Today, I’m gonna share on where I get my ideas. I’ve written hundreds of gender swap short stories, novels, novellas and now scripts over the years. While they share a common element– someone gets gender swapped– they also are all different and unique in their own ways. Mostly, that does not result from a kind of logical process, but from an imaginative experience.
One of the greatest idea generating activities in my life involves walking. Aside from getting story ideas, I just like to walk. It’s healthy, and for me it’s a form of meditation. When I walk regularly, I just feel better physically, mentally and spiritually.
And, I get ideas. In the case of my current novel, Carrolwood, for example, the voice of the narrator came to me as I walked around my neighborhood after dinner one sweaty summer night. I sort of met this character, and I thought the voice was funny, and I began to think about what kind of story I could tell with that voice. The characters and setting all then just kind of emerged from my subconscious.
Another time I was walking around the beach down at Asbury Park, NJ, where the evil, 19th century clown Tillie still serves as town mascot, and I just started to think about what if Tillie were an evil spirit haunting the town? As I walked around, I took pictures of different locations, and the story ended up being built around that walk.
In addition to getting ideas for stories, I sometimes walk to inspiration while in the middle of a story. Sometimes when I am writing I get in a jam and can’t figure out what the character would or should do, I take a long walk, and the answer a lot of times just comes to me. Sometimes I see the scene in my head, and at those times I am very much inclined to believe in the idea of a muse that is feeding me ideas. It really does feel to me sometimes like I am seeing the story happen and just writing it down rather than “coming up with it.”
There are other ways ideas come to me. Sometimes I create a cover and then write a story to match. I have been inspired sometimes by other authors. For example, I once decided to write a TG story in the style of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Likewise, Forever Mine started out as “forced femme version of YOU (the book and Netflix series). There must be others I can’t think of right now– Oh, yeah– It Girl! What? Just started out as “TG Anime.”
But, I would say, without walking, I think I would write a lot less. There’s just something about walking along a shady, tree-lined path that allows my mind to open itself up and accept the gifts of inspiration!
Every morning when Woo-Jin wakes up, he finds he has transformed into a completely different person– he may wake up as any gender, age or ethnicity. When the film The Beauty Inside begins, we find him at a place in his life where he has fallen into a routine, working for himself, living largely in isolation and just making the best of his situation.
Of course, that would not be much of a movie, so he soon falls in love with the beautiful Yi-soo, and begins to pursue her though she, at first, has no idea the various people who come into her store are all the same admirer. Finally, he asks her out to dinner, and as the two fall in love he is forced to risk telling her the truth about who he is and how he changes all the time into new people.
Without going any more into the plot, let me say this is a first rate Korean Romance. It’s billed as a rom-com, but it really lives much more in the world of drama, with beautiful cinematography, poetic scenes and heart-wrenching emotions as the two struggle to make their impossible relationship work.
The main character spends a fair amount of time as a female, and some of the most poignant and heart felt scenes occur when he is female and opening up to Yi-soo. For fans of TG elements, there are a few sweet moments: getting hit on by his male friend, shopping for his first bra and being so nervous and self-conscious he ends up running from the store, having a “mother daughter” tea with his Mom. One little detail I enjoyed was that as a female, he is often shorter than his girlfriend, and it seems like he is the femme in their relationship at some times.
It’s a good watch. Here’s a link:
Aliyah Whiteley’s The Beauty merges Invasion of the Mushroom People, literary fiction flourishes and Old-school Fictionmania for a gender bender experience best described as different. Based in a post-apocalyptic world in which all women have been wiped out my a mysterious plague, when the book starts off we are introduced to a small village composed entirely of men living in a world that has regressed technologically to a more primitive, hunter-gatherer state.
Since it is literary fiction, there must be some shimmering shrine to “the power of narrative” and so these men spend their nights gathered around a campfire as their village story teller regales them with what have become their tribal legends. Outside the town lie the graves of the last women from their group.
Enter the mushroom women. Mysteriously, mushroom creatures begin to emerge from the graves of the vanished women. They can’t speak, but they have female shapes and a kind of psychic empathy. Soon, the men began to couple with the mysterious creatures, who also take over all the manual labor in the village. The men grow weak, their arms smaller, and soon enough one of them discovers that he is pregnant.
This creates some anxiety among the men, and the story flows from there. The book certainly explores the idea of gender, and it is a different approach, the whole thing written in that literary mode meant to suggest the relating of an ancient myth. Check it out.
