Forum posts made by morganhawke

Topic POLL: Authors, what do you have the most difficulty Writing?
Posted 23 Mar 2011 17:59

I have the same issue. My latest 'straight' stuff has turned into an 8 to 10 chapter story and it might even progress to more chapters. I find it hard to just tell a short story. I've also tried to edit ruthlessly but I'm never happy with that.

I'm going to give you the same advice I gave Doll.
-- If you really want to write Novel -- WRITE ONE then find a publisher for it. If you honestly feel that your skills aren't ready for publication, Sketch it out as a Draft and and SAVE IT for when you DO have the skills.

Once you get that novel out of your system, you should have no problems returning to writing short again. On the other hand, if you let that sit and FESTER in your subconscious, it could very well infect and inflame everything you write until your creativity flinches away from writing anything at all.

Trust me, I speak from experience.

Topic POLL: Authors, what do you have the most difficulty Writing?
Posted 23 Mar 2011 17:50

Coming up with something original; something that doesn't seem like it's been done 80 million times already. That's the hardest thing for me.

Hey Xuani,
-- Give up on Original. It doesn't exist. Not even Shakespeare was Original.
Instead, try for Different and Fresh.

Originality is Overrated
-- When designing a car, why stop to reinvent the wheel if someone else has already done all the research and done it better?

Why struggle trying to find a good plot and good characters when the data on what you already like is right there in front of you? Why work when you don’t have to?

Take a look at your personal DVD movie shelf. I bet there’s a whole bunch of movies dealing with stories that could (in your personal opinion,) use some good Sexing. Stories that Could have been hot but fell just a bit short; stories with tons of potential just waiting to be told properly.

So, DO IT. Yank them off your movie shelf, and write them EROTIC. Figure out the flaws in all those stories, and FIX them. In fact, why not mix two different stories together, or take the characters from one and toss them into the plot of another, just to see what would happen?

Once you change the setting, the characters’ appearances and their personal backgrounds… Voila! ~ Instant Brand New ORIGINAL Story!

How simple can you get?

When it comes to making Original Fiction, it’s NOT how unique the plot is, it’s Your VISION of that plot that makes it fresh and different!

• Alice in Wonderland + CyberPunk = THE MATRIX
• Treasure Island + James Bond = NATIONAL TREASURE
• Robinson Caruso + Space Aliens = ET
• Romeo & Juliet + the Old South = GONE WITH THE WIND

How can a billion movie-goers be wrong?

Topic POLL: Authors, what do you have the most difficulty Writing?
Posted 23 Mar 2011 17:39

The hardest is ending the story. I don't want it to come off as generic, nor do I want it to sound convoluted, with nothing resolved.

This is why I plan my ending before I begin writing. If I don't, I get stuck within two chapters of the end -- sometimes for MONTHS.

However, once you've already gotten that far into your story, the only way to fix the situation is to STOP WRITING and decide on where you want to End. You can't get to Pasadena if you don't even know that it's in California. Once you know how your story is supposed to end, THEN you can plan your route to get there.

As for where to End...?
-- Stories aren’t just about characters Doing stuff, it’s about character’s Dealing with stuff and Figuring out stuff about themselves. The really good stories, the ones that grab us and stay in our memories the longest, all illustrate normal people problems and issues, and the SOLUTIONS they come across.

No matter how fantastic the setting or characters are, stories are still about people being people dealing with people stuff. It isn’t what they Do, it’s How they did it, and what they discovered about themselves on the way.

What you need to decide, is what Issue Character was present at the very beginning of your story that needs to be solved? That's your true End. To make it truly catch the Reader's (and your) imagination, make that issue the Last thing the character wants to address in any way, shape or form.

For more details on writing Endings: How to make THE END.

With some of my stories, I can have the beginning and ending already worked out, no problem. The middle then becomes the hardest for me.

Ah! I have a whole pile of techniques you can use to make your Middle interesting!

Go To: The Trackless Wasteland known as the MIDDLE

Topic POLL: Authors, what do you have the most difficulty Writing?
Posted 23 Mar 2011 17:08

I seem to have trouble developing the characters.

In what way, specifically?
-- Describing what they Look like?
-- Describing what they Act like?
-- Describing how they feel emotionally about the events going on around them?
-- Describing how the story changes them as people?

Topic POLL: Authors, what do you have the most difficulty Writing?
Posted 23 Mar 2011 17:05

*sighs* i have this sudden urge to rewrite everything now... hmm... and honestly, i think i get the emotional part down well.

