Forum posts made by morganhawke

Topic REALITY CHECK! Writing for PROFIT
Posted 08 Mar 2011 02:41

Editor n. ('e-de-ter, rhymes with predator)...an occupation where someone is allowed to take a story an author has worked on for hours to get right, and change it as they see fit, presumably for no other purpose than to annoy the author. From an old Latin term meaning "Devil person from Hell"...

...My questions...is this normal? Do they feel like they own your butt because they are paying you and therefore can do whatever they want to your story without the author's consent???

Yes, this is Normal and in fact Unavoidable in every form of written publication. They Can and Will edit your work -- the work they paid for -- to fit their word-count/space constraints and their house grammar and/or content rules.

If you are lucky, they will ask the author to do the editing. (Lush asked me to edit "Alchemical Ink" to suit their content restrictions -- and I DID.) However, if the publisher is in a hurry; they're up against a deadline, they'll do it right then and there because legally, they CAN.

However the editors as a rule, do Not " feel like they own your butt because they are paying you ."

One misapprehension that the editor is out to hack, twist, trash, or otherwise fold, spindle, and mutilate your work. The true job of an editor is to take what you have and make it the best it can be, not to rewrite it in their own image and likeness. Spelling, grammar and sentence structure are standard, as is consistency.

You may get a manuscript back marked with enough red to illustrate the St. Valentine's Massacre, and still find not all that much is changed, as far as the true heart of your work: the story.

An editor doesn't bake the cake, just decorates it.

Unfortunately, not all editors know their role.
-- Some want to rewrite a story in a way they like, regardless of author's voice. Others fail to understand the author's world building, and end up literally destroying the carefully wrought storyline. Still more take on the role with a minimum of training and experience, and end up putting in more mistakes than they take out.

Usually because of a bad experience such as this, the author goes into the publishing world mistrusting the editor, and the relationship is doomed from the start.

The trick is knowing the difference between a professional edit, and the evil alternative.

Editing can seem traumatic...
-- You just handed over your baby, and when you get that book back, you feel like you've been attacked. Sentences you labored over have been hash-marked. The quaint turn of phrase you spent a good amount of time getting just so has been designated "too passive", and there is a detailed note attached asking you all sorts of inane questions you thought were made perfectly clear in line 18 of page four.

What would bring an otherwise kind person to perform such brutality?

Oddly enough, they're doing it to help you.
-- If a publisher signs you, they think you have a good bit of writing that the public may enjoy. So their goal is to put out a book that people will want to spend money on.

Now, no matter how good you and your crit group are, things will be missed. That's the editor's job.
-- What seems perfectly clear and right to you after fifty readings may not be so to a reader during their first. A certain turn of phrase may read as offensive, or it may just not fit the image the house wants to project.

And of course, two words to strike fear in any wordsmith's heart: House Style.
-- Every publisher has their own style, terminology, and formatting methods. Which, in most cases, is nothing like yours. But the end result is not intended to send you into a fit of weeping and bosom-rending, but merely to create a marketable product.

If it's not about the money, or you think your misspellings are creative, and should be left in for emphasis, or you truly fear the evil editor, don't go to a publisher .

Insane advice? No, self-preservation.
-- You're better off going to a vanity press, or simply doing it yourself, because all it will result in is bad blood between you and the publisher.

If you sign their contract, you are in essence agreeing to do it their way . If you don't like their way, don't sign the contract .

And yes, an ebook publisher is a real publisher.

And a contract is a contract.

Going to an ebook publisher is not a "last resort."
-- It also does not mean you get the right to do or say whatever you like. An epublisher commands the same respect as any other.

If Doubleday signed you:
* Would you argue with and/or insult the editor?
* Would you ask the publisher after they spent hours editing and putting your book up for sale to dissolve your contract because you want to go to another publisher?
* More important, would they?

Straight up answer is no , on all counts. You wouldn't do it, and they wouldn't take it. So keep that in mind when you make your decision.

Stefani V. Kelsey
EIC (Editor in Chief) Mojo Castle Books

Stephanie is also one of my closest friends.

Topic REALITY CHECK! Writing for PROFIT
Posted 07 Mar 2011 17:24

I love the dogged practicalness and clarity of your words, Ms. M. Thanks.

Thank you Daniel.
-- I firmly believe that sugar-coating the truth never helped anyone. The only way to overcome any difficulty is by knowing EXACTLY what we're up against.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Topic REALITY CHECK! Writing for PROFIT
Posted 07 Mar 2011 11:07

REALITY CHECK!
Writing for PROFIT
It's Not just an Adventure - It's a JOB .

Whoever told you that writing fiction for publication - for money - is supposed to be Artistic, Fun, or Easy -- LIED.

Writing may look artistic, and creative writing certainly is artistic (that's why they call it Creative writing,) but writing for a living; writing for publication with the intent to get paid on a regular basis is NOT artistic, it's NOT always fun, and it certainly is NOT easy.

Writing for publication is WORK. Sure, some of it is fun, but the bulk of it is mind-bending, eye-straining work. Don't get me wrong, creativity is part of the job of writing for a living, but if you think us professional writers turn on "the Creative Muse" at 8 AM and shut her back off again at 5 PM then you are missing the point entirely.

The Road to publication is paved with glamorous Half-Truths.
• Half-Truth: "If you write it someone will publish it."
• Whole Truth: "If you write it and the publisher is already looking for it , they'll publish it."

If you have written a spectacular SCI-FI story and the Publisher is looking for a Mystery story, they will pass over your wonderful SCI-FI for a Mystery with only half the quality of your SCI-FI, because a Mystery is what they have an opening for -- not your SCI-FI.

When they hang onto your stuff for months or even years at a time? They're probably waiting for an opening that they have the perfect story for.

• Half-Truth: "Once you're in with a good publisher you're in for life!"
• Whole Truth: "Once you're in with a good publisher you have to prove that you can Write on Demand."

While your name is still sitting on the `net (or the shelf,) you have until the next publishing cycle to punch out another story equally as good. (One month for your average magazine and one year for a novel.)

Only this time, the publisher is going to tell you what they want: "Gimme the same story, different characters, same plot arc but move some stuff around. Oh, and this time, don't have them do this, the readers don't like it, have them do that instead." (Sigh.)

Look at it this way: You don't have to guess what the publisher wants this time around.

• Half-Truth: "Once I'm in with a good publisher I can write whatever I want."
• Whole Truth: "If you want to stay with that good publisher you better write what they want, when they want it, in the way they want it written."

You're going to tell the publisher that you will only write what YOU want to write? Do you really think any publishing house is going to hire a writer that won't do what they want them to do? Unless you are Susie Bright or Anne Rice: "Game-Over, man. Game-Over."

Time to go back to your desk, find a new pen name, punch out yet another novel and go through the whole damn thing all over again to find another publisher. Only this time your new publishing house will call your old publishing house and ask what the problem was. Why aren't you with Them anymore?

Let me repeat myself: Do you really think a publishing house is going to hire a writer that won't write what they are Paying them to write?

You want to make money? Then you knuckle under and work your butt off to deliver what the publisher is asking for.

Writing for Publication is NOT about creativity. It's about MONEY.
Writing for a living is about sitting at a desk in an office every day and WRITING whether or not you ' feel like it'. Does this make you less artistic? Does this mean that you are not being creative? Does this make you a hack writer?

Forget all that stuff - it makes you EMPLOYED.

What else would you call it? Authors telecommute their work and progress to their editors and get paid for it. The faster they write the faster they're paid. The better they conform to the publishing house's demands, the better they are paid. End story.

A publisher is in the business of selling Books or Magazines not displaying Art or promoting Literature. They are looking for what THEY want, WHEN they want it in the WAY they want it. Period. If you can sneak interesting, different and Creative writing in between their formulaic demands GREAT! They Love that, but in the mean time the rest of your work had better conform to what they want.

What if the Muse strikes and you get a terrific idea? Great! Write it between assignments and make the publisher PAY through the nose to get it.

• Half-Truth: "I can make a fortune writing Erotica."
• Whole Truth: "You can make a fortune writing Erotica - if you sell it to a top publishing house, and it ends up on the New York Times Bestseller list in one of the top 5 positions."

Erotic Romance is currently the most profitable genre in both the eBook market and in New York. (Which is why I write it.) Authors for ePublishing Houses like Loose Id, Mojo Castle, Changling Press, and Samhain are making rather tidy - and regular - royalties on their erotica novels, but not a fortune.

If xXx is the way you really wanna go, writing a sex-story or Porn Letter for an adult magazine or eZine is much faster and far easier to crank out at volume. It's also steadier work than erotica and it pays better per word count. ($25.00 to $150.00 per letter, roughly 2 cents a word, at 15,000 words max.) Not to mention that you don't have to worry about characterization or plot, just spelling and grammar.

What? Did you think adult magazine Letters were written by Amateurs? Hell no! Those are professional writers. Trust me, a magazine editor will accept and pay more for a letter written by a professional writer than anything written by an amateur. In addition: the more expensive the magazine, the more they'll (probably) pay their writers.

Note: The writing standards for Erotic Romance markets are FAR higher than those asking for porn stories. Translation: To publish Erotic Romance, you have to use basic grammar, characterization and an actual PLOT.

-----Original Message-----
" What a wonderful rant! And here I was thinking that perhaps my being a mercenary writer was an anomaly! Fortunately, I have been doing everything you state here since I started, and people have become very annoyed with me because I keep succeeding when they fail… But even writing isn't everything. Your post didn't go far enough...

• Half-Truth: "Once your masterpiece is in print, people will buy it, love it, and demand more."
• Whole Truth: "People will buy it if they KNOW about it, will love it if the reviewers tell them it's wonderful, and will demand more if they know more are possible."

You also have to SELL.

Sell yourself, sell your book and sell your ability to do it all over again. The publisher doesn't want to work. They want to put the book on the shelf and have people slavering over it. But that doesn't just *happen* all by itself. Someone has to hype it, and it won't be the publisher.

The author must tell the readers. The author must solicit the reviewers, must produce press releases and attend book signings and make sure the readers know there will be new books.

But thanks for bolstering me up a bit. It's a lonely life in front of the computer, pushing and pushing to get noticed. Apparently, it's worth the trouble!"

~ Cathy Clamp ~ Published Author
(Posted with permission.)

Does all this seem like Too Much WORK?

The average 60k category-length book takes 6 to 8 MONTHS to write.

• And then you have to Edit the manuscript, which takes about a month just for typos - that's if you already know your grammar and have the basics of story structure.
• And then you have to Shop it to the publishers, this alone can take YEARS, (Christine Feehan had a over half a dozen full novels WRITTEN before she was noticed by her publisher.)
• And then you have to negotiate with the publishers, which can take months just in haggling over contract clauses.
• And then you have to Edit the story AGAIN to what the Publisher thinks they can sell. This can mean ripping out whole hunks of plot and rewriting your characters to make them more suitable for THEIR reading audience. Add a few more months.
• And then it may be a Year or More before it ever shows up on the shelf.

Don't even THINK about royalties unless you sell spectacularly well. And even if you do sell well, royalties won't even show up until a full YEAR AFTER PUBLICATION.

Writing Is NOT a Get-Rich-Quick career by any means.

Writing is TIME CONSUMING hard freaking work. Make no mistake - Writing for Profit is a 24/7 JOB - not something you pump out on the weekends when you're bored.

