Pepper Mason is an up-and-coming artist, author, and editor of high quality erotic short stories. She began writing as a hobby in 2003, but began self-publishing as an independent author earlier this year in hopes of one day cultivating the hobby into a full-time career. She has edited several works of friends and colleagues off the books, and all of her personal work, services and contact information can be found at peppermasonbooks.weebly.com.
1) I cannot stress this enough. Independent authors should never publish a book without letting at least one (preferably more than one) other person proof read it. No matter how many times you read your own work, there are bound to be errors that you’ll miss. Even if you can’t afford editing services, have a friend or colleague read over your manuscript for you. (Other independent authors on a budget may be willing to trade proof reads. Just ask!)
2) Microsoft Word's spelling and grammar check will never be able to replace human comprehension. It can’t tell you when something is written awkwardly, and it doesn’t cover the entire gamut of punctuation misuse. It will also oftentimes miss words that are misspelled, when those words end up being spelled correctly but with a different meaning. Never assume you’ve corrected all of your errors with a simple run of this or any spell/grammar checking program.
3) Be careful with continuity. If your character is slowly pushing up the silky green fabric of her lover’s shirt to expose his washboard abs, please make sure he wasn’t shirtless in the prior scene. Things like this are easy to miss when you’re plowing through plot like a person possessed.
4) Repetition. I have found this to be a common plague amongst the writing community, even within the work of professionally edited and published authors. Be careful not to use the same phrases and words over and over again. You have a thesaurus at hand any time you’re connected to the internet; you can find another word for ‘walked’. Try ‘moved’, ‘trudged’, ‘cantered’, ‘stalked’, ‘slouched’, ‘stomped’, or ‘marched’ instead. It sets the tone for how the character is moving, instead of simply informing the reader that he is, in fact, moving. Also be careful with the infamous “He did this, he did that” repetition. Characters can be addressed in a number of ways, and not always at the beginning of a sentence. You can replace ‘he’ with things such as the character’s name, ‘the blonde boy’, ‘the young man’ etc, etc.
5) Plot. Even if you’re writing a four-thousand word short erotica, plot is important. It holds the entire story together. I always recommend creating a detailed outline of your plot before beginning to write. Even a loose plan can help you organize your plot, and keep your story from dragging on or becoming nonsensical. Make sure your plot makes sense and flows smoothly before you put a single word in that .doc file. It will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run.
More of Pepper Mason's work can be found at peppermasonbooks.weebly.com.