Saturday, 28 February 2015
Five tips on how to write erotica from Jeremy Edwards:
1) Be aware of the wealth of options at your disposal regarding vocabulary, sentence structure, imagery, etc. Exploit this decision-making aspect of the writing process, so that you're really *crafting* your story, making deliberate choices so as to utilize the literary building blocks that you think will work best.
2) Keep your ear on the rhythm of your prose. All writers are poets, in a sense.
3) Try to give the reader descriptions and associations that he or she wouldn't have thought of without you. Make the reader need you--*your* words, *your* voice. Stay in the driver’s seat as far as vocabulary is concerned: don’t automatically go with the first word that comes to mind. Is there a better word to plug into a particular sentence? A more precise or more evocative one? A less overused one? The impact of your scene will be greater if your words surprise, stimulate, and delight the reader with the fresh images and ideas they convey, rather than plodding along predictable paths.
4) Make your details count. Some well-written scenes have a rich carpet of thoughtful detail, and other well-written scenes play out in a sparser or more impressionistic style. If you’re doing the former, make sure your narratorial voice clearly guides the reader along, so that the lushness points somewhere rather than becoming a jungle to get bogged down in. If the latter, make sure those choice few details pull their weight in terms of their effectiveness. With either approach (or anything in between), watch out for detail "weeds" that can distract from detail "flowers."
5) Master the conventions of your art's technical aspect, but be wary of too many "don'ts" and "nevers." Writing--especially fiction writing--is a creature that needs room to breathe, stretch, and strike its pose. The paramount rule for a creative writer, or any artist, might be stated as "Do what works."
Jeremy Edwards is the author of many pieces of fiction including Rock My Socks Off. More of Jeremy's work can be found by visiting: www.jeremyedwardserotica.com
Saturday, 21 February 2015
Brenda Knight is a twenty-year publishing veteran, starting at HarperCollins and authored American Book Award-winning Women of the Beat Generation, Rituals for Life and Wild Women and Books. Knight has worked with many bestselling authors including Mark Nepo, Phil Cousineau, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, and Paolo Coehlo. Knight volunteers for the American Cancer Society as a counselor for the newly diagnosed and leads writing workshops “Putting Your Passion on Paper.” Founding editor of Viva Editions, a division of Cleis Press, Knight lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
1) Don't "over write." Less is more.
2) In fiction, the best trick is to make the reader intrigued by leaving something unexplained. Explain towards the end.
3) Erotic fiction is easy to go overboard into "purple prose" so let the anticipation build.
4) Truly, the art is in the details—the great Vladimir Nabokov said to fill the eye of the reader's mind with details that create a picture.
5) Stay fresh by reading a lot, especially the greats.
Brenda Knight is an associate publisher of Cleis Press, www.cleispress.com.
Saturday, 14 February 2015
A big thank you to Ashley for inviting me over here today. There are plenty of invaluable writing tips on the site already as well as a fair bit of advice on approaching editors or publishers, so I’ve tried to look at things from a slightly different angle with my five tips...
1. Turn off your inner censor...
You can’t write about sex with a projection of your mother, father, gran, uncle, priest or teacher sitting on your shoulder expressing shock or moral outrage at every sentence. If you have young children or a sensitive job, you’ll probably need to pick yourself a pseudonym and guard it closely. Then you can give yourself permission to write freely, unrestrainedly, uninhibitedly. Without anyone whispering to you that it’s not art, that it’s cheap and smutty, that it’s wrong or filthy.
2. ...then write dirty
I mean really dirty. Think of a sexual act that you, personally, find shocking, or weird, or distasteful, or even disgusting. Then write a short scene incorporating that act. And not in a shocking, weird, distasteful or disgusting way. In a way that is hot and positive and leaves you with that tight little feeling in your throat. Even if you never show this to another soul, I think it’s useful to get the worst you can think of out of your system rather than tiptoeing towards more and more risqué things and also to learn how to make anything sexy, even if it’s totally beyond your own experience or fantasies. Another useful exercise is to make something really mundane sound hot. Something like knitting, say...
I’m joking. You shouldn’t copy other authors. But you should read as a writer, working out what it is about other authors that you like and how you can take elements of that and make them your own. I love the deep point of view and breathless stream of consciousness of Charlotte Stein, the literate quality and filthy daring of Janine Ashbless, the realistic and authoritative descriptions of BDSM in Fulani, the playful humour of Justine Elyot. Whatever strengths your favourite authors have, take those as your standard and aim to write that well.