If you are prepared for the realities of Publication, you CAN Profit, in the long run. But - Not everyone wants to devote their entire waking life to research and typing.

The big question is: What Do YOU Really WANT?

What is more crucial to your Personal Writing Happiness?
Your Artistic Expression?
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Then you are a "Recreational writer"; someone who writes for the sheer pleasure of doing something creative. You are an Artist. Your future consists of publishing one 'great work', with the possibility of publishing another 'great work' a few years (or more) later on down the road - and never with the same publishing house.

Making Money?
~~~~~~~~~~~~
You are a "Mercenary writer" who has their own home office -- with a door -- that will pump out what ever is asked for in a timely, professional manner. You are one of the few, the proud, and the paid regularly. You don't need a day job because writing IS your day job, only it's 24/7 without holidays -- or insurance. :)

Anne Rice wrote Adult fiction under the name: AN Roquelaure. Horror author Steven King wrote for magazines, and Romance author Nora Roberts, also known as JD Robb, made her money writing Harlequin romances. Dean Koontz used to write smut and gothic romance to pay his bills. These authors worked their butts off writing whatever their publishers asked for all by themselves with no support, until they made a name big enough to dictate their demands to their publishers.

Fame?
~~~~~~~~~~~~
That makes you an "Aspiring Author". You certainly have your work cut out for you. Your future consists of one great work that is most likely your own personal memoirs. Sadly, the only memoirs and biographies being published today are those belonging to big name Celebrities. But that won't stop you! You have a Vision! A dream! And a full time job that allows you time in the evenings and weekends to type away on your computer -- when your spouse isn't using it, or your children.

How do I know all this?

I actually write fiction for a living. However, I was once the copywriter / publicist for one of the largest internet porn companies in the world. This is where I learned all about writing on demand. Somebody had to write all that filler text, and make it interesting.

I am currently living on my ebook royalties. That's right, paying my bills by writing Romantic SMUT full time. I write what I'm told to write, when I'm told to write it, about things that I'm told to write about because I'm being paid to do just that.

I'm a Mercenary.

Advice to the Burgeoning Writer
Write every spare moment you have and FINISH your story. Always have at least two people check your grammar and your sentence structure. Have at least two more people read your stuff and check it for:

• Readability: Can you tell exactly what's happening to who? And How?
• Story-Drag: Is it Boring? Did your reader skim over any of your paragraphs to "Get to the Good Stuff"?
• Effectiveness: Does it make your reader FEEL something? Happiness, sadness, angst, excitement, arousal?

BEFORE SUBMITTING ANYWHERE!!!
Read the Submission Guidelines carefully .
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Send the editors exactly what they are looking for. Close is not good enough. If they are looking for Erotic Romance, then your story had better be sexually explicit and involve a couple falling in love. You have to have both the sex and the Romance to interest an Erotic Romance publisher.

Be willing to work with the editors on requested changes .
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Many editors try to be gentle with their comments to new authors and have been known to understate what they mean. That does not make their comment random or invalid! If an editor goes to the trouble of noting something about your story, take it very seriously.

Remember: You are writing to Sell and Publication Editors are looking for authors to fill their readers requests. They are there to make their publishing house look good by making YOU look good.

This has been your Reality Check announcement.

Morgan Hawke
Mercenary Writer – and darn proud of it .

Topic Making ROMANCE
Posted 07 Mar 2011 06:38

Making ROMANCE
From TRUST to Intimacy
People talk about how hard it is to write Sex. Romance is actually far more difficult. Sex is simply a sequence of ACTIONS: "He did this, she reacted, and then did this in return...etc.” Romance, on the other hand, is a psychologically based sequence of actions for gaining the trust needed to attain Intimacy.

Caution! : Someone skilled in the arts of Romance is not necessarily demonstrating Love!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
* Romance: A manipulation technique designed to make someone receptive to Sex, the motive behind Romance is LUST.
* Love: When someone’s happiness means more than your own, the motive behind Love is AFFECTION.

To many people, Romance means ‘showing love’ . That’s not true . You show love by protecting the ones you care for with the intent to ensure their lasting happiness. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re nice to them.

Romance is about being nice to the point that they’ll let you have sex with them. Make sure you SHOW the difference!

The Ritual of "May I...?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Romance is a ritual dance of Query / Answer on the path toward Intimacy. An interested party makes a Query, they hold out their hand. If the other party grasps that hand voluntarily, then they have Answered in the positive and the next Query, the next step toward Intimacy may be presented. Each positive answer received implies that a request for more intimate contact may also be accepted.

Defining the Twelve Stages of Intimacy
1. Eye to body. "What have we here?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
He sees her, she sees him. If she turns toward him, in even a small amount, that is his cue that he may approach.

2. Eye to Eye. "I find you interesting."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
He looks at her. She looks at him. If she smiles, this is his cue that he may speak to her and introduce himself. If he stares too long without speaking, he implies that she is an object being assessed for use. If she perceives this she may turn away to deny continuing contact.

3. Voice to Voice. "I'd like to know you."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
He introduces himself. If she responds with a smile and friendly conversation, then he is well on his way to closer contact.

4. Hand to Hand. "I like you."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
First contact. He holds out his hand. If she accepts his hand and smiles, she has given permission to take the next step.

5. Arm to Shoulder. "May I touch you?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
First Body to Body contact. He sits or stands next to her. If she stays close, he may proceed to put his arm around her shoulders. If she moves away, then he must go back to Stage 3 to establish trust.

6. Arm to Waist. "May I have you?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Placing his arm around her waist is a potent and very important step. All contact beyond this point is Sexual in nature. Arm to waist contact is also a territorial signal to others that this person is Taken. It is at this point that she decides if she wants to be intimate with him – but she does NOT let him know this.

7. Mouth to Mouth. "This is how I intend to treat you."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The kiss. First sexual contact. How someone kisses implies how they intend to make love. It is not unusual for a Heroine to flee after a kiss that is too controlling or possessive. If this happens, he will need to retreat all the way back to Stage 3 to rebuild trust.

8. Hand to Head. "Will you trust me?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
He touches her hair, her face, her mouth with his fingers. If she allows this, she is giving her ultimate trust. Grasping the hair and/or the face gives the holder complete control. If he has a tight enough hold, she will not be able to escape without a fight and possibly harm. By allowing this contact, she gives permission to allow all other hand contact with her body.

9. Hand to Torso. "I want more..."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Heavy petting normally begins with the clothing still on. The intent is to excite her into voluntarily opening her clothes and exposing her skin for more intimate contact. If he starts at the top of her body, head, neck, shoulder, breast, stomach…etc. stroking her as one would a pet, then he shows an acceptable level of affection. If he immediately digs under her clothes to grab her, BEFORE full intimacy has been established, she will assume he sees her as an object he intends to use and throw away.

This is the point where most rapes begin, so females tend to be hyper-aware of their partner’s actions during this stage. If she is not 100% comfortable with his actions, she will immediately withdraw. If he reacts with anger, she’ll assume that she is in danger and seek to escape using any means possible, after which she will refuse all future contact, ending the relationship. She may also report to every female she knows that he is dangerous.

10. Mouth to Torso. "I hunger for you."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
He kisses her throat, her shoulder, and any other exposed skin. Acceptance of mouth to skin contact implies extreme trust. The mouth is the most dangerous part of the body; it contains the teeth. This is where all remaining clothing is removed and full skin to skin contact begins.

She must be the first to open her clothing to him before any further contact can be made. If he takes the initiative and removes his clothes without her first having opened something to him, then he implies that he is not interested in her readiness, he is there for his pleasure, not hers. If she perceives this, she will immediately withdraw and possibly refuse all future contact, ending the relationship. She may also report to every female she knows that he an extremely selfish lover.

11. Hand to Genitals. "Are you ready for me?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
His hands explore her intimately. His explorations are to insure that she is ready for full sexual possession. (Are her nipples hard? Is she wet?) If she is not ready, he will use his hands and mouth to stir her passions, insuring that she is eager to welcome him and will enjoy what they are about to share.

Taking someone when they are not ready is not only painful, it destroys all trust. Should this happen, she will immediately seek to escape using any means possible, after which she will refuse all future contact, ending the relationship. She may also report to every female she knows that he an extremely poor lover.

12. Genitals to Genitals. "You are mine."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Full sexual contact implies ownership on a primal level. Once full sexual contact is gained, both partners assume that they may have it again at any time. Making Love implies a relationship. Having Sex implies a diversion, a form of entertainment on the level of a video game. With this one act, she knows for certain if he sees her as a potential life partner, or merely a form of entertainment to be tossed away when a new game comes along.

A Note on Female Costume & Intimacy
The skin exposed, while fully dressed, advertises exactly how fast one is willing to proceed from Skin Contact to Sex.

A female in a low-cut but full-skirted gown states that she will allow some kissing contact (stage 8) but sex must still be negotiated.

A female in a floor length gown that exposes her entire back to the hips is stating that the man who gains permission to put his arm around her, (stage 6) will be allowed sex.

A female wearing very little, short skirt or skin-tight pants, a short top that exposes belly and/or back...etc., is advertising that she will allow sex to the man that gains hand contact, (stage 4).

A female in a skin-tight body suit is perceived as nude, even if the suit covers her from ankle to throat, as there is no impediment to immediate intimate contact. Sustained eye contact (stage 2) is considered a direct invitation to sex.

Color choice is also a factor in readiness for Sexual Contact. Light colors and pastels signal innocence. Bright colors and colorful prints signal playfulness. Dark jewel tones and satin, signal interest but caution. Animal prints, leather, dark velvets, and fur are a sign of sexual aggression.

The Ritual of Male & Female
The stages of Intimacy are fluid. Steps can be rushed, one right after the other, and some may even be skipped. However, skipped steps imply a lack of respect. Skipped steps can also imply a need to Control. These warning signs may not be understood consciously, but be rest assured, subconsciously the other party is well aware of what's going on.

Example:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
She meets a suitable young man. They are introduced and he immediately goes to hug her without bothering to offer his hand or speak with her personally. She may not feel that she has a reason to turn him down and so may allow the full-frontal contact. After that, she will refuse to be alone with him; in fact she may avoid him altogether, likely for the rest of the night. She may not even realize she's avoiding him, but she will avoid him none the less.

Why? Because whether she is aware of it or not, his rush into close physical contact removed all trust.

If the young man is wise, he will find her, hold out his hand and begin again, all the way back to a full reintroduction, preferably with an apology inserted somewhere. If he does not, she will continue to avoid him. She will continue to feel uncomfortable, unsafe and 'pressured' by him. She will continue to feel that because she allowed 'full frontal contact' he will expect the Next Step in the Dance of Intimacy: a Kiss.

Respect is a Two-Way street.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When a female decides to break the order and jump steps with a potential partner, this tells him that he does NOT have to respect her personal boundaries because she has violated His.

A female that spontaneously kisses a man on the mouth when she does not already know him intimately shows an extreme lack of respect toward him. She is in effect, treating him like an object to be used. This gives him permission to use her any way he cares to, even to the point of taking her right there because her lack of respect for him has removed the need for him to treat her with respect.

In Conclusion…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The steps in the Ritual of Intimacy allow potential lovers the chance to demonstrate respect for each others' personal boundaries and encourage Trust to build between them.

