The power dynamics of book editing have a lot in common with those of D/s. Your editor might know more than you about most things literary, but you’re the world’s foremost expert on your work. A good editor will respect that. If he doesn’t, your work will be sculpted into something better, but not into the book that you intended to create. I’ll give you one guess which of those approaches spawns masterpieces.
I believe D/s is at its best when a dominant honours his submissives’ voice in a similar way. He might be an expert on what he wants of you, but you will always be the world’s foremost expert on your submission. A dominant who sculpts a dynamic out of his sub’s drives and desires turns something beautiful into a masterpiece.
That kind of dynamic is intensely empowering for me, no matter how counterintuitive that may seem. The right dominant makes me walk taller and feel more precious. I’ll never forget the first month of my first D/s relationship because I felt as though I was freer than I’d ever been— Free to explore the sides of myself I’d always seen as unhealthy; free to be exactly the kind of sexual being I was.
Dominance didn’t feel like being chained down, but set free. There are few experiences as sublime as that. He dominated from a place of vulnerability and got absolute submission by acknowledging who I was as a sub and as a woman. In many ways, our relationship was simply a conduit for our basest natures.
When I was refining my first book, I was privileged to have an editor who refused to make changes I was unhappy with. He wasn’t about to leave bad writing as it was, but he was willing to patiently rework the messy parts until they did what I’d wanted them to from the start. In the end, we made a book we were both proud of. He had the authority, but he chose to empower me even though doing otherwise would have been far less work. The result was better for his willingness to hear my thoughts.
Lots of editors steamroll over books unilaterally, as do plenty of dominants. I guess there’s room for that kind of power exchange, just not in my life. For a D/s dynamic to be healthy for me, there must be equality, and for that, I must have a voice.