Looking for some femdom in your life? If so, check out Dead Man Tells His Own Tale, now streaming on Amazon (free for Amazon Prime members). Diego Gentile stars in the film as a director who is a classic sexist pig. He cheats on his wife, lies to actresses to get them to sleep with him, objectifies women at every turn. He is not portrayed as comic book villain evil, however. Despite his willingness to exploit women, he is a loving father to his daughter. Nor does he seem malicious toward the women in his life– his wife, his mistresses. He simply feels he in entitled to do as he pleases.
Of course, his lack of awareness does not make what he does okay. What’s to be done, though, right? He is who he is.
Enter a group of female vampires. Gentile finds himself at an all-female bar, where the women are aggressive, contemptuous of him. At one point, he is asked, “Do you fear them because they are more powerful than you?”
He is unnerved and starts to become hysterical. Soon, he is bitten, and, like other men, is turned into the zombie slave of the vampire women. If that sounds campy, it is. The film revels in its campiness, but unlike many such films celebrates it all within first class production values. There are interesting manifestations of the dominance of the women in Gentile’s new life. He wears a scarf all the time to hide the fact he has been marked, and at one points says, “I don’t want anyone to see me like this.” He can no longer objectify women, and even finds it impossible to say certain words.
We see some of their other victims. One has been forced to get grotesque plastic surgery– cheek implants, massive plumped lips. Another is wearing make-up, dangly earrings. The men are completely powerless to the women, who we discover ultimately intended to raise of Celtic goddess from the dead and establish a matriarchy over the world.
They succeed, and we get a brief glimpse of the new world, where men cannot drive, are talked down to by women. We see Gentile, now seeming docile, his wife in charge.
For lovers of campy horror comedy with a dose of femdom, it’s a must see.
As many of you are likely aware, prolific TG video producer and director RDF James has been working on a new Black Mirror-esque series of TG videos, the first of which, Staus Change, has dropped.
It’s a short film, 21 minutes, and I don’t want to give away any plot points, but I will say the film features some fun, classic TG moments. The actress who plays the young woman who gets swapped invests fully in her dual roles , and as is always a bonus for me, she is really hot. As it is the first in a series, some time is spent establishing the world and setting up future episodes, so be patient for some exposition, but all in all this is a fun and entertaining first episode with lots of promising content.
I would have liked to see more scenes of the guy dealing with being a woman, but there is some nice stuff with that, and a nice ironic reversal “money scene” where we get a taste of what his life is like after the swap. I recommend,
As an added bonus, look for some cameos from performers you may recognize from previous RDF James productions!
Links below, and please consider supporting your TG content creator!
One third of all men and women surveyed by Justin Lehmiller for his book, Tell Me What You Want, reported fantasizing about trading bodies with a member of the opposite sex. I found the number surprisingly high. I had often imagined the number much lower. And yet, thinking about how many mainstream movies and television shows and books and comic books have explored the body swapping theme, I suppose I should have imagined it much higher.
Tragically, there wasn’t any more depth to this question, and it left me wondering– did they fantasize about trading bodies with specific people– a lover, a crush? A celebrity? Or was it more abstract?
Though I would have liked more depth, I still found the number interesting. It also made me wonder how many people may have still been too embarrassed to admit to this fantasy.
Some other numbers: 25% of all men and women reported fantasizing about cross-dressing. 59% of women and 26% of men who identified as “heterosexual” fantasized about having sex with a member of the same sex. Both men and women fantasized about changing their own gender role, or the gender role of their partner. Men reported fantasies of being feminized, and women reported fantasies of feminizing their male partners and taking the dominant role.
No women reported fantasizing about being masculinized by a partner, but this makes perfect sense to me in that the masculine fantasies they have involve them seizing power and demanding dominance, so it is something they take and do not wait to be given.
As an author and a human being fascinated with gender fluidity, I read the book primarily out of curiosity as well as looking for potential inspiration. I didn’t love the author’s speculation on why people have these fantasies– he suggest that they mostly rise out of insecurity, which may in some cases be true, but I think often people’s personalities are simply more diverse and multi-faceted than the binary constructs of gender allow, and we simply have a multiplicity of needs and interests. Sometimes people need to be dominant; sometimes they long for the pleasure of surrender. Sometimes people who are deeply in love not only long to be near the person they love, but to be the person they love.
Just some musings. I thought my readers might find the numbers interesting, as I did. If you would like to read the book, you can find it on Amazon.