* Without TRUST between both parties - Love cannot happen.
* Without TRUST between both parties - Love SHOULD NOT happen.

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 Writing Stroke-Fiction Erotica
Posted 06 Mar 2011 18:07

Lots of basic common sense here, but so succinctly put... Thank You, Morgan...
xx SF

You're very welcome.
-- Sense is many things. Sadly, Common is not one of them.

Topic Writing INTERNAL CONFLICT
Posted 06 Mar 2011 10:22

Writing INTERNAL CONFLICT
Note: this is how the professional authors do it. That doesn't mean YOU have to. As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest.

The scene…
~~~~~~~~~~~~
His lips drifted across hers in a warm caress. His hand pressed at waist, the heat of his palm warming her flesh through her corset underlying the deep blood silk gown. His fingers drifted upward, toward her breast.

Desire pulsed within her core, in time with her heart. She wanted to let him tear the red silk from her body, and bury himself in her flesh, but set her palm over his to stop him just below her breast. He was a vampire and she, a mere mortal. The fear in her soul told her to stop, and yet her body begged for his mouth on her flesh. I am overcome, overcome by a desire I know only he can satisfy... He fired her blood more than any other man.

She turned away from his kiss. “Please, I can’t.”

His gaze narrowed, then he smiled. “Why? Why deny your desire?”

She stepped from his embrace and clasped her hands before her. “Forgive me, but I want to live.”

He moved closer, to stand but a breath away. “Are you quite sure?”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yes, I know, it’s a bit over the top. Anyway… What we have here is a potentially hot scene brewing with a nice little Internal Conflict, but everything seems a little muddied. What’s wrong?

This scene’s Internal Conflict is Out of Chronological Sequence!
"What the heck does that mean?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Chronological sequence is the order in which things actually happen .

1. Something the size of a fist hits your head.
2. The impact knocks you flat on the ground.
3. You sit up from the ground and shake you head wondering what the heck just happened.
4. PAIN!
5. Wincing, you look around for the cause and find a baseball.
6. Guessing what happened, you go looking for the culprits.

When stories are NOT written in the correct order that events actually happen, the reader gets confused. Make a story too difficult to read and they'll go read someone else.

The Chronological Order of INTERNAL CONFLICT!
1) SHOW the Conflict.
2) Tell WHAT is in Conflict.
3) Tell WHY it’s in Conflict.
4) Resolve the Conflict.

1) Show them that there is a Conflict.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Show them, through the ACTIONS & Dialogue of your characters, that there is a conflict happening. This is pure showing – all action.

2) Tell them WHAT is in Conflict.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is a statement, TELLING the reader, through internal narration or dialogue, exactly what is battling with what, within the character. Want verses want. Is it their heart verses their body? Their good sense verses their desire? Their career verses their heart’s desire? Love for one verses lust for the other?

3) Tell them WHY it’s in conflict – what is at stake?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is another statement, internally or through dialogue, telling the reader exactly what is at stake. Pile on the reasons, both pro and con. “I can’t do this, because…but I want to, because…”

To make the most tension, state the Con first and then the Pro.

4) Resolve the Conflict
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Make an Internal decision, and then have the character ACT on that decision.

Scene OVERHAUL!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When in doubt of ANY scene – pull it apart, sentence by sentence:

HIS initiating Actions:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
• His lips drifted across hers in a warm caress.
• His hand pressed at waist, the heat of his palm warming her flesh through her corset underlying the deep blood silk gown.
• His fingers drifted upward, toward her breast.

HER Reactions:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
• Desire pulsed within her core, in time with her heart.
• She wanted to let him tear the red silk from her body, and bury himself in her flesh, but set her palm over his to stop him just below her breast.
• He was a vampire and she, a mere mortal.
• The fear in her soul told her to stop, and yet her body begged for his mouth on her flesh.
• I am overcome, overcome by a desire I know only he can satisfy...
• He fired her blood more than any other man.
• She turned away from his kiss. “Please, I can’t.”

His following Action:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
• His gaze narrowed, then he smiled.
• “Why? Why deny your desire?”

Her following Reaction:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
• She stepped from his embrace and clasped her hands before her.
• “Forgive me, but I want to live.”

His Initiating Action:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
• He moved closer, to stand but a breath away.
• “Are you quite sure?”

Actual order of events:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1) He kissed her.
2) She reacted, and wanted more.
3) She had reasons to resist. (Internal CONFLICT!)
4) She resisted.
5) He sought to reestablish contact.
6) She resisted.
7) Closing

1) He kissed her.
(The sentences that belong to this event:)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
• He kissed her.
• His lips drifted across hers in a warm caress.
• His hand pressed at waist, the heat of his palm warming her flesh through her corset underlying the deep blood silk gown.
• His fingers drifted upward, toward her breast.

In proper Sequence:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
His lips drifted across hers in a warm caress. His hand pressed at waist, the heat of his palm warming her flesh through her corset underlying the deep blood silk gown. His fingers drifted upward, toward her breast.

2) She reacted, and wanted more.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
• Desire pulsed within her core, in time with her heart.
• I am overcome, overcome by a desire I know only he can satisfy...
• He fired her blood more than any other man.

In proper Sequence:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Desire pulsed within her core, in time with her heart. He fired her blood more than any other man. I am overcome, overcome by a desire I know only he can satisfy...

3) She had reasons to resist ~ CONFLICT!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
• She wanted to let him tear the red silk from her body, and bury himself in her flesh, but set her palm over his to stop him just below her breast.
• He was a vampire and she, a mere mortal.
• The fear in her soul told her to stop, and yet her body begged for his mouth on her flesh.

1) SHOW the Conflict.
2) Tell WHAT is in Conflict.
3) Tell WHY it’s in Conflict.
4) Resolve the Conflict.
1) SHOW the Conflict.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
She wanted to let him tear the red silk from her body, and bury himself in her flesh, but set her palm over his to stop him just below her breast.

2) Tell WHAT is in Conflict?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Her body begged for his mouth on her flesh, and yet, the fear in her soul told her to stop.

3) Tell WHY it’s in conflict. What is at stake?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
He was a vampire and she, a mere mortal.

4) Resolve the conflict.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(Oh, no! There’s nothing to put here! So, add something, right here to state her decision.)

Yes, she wanted him, but death was simply to high a price to pay for his embrace.

In proper Sequence:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Her body begged for his mouth on her flesh, and yet, the fear in her soul told her to stop. She wanted to let him tear the red silk from her body, and bury himself in her flesh, but set her palm over his to stop him just below her breast. He was a vampire and she, a mere mortal. Yes, she wanted him, but death was simply to high a price to pay.

4) She resisted.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
She turned away from his kiss. “Please, no.”

5) He sought to reestablish contact.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
His gaze narrowed, then he smiled. “Why? Why deny your desire?”

6) She resisted.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
She stepped from his embrace and clasped her hands before her. “Forgive me, but I want to live.”

7) Closing.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
He moved closer, to stand but a breath away. “Are you quite sure?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Don’t forget! -- No matter what, both Internalization and Dialogue happens AFTER Physical Reactions. ACTION always precedes COMMENT. The body reacts faster than thoughts or comments. Ask any martial artist.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ADJUSTED into Proper Sequence:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
His lips drifted across hers in a warm caress. His hand pressed at waist, the heat of his palm warming her flesh through her corset underlying the deep blood silk gown. His fingers drifted upward, toward her breast.

Desire pulsed within her core, in time with her heart. He fired her blood more than any other man. I am overcome, overcome by a desire I know only he can satisfy... Her body begged for his mouth on her flesh, and yet, the fear in her soul told her to stop. She wanted to let him tear the red silk from her body, and bury himself in her flesh, but set her palm over his to stop him just below her breast. He was a vampire and she, a mere mortal. Yes, she wanted him, but death was simply to high a price to pay.

She turned away from his kiss. “Please, no.”

His gaze narrowed, then he smiled. “Why? Why deny your desire?”

She stepped from his embrace and clasped her hands before her. “Forgive me, but I want to live.”

He moved closer, to stand but a breath away. “Are you quite sure?”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In Conclusion:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Violating chronological order is a Very Bad idea even in something as simple as an argument.

If the actions are out of order, the reader’s Mental Movie STOPS because you just confused your reader. This means that the reader has to Re-Read that sequence until they can figure out what the heck just happened in order to get their mental movie playing again.

Making the story hard for the reader to PICTURE is a VERY Bad Idea. Anytime the reader has to STOP to rearrange the words to FIT their mental movie, you’ve made a break. Breaks are BAD very, very bad! A break creates a moment where the reader can STOP READING your story, and start reading something else and possibly never look at your story again.

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DISCLAIMER: 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 Writing Stroke-Fiction Erotica
Posted 05 Mar 2011 23:51

Writing Stroke-Fiction Erotica
-----Original Message-----
“I would like to write erotica and some of the stuff that you only read in an adult book store while wearing a raincoat and dark sunglasses. LOL! Could you tell me how to get into that market? I see all the ePublishers out there so that's not too much of a problem. But how do you get to write for the "pushing the envelope" stuff?”
-- Enthusiastic about Erotica

So you wanna write the Hard-Core stuff?

The easiest way to find an Adult Book publisher is by buying adult books and looking up the publishers’ contact information inside their covers. Look for a website, most have them, and read their Submission Guidelines ! Some publishers will allow some things that others will not.

Interested in knowing what types of stories are currently popular? READ the top ten favorite stories right here on Lush. Also, be sure to look at the reader’s comments. They will tell you right away what they liked -- and why.

WRITING Stroke Fiction
Okay, first you need a sex scene. No really…! Think of what kind of sex you want FIRST. The sex is what’s driving the whole story so you need to know what you’re aiming for in order to make the story go there.

To borrow from my friend Toonces...
“What do you find hot? Write a short list.”

I did a poll on what sex scenes my readers liked and this is what I discovered…

My Readers' preferred Smut Scenes: in this order.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1. * Ravished! ~ "Oh no! Don't...! Stop...! Don't...stop!"
2. * Captured! ~ "I have you now, my pretty!"
3. Threesome ~ Sharing the love.
4. Romantic Fluff ~ Wine & Roses
5. Lower Education ~ “Teacher, I was a naughty boy.”
6. Domination & Punishment & Whips & Chains ~ "You've been a bad, bad boy."
7. Bribes & Blackmail ~ "You owe me. Drop your pants!"
8. Strip Tease ~ "Oops! I'm naked!"
9. Self Gratification ~ "When I think about you, I touch myself."
10. Cosplay ~ Leather & lace & ears & tails…
11. Orgy ~ "The more the merrier!"
12. Voyeurism ~ "I spy with my little eye..."
13. Exhibitionism ~ "Here? In front of everyone...?".
14. The Professional ~ "You can have me--for a price."
15. Beautiful Stranger ~ "He saw. He conquered. He came. He went."

*Note: Seduction (Reluctance) vs Rape
-- The difference between Seduction and a Rape is that Seduction is Not a Brutal Attack designed to hurt the recipient. That's Rape. Seduction is meant specifically to make the protesting recipient cum. Also, it's written entirely from the Seduced's point of view, not the Seducer's. This is to make it crystal clear that the one being seduced really Does want to be seduced, but is protesting from Moral or Social reasons -- not out of FEAR.

Write each scene IN DETAIL!
As in, every sight, every sound, every scent, every sensation. Describe the setting where the humping will happen, then focus on the characters and stay focused on the characters.

Pick ONE Point of View and stick to it per scene!
This will keep your readers from getting confused over who did what and who felt what especially when it gets hot and heavy.

Take it easy on the emotional stuff.
The people who read 'Stroke Fiction' are not reading them for anything more than to Get Off.

Most importantly...

Write it in Chronological Order :
1. He did this.
2. She reacted this way and did that.
3. He reacted this way and did the other…
4. Etc.

Cheat Tip for writing Sex Scenes: Make a list of actions First, then add all the adjectives and dialogue. If your sentences end up short and choppy, it means you didn’t add enough description, body-language, sound-effects, or internal thoughts. Don't Forget...! ONLY the POV character gets internal thoughts and opinions! If you add anyone else's, you've just committed the heinous crime of HEAD-HOPPING.

One more thing: Write what you KNOW.
-- Avoid hate-mail: Do Your RESEARCH! If you write something anatomically impossible or something you’re totally ignorant about, at least one your readers will most definitely let you know, believe me!

Characters:
Next, you need (at least) two characters to make your sex scene happen:
Lover and Beloved

For a novel-length story, you ought to have a third character that tries to interfere. Classically, these three characters are known as: Hero ~ Victim ~ Villain.

In ordinary erotica, and romances:
Lover ~ Beloved ~ Rival

In M/M stories:
Top ~ Bottom ~ Jealous Ex-Lover or Rival

In BDSM stories:
Dominant ~ Submissive ~ Interfering Goody-Goody

Always DESCRIBE the Characters!
Make the men manly and handsome and the women full-figured and gorgeous with glamorous occupations. Feel free to use favorite movie characters, famous actors, or musicians as models for your characters, just make sure you change their names!

Use detailed descriptions with lots of enthusiastic adjectives - hair, eyes, body, and clothes, but for pity’s sake, don’t write measurements! (“She was a 32 double-D.”) Use comparisons as in:

* “Her breasts were two ample handfuls each.”
* “He stood an arm’s length away.”
* “Her hair draped to her waist.”

Plot:
Short story:
1. They meet.
2. They hump.
3. What happened after.
The end.

Novel or Novella:
1. They meet.
2. They hump.
3. Complications make them part.
4. They meet secretly and hump again, or they hump someone else. (This is NOT a Romance! Exclusive partners are rarely part of these stories.)
5. Secondary people meet and hump -- and plot against the main characters at the same time.
6. Complications and/or the secret plot force the main characters back together.
7. They hump in secret or in front of an audience, or with the audience.
8. The climactic moment where a secret is uncovered, (“It was all a misunderstanding!”) or a confession is made. (“I like humping you best of all!”)
9. Complications are resolved.
10. Everybody humps.
The end.

To make the story longer, just add more humping.

Things to AVOID at all cost!
* NO Underage participants: All participants should be 18 or older -- especially virgins. I realize that this is Not Realistic, but the Law cannot be argued with.
* NO Bestiality: No Animals ever . Were-people and Furries don’t count, as they’re people that LOOK like animals.
* NO Snuff: Fucking people to death is Right Out.
* NO Watersports or Scat: Most publishers will not accept pee or poop used in a sexual context.
* NO Gore: Blood is okay if used tastefully and in limited amounts.

Words to AVOID:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
-- MEMBER: It's a dick, a prick, or a cock, and sometimes a ‘length’--NOT a 'member' and NEVER a 'Manhood.' 'Member' and 'Manhood' are words used by ancient granny romance authors and under-aged fan-fiction writers. If you're too shy to write dick, prick, or cock, you're not ready to write sex scenes.

-- PENIS: This is word that should only ever come out of a doctor's mouth.

-- VAGINA: This is another word that should only ever come out of a doctor's mouth.

-- WOMANHOOD: It's a pussy, a sex, a cunny, or a cunt, and sometimes a core or a center. 'Womanhood' is another word used by ancient granny romance authors and under-aged fan-fiction writers too embarrassed to write the proper terms.

-- APPENDAGE: Whether it's an arm, a dick, an ear, or a foot name the frikkin limb!

-- LOCKS: Locks are tiny portions of hair that tend to curl. Children have locks, not grown adults. Adults can finger a single lock or a tendril, but what they have on their heads is hair, and if it's really long, a mane.

Getting into the Mood:
* Have sex with your significant other, watch porn, or read your favorite erotica just before you sit down to write.
* Put on some music that suits your story while you write.
* Close the door and shut off the phone! Interruptions will make it hard to maintain that…special mood.

Last but not least…
Enjoy yourself! If it’s not fun for you to write, it won’t be fun for anyone to read.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DISCLAIMER: 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 Writing the LOVE Scene vs the SEX Scene
Posted 05 Mar 2011 20:47

Quite Brilliant!
A published writer for over 20 years I'm discovering new avenues by reading Morgan's thoughts...
Thank You! xx SF
Yay! I love being helpful. :)

Topic Advanced Plotting: The PREMISE
Posted 05 Mar 2011 20:36

Amazingly clear and well worded advice.... Applicable to ALL writers of fiction, not just Eroticists...
Thank You, Morgan... xx SF
Thank you Stephanie!
-- I firmly believe that a How-To should actually tell you How-To. Because of this, I try to keep the BS to an absolute minimum.

Topic Advanced Plotting: The PREMISE
Posted 04 Mar 2011 17:14

Advanced Plotting ~ the PREMISE
-----Original Message-----
Could you tell me more on plotting story points? I can get the big story idea well enough, but I run into a snag deciding the whole causality thing -- A leads to B, leads to C, …etc."
-- Mad about Plotting
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ah, so you wanna know how to put all the theories together to make a story, do you? (Gee, you couldn’t pick the easy stuff could you?) Okay...

A story’s Causes & Effects, the triggers that lead from one event to the next, comes from your Premise .

Just for the record...
A Premise is NOT a Concept!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Premise is the theoretical / emotional problem that your story is trying to illustrate and answer. It's the glue that holds the whole thing together. It's the Purpose of your story.

A Concept is HOW you intend to illustrate that Premise, it's the story you wrap around it.

Example: The ' Matrix ':
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Premise: Knowledge vs. Ignorance
Concept: "What if we were all living in a computer-generated dreamworld?"

See?
-- On with the tutorial...

Using a Premise...
In ' The Full Metal Alchemist ':
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Edward decided to bring his mother back to life – against the laws of Alchemy. He learned the hard way exactly why you Didn’t do that. His entire story revolves around this massive Wrong Decision that looked like the right decision when he decided to do it.

The Premise for the entire series is Right vs. Wrong .
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
All of the characters throughout this long and convoluted story are involved in dilemmas of right actions verses wrong actions, and then dealing with the consequences of their decisions.

How to Use this:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
• Each pivotal Character should represent a different reflection of the Premise - the Story's theoretical / emotional problem.
• Each Cause is an event where your characters make a decision in an attempt to Fix their individual theoretical / emotional problem.
• The Effect is the results - whether or not their action / solution works, works temporarily, or doesn't work at all.
• Those results lead to the Next Attempt at trying to solve their Problem.

How it works:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In ' The Matrix ':
• Each Character is a different reflection of the Story's theoretical / emotional problem.

Each character is a representation of the Matrix’s Premise: Knowledge vs. Ignorance. The meanings behind the characters’ names are the biggest clue as to what facet of Knowledge each character represents.

> Neo means New, reflecting that he’s completely ignorant of what’s really going on
> Morpheus means Dream, reflecting that he follows his dreams -- blindly.
> Trinity stands for the triple Goddess, the Maiden, Mother, and Crone which represents feminine intuition.

• Each Cause is an event where one your characters makes a Decision in an attempt to Fix their individual theoretical / emotional problem.
Neo, the main character, is faced with one problem after the other. Each one forces him to make a Decision. "Do I want to Know, or do I want to Ignore it?" < -- the Premise

• The Effect is whether or not their solution works, works temporarily, or doesn't work at all.
When the entire cast is caught in a trap set by the agents, each character makes a different choice on how to deal with the problem.

• Neo just follows along. He has no clue what so ever about what's going on around him.
• Morpheus's dream is that he will find 'the One' whom he thinks is Neo. Choosing to follow his Faith in his dream, he sacrifices himself so Neo can escape.
• Trinity, named for feminine intuition, makes her choices based on her emotions. She is emotionally attached to both Neo and Morpheus. When Morpheus makes his sacrifice, she is unable to choose between them and freezes in momentary indecision.

• Those results lead to the Next Attempt at trying to solve their Problem.
To solve the problem of Morpheus's sacrifice, Neo makes his decision based on what he has learned. He takes responsibility for losing Morpheus and decides to go get him. Trinity also feels responsible for Morpheus's loss, and as second in command of the ship (mother figure to the crew,) she is determined to bring him home.

Together, they run to the rescue.

And so the story continued on to the next dilemma.

-----Original Message-----
"I know you said you work backwards from your climax, but I don't know how to settle on the climax either. So how do you do it?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Climax is where you Apply the RIGHT Answer to the story's Premise, the theoretical / emotional problem.

This works best if you make it the LAST thing anyone wants to do.

In 'The Full-Metal Alchemist' :
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The last thing Edward wants to do is leave well enough alone . He is determined to use Alchemy to fix the problem he caused by using Alchemy in the first place.

In ' The Matrix ':
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The last thing Neo wants to do is believe that he’s the savior of the world , the One. He is determined to keep his head down and simply survive, as he’s done all his life.

-----Original Message-----
"What questions do you ask yourself to get yourself moving in the right direction?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Plot = Momentum
To generate a basic Plot, I set up my three main characters...

Adversary – (Antagonist), the one making the most trouble.
Proponent – (Protagonist), the one trying to keep things the way they are.
Ally - The Companion to one or the other who is at odds with both.

I ask each of my 3 characters Three Questions:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1 Who am I, what am I, and what do I do?
2 What do I want?
3 What's the worst possible thing that could happen to me?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The 9 answers to these questions give me the Major turning points for the story. In order for the plot to be water tight, each character must demonstrate the answers to each of these questions. Leaving any of these out of the story gives you a Plot Hole.

How it works:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In ' The Full Metal Alchemist ':

1 Who am I, what am I, and what do I do?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I am Edward Elric and I became the Full Metal Alchemist because I made a major mistake, and now I have to fix it.

2 What do I want?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I want to restore my brother back to his human body, and get back my missing arm and leg.

3 What's the worst possible thing that could happen to me?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I could find out that the cost to reverse my mistake is measured in human lives.

-----Original Message-----
"I get frozen by the unlimited places I could go to from the start..."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hell, so do I. After reviewing my options, I try to choose the one direction no one expects, the one thing that hasn't been done, or the one action that seems most likely to fail. I like surprising my readers.

-----Original Message-----
"What's the specific place that's the most exciting and most engaging for the reader?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Darkest Moment - the story's Reversal.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is the place where everything falls completely apart and the Main Character crashes and burns. It is the character's moment of total failure that forces them to face the real solution to their emotional / theoretical problem -- and make a decision:

• Give up & die...
• Refuse to admit that they were Wrong -- and ignore the solution to their emotional / theoretical problem.
• Admit they were Wrong -- and act on the solution to their emotional / theoretical problem.

In 'The Matrix' :
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This story's darkest moment is when Morpheus sacrifices himself to let Neo escape. The rest of Neo's decisions and the story's entire plot, hinges on this one moment.

In ' Constantine ':
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This story's darkest moment is when the leading heroine decides to reawaken her denied psychic abilities -- instantly making her a target for the story's main villain. If she hadn't awakened her latent talents, she would have been useless to the villain.

In 'Leon the Professional ':
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The story's darkest moment is when young Mathilda realizes that she can't shoot the villain dead; she just doesn't have it in her to kill -- which allows the villain to recognize her as the one that got away.

The Answer to the Premise -- is the story's actual pay-off.
Everybody is looking for solutions to their personal issues.

• "How do I deal with a sucky job, and a boss I seriously loathe?"
• “How do I know if someone is worthy of my love?”
• "How do I handle my family issues?"
• “How do I deal with the monster in my closet?”

Ever hear the phrase: “People are People”? No matter whom they are or where they live, human issues Never change. "People are People." Embrace this phrase, love this phrase, use and abuse this phrase! THIS is the key to fiction people WANT to read.

Sure you could be writing a Horror or a Fantasy, but the people in your horror or fantasy should STILL be dealing with the same issues everybody else deals with:

• Sucky bosses - How do you think Saruman the White really felt about working for Sauron?
• Love interests - Arwen's dad, the king of the elves did not approve of her scruffy human boyfriend.
• Family issues - Eowen of Rohan had to deal with a senile dad PLUS several bossy older brothers.
• Monsters under the bed - Ringwraths & Orcs, need I say more?

No matter how fantastic or unusual, people STILL suffer from the same issues.

That's what the Darkest Moment of the story does. It forces the Main Character to realize the answer to their personal problems -- offering a solution to your Readers' problems too.

Caution! Don't leave anybody Out!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
All three characters (Proponent, Ally, Villain) should have a Dark Moment that occurs in somewhere in the story. That dark moment is what leads them to a pivotal decision, which then rolls straight downhill into the Climax - the big confrontation between ALL the main characters.

The Climax's deciding factor?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Villain’s INABILITY to Change enough to make the Right Decision is the reason WHY they LOSE.

• The Hero Crashes, Burns, Learns from his mistakes, and Rises Again.
• The Villain merely Crashes and Burns. He does NOT learn from his mistakes. He does Not rise again.

And the Ally?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Traditionally, the Ally knows the right answer all along -- even if they don’t realize it. They also tend to be the primary victim of one or the other's bad judgment, sometimes both, which triggers the Crash & Burn for both the Hero and the Villain.

In ' The Full Metal Alchemist ':