4. Don’t sell out
Related to the last point is to always produce work you can be proud of. I know it’s not the done thing, especially for us Brits, to admit that we actually think we’re any good, but for me it’s really important to feel a personal sense of pride in what I write. This means not churning something out and thinking ‘it’ll do’. Not writing to ape the bestsellers. Not avoiding moral issues (and not the ones your gran, priest, teacher etc would be on about). The moral issues I’m thinking of are the safety of casual BDSM encounters, how easy it is to unwittingly slip into scenes of dubious consent, gender stereotypes, presenting straight sex as normative...
5. Don’t let it get personal
There are, of course, erotic memoirs or diaries out there – Diary of a Submissive and No Ordinary Love Story by Sophie Morgan spring to mind and both are great reads written by someone who has been very brave to bare her personal story. But they’re different from writing erotic fiction. You can’t base an entire writing career on your own exploits, however varied and exciting. And, for me, I start to get uneasy when real life creeps in a little too much, however much my imagination embellishes it. I can’t reveal which stories that’s happened in, although I can tell you it’s not the m/m ones... I use all manner of observations and snippets of conversation and things I’ve read as inspiration and to add unusual little details to my stories, but for the big picture it’s all my imagination. And yes, that can be a dark and strange place.
Tilly Hunter is a British erotica writer and editor with short stories out or in the pipeline from Xcite Books, House of Erotica, MLR Press, Cleis Press, Storm Moon Press, Coming Together and Ryan Field Press. Her trio of BDSM short stories, Miranda’s Tempest, gives a kinky twist to Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Grimms’ Hansel and Gretel and Homer’s The Odyssey and is available at most online retailers or at Amazon or Amazon UK. Her editing and proofreading site is at www.tillyhunter.co.uk and she blogs at tillyhuntererotica.blogspot.co.uk.
Saturday, 7 February 2015
5 tips by Kyoko Church
1. Forget the world. I would say all fiction writing, when it’s done well, is intensely personal but is there any that is more so than erotica? The first thing I absolutely have to do when I write about sex is to completely forget about the fact that anyone else is going to read it. That’s a scary thing to do the first time! But if you believe that all the best writing is born of passion and a compulsion to communicate that passion, then it is essential that you not censor yourself. Write your truth. Worry about what Aunt Velma’s gonna say when she reads about your secret penchant for masturbating while wearing latex later.
2. Well, maybe not the world. Okay, bring back one person. Maybe it’s your lover. Maybe your best friend. Maybe it’s Aunt Velma after all. Someone who you are 100% comfortable with and to whom you can confide all your darkest, grittiest, private thoughts. And write to her. Two things are possible when you write like this. As a reader I love when I get the feeling the writer is letting me in on a secret, something I haven’t heard before, like I’m eavesdropping on a private conversation or peering into someone’s bedroom. This is the feeling you are able to conjure when you write to one special person. You allow the reader that private, special glimpse which is thrilling for her. The other thing that happens is you develop a rapport with your reader. You want that. Treat your reader with respect. Time is precious and she is taking time out of her day to sit down and read your words. That deserves respect.
3. Edit, edit, edit. And while I’m talking about respecting your reader, let’s talk about editing. We all know that with self-publishing now any Tom, Dick or Barbara can jot a few words down, throw them up on Amazon and think she is going to be the next EL James, taking the unsuspecting public by storm with her story about the time she let her boyfriend fuck her from behind while she was wearing a dog collar and fantasizing about Taylor Lautner. And it’s not that the dog collar thing is not a valid fantasy. Who am I to say what fantasies are valid? But if you’re going to write it down and want me to read and be entertained by it then do it or don’t but whatever you do, don’t do it half assed! Make it your best. And part of how you do that is through editing. And editing. And editing again. Like I say, it’s about respect for your reader. As a reader, it’s one thing if I read something and don’t like it but if it’s badly edited as well then I feel like, not only do I not care about this, neither does the writer! Way to punch me in the stomach and spit in my eye for good measure. Yes, outside of selfpub land mistakes will get caught when the publisher gets their editors to go over it but the more you catch yourself the less there is for later which means there will be a higher possibility that what comes out will be perfect, or as close as you can get it.
4. Take classes. If you are an avid reader, like any good writer undoubtedly is, you might already have an instinctual ability to tell a story. But in my opinion it is good practice and also good fun to always be honing your skills. So take classes. Learn the technical stuff: show, don’t tell, POV, goal, motivation and conflict, character arcs, plot development, all of that. It’s inspiring, fun and educational all in one!
5. Fantasize. What’s that you’re doing in bed there, KC, with that pillow between your legs and the faraway look in your eye? Well since you asked, that, my friend, is what I like to call research and development. Yup, it’s all part of the job. Nice work, if you can get it. Now go away. I’m busy. Ignore the buzzing.
Kyoko Church's books can be found on the following pages: