Forum posts made by morganhawke

Topic nearly always
Posted 15 Feb 2011 16:18

I just used "nearly always" in a post and remembered a grade school teacher saying you shouldn't do that. If this is true, why not?

Because the grammar your grade school teacher was showing you was meant for writing reports or essays -- Not Fiction.

Essays, reports and other journalistic type writing are Non-Fiction and therefore not meant to have emotional connotations. This means that emotion-laden adjectives and character-voice phrases such as 'nearly always,' are not supposed to be there.

Fiction is the opposite. It thrives on emotion and the words that convey them.

Topic One line writing tips.
Posted 15 Feb 2011 16:02

It makes for easier reading if a full-stop (period) is followed by two spaces.
Can I let you in on a secret? Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong .

Go here -->
Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period. By Farhad Manjoo

Read that.

Topic Advanced Character CREATION
Posted 15 Feb 2011 13:02

Advanced Character CREATION
Protagonist ~ Antagonist ~ Ally
There are three essential characters in every story. There may be any number of side characters, but in traditional Adventures, and Romances of every stripe (erotic or not,) the main conflict is usually, if not always, a TRIANGLE of complimentary opposites .

Translation: You could tell the whole story with ONLY these Three Characters; perhaps not with any real detail, but you could still do the entire basic plot-line.

THREE Characters?
I'm sure you're familiar with the names Hero & Villain or Antagonist & Protagonist already. Those are pretty darn standard. However, always there, though seldom named is a Third character, the Ally -- the Companion to the Hero or Villain

The Invisible Character: the Ally
The Ally’s function is to be the Middle-Man, the Obstacle Character who adds complications to the plot, making matters worse for both the Hero and the Villain, generally by getting in the way.

In Romances, this character is the Love Interest. In modern mainstream fiction, and tons of movies, this is the trouble-inducing Best Friend or Interfering Relative, (often a younger sibling). In comic books, they’re the Side-kick. In traditional fiction, they were known as the Victim.

In ALL cases, the Ally’s fate turns the plot at the Climax, usually by needing to be rescued, and more often than not, the Ally is also the story’s narrator, or the Viewpoint Character .

Okay… So, if you already have a Main Character and a Villain, all you need is an Ally, a trouble-maker to stir the pot…err, PLOT .

Here’s the tricky part. When dealing with a story with a large cast, the three characters swap out, they change places at Every Scene Change ~ BUT ~ each scene still only contains, three main characters.

Main Characters: Hellsing
Protagonist: Alucard
Antagonist: Sir Integra Hellsing
Ally: Seras, Victoria

When these three Hellsing characters occupy a scene TOGETHER those are the parts they play. However, when Alucard & Seras Victoria are in a scene together, Alucard plays the Protagonist and Seras the Ally (and narrator of the scene,) with whatever third character being the Antagonist. On the flip-side, when Sir Integra Hellsing and Alucard share a scene, Sir Integra plays the Protagonist and Alucard the Ally. Whatever third character shows up usually plays the Antagonist.

Confusing isn’t it? It gets even more so when the cast is as large as that of The X-Men , or Lord of the Rings .

Memorize this: The Larger the Cast, the Longer the Story.

Why is this so important? The more people you involve in your story, the more plot-threads you’ll need to tie up at the end. In other words, every time you switch your triad of characters, you are in effect creating a whole new story that MUST be concluded IN ADDITION to your lead characters’ story.

This means that if you only plan to write a short story, you need to keep the story focused on your main three characters. That doesn’t mean you can’t have other characters, it just means that those extra characters shouldn’t contribute to the story as anything more than window-dressing or props.

Once you decide on your Three Main Characters, how do you make them work together? By figuring out what makes each character tick…

The Quick and Dirty Method :
Have each of your three characters answer these three questions:
1. Who am I and what do I do?
2. What do I want?
3. What is the worst thing that could happen to me?

The first question, “Who am I?” should clue you in as to what each characters’ greatest weakness is. The second question, “What do I want?” gives you their motives. As for the third question, by combining the answers to “…the worst thing,” this should give you the big reversal, the story’s darkest moment at the center of the story.