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Aphonse Elric knew all along that some things should be left alone, but his devotion to his brother Edward allowed him to join in on his brother's Bad Decision to raise their mother from the dead with a forbidden spell. When the spell went wrong, he became a victim of the story's Hero -- his brother Edward.

This of course, triggered Edward's next decision -- to rise from his ashes and become the Full-Metal Alchemist.

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DISCLAIMER: 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 The Writing Councilor is IN!
Posted 04 Mar 2011 16:38

The Writing Councilor is IN!
Hi, I'm Morgan Hawke, multi-published author and self-proclaimed writing councilor at your service.

Questions Welcome!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Have a bit of trouble with your stories or trying to figure out a specific technique? I'm here to help. Post your questions to me Here in this forum. I'll do my best to give you clear and concise responses to your writing puzzles.

Directions for Article usage:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
-- Choose the article that interests you the most. Chew slowly. Allow it to digest. Apply in small amounts until the symptoms you wished to address have been addressed to your satisfaction. Allow the rest to pass through your system. Wipe, flush, and select the next one that interests you.

Repeat as needed.

DISCLAIMER:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Every writer is different. What works for one, may not work for the next person. As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest.

If the advice here helps you, by all means, let me know. If you don’t agree with it, rather than write a long rebuttal that might start an accidental flame war, post what works for you in the Writer's Resources forum. Remember: Play Nice! The idea is to help and support your fellow writers, not piss them off.

Topic Writing the LOVE Scene vs the SEX Scene
Posted 04 Mar 2011 16:09

Writing the LOVE Scene vs. the SEX Scene
-----Original Message-----
“…How exactly I would go about writing a 'romantic/love' scene?”
-- Curious about Loving

I believe what you’re actually asking is the same question asked by everyone in the entire world: “How can you tell when you are loved?”

First of all, don’t confuse Romance with Love. They are two completely different things!

Love vs. Romance
There IS a difference!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Romance – a manipulation technique designed to make someone receptive to Sex. The source of Romance is LUST.
> Love – when someone’s happiness means more than your own. The source of Love is AFFECTION.

To many people, Romance means ‘showing love’. That’s not true. You show love by Protecting the ones you care for with the intent to ensure their lasting happiness. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re nice to them.

"How do you SHOW the difference?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It’s easier than you think, because you probably already do it regularly without realizing it.

Think in terms of your Pet...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When you want to show how much you care, you stroke them, cuddle them, and play with them. You also feed them, clean up their poop, and make sure they have vet check-ups. You do all of these things to keep them happy and healthy. You do these things to keep them from suffering in any way.

You do the SAME THING with people you love whether they are your parents, your friends, or your children – you hug them, play with them, joke around with them, make sure they’ve eaten, make sure their colds are taken care of, you make sure they are not suffering in any way –- physically or emotionally. You also bitch them out when they’ve done something that could harm them or result in misery.

The difference between these people and a Lover, is that when you are showing that you care for a lover, you use sex to bring them the greatest physical pleasure you can.

Point Blank: Sex is just another form of PETTING.

LUST is a whole other bowl of kimchee .

"How do you WRITE a LOVE scene -- as opposed to a SEX scene?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Exactly the same way. The real difference is the MOTIVE.

Love’s motive is Affection . ~ Lust’s motive is ORGASM.
LUST is a physical urge, like eating when you’re hungry, seeking warmth in the cold, or needing to pee. It is an urge that seeks relief just like all your other physical urges.

If the urgency is great enough, LUST will attempt every dirty trick in the book to get their hands on their object of choice to gain some relief. If that particular object gives them exceptional pleasure, whether it be a dildo, a rubber doll, a super soft sock, or a person, they’ll make sure that the toy is cared for, and in some cases, jealously guarded – so that the toy will still be there (and receptive) when they want to use it again.

The key word here is USE.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Lust USES others for selfish physical gratification.
> Love doesn’t use, it GIVES.

Love GIVES affection to make their one loved happy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If something should happen to cause hurt to the one loved, the one who cares is devastated by their FAILURE stop suffering from happening.

Lust TAKES affection to make themselves happy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Toys have PHYSICAL value, not Emotional value. If their toy should break or refuse to be used, they will be FRUSTRATED and ANGRY, but they won’t think they failed. They’ll think the TOY Failed -- and just go out and get another toy.

"What's the real difference between a Love scene and a Lust scene?"
Very simply :
Lust Takes pleasure; Love Gives it.

Jealousy is NOT a sign of LOVE.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When one is jealous, they will do everything in their power to make sure that their lover focuses on no one but them. A common technique used by jealous lovers is isolation, where the jealous lover goes out of their way to chase away all possible threats, up to and including friends and family.

When one is in love, the fear that manifests is Insecurity , the fear that they’re Not Good Enough for their love, that they don’t deserve their love.

Insecurity and Jealousy are often mistaken for each other because they have many of the same symptoms. However, the reasons behind those symptoms are polar opposite.

Jealousy is a sign of possession, of ownership; of the fear that their object will be taken from them and no longer be theirs to USE.

When one is insecure, they’re not afraid that their beloved will be taken because they know all too well that their beloved doesn’t belong to them. It’s the other way around; they belong to their beloved. They’re not afraid of Theft; they’re afraid of being thrown away, of Abandonment .

How do you tell the difference?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When one’s lover sleeps with someone else…?

> A Jealous lover will attack the one their lover dallied with. “How dare you touch him? He’s mine!”

> The Insecure lover will approach their lover directly and plead with them. “Why did you do this? What did I do wrong? Wasn’t I good enough for you?” If their feelings are strong enough, they will ALLOW their lover to keep their toy -- because it makes them happy.

Why do some married women ALLOW their husbands to have a Mistress?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Because they LOVE their husbands and want them to be happy. If having a toy makes them happy, they’ll even arrange to get a good quality toy for him.

Note: This happens far more often than you might realize. I have several very good friends who were personally invited to be a paid mistress by the wife of a corporate husband.

Why do married men ALWAYS return to their wives?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Because they LOVE their wives. Anyone else is just a toy to relieve their physical urges.

-----Original Message-----
"I'm not sure I agree with the last bit about mistresses, but that's mostly because I find myself unable to justify anyone 'in love' ever cheating on their loved one - again, because it's hurtful and selfish, and a way of making yourself feel good, even as it hurts your husband/wife."
-- Not Fond of Cheaters
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That bit about Mistresses was merely a point to show that someone who is in love will allow their loved one damned near anything, even if it hurts them -- NOT an endorsement.

Love can be a real b!tch. Once you love someone, no matter what they do to you, you can't stop loving them. You can only endure it as long as you can until either they straighten up, or they drive you away.

I learned my lessons through cold hard experience.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
-----Original Message-----
"Wow, I always thought Romance was about Love...?"
-- Prefers Romance
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EVERYONE thinks Romance is about love -- because we really, really WANT it to be.
Romance tells us that the Other Person gives up everything for Us when in fact, the opposite is true. Real Love makes us give up everything for THEM.

When you think about it, Love is a very scary emotion. It makes us give up everything we want, everything we are -- for someone else. If they are not worthy of such a sacrifice, it doesn't matter because we LOVE them and want them to be happy at any cost.

Real Love comes in many different shapes and colors.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A love that looks destructive from the outside, such as Bondage and Domination, could in fact be perfectly supportive and exactly what both lovers need from each other. A good movie that illustrates this perfectly is " Secretary ".

On the other hand, what an outsider may think is positive and supportive might in fact not be love at all. Case in point, stalking was once thought of as being an expression of love. Angry possessiveness can look an awful lot like love when in fact it is a terror tactic designed to isolate the one supposedly beloved.

When a lover asks their beloved to choose between them and anything else, a friend, a pet, or even a hobby, they not interested in their significant other's happiness. They are ensuring that their toy has no outside distractions and is available for their convenience. A good movie that illustrates this is " Sleeping with the Enemy ".

A lover that yells at their beloved for their destructive habits, such as over-spending, drugs, booze, gambling...is more likely to be showing real love, than a lover that sweetly begs their beloved to drop their plans for going out with their friends for a romantic dinner date with them.

How do you tell the difference?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Measure each action by this question: "WHO benefits from the Results?"

I am firmly of the opinion that if one is going to write about Love, one should really know what it is -- and what it isn't .

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 New writer's resources forum section added - Morgan Hawke's writing tips and advice
Posted 04 Mar 2011 05:48

Could you at some time come to the chat rooms and make our chatters type in somewhat proper English so I can understand them?
(J/K, glad to have you here.)
/Catnip

I really don't think I own a stick big enough for that.
(Glad to be here.)

Topic Is your Special Character TOO Special?
Posted 04 Mar 2011 05:14

Is your Special Character TOO SPECIAL?
Are you indulging in a few too many "special traits"? Is your story really an excuse to show off your Super Special Character? Are you committing a MARY-SUE/GARY STUE?

--> Dead give-away: Your favorite character is YOU only BETTER!

Who is Mary Sue/Gary Stue?
According to SubReality.com :
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Mary Sue / Gary Stue is any original or deeply altered character who represents a slice of their creator's own ego; they are treasured by their creator but only rarely by anyone else. A Mary Sue/Gary Stue is a primadonna (usually, but not always badly-written,) who saps life and realism out of every other character around, taking over the plot and bending canon to serve their selfish purposes.”


Too many Special traits spoil the Character.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
While not every "super-special!!!" character is actually a Mary-Sue/Gary Stue, they fall under the same rules because when one makes a "larger than life" character, they tend to be unbalanced and quite frankly, no fun to read. Think Superman without Kryptonite. When you have a character that never loses, you might as well write:

• Hero meets bad-guy.
• They fight.
• Hero wins. The end.

Where’s the fun in that? Where’s the challenge? Where’s the surprise? Where’s the suffering?
-- This is also known as God-moding .

According to Burning Dumpster :
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
-- Godmoding: “Take the Mary Poppins slogan "Practically Perfect in Every Way" and remove the 'practically'. They're perfect little characters with no real flaws that can do whatever the hell they like. No one can contradict them or oppose them because they're always right. In fan-fiction, they're boring. In PBEM, they are a royal pain in the ass. Also known as an ‘avatar’.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
-- For more details: http://www.kalime.com/burn/index.html
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Think: How many ‘special’ traits does your pet character have? Let’s find out!
• Take this test!

Despite all this, God-mode Mary Sue/Gary Stue characters AREN’T necessarily a bad thing. In fact, Mary Sue/Gary Stue is an excellent way for a beginning writer to experiment with story-telling. In fact, it’s the most common way a writer begins writing anything at all.

Key word: Begin -- not End.

God-mode, Mary Sue/Gary Stue only becomes a problem when one posts them on sites where Readers can see them and Flame them for being too unbelievably perfect to identify with.

So what do you do to keep your characters from falling into the black hole of Mary Sue/Gary Stue-ism?

Exercise your experience - but don’t fall in!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A Story is nothing without good strong characters, but if you can’t use yourself, how do you write about the feelings of someone else? You Empathize -- you recall how you felt under similar circumstances -- but you don’t BECOME that character.

Movie Examples…

The Lost Boys:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Michael is watching the girl of his dreams climb onto another guy’s motorcycle. She doesn't look happy about it, but she does it anyway.

The other guy, David turns to Michael and invites him to come along.

Michel’s motorcycle is only a dirt bike. There’s no way in hell his bike can surpass David’s.

David smiles. "You don't have to beat me. You just have to keep up."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What is Michael feeling through all this?

The Matrix :
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Neo has just received a Fed Ex package with a cell phone in it. He's looking at it when it starts to ring in his hand. He answers it.

"Neo, this is Morpheus. You have to get out of there. Now."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What is Neo feeling through all this?

Underworld:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Michael has had one hell of a day. There was a shooting at the train station, and crap at his hospital job, and then when he goes home, he finds a really beautiful and incredibly strong girl who immediately tries to strangle him in his apartment.

