Our stories, like songs, are about love in some form or other. Do not confuse love with romance. Love is complicated, often denied, often cloaked in pain and rejection. I have yet to read a story where there isn’t an aspect of love involved. Does love have to be directed only to people? Of course not. For millions of people, love is bestowed upon pets, or a garden, or a cause. Love is a matter of heart, whether it is about the heart shrivelling, expanding, breaking, or frozen.
As I read the works of Paul and Will, and other writers of Naturist Fiction, not only love is evident. Their stories are “grounded.” All stories need to have context and setting. Whether the setting is in a naturist location, or another planet, or in an urban location, the “place” becomes an essential component of the story, as does “time.” The mind of the reader demands that stories make sense, and that means time and place must be recognisable to them.
For readers, setting serves to ground a story. There is nothing more disconcerting to a reader as to be lost in a story because there is no “ground.” That ground doesn’t have to be on a planet. Good stories have a train, a plane, a ship, the sea, and even a spaceship as the “ground.” Heinlein’s novels are good examples where the “ground” is a spaceship, and Jose Phillip Farmer’s novels where the ground is a riverboat.
With my stories, there is no difference. When writing in a genre that is far from the norm, the issue of setting and heart are the vital pieces that allow non-naturists to enter into the world of the novel. Characters with depth that lies below the surface of clothing or nakedness then become the next key in creating a story worth reading. Now, in saying this, there is a matter of just how much depth is needed?
Pleasant stories don’t worry about complex characters. As long as one had a protagonist and an antagonist, readers can enjoy a story. That said, the more complex an author creates the characters, the more realistic they become. That is my approach. Complex characters have a life that dominates a story. However, complex characters don’t make for an easy, pleasant read for many readers.
It is vital to have complex characters grounded, in a relationship with their environment. This seems to be a strength of Naturist Fiction. All this said, what are your thoughts about what makes a story worth reading, especially a story that is Naturist Fiction.