Two teen-agers, a jock and a nerd, switch bodies. So goes the plot summary of U and Me on Amazon Prime. This 1987 gender swap comedy from Asia is particularly interested in gender roles and expectations, and we see both characters suffocating under the expectations of their new genders.
The female in this story has been raised to polite and meek. Once trapped in a male body, the other guys see her as a sissy, and she is subjected to relentless bullying. We also see her suffering extreme discomfort as she finds herself engaging in innapropriate behavior — entering the boys’ bathroom and shower, going to the beach where she is expected to take her shirt off (she doesn’t).
The guy meanwhile finds himself being subjected to the pressures to be a proper young lady. He is urged to watch his language, to be polite. His new mother makes him come shopping with her, telling him he needs to learn how to shop because he is a woman. In the movie’s best scene, he makes a speech in front of the school on how unfair life is for girls, where they are forced to always be polite and lady-like while boys can do “whatever they want.”
It’s a fun and interesting film that also has some of the usual beats– they guy realizing he has boobs he can play with, having his first period. For a time, he settles into his life as a girl, but both of the characters eventually come to feel they can’t live as the opposite sex. It’s well worth the watch. Check it out!
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Now FREE on Amazon Prime, a new body swap comedy with well-developed characters who delve deep into their relationship issues via a magical body swap. Now, to get right into the TG elements we all love so much– yes, the man in his wife’s body has to experience the things that women go through– make-up, heels, hosting a bachelorette party– and much of this is played as broad comedy. It is fun, and the actors do a great job embodying their roles!
Where the film goes deeper than most broad comedy body swap comedies is in the exploring of the relationships not only between the husband and wife, but their two teen-age children as well. The relationship between the married couple is terrible as the film starts and heading toward divorce, but it isn’t the same old same old. The wife, a successful executive, resents her husband for embracing what she sees as a career of mediocrity while also being the “fun” parent the kids like. She meanwhile is stuck being the major bread winner and the tough Mom. The father, meanwhile, questions whether his wife even loves him and, true to male type, is not a good listener. When they argue, which they do a LOT and LOUD, we see how it impacts their kids. and it is not good.
As they experience life in each other’s bodies, they start to learn about each other, coming to understand not just their partner, but they also learn things about themselves. All of this unfolds gradually and artfully throughout the movie. Again, super well-acted and very moving in certain scenes.
Oh, and back to the TG elements, we do get to see the guy gradually accepting a female role learning to do make-up, helping his daughter deal with feminine issues, and even, spoiler alert– deciding to see what it’s like in the sack! I won’t tell you how that turns out, but this is a good movie worth watching! Oh, and just a as bonus, once he starts getting used to dresses, heels and make-up, the guy is super hot!
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Pom Klementieff, who plays Karl’s female avatar.
Does role-playing change us, or simply reveal us?
In the recently released episode Striking Vipers, Black Mirror finally plunges into the murky world of online gender cross playing– and I do mean finally! In this episode, two college buddies enjoy playing a video fighting game much like Mortal Combat. They each have a favorite character. Danny always plays Lance, while his friend, Karl, prefers to play a female character named Roxette. Neither finds this problematic.
Until a fully immersive version of the game becomes available. In this new version, the players find themselves inhabiting the bodies of the characters they play– and even experience the physical sensations. Jumping into the game, Danny once more plays Lance, and Karl, Roxette. Karl jokes about what its like to have boobs, and the two start fighting. Soon, the sexual tension simmering beneath their play- fighting turns to making out, and eventually hot, steamy sex.
The show explores how this impacts them and their relationships, both with each other and their wives/lovers. They question whether they are really cheating, wonder if they are gay. Danny, in particular, struggles, as he is a married man with kids. His suburban life bores him. Is he living a lie?
Each man discovers he is more fluid than he imagined, but that their sexual attraction exists only online– at least the physical side. Karl rhapsodizes about how much he enjoys the female orgasm, but he can’t get that in real life. Meanwhile, it is interesting to me that Danny’s wife is named Theo, drawing the gender fluidity out further. I don’t want to give away the specific ending, but once the men have opened up Pandora’s Box, let’s just say there in no going back. I feel what the show suggests it is not so much that the online gender bending changes them, but simply allows them to express a part of themselves that was always repressed.
Most people, in my opinion, are many genders, but society works very hard to make us comform to a specific notion of biological gender. This episode there is a little girl and guy in everyone just waiting for a chance to get out.
Check it out on Netflix!