Actually, I agree, you DO do the emotional part very well. Your Actions are good too, it's your Descriptions that fall flat. All you need are Direct Nouns instead of vague nouns and more ADJECTIVES.

Adjectives give your objects and locations emotional flavor and impact. The trick is not to over-do it! Moderation - moderation - moderation.

Avoid Simple Nouns:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Use a Specific Noun rather than a simple and vague noun to automatically pop in description.

Instead of: the door, the car, the tree, the house, the sword, the robe, the hat...

Write: the French doors , the Subaru, the oak , the Victorian cottage , the claymore , the yukata , the fedora ...

One adjective per Noun:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ADD an Adjective to a specific Noun. The ornate French tapestry, the rusty Subaru, the quaint Victorian cottage, the gleaming claymore, the blood-stained yukata, the battered fedora.

Two adjectives per Sensation:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sight, Sound, Taste, Texture, Scent - are all perceived through the senses. The glaringly red French doors, the seductively throbbing jazz, the creamy bite of yogurt, the nubby white dishcloth, the pungent musk of wet dog.

For more details, read: Tricks for Writing DESCRIPTION

...but wow - you just do it so much better in just a throw away example then i do...

Well, duh... I've been published since 1980. After all this time, I'd BETTER be able to write like that.

ok, i quit -- curse you Morgan Hawke! *giggles*

Look at it as being a Challenge, sweety.
-- Remember, it took me decades to learn all this stuff. You get to see it and learn it in one lesson. USE that and take advantage of all the hoops you Don't have to jump through to move ahead in your writing.

oh, and everyone waiting for a new story from me (that's both of you!) you know who to blame if it takes longer than usual! :)

Because you're going to take the time to really crank up the heat and do it Right this time, right?

Topic POLL: Authors, what do you have the most difficulty Writing?
Posted 23 Mar 2011 16:45

The hardest thing for me is to avoid over-complicating a plot for a short story. ... sometimes I feel like too many ideas can convolute the original premise of the story, because I tend to want to do way too much.

Hey Ashleigh,
-- If you want to write a Novel -- WRITE ONE. Lush isn't the only place that takes Erotica. There are publishers too. A quick visit to your local bookstore's erotica section should give you a whole pile of publishers to choose from. Just make sure you find their sites on-line and read their posted Submission Guidelines carefully.

Contrary to a lot of the other posts in this thread, creating and writing the sex scenes is my favourite part... Embarassed

LOL! If these writers didn't like writing sex scenes, they wouldn't be posting on Lush.

Topic POLL: Authors, what do you have the most difficulty Writing?
Posted 23 Mar 2011 16:34

I'd have to say the hardest part for me, is coming up with new female companions to act out all these scenes before writing them.evil4

Who said you have to come up with New ones?
-- It's perfectly fine to use the ones you have, just change their physical descriptions and names in the story . Who's gonna know? REALLY?

This is how I get away with using movie characters in my novels. Of course, my characters tend to change and grow into their own distinct characters as the story progresses.

Topic POLL: Authors, what do you have the most difficulty Writing?
Posted 23 Mar 2011 16:26

The hardest thing I've had to write about is trying to describe what the woman (my wife) is thinking and feeling during the scenes. I'm no expert on females, so I've had to consult with her about it.

Hi Lee,
-- You're trying too hard. Since you write from strictly the Husband's (your) point of view, you Don't need to describe the Wife's FEELINGS, you need to describe her EXPRESSIONS. Her Facial Expressions will give those feelings away.

Here's a Cheater's Guide to describing expressions: The Non-Verbal Thesaurus

It's also difficult to remember some of the details of true stories, so I've had to fill in some of the gaps with embellishments, especially the sequence of some of the smaller events, the time of day, etc.

LOL! Welcome to the world of FICTION, my sweet! That's exactly how us professional authors do it.

Topic POLL: Authors, what do you have the most difficulty Writing?
Posted 23 Mar 2011 02:17

Developing an interesting plot. Coming up with a scenario which hasn't been read a million times before.

That merely takes a change of Setting.
-- Consider how a basic cunnilingus scene would change if you put it:

In a rowboat on a lake.
On the staircase of a haunted house.
With one's legs tied up in a doctor's chair.
In zero-gravity on a spaceship.
Underwater.
While straddling a fallen tree trunk in the woods.
While sitting in a church pew.
Spread out across a table while covered in sushi.
While sitting at a desk in a classroom full of high school students.
In a busy public bathroom.
On the mats during a karate class.
At a rock concert jam-packed with people.

