Rene and Emma, Finally Together

Hands in HeavenEmma Coats was a storyboard artist at Pixar. Emma compiled 22 “Story Basics” for writing while she worked for the animation studio. I’m expanding each one, comparing them to life on Planet Earth.

This post associates story guideline #6 with the loss of a friendship. My friend was porn star, Rene Ruth Bond.

But first, Emma’s lesson.

What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

This isn’t a writing rule per se, but an exercise that applies to mastering life and of course, constructing an intriguing plot.

As many of you already know, there are two ways to construct a plot. You can start with a situation (Once upon a time there was ___, Everyday, ___) and then link a series of cause-and-effect scenes around a major disruption (Then one day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___).

If you’re focusing on interesting situations and inserting your characters into them, this technique yields a PLOT DRIVEN structure.

However, you can also have your hero guide your story. Graph it from his point-of-view as he faces threats requiring interesting thinking, then choices, then actions. Each confrontation sets up various possibilities which motivates scenes building upon scenes.

This writing approach is a CHARACTER DRIVEN structure.

When I started writing screenplays, I relied on plot driven ideas. Hollywood’s “high concepts” come out of plot driven scripts. Today I write novels where my protagonist’s nature decides the adventure. I’m doing this because complex, fully realized characters make a stronger bond with the reader, assuming I can make it all ring true. And to make characters ring true, I have to know what I’m writing about. Recreating “truth” takes research. What’s the funnest kind of research? Answer: Experiencing real life in lots of different ways.

Again, Emma says:

What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

Who is your character that needs challenging? That’s YOU!


Okay, so no one goes out looking for hassles so they can write about them.

Still, I bet you’ve had your share of confrontations, disappointments, grief, humiliations, all that stuff that ends up in novels. Human beings seek pleasure and avoid pain. But bad shit hit you, didn’t it? And you escaped with some struggle or maybe you didn’t.

Either way wisdom was buried in the mess if you took the time to figure out what happened and why.

Empathy is really important here. If you write about people you have to understand what’s happening in their heads. And then you have to ask, “How do I feel about that?” If this sounds like psychotherapy, it is. You’re both therapist and patient.

That’s the homework, kids, figuring out what makes people tick.


This is where my friend comes in.rene_bond_3

She needed some serious figuring out and I was new at the game.

I was twenty-two and fresh out of college. I was unemployed, broke and scared. I couldn’t find a job until a job found me – directing “adult movies”. So like everyone else in the biz, I was in it for the money. Sure, getting laid was on my list, but in a nice, safe way that would be appropriate for the Nice Jewish Boy that I was. It didn’t happen. None of the adventures I encountered were anything close to what I knew as “normal” – even the kind of  “normal” played out in porn life.

Back in the early seventies, when the hardcore business was just starting to grow, that tiny universe was populated by no more than a hundred, plus people. It was a family and most of the “models” that stuck around past their first shoot became friends. I knew many of them.

One of the top female stars was a twenty year-old , Rene Bond. I met Rene at a party through mutual friends but I had never seen her perform, naked or otherwise. Consequently our relationship started like others do outside the sex business. Two people meet and they like each other. Rene was sweet and kind. Everyone thought so. She was also cute but not gorgeous, confident but not pushy, personally open but not nosy about you or me. And she was married, sort of, to Ric Lutze, who doubled as her on-camera lover in most of her early films and clips.

As I got to know Rene, I got to know Ric too and I liked him. The three of us became pals. About once a week I’d drop over to their pad after work for some weed, pizza and “free-love” with their friends. Still, I had never seen either Ric or Rene in any sex scene and I had no intentions of seeking that out.

It happened anyway.

I was working for a porn distributor at the time (one of my many fill-in gigs) and I had to screen prints before they got shipped. I know…your thinking THAT was your job – watching porn for bucks? Yep. And it was boring. Adult films weren’t exactly character driven. The plot was always the same: Boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. Boy gets off. Boy meets next girl.

Anyway, there she was, Rene Bond in dazzling 16mm doing what she did best. Suddenly, my job wasn’t boring anymore. Just like everyone said, Rene was an awesomely alluring pixie. And although I wasn’t turned on, (didn’t want to be) I was definitely impressed with her technique.

At the end of the scene she looked into the camera and whispered, “Who could be next? You?”

I guess I wanted to be next ‘cause two nights later, sitting beside Ms. Bond while puffing her husband’s stash, I said something about that sex scene. I can’t remember my words but it wasn’t brash. It was a whimsical flirt that could go places if she wanted it to. She didn’t.

Oh my God, the walls iced. I’ll never forget that look. It said, “Not you too…” Then she got up and silently left the room.

With a few stupid words I had cleaved our connection. I had become a fan with fantasies like the other boys who wanted her bad. She could never again trust my reasons for friendship.

In two seconds that all became clear. I had misjudged her intentions. I thought I was just another guy in her world of admirers – an okay chum for chatting but nothing special. My God, she was like, the Marilyn Monroe of porn! She had tons of “special” people buzzing around, including producers wanting private time. Where was I in all that?

Her stare…that look said it all. With me, “special” was the freedom to be Plain Rene – a no-makeup gal like my sister and yours. She wanted a sanctuary of confidence and a best friend far from the sex. And that’s what we were shaping until I raped her refuge with three words: “…great tongue moves!”


That night was the last time I saw Ric and Rene. I moved back East a few months later and never stayed in touch. A year ago, on a whim, I typed into Google, “Rene Bond” and read about her early demise. At forty-six Rene died from some kind of liver problem.

This is sad. I heard she became a mom but little is written about it. I bet she was a good mom too, like the dear friend she was while it lasted. What did I take away from that? Her looks of love followed by utter disappointment. It made me a better man.

Ah, but you’re thinking, What kind of good mother could she possibly be if her kids can watch her in films over the internet?

Well, I suppose video sex might be considered bad if Rene lived in our world. But she didn’t, nor did her children growing up. While alive, Ms. Bond resided in a place where performed fornication was a job and an okay thing. To understand this though, empathy needs to kick in, by evaluating issues from that space beyond our personal values.

That’s hard to do – which is why Emma’s number six is so important.

To write rich content we need a rich mix of experience. I never would have met this special friend had I not tripped into her place of polar opposites.

I wouldn’t have been challenged, nor would I have grown the way I did and learned more about… well, what makes people tick.

Originally posting on Curiosityquills.com.




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