finally accepted a manuscript that he could start editing. I naively thought that I didn’t have much work to do once he began the copyediting process.

Boy was I mistaken!

That started round two of writing and rewriting chapters and entire sections that were deleted later.  There was a time when I broke down and felt like burning my manuscript. Thankfully, it was only a moment of despair.

I reminded myself that if I could do whatever it took to get a story as a journalist (I used to work for an online news portal in Malaysia), I could do the same for Wilderness.

The question that people always ask me is whether Wilderness is autobiographical.

I can say that unrequited love inspired Wilderness. And the courage that one person gave me to question my Christian faith that I had kept for 10 years.

I can also identify with some of the struggles that Charlene goes through, like losing a loved one. My father died from cancer a decade ago when I was 16 years old.

Leather floggers | Picture by Wikimedia Commons

Of course, I had to do a little bit of research for things like BDSM. I went to a BDSM shop in New Zealand, where the owner was kind enough to let me “try” a leather flogger (costs NZ$100, which is RM255).

So I just whipped myself on my palms. It’s not as easy as it sounds using a flogger with very long falls. It stings quite a bit. Suede floggers, on the contrary, feel rather nice and soft.

I hope that my book will help people explore their darkest fantasies. In a safe way, of course.

I would not recommend getting tied up by an almost-perfect stranger (as what Charlene did). I also hope that readers will be able to question their religious faith.

And live an authentic life.

For no one should live your life for you.

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I want to save the world. It would be great if the newspapers were full of the good things that people do instead of the usual wars and rapes and murders. I love writing - whether it's fiction, or research papers or reporting facts. I have published two short stories; one of which is called "City of Flesh" in an anthology titled "Urban Odysseys: KL Stories" under my pseudonym RK Boo. It's available in MPH bookstores. I've also published a preliminary qualitative study titled "Work Experiences of People with Mental Illness in Malaysia".

Posted on 6 July 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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7 Responses to Wilderness: A Tale of BDSM and Christianity

  1. Learning how to write a script entails screenwriting and storytelling experience. Script screenwriters usually have to practice and master their craft before profiting in the competitive world of entertainment. For this reason, many choose to hire ghostwriting services.

  2. son of muhammad

    how do you "SAFE" those sesat ones but claim other wise?

  3. Xing Ji

    Visits loyarburok, looks at hangat: BDSM and Christianity…hola mamacita!

  4. Su-Lyn

    Thank you Pepper and Kevin!

  5. Kevin

    Hey Su-Lynn, it's a very interesting read. Just finished it Abt 10 minutes ago. Congrats!

  6. wee Yan CHia

    IMHO you shouldn't give the book out for free, as nothing is free. Just charge a sum, even if it is 'nominal' for internet purchases.

  7. Pepper Lim

    Nice! Congratulations, Su Lyn!