Moments later, he's running for his life from things galloping after him on the walls and ceiling. He escapes into an elevator and the door closes. Then it opens.

A guy he's never seen before in his life smiles and says: "Hello Michael." Suddenly, bullets rip into the guy right in front of him. The guy falls forward onto Michel and bites him.

Out of nowhere, the strong girl comes back and drags the weird guy off of him.

The weird guy bursts into laughter.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What is Michael feeling through all this?

Making the Characters work WITH the Plot.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There are roughly three essential characters in every story:

• A Protagonist with character traits designed to work AGAINST the plot.
• A sidekick to add complications and make matters worse.
• A Villain that the hero absolutely Cannot beat when the hero first enters the fray.

The hero and the villain should change and develop as the story progresses to allow the hero a toe-hold chance, and no more, to win. The rest of the cast may or may not have personal growth, but the hero and the villain must. This is where dramatic tension is generated.

Changing takes suffering. Both the hero and the villain should suffer emotionally and physically to allow for their personal changes. Think about how hard it is for YOU to change your mind about something important to you. That's the level of suffering you need.

If this seems a little formulaic, remember, it’s not what you HAVE it’s what you DO with it.

Let’s look at two different movies:

The Matrix -- Urban Fantasy
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
• A Protagonist with character traits designed to work AGAINST the plot.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Neo is a quiet computer hacker. He deals in facts, not fantasy. He's not an action kind of guy, but everyone thinks he's supposed to save the world. He thinks they're wrong.

• A sidekick to add complications and make matters worse.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Both Morpheus and Trinity believe in him, to the point that they keep risking their lives so he has to keep saving them.

• A Villain that the hero absolutely Cannot beat when the hero first enters the fray.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Matrix is a sentient mega-verse. Mr. Smith is a replicating Virus. Both are bound and determined to keep all of humanity deaf, dumb, and blind to what’s being done to them.


The Lost Boys – Vampire
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
• A Protagonist with character traits designed to work AGAINST the plot.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Michael desperately wants to fit in with a motorcycle gang that rules the entire town because he likes the girl that hangs with them. Michael does not believe in Vampires.

• A sidekick to add complications and make matters worse.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Michael has a nosy younger brother who is terrified of vampires.

• A Villain that the hero absolutely Cannot beat when the hero first enters the fray.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Michael absolutely positively cannot defeat an entire gang of Vampires.

In Conclusion…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Make your Characters part of your story, not the Excuse for your story. Give them pain, give them heartache, and make them face their fears. Anything less cheats the reader out of some good healthy angst!

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 New writer's resources forum section added - Morgan Hawke's writing tips and advice
Posted 04 Mar 2011 05:03

Congratulations Morgan Big Hugs

Pssst between you and me Shhh while nic is in a good mood, I would be asking for the first ever volunteer badge :-" Fugly

Thank you!
-- Nicola has already been far too kind to me. (I'd rather not push my luck!)

Topic The Art of VILLAINY
Posted 03 Mar 2011 23:08

The Art of VILLAINY
~ Making Realistic Villains for your Fiction ~

"People will do far more to Avoid Pain than they will to Seek Pleasure."
-- CIA Profiler Gavin DeBecker on Human Nature

True Predators
When I craft a villain, I go out of my way to make darned sure that my fictional villains are as realistic as the villains we face in real life. I begin by giving them ordinary human Issues.

Within every villain (fictional and non-fictional) there's a human issue at core that drives them to BE villains in the first place. Even mass murderers have reasons (however twisted) for doing what they do.

NO villainous action is RANDOM.

The victim may be randomly chosen, but the action -- no matter how twisted -- always has a reason behind it. That reason is ALWAYS driven by a very human issue triggered by an unfulfilled and essential human need.

Key Human Issues:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
* Desire for Connection
* Fear of Loss
* Fear of Rejection
* Desire for Recognition & Attention
* Fear of Ridicule & Embarrassment
* Desire for Approval
* Desire for Control

“Is there a specific pattern to how a Villain, a human predator operates?”
YES, there is!
-- Let’s begin with a list of the most common pattern of personality traits found in your average psychopath:

* Glib and superficial
* Egocentric and grandiose
* ! Lacking in remorse or guilt
* Deceitful & manipulative
* Impulsive
* Thrill-seeking
* Lacking responsibility
* Emotionally shallow

List acquired from Predicting Violent Behavior by Psychiatrist John Monahan.

Most people have a few of the above traits in lesser or greater degree, however the key trait necessary for a true human predator is “Lacking in remorse or guilt.” True predators have no compunction about what they do, or to whom they do it.

Choosing a Victim
-- When a predator chooses his prospective victim, four questions go through his mind:

1. "Do I feel Justified in committing this act?"
-- Justification can be as simple as feeling provoked; as an act of revenge, to being as complicated as starting an argument because they're already pissed off about something else and want to blow off steam.

The truly dangerous predators do what they do because they ENJOY it. In fact, justification for their actions usually comes after they’ve already chosen their victim.

2. "Are there Alternative ways to get what I’m really after?"
-- Seduction and manipulation into being given what they’re actually after is usually the first technique they try. Violence is normally a technique of last resort, unless committing an act of violence is their actual goal.

3. "Can I deal with or discount the Consequences of my actions?"
-- Can they successfully hide the evidence of their deeds? Do they have support from others, such as in a mob scene or a gang situation where everyone around them is committing violence too? Do they have some form of protection that will shield them from repercussions from their actions, such as extremely clever lawyers? Have they been hired specifically to commit acts of violence, such as being part of a military unit or the police? Are they so far above reproach that no one will believe they are even capable of committing such an act?

4. "Do I have the Ability and/or Opportunity to commit this act?"
-- Do they believe they can successfully carry out the deed?

Once a predator feels that he has satisfactory answers to these four questions the next steps are these, and commonly in this order…

Forced Teaming
-- This is the projection of a shared purpose or experience where none exists. It is a sophisticated manipulation technique for establishing false trust, using a “we’re all in the same boat together” attitude.

Key phrases include the word: "We"
* “Both of us…”
* “We’re some team…”
* “How are we going to handle this one?”
* “Now we’ve done it…”

The most effective style of this technique plays on the victim’s sympathy and makes the victim WANT to participate. “You’d do the same for me.”

This style of manipulation is very difficult to rebuff without being rude -- which is precisely why they do it.

Charm & Niceness
-- Charm (verb) and Niceness (verb) are manipulation techniques used to compel, and/or control through allure or attraction. A smile is the Number One most typical disguise used to mask emotions, and intent.

These two techniques are used specifically to gain much of the information they will need to evaluate and then control their prospective victim.

Too Many Details -- that mean nothing.
-- This is a manipulation technique a predator uses to convince their victim that they are harmless and familiar. What they are doing, is overwhelming their victim with nonsense chatter in order to get physically closer.

Typecasting
-- This is a manipulation technique where the predator labels their victim in a slightly negative manner, to induce the victim into acting the opposite just to prove them wrong. “You’re probably too rich, too pretty, too important, too proud, too much of a snob to talk to me.”

Loan Sharking
-- A manipulation technique where the predator deliberately does the victim a favor specifically to place the victim in their debt. “Let me help you.”
The proctor buys a pupil ices
And hopes the boy will not resist,
When he attempts to practice vices
Few people even know exist.
-- Edward Gorey

The Unsolicited Promise
-- A manipulation technique designed to convince the victim that they are trustworthy.

“I’ll just walk you to your doorstep and leave, I promise.”
“I won’t hurt you, I promise.”
"I'm completely harmless, I promise."

Discounting the word “No.”
-- When this word is spoken by the victim, the predator’s immediate response is to use every manipulation technique in their arsenal to convince the victim in that they don’t really mean “no”, up to and including, ignoring the word outright. This is to gain back their momentary loss of control over the victim’s actions.

A predator may use only a few of these techniques or all of them, but the target result is to manipulate their victim into a corner which the victim feels they cannot escape -- such as inside the victim’s home.

My textbook for crafting realistic villains:
"The Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker

Sympathy for the Fictional Devil
As far as I'm concerned the author SHOULD sympathize with the villain, that's how you GET true depth of character - truth in their characterization, actions and speech - but the Viewpoint Character and the Reader, should NOT sympathize with the villain too much, unless you intend to redeem the villain, or cause massive angst to your main character – and your readers.

Fair Warning: Too much sympathy for the villain drives the reader to think that you intend to save him - and they get royally pissed when you knock him off.

It has happened to me!
-- My test readers totally misread a story I was in the process of crafting and assumed that the Villain was the Hero! Because of this, they vehemently protested his upcoming demise! To satisfy my readers I had to cut the whole second half of the book off and write that villain a whole new story where he WAS the hero. When I rewrote my original story, I had learned my lesson. NO ONE complained when I killed the villain that time.

“Murder your Darlings!” ~ Hemmingway
Under normal circumstances, if I accidentally craft a Redeemable villain, but redemption does not serve the plot - I DON'T save him, I rework him to be less sympathetic, and then I kill his butt to serve the plot and the premise. To me STORY comes first.

But, if I really, REALLY like this character and want to save him regardless of the story in progress, I do save him – in a Whole Different Story. I leave his character intact but change his name, tweak his history and then craft a whole New story around him to do just that - redeem the villain.

The Villain’s Point of View...?
HELL NO!
Don't Kill the Thrill ~ Damn it!
I never, ever , EVER put my villain's Point of View into a story -- unless the Villain is the main viewpoint character.

Why Not?

The villain’s POV KILLS the surprise. It gives away the punch-line before the joke is done. The villain's POV has a tendency to reveal too much, such as their MOTIVES, and answers too many questions that ruin the Mystery for the reader, such as "Why is this happening?" Once the reader knows what’s really going on, where’s the surprise?

I don't know about you, but I want my readers to be as surprised as the viewpoint character when they get to the end of the story and finally discover why the Villain did all those dastardly deeds.

"But other published authors do it!"
-- Yes, there are a number of NYT bestselling Suspense and Romantic Suspense authors that hide the Villain's more revealing information by cutting the reader off as soon as the Villain has an interesting thought or view. *caughTomClancycaugh*

They’re CHEATING the reader using a rather nasty technique known as "Illegitimate Third Person POV", something Mystery writers wouldn’t be caught dead doing.

However, I suppose such poor suspense techniques are to be expected from Suspense novels as they are technically mystery- flavored novels, not true Mysteries, the way Futuristics usually have very poor world-building as they are science-fiction- flavored , not true Science-Fiction.

When the "Point of View" is done correctly, whatever that viewpoint character knows - the Reader knows. EVERYTHING that is in the POV character's head is revealed as it is seen and felt. If that POV character looks at it, then the Reader should see it too. If that POV character thinks it, then the Reader should be aware of it - that includes SECRETS!

On a personal note, I refuse to read books or stories written with "Illegitimate Third Person POV", because if "I" can write suspense scenes without cheating, and I'm merely an erotic romance author, THEY CAN TOO! (Freaking lazy-butt writers... Grumble, grumble, grumble…)

"But I thought the Villain's POV Increases the Suspense?"
Um…No. The Villain’s POV KILLS the Suspense.

Why?

Because while one might think suspense is being generated by the reader knowing that the main viewpoint character is in extreme danger (when the POV character doesn't,) what it actually does is Totally KILLS the Impact when the main viewpoint character finds out how much danger they are actually in.

It’s like someone whispering, “I’m gonna yell ‘boo’ in that kid’s ear.”

When you see the kid jump, you might grin, but did YOU jump? No. Why not? Because you weren’t surprised. Why should you be? You KNEW it was coming.

If someone yells “BOO!” in the ear of the guy sitting next to you – without any warning – do you jump then? Yes. See?

The REAL way to keep suspense going is by presenting CLUES about the villain and his nefarious plans to the main POV character - and the reader - by behavior, dialogue, and discoveries.

"But I need it for the Plot!"
If the author can't write the story WITHOUT including the Villain's POV, then it’s very possible that there's a deeper more serious flaw in the story.

The Author has focused on the WRONG main character.

Instead of the Hero and Heroine in the lead, the Villain is leading the book. If the villain is leading the book, then it's time to rethink the plot. Seriously, redo the whole thing giving the villain the lead, writing it from the Villain's POV from beginning to end. I know LOTS of readers who love a good book entirely from the villain’s POV!

In Conclusion…
When one is writing Villains, once should know how Real villains think and act -- but that doesn’t mean your Reader should know what’s going on in their heads. More than half the fun of a really good Villain, is guessing what they’ll do next!