How to write in a way which leads your reader to think they know where the story is heading, but end up taking them on a different journey. Creating twists in a story, how to surprise the reader.

That's easy, write the scene in a cliche'd fashion, and then end it a totally different way.

That Halloween story is a perfect example of the cliche' "Girl Gets Boy." However, the fact that the boy turns out to be her brother changes "Girl Gets Boy" into: "Girl gets WRONG boy."

Some more cliche's: from Sex Tropes

A Man Is Always Eager
Bigger Is Better In Bed
Caught With Your Pants Down

The trick to a twist is to go in an unexpected direction:

A Man Is Always Eager -- It wasn't Sex he was eager for.
Bigger Is Better In Bed -- Unless it's TOO big.
Caught With Your Pants Down -- It Wasn't by accident.

Topic POLL: Authors, what do you have the most difficulty Writing?
Posted 23 Mar 2011 01:42

My weak point is coming up with an ending and trying to round things up after the deed's done. That always takes me the longest to write.

Writing an End is the hardest thing for me to come up with -- which is why I figure out where I want my story to end Before I even begin writing, but that's just me.

The best way to end any story is by solving the Character's personal Issue or Problem introduced in the beginning. Is the character shy, or lonely, depressed, lacking in confidence, looking for love in all the wrong places, too arrogant, too smart for their own good, or too stupid to live?

Seriously, the real payoff of any story is the Answer to the main character's issue presented in the beginning, even if their problem is as simple as: "Will she get laid?" Once you've address that issue, you've reached the end of your story.

Topic POLL: Authors, what do you have the most difficulty Writing?
Posted 23 Mar 2011 01:28

I would say I have the most difficulty with the sex scene part...trying to keep it fresh after writing a number of stories is a common problem I've heard other authors mention as well...

Believe it or not, the key to making a sex scene fresh is to make the scene AROUND IT fresh.
-- A blow job is something that happens in just about every sex scene, but a BJ in zero gravity on a space ship is going to very different from one done underwater during a scuba dive.

Topic POLL: Authors, what do you have the most difficulty Writing?
Posted 23 Mar 2011 00:52

well... if we're talking purely erotica, sometimes i have trouble with sex scenes... ...here's the deal, i'm not sure how long to make them last - this would probably fall under the sexual gymastics part ... i mean, should the description of a blow job be one sentence, a paragraph, three?

According to my editors, a sex scene should last a minimum of one whole chapter -- and that's ONLY the sex scene. Just so you know, my chapters are anywhere between 2500 to 3000 words.

DESCRIPTION is the key to fleshing out the scene. Don't just call it 'juice,' describe the glistening moisture that slides in slender rivulets down the inside of her thigh THEN describe how it feels physically , THEN how the character feels emotionally about the fact that they're dripping from excitement.

1. What it looks like.
2. What it feels like Physically.
3. How they feel about it Emotionally.

The glistening moisture slid in slender rivulets down the inside of her thigh. The coolness of the moisture tickled in contrast to the wamth of her skin. Because her skirt was so short, her excitement was clearly visible to anyone who happened to be looking. Her cheeks filled with embarrassed warmth and she lowered her gaze, not wanting to know who might be staring at her, aware that she was aroused.

Topic POLL: Authors, what do you have the most difficulty Writing?
Posted 22 Mar 2011 20:37

Seriously, authors, when you're writing a story, or want to write a story, what do you find the hardest thing to put on paper? Feel free to comment.

Click on the sentence to Vote!

Topic "How do I make my stories POPULAR?"
Posted 22 Mar 2011 19:06

You forgot to add the part about having a sexy avatar, and befriending all and sundry, to help boost your scores Shhh

Blinks innocently. Nooo...! That stuff never works.

Topic "How do I make my stories POPULAR?"
Posted 22 Mar 2011 16:46

Excellent advice Morgan =d>
Thank you!
-- It's one of my most common writing questions, believe it or not.

Topic "How do I make my stories POPULAR?"
Posted 22 Mar 2011 16:11

"How do I make my stories POPULAR?"

That's easy:
-- Write something everyone wants to read.

"How do you find out what everyone wants to read?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On a story site like this one, that's even easier:
-- Check out the 20 Most Popular Stories (who has the most Fav's,) and figure out what they have in common. Also, pay attention to the posted comments. The readers will state their likes and dislikes right there.