Sir Integra Helsing
1 - I am an heiress and a Knight to my Queen.
2 - I am on a holy crusade to destroy the unholy monsters that prey on humans.
3 - Give me control of a creature more monstrous than any monster out there -- and make me like him as a person.

1 - I’m a Vampire that preys on other vampires.
2 - I want sanity.
3 - Make me so monstrously insane I have to voluntarily choose to be enslaved by one who can control me.

Seres Victoria
1 - I am a Cop that became a vampire.
2 - I want to save lives.
3 - Have me discover that the vampire that made me is dangerously insane.

This method works especially well when you have three excellent characters but you’re not quite sure what kind of story you want to write for them.

Advanced Character Development
Traits & Flaws
To thoroughly understand what makes your characters tick, use this character sheet for Each of your three main characters. This method is particularly useful when you intend to write something the size of a novel.

Character Sheet
• Name:

• Designation: “I am a…”

• Positive Trait: “I’m liked because…”

• Negative Trait: “I’m disliked because…”

• Ego flaw: “Makes me great yet could destroy me…”

• Ambition: “I want…”

• Motive: “I’m doing this because…”

• Internal Conflict: “I am troubled by…”

• External Conflict: “I am thwarted by…”

• Secret: “I don’t know or I am hiding…”

• Ordeal/Reversal: “Last thing I ever want to happen…?”

• Epiphany: “I will discover…”

• Bio:


You’ll notice that I left out some of the more obvious things found in most character sheets: jobs, skills, physical descriptions, and other technical data. This was done deliberately . By using a character sheet that maps out only the Heart and Mind of your character, you’re free to use the SAME character in other stories under other names with other physical traits and backgrounds.

In Conclusion…
The fastest way to make characters is by starting with a familiar character, such as a movie character or actor, and warping them to suit your needs. Both of these methods should prove handy to do just that whether you are working with known characters for a fan-fiction or creating new ones for something entirely original.


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 Story Writing for BEGINNERS
Posted 15 Feb 2011 12:46

Story Writing for BEGINNERS
-----Original Message-----
I want to write a story. I have a couple of ideas, but no idea what to do with them, or even how to begin! Help?!
-- Newbie Writer

So when you wanna write a story, where do you begin? With your PASSION!

Write what you KNOW & LOVE
What do you KNOW, really? What do you love to Do, to Study, to Think About, to Talk About...? Whether it's cave-diving, model trains, skate-boarding, sewing, horses, mythology, ghost legends, or particle physics your passion is where you will find your most unique and powerful work.

Make a list of all the things you know well and all the things you've done -- seriously! Mythology, history, any retail jobs you might have had -- anything you might have seen, done, or studied.

Sticking with your passions and your personal experiences also keeps you from making the fewest MISTAKES.

Case in point, someone who has never kissed isn't going to be able to write a kissing scene as well as someone who Has. Worst of all, someone with experience will know IMMEDIATELY when the writer doesn't know what they're talking about. Once that happens, they're closing your story -- never to look at it again.

If you insist on writing about something outside of your personal experience, do your RESEARCH thoroughly. & are your friends!


Character Creation 101
The easiest way to make an original character is by modeling your character on one you already know.

Out of all the movies you have seen, what fictional character is most like what you need for your story? You want a movie or animated character because you need to PICTURE your character as they move through your stories. This is ESSENTIAL for Active Writing.

Favorite characters I like to use:
- Trinity from the Matrix
- Keiffer Sutherland from the Lost Boys & 24
- Robert Carlyle from Ravenous and Plunkett & McLean
- Wolverine from the X-Men
- Sandra Bullock from Miss Congeniality and Speed
- Johnnie Depp from Sleepy Hollow and Sweeny Todd
- Selene from Underworld
- Riddick from Pitch Black

The trick is to change their names and appearance enough to disguise them while leaving their base character traits -- and dialogue style -- intact!

"Wait! Isn't using someone else's characters' Plagiarism?"
-- Only if the character still has the Same Name and the Same Physical Description. Change those and it's not. Think! If no one ever borrowed characters, there'd only be ONE vampire novel in existence--and it wouldn't be "Dracula".

You should have THREE Main Characters to tell a whole story:
Proponent (Hero): The one trying to Keep things the way they are.
Antagonist (Villain): The one trying to Change things from the way they are.
Ally (buddy or lover): The one caught in the Middle, and usually telling the story.

-----Original Message-----
"But what if I only want to use two characters?"

Then use only Two:
Proponent (Hero): The one trying to Keep things the way they are.
Antagonist (Villain): The one trying to Change things from the way they are.

However, using only Two main characters will make it harder to tell the whole thing. Don't be surprised if a Third character sneaks their way in to help you!

Okay now that you have your Characters, you need to make a world to put them in.

The easiest place to put your characters is a place you already know. For all other places, there's RESEARCH. is invaluable for finding pictures of places you've never been and journals posted by people living there. Find them and READ them.

If you're building a fantasy world, a historical world, or a sci-fi world for your first story, CHEATING is your best option.

There are a million and one Gaming Books and Gaming Sites featuring all kinds of historical, fantastical, and scientific data it would take you YEARS to uncover. Just make sure you separate Fact from Fiction! And for God's sake, CHANGE what you Can! You don't need people screaming at you for copyright violation.

If you're determined to build your world from scratch, then here is the absolute best guide on world building there is:

Patricia C. Wrede's Worldbuilder Questions

Making your story HAPPEN!
Rather than make this complicated, let's go the simple route. Once you have all three (or two) characters, ask each one these Three Questions :

• Who am I and what do I do?
• What do I want?
• What is the worst thing that could happen to me?

Once you know the answers to all of these questions, you pretty much have your whole story.

• "Who am I and what do I do?" is your introduction.
• "What do I want?" is what puts your characters in opposition. Your hero has a Goal. Your Villain doesn't want them to have it because it gets in the way of their Goal.
• Your main character's 'Worst Thing' is the REVERSAL to your story dead center in the Middle.
• The Villain's 'Worst Thing' is the main CLIMAX close to the end. It's the turning point that allows your Main Character to win. The End.

Simple, ne?

So where do you begin Writing ?
NOT at the beginning!

Open the story within one page of Hero meets Villain, (or Lover meets Beloved) with the story already in progress. Action scenes and snappy dialogue are the best hooks for snaring your reader, but hints of Mysterious things yet to happen works well too. I also set the stage for the story about to begin with a few lines of Description so that the reader can SEE everything as it happens.

The trick to not boring them is: Don't Tell them ANYTHING !
Give broad hints, but don't Info-dump. Use Dialogue to hint at clues to the secondary character’s back-story. This way you make the reader an eavesdropper who MUST read on to find out, "What the heck is going on?"

The easiest way to keep your reader from figuring out what's going on -- and how your story will end -- is by telling the whole story from One POV (point of view.) MAKE the reader discover from INSIDE your main character why this vampire hunted this particular guy down, and why he isn’t running in screaming terror. MAKE your readers put two and two together and try to come up with the right answer.

Tricks to keeping your story SHORT!
Keep the number of characters to a Minimum!
The larger the cast -- the longer the story.

This is because each and every character you use must have their story problem FIXED by the end of the story. If you don't, you create a PLOT HOLE that your readers WILL notice, and call you on.

Keep the Point of your story firmly in mind.
What are you trying to Show with your story?

Love Conquers All
Greed makes one Greedier
Love = Insanity
Love doesn't always mean Happiness
Love isn't always Nice
You Reap what you Sow
Destiny is a Bitch
You can't escape Yourself
A Snake will always be a Snake
Sometimes, Love means Letting Go
Sometimes, Love means Giving In
Appetites will find a way to be Filled
Revenge only brings Misery

In short, know what you want to say and how you intend to END the story before you begin!

Only put in what you intend to USE.
If it doesn't affect the Plot, the Characters or the Point of your story, you don't need it.

This includes Description.

In a short story, everything is pared down to the minimum, so you only need to describe the characters your character directly interacts with, and their immediate surroundings, no more, but no less either. You want to make sure that your Reader can SEE what's happening, but you don't need to go into detail about every babbling brook and tree.