~~~~~~~~~
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 Basic PLOTTING
Posted 03 Mar 2011 16:42

Thank you, Morgan Hawke! Your advice is much appreciated. By my own self, at least.
My pleasure Buddy!

Too many stories here at Lush follow the plot model: 1. He conquered 2. He conquered again. 3. He smokes cigarette, brags about his conquest and threatens to conquer again. I only hope your influence here will improve the readability and eroticity of our stories.
All I can do is offer. It's up to the writer to decide if they want to try something other than that or not.

The main problem -- and first hurdle -- to writing Original erotica is the type of erotica the budding writer has been exposed to. If the only formula they've read is:

1. He conquered
2. He conquered again.
3. He smokes cigarette, brags about his conquest and threatens to conquer again.

Then it's going to be difficult to write anything else. Not because they can't write, but because it's all they know how to write.

In my case, the first type of erotica I was exposed to was the Bodice-ripper. In other words, Non-Consensual erotica, which is not only unrealistic, it's Unacceptable on this site.

1. He saw.
2. She ran.
3. He captured & conquered.
4. She decided she liked it.

As you can see, I have my own writing problems cut out for me. :)

Topic Writing ACTION Scenes that Work
Posted 03 Mar 2011 11:29

I love the break down here, where you have written the scene 4 times, each time adding another layer. I've use this method myself for certain things, but it's opened my eyes to a whole new way of writing, something else to try. thanks!
I'm glad you like it!
-- It's a really good method to use when you're in a hurry because you can always add more later.

Excellent teaching tool. I'm going to try it. Thanks!
I'm pleased you like it!
-- I'd be very interested in what you think of the results.

Topic If you click on this thread, you have to post
Posted 02 Mar 2011 23:05

I can resist anything, but Temptation.

Topic Around the world.
Posted 02 Mar 2011 23:03

Anaheim

Topic Word association game
Posted 02 Mar 2011 23:01

Dragnet

Topic New writer's resources forum section added - Morgan Hawke's writing tips and advice
Posted 02 Mar 2011 22:56

...on a more serious note, what a wonderful edition - I've been reading, it not always commenting, Ms Hawke's posts, and finding them of great use. As she says, some of it doesn't fit my style, but all of it is worth putting some thought into and certainly, it's a boon for all of the writers here.
Comments are completely optional. As long as you're reading them and finding something of worth in them, I'm happy!


...and yes, this despite the fact that she is still waving off my multiple offers of marriage.
But I'm not ready to be a spouse yet...! Can't we just live in sin?


...between her and Nic, i'm starting to feel a little unwanted :)
That's not true at all! I value your bright and perky titti-- err, personality !


anyways, hope you keep on finding us friendly and stay a good long spell.
I plan on being here for as long as Nicola and Gypsymoth can stand me. :)

Topic Word association game
Posted 02 Mar 2011 19:53

Bubbles --> tiny bubbles --> Hawaii !

http://www.youtube.com/embed/vFMbTUdg2Qg

Topic Around the world.
Posted 02 Mar 2011 19:51

Oklahoma

Topic New writer's resources forum section added - Morgan Hawke's writing tips and advice
Posted 02 Mar 2011 18:34

We are delighted to announce that Morgan will be working closer with the lush team, and is happy to offer her advice and expertise...

I am thrilled to be here and offer my assistance to those who'd like it.
-- Lush is one of the most friendly and welcoming story sites I've ever visited. I love you guys!

Topic Furnish the Chat Rooms
Posted 02 Mar 2011 17:39

The Lush Lounge...

Another photo manipulation I made.
http://www.yaoi.ca/gallery/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=7172&g2_serialNumber=2
Click for full-size.

Topic Furnish the Chat Rooms
Posted 02 Mar 2011 17:20

...I was thinking about the looks of our chat rooms. How do we imagine the bedroom? What carpet is in the lounge...?

This is how I envision the Bedroom.
-- This is a photo manipulation I created.

http://www.yaoi.ca/gallery/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=5776&g2_serialNumber=4]
Click for full-sized image.

Topic Interior Monologues
Posted 02 Mar 2011 16:40

“ I was just wondering what you think about interior monologues, long passages of reflection? ”
-- Curious Kitty
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A note on: Interior Monologues
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Whether you are considering adding a lengthy monologue to a story, or intend the monologue to be the story itself; where the focus of the entire story is on one character’s thoughts and feelings with very little action, from my observations and experimentation, the readers either love them or hate them. There's no in-between.

However, it is notable that the monologue stories that are sought out most frequently usually focus on a profound emotion of some kind: grief, loneliness, heartache ... Usually by those seeking to deal with such an emotion as a kind of therapy, or by those that have never felt such emotions. (Strong emotional stories are extremely popular with young adults.)

In both cases, not only does the reader seek to submerge themselves in these profound emotions, they are also looking for a solution , a way back out from under these feelings.

In short, don’t try to write something like this unless you already have a solution to your story problem in mind. You really don’t want the hate mail that will come if you leave your readers hanging.

I'm an escapist by nature, so I fall into the other category -- those that can only handle internal monologues in extremely tiny doses. I prefer my emotionally deep thoughts mixed in with the character doing something; an action scene flavored by internal narration, rather than a lengthy monologue.

Being older (in my 40's,) I've actually had to deal with these sorts of emotions; death, grief, heartache, loss... on a far too personal basis, so dwelling on them (reading long emotional passages,) isn't something I'm comfortable with.

Interestingly enough, the scanlated Japanese novellas that I've been reading seem to be almost solid immersions into emotion with action sprinkled in to give it a sense of motion -- even if the motion is merely circular.

Unfortunately, scanlations of any kind are extremely subjective . They're chosen because they appeal to the English-reading folks scanlating the story. Because of this, there's no way to tell of this is a common Japanese style, or merely a sign of the scanlators' preferences.

In Conclusion…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When deciding whether or not your monologue is appropriate for what you are writing, consider your target reading audience.

If you’re writing a story steeped in emotional upswings such as a romance, a monologue or two will probably fit right in. However, if you’re writing something with lots of action such as an adventure, you just might want to consider sprinkling bits of light action among your passages of deep thought to keep it from dragging down the pace you’ve already set for your story.

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 Dialogue, Action & Description ~ The LAYERS of Fiction
Posted 02 Mar 2011 16:30

" If you have Action and Dialogue, do you really NEED Description too?
What is the difference? "

Dialogue, Action & Description ~ The Layers of Fiction
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dialogue Only
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Himawari-chan, I have your lunch!”

“Ah, Watanuki-kun!”

“Here you go Himawari-chan!”

“Thank you, Watanuki-kun!”

“You are very welcome, Himawari-chan.”

“I see. Of course. Thank you, Yuuko-san. Do I need to tell you what she said?”

“No! No, you don’t, and I don’t want to hear it! I don’t need a freaking baby-sitter!”

“Yuuko thinks you do.”

“That’s her! Not me!”

“Are you a fortune-teller?”

“No! Of course not!”

“I’ll come get you after class. I’ll get the instructor to let you wait while I practice.”

“What? No! I said I don’t want to wait…!”

“You gonna eat that?”

“Yes I am!”

“Tea.”

