Showing posts with label Writesex. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Writesex. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How To Wonderfully WriteSex (9)

Check it out: my new post at the fantastic WriteSex site just went up. Here's a tease (for the rest you'll have to go to the site):

A friend of mine once called me ambitious. I’m still not sure what he meant by that – was it a compliment or criticism? Put-down or praise? It’s made me think, though, and that’s always a good thing. I’d normally describe ambition as a drive to succeed, a persistence to rise in status, income, reputation, so forth. But what does that mean to a writer? It could be money – but since when is money the answer to anything? It could be reputation – but then a lot of bad writers are well thought of, even famous (are you listening, Tom Clancy?). Ambition can also mean cold-heartedness, or a reckless disregard towards anything and anyone that’s not directly related to a goal.

God, I hope I’m not that.

I do know that writing is important to me – probably the most important thing in my life. Because of that, I look for opportunities to do it, and to get it seen. I rarely let opportunities pass me by: markets, genres, experiments – anything to get the spark going, juice up my creativity, and get my work published. Erotica was one of those things, an opportunity that crossed my path and it has been very good to me. I didn’t think I could edit a book, but then I had a chance to do that as well, and now have done a bunch of the suckers.

The fact is that opportunities never find you: you have to find them. The fantasy of some agent, or publisher, or agent, picking up a phone and calling you out of the blue is just that: a fantasy, or so rare it might as well be just a fantasy. Writing is something that thrives on challenge, growth, and change. Some of that can certainly come from within, but sometimes it takes something from the outside: some push to do better and better, or just different work. Sending work out, proposing projects, working at maintaining good relationships with editors, publishers and other writers is a way of being involved and getting potential work to at least come within earshot. It takes time, it certainly takes energy, but it’s worth it. The work will always be the bottom line, but sometimes it needs help to develop, get out, and be seen – those contacts and giving yourself a professional push is often what it takes.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

How To Wonderfully WriteSex (8)

Check it out: my new post at the fantastic WriteSex site just went up. Here's a tease (for the rest you'll have to go to the site):

Please read this if you just had something rejected:

It’s part of being a writer. Everyone gets rejected. Repeat after me: EVERYONE GETS REJECTED. This does not mean you are a bad writer or a bad person. Stories get rejected for all kinds of reasons, from “just not the right style” to a just plain grouchy (or really dumb) editor. Take a few deep breaths, do a little research, and send the story right out again or put it in a drawer, forget about it, remember it again, take it out, read it, and realize it really is DAMNED good. Then send it out again.

Never forget that writing is subjective. My idea of a good story is not yours, yours is not his, and his is not mine. Just because an editor doesn’t like your story doesn’t mean that everyone will, or must, dislike it as well. Popularity and money don’t equal quality, and struggle and disappointment don’t mean bad work. Keep trying. Keep trying. Keep trying.

Think about the rewards, about what you’re doing when you write. I love films, but I hate it when people think they are the ultimate artistic expression. Look at a movie – any movie – and you see one name above all the others: the director, usually. But did he write the script, set the stage, design the costumes, act, compose the music, or anything really except point the camera and tell everyone where to stand? A writer is all of that. A director stands on the shoulders of hundreds of people, but a writer is alone. Steinbeck, Hemmingway, Austin, Shakespeare, Homer, Joyce, Faulkner, Woolf, Mishima, Chekhov – all of them, every writer, created works of wonder and beauty all by themselves. That is marvelous. Special. That one person can create a work that can last for decades, centuries, or even millennia. We pick up a book, and through the power of the author’s words, we go somewhere we have never been, become someone new, and experience things we never imagined. More than anything else in this world, that is true, real magic.


Friday, October 08, 2010

How To Wonderfully WriteSex (7)

Check it out: my new post at the fantastic WriteSex site just went up. Here's a tease (for the rest you'll have to go to the site):

“The shock of September 11 is subsiding. Each day adds distance. Distance diminishes fear. Cautiously our lives are returning to normal. But “normal” will never be the same again. We have seen the enemy and the enemy is among us …. the publishers, producers, peddlers and purveyors of pornography.”

It didn’t take me long to find that quote. It came from an LDS Web site, Meridian Magazine, but I could have picked fifty others. In light of that kind of hatred, I think it’s time to have a chat about what it can mean to … well, do what we do.

We write pornography. Say it with me: por-nog-ra-phy. Not erotica – a word too many writers use to distance themselves, or even elevate themselves, from the down and dirty stuff on most adult bookstore shelves – but smut, filth … and so forth.

I’ve mentioned before how it’s dangerous to draw a line in the sand, putting fellow writers on the side of smut and others in erotica. The Supreme Court couldn’t decide where to scrawl that mark – what chance do we have?


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How To Wonderfully WriteSex (6)

Check it out: my new post at the fantastic WriteSex site just went up. Here's a tease (for the rest you'll have to go to the site):

Other writers get it, of course: romance writers live in rosy castles and have crinoline dreams; science fiction authors are pasty-faced nerds with more love for science than humanity; horror pros keep bodies in their basement for research.

It’s natural for people to think that because you write smut … well, it’s pretty obvious that they think: thin, greasy mustaches, seedy domains, hacks, perverts – the clichés pop immediately to mind. But what’s really interesting is that this isn’t the toughest of occupational hazards for the erotica writer. After all, life is full of surprises: the romance author is a cynical young guy, the science fiction writer can’t balance his checkbook, the horror fan loves Fred Astaire movies, and the erotica writer is just doing a job.