Once you've finished your story, Read it OUT LOUD to yourself.
This will allow you to catch most of your mistakes before anyone else sees them.

• If you have to stop to take a breath before you finish a sentence -- the sentence is Too Long.
• If you have to read a line twice to figure out what you just said, so will your Readers. Any time you have to reread anything, something is WRONG.
• If you find your attention drifting from the story you are reading out loud -- so will your Readers.
• If you find yourself skipping parts to get to better parts -- so will your readers.
• If YOU don't find what you're reading interesting enough to keep reading, neither will your Readers.

In Conclusion...
Writing a story isn't all that hard or even complicated. It's what you put into your story that makes it complicated -- and uniquely yours.


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 Pesky Point of View ~ Problems & Cures
Posted 15 Feb 2011 12:44

That sounds great. I have created a separate subforum for "Essential Reading" to tidy things up. Once your articles have had a few months in here, I'll move them over to there too.

-- Most of my articles come from Questions from other writers so I'm very interested in what other people post about.

Topic Pesky Point of View ~ Problems & Cures
Posted 15 Feb 2011 09:54

You have covered a lot of helpful areas in your posts. Don't worry about flooding, good advice is always appreciated!

Uh... (gulp) I have some 40-odd completed writing essays. I really don't think posting that many in one place would be a good idea.

Other topics which would be beneficial, if you have some articles to hand (and these don't just apply to erotica):

- Characterisation - advice on creating interesting characters, how to make the reader believe in them.
- Setting - how to effectively and succinctly create the backdrop for your story.
- Plot development - how to structure and pace your story to maintain interest.
- Dialogue - how to writing effective and engaging dialogue.

I think that's most bases covered.

Ah...! I do have some Character-building and plotting essays ready. Writing dialogue actually goes hand in hand with character-building. Setting though... That's a good one. I haven't written one for that yet!

Oddly enough, it hasn't occured to me to do a Setting essay because when I write a story, I come up with the Setting First then build the plot and characters to fit. However, it seems that most people come up with their Characters first. (No wonder they're having so many problems. ~snicker.)

Let me put some thought into that one.

Topic An Unkindness of COMMAS.
Posted 14 Feb 2011 15:49

I SUCK at commas big-time. I tend to pull a "Mark Twain"; I sprinkle them in…wherever to break up the monotony of the sentence. This article was my attempt to hammer the rules into my brain.

An Unkindness of COMMAS

What the heck are Commas for, anyway?
Besides abusing the sanity of the writer, the comma exists to help readers organize information in a sentence. It makes all the stuff the author is trying to say easier to swallow. Without them, sentence bits and pieces collide into one another causing confusion; rather like a train-wreck, though not nearly as exciting.

Just in case you’d like to know who made up all these comma rules, I got most of them from Strunk & White’s “ Elements of Style ” the grammar handbook used by every publishing house in America, and a few overseas. The rest came from my editors.

To get a good idea of how commas work, let's take a look at what they are supposed to do -- and some major screw-ups.

Doing it RIGHT
1. Commas separate items in a series.

The werewolf had fleas, a couple of ticks, and a very slight case of mange.

2. Commas separate two independent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction (and, or, nor, but, so...,) and the comma goes IN FRONT of the word -- not behind it!

Several vampires were writhing on the dance floor, and a dozen more were scattered about the bar.

3. Commas set off introductory clauses and phrases.

When the gargoyle crashed through the plate glass window, the housewife handed him the broom to clean up his mess.

4. Commas set off non-restrictive (non-essential) clauses, phrases, and modifiers from the rest of the sentence.

a) The restrictive (essential) clause:

Two fallen angels, who frequently dangled from the church tower, were throwing rotten tomatoes at the gargoyles.

a) Non-restrictive (non-essential) clause:

Chateau Dracula, located in the green hills of Tuscany, hosted the vampire prince’s inauguration.

5. Commas separate descriptive modifiers of equal rank. If you can use your adjectives interchangeably and can put in an "and" between them, put the comma there.