Begin by making a list of the most common elements:

Types of characters:
-- Not what they LOOK like, their Personality types!

What's the preferred type of Main Character:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ordinary Person
Genius
Moron
Other...?

What type of Heroine:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sweet
Sour
Mature
Silly
Sarcastic
Other...?

What type of Hero:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Strong & silent
Sweet & caring
Sarcastic & rude
Other...?

What type of Villain:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ordinary Person
Genius
Moron
Strong & silent
Sarcastic & rude
Sweet
Sour
Mature
Silly
Other...?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Character Age:
Teens
20's
30's
40's
Other...?


Types of STORIES...

Story (sub-)Genre:
-- This is an Erotica site, these are sub-genres.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fantasy
Sci-fi
Adventure
Romance
Horror
Gothic
Suspense
Yaoi
Yuri
Other...?

Setting:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Castle
Wilderness
Office
Condo
Seedy apartment
Mansion
Farm
High School
Other...?

Time Period:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Middle Ages
Modern Era
Ancient times
Other...?

Types of Action Scenes:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
One on one encounters
Duels
Huge epic battles
Grand Chases
Captures
Grand Escapes
Monster Attacks
Pure Smut
Other...?

Love Scenes:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Romantic
Orgy
Voyeurism
Exhibitionism
Fetishism
Bondage & Kink
Seduction (mild Non-Con)
Just kissing
No love scenes at all.
Other...?

Pairings:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
M/M
F/F
M/F/M
F/M/F
M/F w strap-on
Incest
Other...?

Any Other common factors to these popular stories:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
?


Once you know all these things, all you have to do is write within these parameters -- and write WELL. Sometimes the only difference between a Winner and a Dud Is NOT the content, but HOW it's written.

Many readers here are forgiving of bad grammar and head-hopping. I am NOT one of them, and I am NOT alone.

When you have a lot of people that write the same thing, someone that takes the time to use their spell-check and proper paragraphing will always pull ahead of those that don't. Someone that's easy to read will always have more readers than someone who writes stuff you have to struggle through just to figure out what the heck is happening.

SKILL counts a hell of a lot more than you think.

Why didn't I bother to list story Length in my list above?
-- Because when a story is GOOD people will gladly read an Epic. ( Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings anyone?)


------Original Message------
Skill doesn't always count, example "Twilight".
-- Disgusted Guy
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Actually, Twilight is a prime example of ' writing what the Readers want to Read '. It's a Fantasy about an extremely powerful and inhumanly gorgeous guy that worships the ground his very ordinary and fairly selfish beloved walks on. It's the fantasy of True Love. (" No matter what you do, or how often you walk head-first into danger, I will always drop whatever I am doing and be there to protect you. You will always come First in my life--forever. ") This is EXACTLY what teenagers and housewives love to read. That it has absolutely Nothing to do with the realities of love is precisely what makes it so popular.

Yes, the grammar, spelling, and sentence structure sucks, plus it's seriously draggy in places, but there is Nothing out there to compete with it. The only stories that come close to this are childrens' Fairy Tales and the Bodice Ripper romances of the 80's. If someone else were to write a bunch of pure TRUE LOVE fantasies and actually know how to write, they'd put her out of business.

By the way, want to know what Else is just as popular and has exactly the same theme? Walt Disney's Beauty and the Beast .

"Does popularity Really matter?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Whether or not Popularity matters depends on WHY the writer posts their work.

For someone just writing to be creative and express themselves, popularity isn't all that important. They're writing to please themselves, so if someone else likes it too...? Well, that's just dandy, but that's not why they're writing.

Popularity = "You actually read my work? Wow, thanks!"

A goodly number of writers consider an increasing number of views and comments as a sort of gauge to tell them whether or not their writing skills have improved.

Popularity = "I must be getting Better!"

Many, many more submitters to story sites post simply to get attention. Ahem, popularity. Just look at all the stories that DEMAND reviews and/or comments before they'll post the next chapter? If that isn't a scream for attention, I don't know what is.

Popularity = "I am Cool."

Sadly, those writers rarely last long. The first hard critique they get usually breaks them of their delusion that the readers will be satisfied with anything posted in a highly read sub-genre (or fandom.) Once that delusion of grandeur -- that they're SOMEBODY just because they posted -- is gone, so are they.

The ones that do make it past that first hard critique often become dedicated to making their stories worth the praise they originally sought. Those writers also tend to improve fast.