Who cares what other people think: it’s what’s inside you that counts – and what’s inside erotica can be very unusual, sometimes almost traumatic.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Speaking of Ralph -

- but my great pal has just joined the illustrious (ahem) line-up at the wonderful WriteSex site. So check it out to hear what Ralph, and I, and these other fine smut-writers, have to say about writing, the biz, and much more.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How To Wonderfully WriteSex (5)

Check it out: my new post at the fantastic WriteSex site just went up. Here's a tease (for the rest you'll have to go to the site):

Characters are the heart and soul of any fiction, erotic or otherwise. You can have a great plot, vivid descriptions, and nuances up the wazzo, but if your characters act like sock puppets – spouting endless clichés, doing stupid things for stupid reasons, and in general acting nothing like real people – the reader’s disbelief is not suspended and the story doesn’t work.

So how do you breathe life into a character? In my experience as an editor, I can tell you that stiffness instantly shows in a poorly written character. What is stiffness? Well, some of the best examples I can think of aren’t in writing, but in movies or television. You’ve seen it: an actor or actress gives a bad performance, being stilled or monotone with no inflection. On the page, that shows up when a character thinks, does, or says something wooden, lifeless, or obviously forced to get the author’s point across.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Do you know how to make a character live on the page? It’s kind of scary, which is why I suppose a lot of writers don’t do it, and it shows in their work. Are you ready? Are you REALLY ready? Honestly? Okay, here goes: look inward, my child.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

How To Wonderfully WriteSex (4)

Check it out: my new post at the fantastic WriteSex site just went up. Here's a tease (for the rest you'll have to go to the site):

A pal of mine asked an interesting question once: what’s my definition of erotica, or of pornography? Other folks have been asked these questions, of course, and the answers have been as varied as those asked, but even as I zapped off my own response I started to really think about how people define what they write, and more importantly, why.

It’s easy to agree with folks who say there’s a difference between erotica and pornography. One of the most frequent definitions is that erotica is sexually explicit literature that talks about something else aside from sex, while porno is sex, sex and more sex and nothing else. The problem with trying to define erotica is that it’s purely subjective – even using the erotica-is-more-than-just-sex and porn-is-just-sex-analysis. Where’s the line and when do you cross it? One person’s literate erotica is another’s pure filth. Others like to use a proportional scale a certain percent of sex content– bing! – something becomes porn. Once again: Who sets the scale?


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

WriteSex and SavvyAuthors!

Check it out: The wonderful Writesex bunch (including Sascha Illyvich, Oceania, and Jean Marie Stine ... and me) are going to be holding a special forum/class on Defining Erotica – A Primer for Authors of All Genres for Savvywriters. First up was Sascha Illyvich (on the 26th), after Sasha is Jean Marie Stine (on the 27th), then it's Oceania (on the 28th), on the 29th it's me, on the 30st it's Thomas Roche. For more info go to the Savvyauthors site. Tune in, have fun, and learn something.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How To Wonderfully WriteSex (3)

Check it out: my new post at the fantastic WriteSex site just went up. Here's a tease (for the rest you'll have to go to the site):

Writers are professional liars: it’s our job is to tell a story so well that the audience believes it’s the truth, at least for the course of the story. The technical term, of course, is suspension of disbelief – the trick of getting the reader to put aside any doubts that what you’re saying isn’t the truth, the whole truth, so help you God.

For erotica writers that means convincing the reader that you really are a high school cheerleader named Tiffany who likes stuffed animals and gang-bangs with the football team … or that you’re a pro tennis player named Andre who has a mean backhand and can suck cock like a professional. A writer’s job is to convince, to put aside doubts … in other words to lie through their fucking teeth.

As any liar worth their salt knows, the trick to telling a good one is to mix just the right amount of truth with the bullshit. You don’t tell your mom who went to the movies rather than church: you say you had a sick friend, that your car broke down or that you had a cold. The same goes for fiction: spinning something that everyone knows is a lie (“the check is in the mail”) is flimsy, but adding the right amount of real life experience makes a story really live. Rather than Tiffany and the football players, how about a young woman who really wants to do a gangbang but doesn’t know how to break it to her boyfriend or girlfriend? We’ve all had the experience of trying to find a way to communicate our sexual fantasies to someone, so that rings true … even though our character is a total fabrication.


Sunday, March 07, 2010

How To Wonderfully WriteSex (2)

Check it out: my new post at the fantastic WriteSex site just went up. Here's a tease (for the rest you'll have to go to the site):

I’ve sort of touched on keeping an eye out for story ideas before, but it bears exploring a bit more. Keeping your work fresh is more than a little important for any writer, especially for smut authors.

For me, stories are everywhere – and to be honest I don’t think I’m special. It’s all a matter of keeping your eyes open, but most importantly PLAYING with the world around you.

It should be obvious that in order to write about the world you need to know something about it, but what a lot of people don’t seem to realize is that sitting in a coffee shop, scribbling away in a notebook while you ponder the imponderables of human nature isn’t likely to yield anything usable. Getting your hands dirty, though, will.

By that I mean really exploring yourself as well as other people. Look at who you are, why you do what you do – both emotionally as well as sexually. The same goes for the people around you. Spend some time really thinking about them, there motivations, their pleasures, or what experiences they may have had.

Dig deep: ponder their reactions as well as your own. Sharpen your perceptions. Why do they say what they say? What do people admire? Why? What do they despise? Why? That last question should almost always be in your mind – directed outward as well as inward: why? This depth of understanding, or just powerful examination, is a great tool for developing both stories as well as characters.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to Wonderfully WriteSex!

I know I use that word far too often but, let's face it, this is really very cool: I'm pleased and proud to be part of a new site, WriteSex, where Sascha Illyvich, Oceania, Jean Marie Stine, Dr. Nicole Peeler, Thomas Roche, and I will be posting our various thoughts and helpful hints about writing effective erotica. My own first post, Flexing, is up there right now and - along with my other great cohorts - new stuff will be put up on a regular schedule.

So stay tuned and learn everything you ever wanted to know about writing about sex!