The Court simply could not predict the next activity of the fickle, explosive vampire queen.

6. Commas set off parenthetical expressions. (Stuff that could be put in parentheses, but isn’t.)

The werewolf council members, you may recall, voted themselves a thirty-five percent pay increase last year.

7. Commas are used when the absence of a pause can cause confusion.

For the ghosts that haunted the chateau, moving the chairs around in the dining room was exhausting work.

8. Commas are used to set off participle phrases that modify some part of the independent clause.

The Vampire Court adjourned, having successfully defeated the bill that would have taxed imported medical blood.

Doing it WRONG
1. DON’T use a comma to separate two independent clauses WITHOUT a coordinating conjunction. Doing this makes a “comma splice.”

WRONG: The number of vampires dropped by 3 percent, the werewolf population rate stayed constant.

a. Instead of a Comma, try using a semicolon(;):

The number of vampires dropped by 3 percent; the werewolf population rate stayed constant.

b. Instead of a Comma, try using a coordinating conjunction (and, or, nor, but, so...,) with a comma BEFORE it:

The number of vampires dropped by 3 percent, but the werewolf population rate stayed constant.

2. DON'T use a comma to introduce a subordinate clause. (Putting a comma before the word "because" is one of the biggest offenders.)

The vampire princess decided to visit the protest site because she needed a first hand report.

The vampire princess decided to visit the protest site (subordinate clause -- > because she needed a first hand report.

But...! If the subordinate clause is being used to introduce the sentence, a comma does go at the end of the introductory phrase.

Because she needed a firsthand report, the vampire princess decided to visit the protest site.

3. DON'T use a comma to separate a noun or pronoun from its reflexive (myself, himself, herself).

The werewolf king himself will discipline the pack.

4. DON'T use a comma between a word and a phrase to create a "false series."

Example of a confusing False Series:

The archeologists discovered seven bodies, six medieval knights, and one court jester.
(WOW! That’s a lot of bodies!)

In proper perspective using an m-dash:

The archeologists discovered seven bodies -- six medieval knights, and one court jester.

5. DON'T use a comma IN FRONT of a partial quotation.

The candidate for court wizard charged that the incumbent was "a charlatan of the lowest order."

BUT...! If the quotation is a full sentence, you DO use a comma –- in front of it:

The incumbent for court wizard asked, "How would you like to spend the rest of your existence as a leaky pot?"

Exercises: Where do the following sentences need commas?
(This ISN’T an assignment, you are Not expected to turn in your answers!)

1. Teratology the study of deformities derives its name from the Greek word for monster.

2. Hearing the wolf howl caused Zach to look up in anticipation and delight.

3. Gothic music has a distinctly European sound yet it has often received more attention in Tokyo than in Paris.

4. All roads may lead to Rome but the vampire and his designated victim got hopelessly lost trying to drive there from Naples.

5. Dracula Tower one of the finest examples of soaring art deco yet gothic architecture in America is located in New York New York.

6. The most hard working of all the haunts in the chateau she despaired when others received substantially higher praise.

7. You know I can't tolerate such behavior Vladimir.

8. Exhausted and penniless the vampire stared at the brightly lit interior imagining a warm fire a bed with clean white linens and a willing Reubenesque victim wearing nothing but handcuffs and a smile.

9. It was a charming older home whose medieval decor enhanced its gothic character.

For more on Commas, see:
COMMAS - The ( Not-So ) Quick & Dirty Guide
by Erin Mullarkey, editor for Loose-Id books:


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 One line writing tips.
Posted 14 Feb 2011 15:41

If you're going to Write Erotica, READ as much quality Erotica as you can. Preferably modern Erotica. The grammar rules have changed since " Lady Chatterly's Love r" and " The Story of O " were published.

Topic Pesky Point of View ~ Problems & Cures
Posted 14 Feb 2011 15:25

Excellent post again Morgan, thank you coffee
We might need to give you your own section at this rate!

I'm glad you like it!
-- I do have a rather large number of essays, but I'm trying to only post what people are asking about. I don't want to step on anyone's toes or flood the forum.