In my case, popularity = PAYCHECK.
-- I'm an author and books that don't sell well--aren't popular with my readers, mean less money in the bank when it comes time to pay my rent, but that's just me.


In Conclusion...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you're looking to make your stories popular, there's no getting around the fact that the only way to do it is by writing what the readers want to read and Better than anyone else.

However, if your purpose for writing is merely to please your creative urges -- don't worry about it. When you write just to be creative, the only one you really need to please is yourself.

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DISCLAIMER: As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest. As a multi-published author, I have been taught some fairly rigid rules on what is publishable and what is not. If my rather straight-laced (and occasionally snotty,) advice does not suit your creative style, by all means, IGNORE IT .

Topic 10 Second Tip: Stuck on a SHORT Story?
Posted 22 Mar 2011 15:46

10 Second Tip:
Stuck on a SHORT Story?

Stuck on what to put in your story?
-- This is the list of things I check off when I create a story:

Do you have a Setting in mind?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
- Sci-fi
- Historical
- Modern day

Do you have ONE big main event for the story to focus on?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
- A battle
- An escape
- A love scene
- An act of revenge
- A sacrifice
- A treasure to claim

Do you know what you want to SAY with your story?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
- Love sucks.
- Friendship is forever.
- No good deed goes unpunished.
- A snake can only ever be a snake.
- Sometimes you have to take chances.

Do you know where you want to END your story?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
- A wedding?
- A funeral?
- A bloody battlefield?
- An empty street?
- The bottom of an ocean?

Do you have your three central characters ready?
-- Just to make things interesting, any of these three could be the Hero, the Villain, or the Ally.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
- A main character that personifies what your story is trying to say?
- A main character that personifies an opposing opinion of the same topic?
- A buddy / friend/ love interest of one or both to personify Joe Normal stuck in the Middle?

Why did I mention Characters last ?
-- Instead of making a story for my characters, I do the opposite. I make characters for my story .

Some people can come up with a cool character and then build a story around them. Sadly, I am not one of those. I can build a back-story just fine, but my back-stories are never good enough to be the Main Story. A back-story is how a character GOT his Issues. The main story is how they FIXED those Issues. See the difference?

Anyway...
-- When I'm stuck on a story, I try thinking on these questions and often, they'll jog something loose.

Enjoy!

Topic 10 Second Tip: "What about your Readers?"
Posted 20 Mar 2011 11:37

...You don't wanna piss off Ms. Hawke.... Trust me.....

What a nice thing to say! L16

Topic 10 Second Tip: "What about your Readers?"
Posted 19 Mar 2011 23:25

Ms. Hawke!!!! I was joking!!!!! clown
I know sweety! I was joking back! LOL!

Topic Crossing Genres
Posted 18 Mar 2011 17:43

...so yes, if you ... want to genre cross, don't do it on the wing ... pay attention to the rules of the genre you're crossing into, otherwise it's not going to work.

Nice addition! I like it!

Topic 10 Second Tip: "What about your Readers?"
Posted 18 Mar 2011 17:39

... Also the reason why artists can become somewhat "precious" about their work, because they are laying something quite personal out there..

That's very much the case with me. When I'm working from an emotion I've experienced, especially a strong one, it can be very hard to separate 'me' from my work.

Topic 10 Second Tip: "What about your Readers?"
Posted 18 Mar 2011 17:34

personally, i find that stories that DO feel a little personal, are more likely to draw me in - there's real emotions, needs, wants, desires, etc there, and it add a dimension - i'm not talking about real life stories or autobiographies, but certainly, something that retains the personality of the writer.

I agree 100%. That essence of Truth is what makes a story really resonate, especially with anyone who has experienced those feelings before.

Topic Morgan asked me to say hello, so...
Posted 18 Mar 2011 17:30

I do NOT. *points at halo* Innocent, mi amiga. Totally innocent.
angel7

Nice try, but if you actually were that innocent, we wouldn't get along half this well.

Topic 10 Second Tip: "What about your Readers?"
Posted 18 Mar 2011 15:05

She's only here 5 minutes and already she's plagiarising you???!!!! However do you put up with her!!!! (But at least I bet she can spell 'plagiarise'......dontknow ) LOL! xx S

It's not plagiarism, Lori has permission to borrow anything she likes from me. I believe in sharing. That's what friends do!

