Saturday, 25 October 2014

Five tips from Anneke Jacob

 Five tips from Anneke Jacob: 

1)    Develop complex characters.  Cardboard-cutout protagonists are all too common, particularly in erotic fiction.    They may be great fantasy fodder, but they won’t engage your readers.  Real people have interests, blind spots, quirks, habits, strengths and vulnerabilities. Personalities, in other words. They also have pasts, families and friends.  And most of all, a sense of humour, if you want anyone to like them. 

None of this needs to be dumped in the reader’s lap in the first two pages.  Some of these traits will emerge and even evolve throughout the book, giving the reader a sense of discovery along the way.  Some will be mentioned only in passing, or never mentioned at all.  But they’ll help you know the person you’re writing about.

The old “show, don’t tell” advice goes double when it comes to your characters.  Are they tense?  Show their hands fiddling with something, or their knee jiggling.  Are they clever?  Show them solving a problem.  Don’t just inform me that they have a genius IQ; show them acting like it or I won’t believe you.

2)    Small bits of description go a long way.  Set the scene with brief touches of the brush – a colour here, a smell there, enough to make the reader’s experience three dimensional and sensory.  In the meantime, get on with your story. This is, after all, how we experience the world – as a shifting mix of action, emotion, thought and perception.  Good writing brings all these into play for the reader, without interfering with the story’s flow or stopping the action.

3)    Listen to how real people talk, and reflect that in your writing.  Cheesy dialogue is the bĂȘte noir of badly-written erotica, and the quickest way to make a reader drop your book in the trash. Throw out that oh-so-sexy fantasy dialogue you’ve been imagining since you were twelve.  Write something fresh, something from your adult brain.  Something your very genuine characters would actually say as they hone in on each others’ naughty bits.

And when you tell us who is talking, stick mostly to “he said” or “she said.”  If you are tempted to include “he said seductively” or “she said teasingly,” reconsider.  Instead, tell us what his voice sounds like.  Does it drop a note or two?  Is it smoky, like good whiskey?  Can she feel it, burning its way down her body?

4)    Learn what to leave out.  I can’t emphasize this enough. For instance, transitions.  Decide how to get your characters from here to there, your story from points A to  F without being dragged laboriously via points B through boring E.  If your hero shows up at work without any mention of the car ride that got him there, rest assured that your readers will figure it out.

Go over your writing to see what else you can leave out.  Repetition, redundancies, unnecessary adverbs?  Delete them all.  Leave some gaps that will allow your readers to guess a little, to puzzle over ambiguities or wonder at motives. The more they do this, the more they will be engaged. 

5)    Read.  This is most important of all.  Read your favourite books again and again.  Look beyond the plot; there’s far more to a good story than “what happens.”  Explore the mechanics, the structure, pacing, language and flow.  Figure out what makes the book work for you as a reader.  Are the techniques ones you can imitate?  Does the writer grapple with similar writing problems to your own, and if so, how do they solve them? 

And reading books on how to write doesn’t hurt either.  In fact, it helps a lot.

Anneke Jacob is the author of many pieces of fiction including As She's ToldMore of Anneke's work can be found by visiting:

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Five Tips from Justine Elyot

 Five tips on writing erotic fiction from Justine Elyot: 

1) Start by writing about what turns you on. Don't worry about catering for every taste – you can't.

2) Don't be coy. Don’t fret about what people will think of you, or your writing will feel watered down and lacking in force.

3) A lot of the eroticism of a story will come from the characters, the predicaments, the settings or other details. Don't invest everything in the acts themselves.

4) Hmm, a lot of 'don'ts' here. Don't take any notice of a list full of don'ts.

5) Do enjoy it, or it won't work.
Almost everything wrong with an early draft can be fixed with thorough revisions.

Justine Elyot is the author of many pieces of fiction including The Game and the short story 'The London O' in OrgasmicMore of Justine's work can be found by visiting:

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Five Tips from Janine Ashbless

 Five tips (in no particular order) on how to write erotica from Janine Ashbless:

1) Stop watching TV. Or cooking. Or spending hours on Facebook. Or something ... Your choice. You're going to need to give up something you enjoy to have extra time writing.

2) “Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it – whole-heartedly – and delete it before sending your manuscripts to press. Murder your darlings.” - Arthur Quiller-Couch

3) You MUST learn to write in a manner that is comprehensible, fluid and grammatically correct. The rules of grammar and punctuation exist for a reason: learn to use them before you break them.

4) While your first book is out looking for a publisher, write the next one, and the next. Bottom drawer books will find a home eventually, but you need stock in hand.

5) Don't try and catch up with bandwagons - it's already too late. Write the book that only you can write.

Janine Ashbless is the author of many pieces of fiction including Named and ShamedMore of Janine's work can be found by visiting:

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Five Tips from Julia Morizawa

 Five tips (in no particular order) on how to write erotica from Julia Morizawa:

1) Write from your heart. Even fiction should spark from a real place inside of you.

2) Follow your instincts. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

3) Be truthful to yourself. A lot of people might tell you things like, "This is the way a book should be written," or "Here's an example of a great book." Who cares? Don't feel obligated to write in a way that you think society or the literary community will appreciate. Just write with your own, personal, unique voice.

4) Don't worry about being pretty. Don't allow technical details like grammar, "correct" story structure, your publisher/editor, etc., get in your way. Your priority is to tell a story. You can go back and clean it up later.

5) Share it with other people. If you announce to at least one other person that is in your life regularly that you are writing a book, it will force you to remain diligent. After all, you'll want something to report when your best friend/husband/mother nags you with, "Whatever happened to that book you said you were writing?" Along the same lines, when you're ready, get lots of feedback from people you trust who aren't afraid to be honest. The purpose of feedback is not to give you a pat on the shoulder or an ego boost. It is to dissect your work and get various outside opinions so you can adapt and improve it.

Julia Morizawa is the author of many pieces of fiction including Memoirs of a Wannabe Sex AddictMore of Julia's work can be found by visiting: