Jeanne: The Devil’s in the Details


by Rex Diablo

Recently, I was working on a scene where Belial, my demon, snags a dance with the ever-elusive Dara. He only managed to score this dance was because Dara was raised in a teetotalling household and thus was unprepared when someone set what seemed to be a mildly alcoholic drink in front of her and told her it was iced tea.

During the dance, there’s a lot of sexual sparring and eventually he brushes his fingertips over the back of her thigh, just below the hemline of a very short dress (another first for our Dara).

Only then I got to thinking: If a 6’2″ guy was dancing with a 5’5″ woman, would he be able to do that? Or would he need long, monkey arms to be able to reach?

My husband is really good about helping me block out scenes between my lovers, but he’s my height, so he wasn’t a good option for figuring out this question.

When I got into work, I was still turning this over in my head. The I spied my co-worker, Craig (who, it should be noted, I’ve worked with for many years and who is 15 years younger than me, a mere child).

“How tall are you?”

He looked startled. “Six-two.”

“Perfect,” I said. “I need you to do something for me. If this makes you feel sexually harassed, just say so.”

His eyebrows shot up all the way to his hairline.

I explained what was happening in my scene. He looked a little freaked out.

“I don’t need you to dance with me, ” I said. “I just need you to stand beside me, so I can see where your hand would come on my thigh.”

He’s a good guy, so he obligingly stood there while I determined that, yes, a six-foot-two demon could definitely graze the back of a five-foot-five woman’s thigh with his fingertips if her skirt were short enough.

“I feel so used,” he said.

But that’s okay. What matters is that he made a contribution to art.

And he didn’t call HR.

12 thoughts on “Jeanne: The Devil’s in the Details

  1. LOL, a writer must prepared to do lots of shameful things for her art. What fun!

    I’m trying to think of what I’ve done that embarrassed me for my art . . . I can’t think of much. Maybe I have no shame. (-: Or maybe I’m not trying hard enough. About the worst is snapping at my family when they’ve interrupted me in the middle of a sentence. (And the rest of the words evaporated into ether . . . .)

  2. This was actually less crazy than other stuff I’ve done, like sitting handcuffed to the steering wheel of my Saturn one Sunday afternoon, trying to figure out how to get my protagonist out of that situation.

      • The pair I was using were toys, so they were easy, but the ones my protagonist was in were real. I was trying to figure out what she could reach from the front seat. In that particular model of Saturn, you could pull down the back seat and retrieve the tire iron with your feet. (I know this for a fact.) Unfortunately, you can’t break a pair of Smith and Wesson handcuffs with a tire iron. So she used a hairpin to pick the lock on the cuffs (there’s a vido on the internet that shows how to do this) and then used the tire iron to incapacitate the guy who had handcuffed her in the first place.

  3. That is a hilarious story. You have great co-workers! And such dedication to your craft! (That plus the handcuffing to the steering wheel.) When your book comes out, you must give Craig a copy. Or credit him in the acknowledgements, or something. The most I ever did for story research was go to Las Vegas, looking for a ranch that could be the one I’d already described. Could such a place exist? We turned down “Happy Valley Ranch Road,” only to discover…you guessed it…a brothel. Not quite what I was looking for!

  4. The only out-of-character-for-me thing I’ve done for story research is handle weaponry (handguns). Then I ended up not using much of what I’d experienced anyway for My Girls, but the research might come in handy for some future story.

    Since one of the books I’m working on this year is set in Copenhagen, it’s time for my husband and I to get back there (me, for research, him, to be my interpreter :-)). I also believe my research would be well-served by getting a pied-à-terre in the city near the new opera house, but my husband is not convinced our bank account should suffer that much for my art.

    • We once drove from Ohio to Portland, OR and then followed the trail my heroine took back to Atlanta. We camped along the way and went to the Utah State Fair and an art fair in Boise.It was a blast.

      Maybe it’s time to set another novel some place fun.

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