Topic Crossing Genres
Posted 18 Mar 2011 14:05

Crossing Genres
Every genre has core elements that make that genre that genre . In order to Cross Genres properly, you need to know each of your genre’s distinctive elements and make them Equally Important in the story.

Simple, no? However...

One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen in every genre of fiction: IGNORANCE.

“Most of the common mistakes come with any writing that isn't so good—bad characters, bad plots, bad writing. The ones which are peculiar to alternate histories (fantasy and sci-fi) are bad research and bad extrapolation.”
-- An Interview with Harry Turtledove

How do you expect to cross genres properly if you don't even know the genres you're working with? Contrary to popular belief, even if you're writing pure Heroic Fantasy, just making it up as you go is NOT good enough!

On writing Heroic Fantasy
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“…The consequence of making that assumption research is not necessary for a completely made-up world ] is, inevitably, a sleazy product. It may be bought by an editor hard up for material, but it will carry none of the conviction, the illusion of reality, which helps make the work … memorable. At best, it will drop into oblivion; at worst, it will stand as an awful example. If our field becomes swamped with this kind of garbage, readers are going to go elsewhere for entertainment and there will be no more…”
-- On Thud and Blunder by Poul Anderson

Genre Ignorance
Genre ignorance is where the author writes a story in a genre they know nothing about.
Examples:

Someone writes a Historical Romance, when they’ve never read any Romances.
This shows up as a beautifully detailed Historical with barely a drop of real Emotional Passion. They would have been better off writing a Historical Adventure.

CLUE: It’s all about the Relationship. Really.

Someone writes an Erotica story, when they’ve never read any real Erotica.
This shows up as a sloppily detailed journal entry written in first person POV, and present tense, with lousy grammar, and no emotional content beyond amazement. Even worse, the descriptions involve actual numbers and letters. "She was 5'6" and a DD." They would have been better off writing a Xenthouse Letter.

CLUE: It's not: "The characters had SEX." It's: "The CHARACTERS had sex."

Someone writes a Sci-Fi, when they’ve never read any Sci-Fi’s.
This shows up as a beautifully detailed Adventure, with hardly a drop of real Science anywhere. These stories are normally labeled Futuristics, as the only Sci-Fi they have going for them is the Setting. They would have been better off writing a Western, or a High Seas adventure, a historical War story, or just about any other kind of Adventure you can think of.

CLUE: “ If you can take the Science out of the Fiction and still have a viable story in another genre, you did it WRONG .” -- Isaac Azimov

Someone writes a Gothic, when they’ve never read any Gothics.
This shows up as a beautifully detailed Romance, with hardly a drop of deep dark Emotional Issues anywhere. They would have been better off writing a Historical Romance.

CLUE: It’s all about the Angst. Really.

Someone writes a Mystery, when they’ve never read any Mysteries.
This shows up as a beautifully detailed Adventure, with a barely real criminal and hardly a drop of a real Investigation anywhere. Or worse, the readers KNOWS “whodunit” by the end of the fourth chapter because the author was foolish enough to give “whodunit”, a Point of View.

HELLO ~ ! The point of a Mystery is to keep the Reader guessing the answer to “whodunit” all the way to The End!

Why? Mystery readers read Mysteries to match their wits against the Author’s. If they guess the answer too quickly, the author has done the worst thing they could possibly do to their reader – DISAPPOINT them. They would have been better off writing a Suspense adventure.

CLUE: The easiest way to keep the reader guessing is by staying in ONE POV from the beginning of the story all the way to the End.

Planning to write a Vampire Romance or Vampire Erotica ?
WARNING! ~ Most hard-core vampire readers won’t touch a Vampire Romance or a Paranormal Romance, or a Gothic Romance for that matter, with a 10-foot pole and they're damned choosy with their Vampire Erotica too.

Why not?
~ The Vampire reader is a Purist, and more often than not, Goth. To the hard-core Goth crowd, Vampires are more than mere entertainment they’re an Icon, and very often, represent a personal obsession with DEATH.

To put it bluntly, these readers have read just about everything there is to read about them – fiction and non-fiction, as well as the classic Gothics. These folks have VERY intimate knowledge about anything and everything to do with vampires and Gothics, so it’s blatantly obvious to them, when an author hasn’t done their research on Vampires, or know what Gothics and Horrors are really about.

CLUE: To a vampire obsessed Goth, a vampire has meaning, and ANGST. They want their vampires to be VAMPIRES brooding over the nature of Life and Death, not just a hot guy with Teeth.