“I do not, not, NOT take orders from you!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is “Talking Head Syndrome.” There are no dialogue tags, because I don’t use them.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ACTION with Dialogue
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lunch time found Kimihiro walking around to the back of the school carrying the three lacquered wood bento boxes.

Himawari was already at their chosen spot.

Kimihiro couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. He waved. “Himawari-chan, I have your lunch!”

Himawari looked over at Kimihiro smiled. “Ah, Watanuki-kun!”

Doumeki came from around the opposite corner of the building. He was talking on his cell phone, or rather, grunting into it.

Kimihiro sighed.

Doumeki’s gaze found Kimihiro’s and his eyes narrowed.

Kimihiro felt the small hairs on his arms lift. He turned away to unwrap the bento boxes and offered Himawari a box. “Here you go Himawari-chan!”

Smiling, Himawari took the box from Kimihiro without making any physical contact. “Thank you, Watanuki-kun!”

“You are very welcome, Himawari-chan.” Watanuki sighed and pulled out cups.

Doumeki strode up to stand before Kimihiro. “I see. Of course. Thank you, Yuuko-san.”

Kimihiro looked up and his mouth fell open. The iced tea he was pouring spilled slightly over his hand. He grabbed for a paper napkin to wipe at the small mess.

Doumeki snapped the small phone closed, and tucked it into the front fold of his gi. He held out his hand.

Kimihiro shoved the bento box at him.

Doumeki took the box from Kimihiro’s hands and his gaze narrowed on Kimihiro’s face. “Do I need to tell you what she said?”

“No! No, you don’t, and I don’t want to hear it!” Kimihiro turned away and flopped cross-legged onto the spread blanket at Himawari’s side. “I don’t need a freaking baby-sitter!” He pried open his bento box.

Doumeki moved to Kimihiro’s immediate right and stepped into the space between Kimihiro and Himawari. He settled cross-legged on the blanket with a grunt, seating himself between them.

Watanuki rolled his eyes.

Doumeki turned and his gaze locked on Kimihiro’s. “Yuuko thinks you do.”

Kimihiro felt his hackles lift. He scooted back. “That’s her! Not me!”

Doumeki’s gaze narrowed to slits. “Are you a fortune-teller?”

Kimihiro stared at him. “No! Of course not!”

“I’ll come get you after class.” He turned away to pry open his lunch box. “I’ll get the instructor to let you wait while I practice.”

Kimihiro stared at him open mouthed. “What? No! I said I don’t want to wait…!”

Doumeki picked up the chopsticks and started shoveling food into his mouth with one hand. He plugged the ear on Kimihiro’s side with the pinky finger of the other.

Kimihiro ranted and raved until he was red in the face.

Doumeki continued to eat with one ear plugged.

Kimihiro added kicks and gestures to his gripes and complaints, and even tried writhing on the ground.

Doumeki turned to face Kimihiro. “You gonna eat that?” He pointed at Kimihiro’s full bento box.

Kimihiro grabbed for his food. “Yes I am!” He snatched up his chopsticks and stabbed it into his box. Glaring at the larger boy, he shoved the piece of food into his mouth and chewed.

Himawari burst into giggles.

Doumeki held out his hand. “Tea.”

Kimihiro reached for the thermos and a tea cup then froze. He turned to glare Doumeki.

Doumeki continued to hold out his hand, his gaze unwavering.

Kimihiro handed him the cup of tea.

Doumeki took the cup of tea, and the slightest of smiles curved his mouth.

A hard shiver skittered up Kimihiro’s spine. He jerked his gaze away.

Doumeki’s gaze drifted down to his teacup, and announced what he’d like for tomorrow’s lunch.

“I do not, not, NOT take orders from you!”

Doumeki’s reply was yet another smile.

Himawari giggled.

Tanpopo chirped.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In the first one, you could HEAR what was happening, like a Radio Show. In the second one you could HEAR and SEE what was happening, like a black and white TV. Shall we put it on the Big Screen?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DESCRIPTION with Action, & Dialogue
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lunch time found Kimihiro walking around to the back of the school carrying the three lacquered wood bento boxes wrapped in a large cloth in one hand, and the thermos of chilled jasmine tea in the other.

Himawari was already at their chosen spot under the tree. She knelt on the small picnic blanket, neat and prim in her stark black skirt and white summer top, while talking cheerfully to her tiny bright yellow bird, Tanpopo, Dandilion . The ultra-feminine black coils of her sumptuous mane spilled down her back and tumbled down around her lap. Two small coiling tails bound with yellow bows framed either side of her impishly sweet face.

Kimihiro couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. So cuuute! Himawari was everything a pretty girl should be, and she was just as sweet as she appeared. He waved. “Himawari-chan, I have your lunch!”

If only she didn’t have that…condition.

Himawari looked over at Kimihiro and her smile was as bright as the sun. “Ah, Watanuki-kun!”

The tall, broad-shouldered, and pointedly masculine form of Doumeki came from around the opposite corner of the building. His short-cropped black hair gleamed blue in the sunlight. He was dressed in the white keiko-gi top and ground-sweeping black hakima trousers of his Kyudo , archery club uniform. Apparently, he’d spent the last period at the archery range. He was talking on his cell phone, or rather, grunting into it. His gaze was somewhere off in the distance and lips were turned slightly downward.

Kimihiro sighed. That was Doumeki for you. He appeared to only ever show one of two expressions, if he had an expression, an almost-scowl, or an almost-smirk. Of the two, the smirk was worse; it was downright disturbing.

Doumeki’s gaze found Kimihiro’s and his golden eyes narrowed.

Kimihiro felt the small hairs on his arms lift. He’s staring at me in that creepy way again. It was enough to very nearly sour Kimihiro’s appetite.

Yuuko had once asked him, “What don’t you like about Doumeki?”

Kimihiro couldn’t very well tell her… “Because he stares at me like, he wants to hit me or do something…else, something embarrassing and vulgar. When he smirks, it’s worse. It’s like, he’s laughing at me, and about to do something vulgar. On top of that, when he actually talks what he says never goes with the look on his face. And he does it all the damned time!”

It sounded stupid even in his thoughts.

He turned away to unwrap the bento boxes, slapped on a sunny smile strictly for Himawari, and offered her a box. “Here you go Himawari-chan!”

Smiling, Himawari took the box from Kimihiro without making any physical contact. “Thank you, Watanuki-kun!”

“You are very welcome, Himawari-chan.” Watanuki sighed in contentment and pulled out the small plastic cups for the tea. Lunch with sweet, adorable, completely predictable Himawari was the highlight of his entire day.

Doumeki strode up to stand before Kimihiro and his voice deepened to a base growl. “I see. Of course. Thank you, Yuuko-san.”

Kimihiro looked up at his nemesis and his mouth fell open in shock. Doumeki was talking to Yuuko? The iced tea he was pouring spilled slightly over his hand. Startled, he grabbed for a paper napkin to wipe at the small mess. He knew, he just knew, Yuuko had told Doumeki to walk him back. That conniving, controlling, over-protective…

Doumeki snapped the small phone closed, and tucked it into the front fold of his gi . He held out his hand, clearly asking for the bento at Kimihiro’s side.

Selfish bastard… Furious, Kimihiro shoved the bento box at him.

Doumeki took the box from Kimihiro’s hands and his gaze narrowed on Kimihiro’s face. “Do I need to tell you what she said?”

“No! No, you don’t, and I don’t want to hear it!” Kimihiro turned away and flopped cross-legged onto the spread blanket at Himawari’s side. He would not, would not , look at him. “I don’t need a freaking baby-sitter!” He pried open his bento box, determined to eat and enjoy some cheerful conversation with Himawari.

Doumeki moved to Kimihiro’s immediate right and stepped into the space between Kimihiro and Himawari. He settled cross-legged on the blanket with a grunt, seating himself between them.

Watanuki rolled his eyes. One might suppose that Doumeki was merely keeping the two from coming into accidental physical contact, which would trigger Himawari’s rather volatile and highly dangerous condition. However, Watanuki knew for a fact that Doumeki had done it simply to annoy him.

Doumeki turned and his golden gaze locked on Kimihiro’s. He was so close Kimihiro could actually feel his body heat. The scent of soap and temple incense drifted from him. “Yuuko thinks you do.”

Kimihiro felt his hackles lift. He scooted back, away from Doumeki’s unnervingly warm presence. “That’s her! Not me!”

Doumeki's gaze narrowed to hard gold slits. “Are you a fortune-teller?”

Fortune-teller? Kimihiro stared at him. What the hell…? “No! Of course not!”

“I’ll come get you after class.” He turned away to pry open his flat black lunch box. “I’ll get the instructor to let you wait while I practice.”

Kimihiro stared at him open mouthed. “What? No! I said I don’t want to wait…!”

Doumeki picked up the chopsticks and started shoveling food into his mouth with one hand. He plugged the ear on Kimihiro’s side with the pinky finger of the other. Clearly, Doumeki was not listening.

Kimihiro ranted and raved until he was red in the face.

Doumeki continued to eat with one ear plugged.

Kimihiro added kicks and gestures to his gripes and complaints, and even tried writhing on the ground.

Doumeki turned to face Kimihiro with absolutely no expression on his face what so ever. “You gonna eat that?” He pointed at Kimihiro’s full bento box with his chopsticks.

Kimihiro grabbed for his food. “Yes I am!” He snatched up his chopsticks and stabbed it into his box blindly. Glaring at the larger boy, he shoved the piece of food into his mouth and chewed with extra emphasis.

Himawari burst into giggles.

Still completely expressionless, Doumeki held out his hand. “Tea.”

Kimihiro reached for the thermos and a tea cup then froze. Son of a bitch! Who does he think I am, his damned wife? He turned to glare at the overgrown pain in his ass.

Doumeki continued to hold out his hand, his gaze unwavering and clearly expectant.

Kimihiro handed him the cup of tea.

Doumeki took the cup of tea, and the slightest of satisfied smiles curved the very edge of his mouth.

A hard shiver skittered up Kimihiro’s spine. He jerked his gaze away. He hated it when Doumeki looked at him like that; like he’d done something both pleasing and perverted at the same time.

Doumeki’s gaze drifted down to his teacup, and in a completely emotionless voice, he announced what he’d like for tomorrow’s lunch.

Kimihiro very nearly threw his bento box at him. “I do not, not, NOT take orders from you!”

Doumeki’s reply was yet another of those smug half-smirks.

Himawari’s giggling and Tanpopo’s amused chirping did not make Kimihiro feel any better.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why did I not include Internal Narration until I got to the Description layer?

Because Internal Narration is the POV character’s opinion of the events happening around them.

Most authors include Internal Narration; but many, MANY of the same authors forget that the POV character’s physical observations -- what they see, and experience -- belongs in there too, not just what they thought about it.


In Conclusion...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Once you add Description to your Dialogue and Action, you add depth perception. Instead of the reader merely being an observer, someone who can hear and see what's going on like a movie, Description allows the reader to step into your characters’ skin and become a participant in the story.

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DISCLAIMER: 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 Basic PLOTTING
Posted 02 Mar 2011 16:25


You should write a "How to" book. I've heard this is a good read: http://www.amazon.com/Cheaters-Writing-Erotic-Romance-Publication/dp/160180038X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1295000136&sr=1-2 laughing6

http://www.yaoi.ca/gallery/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=2974&g2_serialNumber=2
You know, I've heard that too.