On the other hand, the die-hard Romance reader is perfectly happy with a romantically inclined hot guy with Teeth – but you better get the Romance right! Erotica readers are also cool with hot guys (or girls) with teeth, but they're reading to Get-Off, so the characters had not only better be attractive, the sex had better be explicit.

And that’s just Vampires. Fantasy and Science-fiction have their share of fanatical purists too.

The easiest way to FIX the Ignorance problem?
RESEARCH!
There’s no excuse for Lack of Research. If you think the readers won't notice, you are sadly mistaken. I can't tell you how many readers have come to me because they looked up an obscure little fact I tossed into a story and were astonished that I was Accurate. Avoid hate-mail, do your damned research, and do it BEFORE you write.

The advent of the Internet has made looking anything up a freaking breeze. Anything you could possibly want to know is up on somebody’s website somewhere. Google.com is your friend, seriously. USE IT.

"What has all this to do with Crossing Genres?"
Well, before you can combine two genres, you need to KNOW the two genres you're working with because BOTH of them must be equally important in the story to BE a Cross-Genre.

The Rule of Cross Genre Fiction:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“ When you Cross Genres, if you can take either genres’ identifying elements out of the Fiction and still have a viable story in the genre that’s left – you did it WRONG .”

The Genres
(Broken down to their simplest common denominators)

Character driven = Drama
Gothic – mysterious circumstances caused by repressed/hidden issues
Romance – intimate circumstances caused by love issues
Horror – life and death circumstances caused by despair/madness/hate issues

Premise driven = Consequence
Science Fiction – scientific elements and human values
Fantasy – fantasy elements and mythic values
Paranormal – supernatural elements and Karmic values
Erotica – sexual elements and emotional values

Setting driven = Exploration
Contemporary – set in the present-day
Historical - set in the past
Futuristic – set in the future
High Fantasy – set in the Mythic past

Plot driven = Action
Mystery – a crime and investigation quest
Suspense - a contemporary heroic quest
Adventure – a heroic quest
Sci-Fi - a futuristic heroic quest (space opera)

Okay, there you go. You now know what makes each genre tick. What’s next?

Let’s play: Mix and Match!
Take any genre from one of the four drives, and another genre from any of the Other three drives, and put them together.

Plot driven = Action
Setting driven = Exploration
Premise driven = Consequence
Character driven = Drama

“What if I wanna use two genres from the SAME drive?”
Go ahead, be my guest, but you’re going to find it a little tough to match some of them. On the other hand, the three DRAMA drives work fine paired up with any of the other DRAMA drives. Go figure.

All right, once you’ve picked your two genres, simply use ALL the elements of BOTH and you’ve got a perfect cross genre.

Premise driven = Consequence - Science Fiction: scientific elements and human values
+
Character driven = Drama - Gothic: mysterious circumstances caused by repressed/hidden issues

= The Matrix - A Gothic Sci-Fi

Let’s define The Matrix :
Scientific elements = Computer Generated Reality and Villains
+
Human values = Knowledge verses Ignorance < -- Premise
+
Mysterious circumstances = Strange coincidences that couldn’t possibly be Natural
+
Repressed/hidden issues = The True nature of Reality

Get it? Wanna do it again?

Premise driven = Consequence - Paranormal: supernatural elements and Karmic values
+
Character driven = Drama - Gothic: mysterious circumstances caused by repressed/hidden issues
+
Setting driven = Exploration - Contemporary: set in the present-day

= Constantine - A Paranormal Gothic

Let’s define Constantine :
Supernatural elements = Demons and Angels
+
Karmic values = Actions verses Motive/Intent < -- Premise
+
Mysterious circumstances = A sudden increase in demonic activity.
+
Repressed/hidden issues = Faith
+
Set in the present-day = New York City

One more time!

Premise driven = Consequence - Romance: intimate circumstances caused by love issues
+
Premise driven = Consequence - Horror – life and death circumstances caused by despair/madness/hate issues

= Sin City - A Romantic Horror

Let’s define Sin City :
Because we used Two Premise driven genres, we ADD the premises together, as well as the circumstances.

Intimate circumstances + Life and death circumstances = Sex and Murder
+
Love issues + despair/madness/hate issues = The insane lengths one will go to when in Love. < -- Premise

Got it now?

Ruling Elements
Many cross genres are ruled by one genre or the other. It doesn’t have to be that way, but it frequently is. For example, Romance tends to outweigh any other genre its paired with. Why? Publishers' insistence. Romance readers outnumber all other readers ~ EXCEPT Mystery readers!

By the way, the genre Romantic Suspense was originally an attempt to grab some of the Mystery readers. (Increased Readers = Increased Profits) Unfortunately, Mystery readers tend to be Purists. They read Mysteries for the Puzzle the story represents and for no other reason. While they don’t seem to mind a bit of hanky-panky in their stories, they will NOT put up with a story that they can guess in a few chapters, or a story that isn’t actually focused on the Mystery to be solved.

Romantic Suspense failed at grabbing the Mystery readers completely BECAUSE their stories weren’t True Mysteries. See what I mean about Genre Ignorance?

However, adding a PLOT to a Romance made the genre a hit with the Romance readers, who had gotten very, very bored with only Historicals or Contemporaries to read.

Oddly enough, this discovery of adding a fully functional plot to a Romance, plus the rise in interest in Women's Erotica via the " Black Lace " novels and the Red Sage's " Secrets " anthologies, led to the birth of another whole genre:

Erotic Romance
The big secret behind the overwhelming popularity of Erotic Romance is neither the Romance nor the Erotic elements, but the fact that there’s a THIRD genre in the mix. This third genre is the PLOT that ties the Romance and the Sex together.

Which genre? Any of them, each of them, ALL of them. Erotic Romance is a genre of Cross-genres.

Romance + Erotica + Genre = Erotic Romance

Romance + Erotica + Sci-Fi = Erotic Sci-fi
Romance + Erotica + Fantasy = Erotic Fantasy
Romance + Erotica + Mystery = Erotic Suspense
Romance + Erotica + Pulp Fiction = Erotic Romance
Romance + Erotica + Horror = Erotic Horror

What made this Genre of Cross-genres so hot a sale? Contrary to popular (Publisher) belief, Romance readers are NOT purists. As long as there’s a sexually-explicit Romance and a vaguely Happy Ending they’ll take any genre it comes in.

At this point in time, the only deciding factor between one cross-genre of Erotic Romance and the next is the Author’s Skill, seriously. A skilled Erotic Romance author can make ANY cross-genre of Erotic Romance profit.

In Conclusion...
-- To create a true Cross-Genre, ALL the genres involved must be equally important in the story. However, doing it Wrong doesn’t mean it won’t get published. It just means you “missed the point” of crossing your genres.

I’m firmly of the opinion that if you’re going to do something, do it RIGHT. Why? Because if you do it Wrong, and someone else does it Right, guess who’s gonna grab all the readers?

Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest. As a multi-published author, I have been taught some fairly rigid rules on what is publishable and what is not. If my rather straight-laced (and occasionally snotty,) advice does not suit your creative style, by all means, IGNORE IT.

Topic Morgan asked me to say hello, so...
Posted 18 Mar 2011 11:40


Like I would ever let you touch me THERE. angel7

Oh, you LIE~!

Topic 10 Second Tip: "What about your Readers?"
Posted 18 Mar 2011 11:34

Talent is when you do something right by Accident.
Skill, on the other hand is when one does it right On Purpose.


WORD. Well said. In fact, I'm going to tweet that. So there.

You're welcome!

Topic 10 Second Tip: "What about your Readers?"
Posted 18 Mar 2011 11:32

Writing a story is a bigger responsibility than you thought, ne?

LOL...yeah...and one of the major changes that my writing took over the last couple of years is that it has become increasingly "personal"..

Your writing has most likely become more Powerful too. When real emotions are engaged, it shows .

Topic 10 Second Tip: "What about your Readers?"
Posted 17 Mar 2011 23:32

I had a bit of an awakening last year, when I realized just how much my words could affect my readers and how seriously some people actually took my writing...I would almost describe it as "scary" at the time.

Writing a story is a bigger responsibility than you thought, ne?

Topic 10 Second Tip: "What about your Readers?"
Posted 17 Mar 2011 19:44

So much of what you say is what I think a good writer almost unconsciously does, yet to see it accurately summed-up in this fashion really focuses my mind...
Thank you. I've found that if I closely examine the steps I go through to make a good story, my following stories turn out far more consistent. These essays are from the notes I took on how and why certain things worked.

I'm awakening to the difference between one who writes for pleasure and plaudits and someone who works hard at being a genuinely talented writer...

Talent is when you do something right by Accident.
Skill, on the other hand is when one does it right On Purpose.