If you have any suggestions on what you think people might like to know, I'd be happy to offer what knowledge I have?

Topic Around the world.
Posted 14 Feb 2011 09:57


Topic The 7 Letter Game
Posted 14 Feb 2011 09:53


Gerta's hooters inspired Reggie's perpetual erection blast.


Topic Pesky Point of View ~ Problems & Cures
Posted 14 Feb 2011 05:34

WARNING! This article is NOT for the Faint of Heart…!

Pesky Point of View
What is: Point of View (POV)?
-- It’s the thoughts and feelings of the person telling the story.

-- First Person: I am telling the story.

-- Second Person. I am telling the story to YOU.

-- Third Person: The story is about him.

-- Close Third Person: He had no clue how he got roped into telling this story, but he was telling it, and by god, they better listen up!

-- Omniscient POV: The camera’s eye view . This is what happened.
This uses no internal narration what so ever; you only know what the camera sees. This is the POV used for writing movie scripts.

-- Storyteller’s POV: Author Intrusion : Once upon a time, there was this sweet little boy who didn’t mean any harm.

This POV is also called Author Intrusion because the author intrudes on the story with their opinions on what is happening. The Lemony Snicket books are written this way, as are Fairy Tales and many Japanese novels.

The preferred POV for book and magazine publication in America are First Person POV or Close Third POV.

Close Third POV = the main POV Character’s Voice.
When you are in Close Third POV, everything the main character sees and experiences should be flavored with that character’s Attitude -- that character’s voice.

If Oscar the Grouch is looking at a bed of roses, what is going through his head is not going to resemble what would be going through Big Bird’s head. If you are in Oscar’s POV, the way you would write the description of those roses would reflect how he saw them.

Attitude Alone (AKA - Internal Narration):
Oscar could not believe that someone had the gall to drop his comfy garbage can in the middle of a disgustingly bright mound of flowers. At least they were roses. He could almost stand something that closely resembled a heaped snarl of barbed wire, if it weren’t for those eye-searing explosions of hideous pink. To make matters worse their stench was overwhelmingly sweet. He just knew that it was going to take a whole week to get the smell out of his can. He seriously considered heaving, just to have something more comforting to smell.

What’s wrong with this snippet?
-- Technically, nothing other than it’s BORING. NOTHING is happening -- and that’s totally wrong for this character. Oscar would not sit there and contemplate the roses; he would make faces and say something snotty.

Attitude + ACTION:
Oscar the Grouch popped out of his trash can. Serrated green leaves waved among slender and barbed branches around the mouth of his home. He gasped in horror. “What is this disgusting mess?”

He leaned out and looked around in disbelief. "Oh ugh, I'm surrounded. Somebody put my trash can in a revolting pile of... What are these? Roses?” He could almost stand something that closely resembled a heaped snarl of barbed wire, if it weren’t for those eye-searing explosions of hideous color. He curled his lip. “Pink, I hate pink.”

To make matters worse the stench was overwhelmingly sweet.

“Oh, eww! The smell!" He slapped a fuzzy green hand over his fuzzy green nose. "It’s gonna take me a week to get that stink out’ta my can!” He felt his gorge rising. “I think I’m going to be sick. At least it’ll smell better.”

Not quite so boring this time.

Pet Peeve of mine:
Your mileage may vary, but as far as I’m concerned, there is only ONE legitimate reason to have more than one POV:

When you have a large cast of characters, making more than one story thread going on, only then do you need POV switching to show the full scope of the story. Since another story is being told within the first, the main POV character may or may not ever be involved. This makes another POV character a necessity.

Jane Austin, Steven King, Robert Jordan and Terry Pratchet are authors that use multiple subplots – multiple stories within one bigger story, and even they stick to ONE POV per subplot. When they bring all the characters together in a story’s final confrontation, they use the first POV Character (that is not killed by the villain,) that appears in the book.

9 times out of 10, the very first POV character is usually someone dealing with the Antagonist – the villain of the piece, and they usually end up dead. The next POV character is (normally,) the story’s leading Protagonist.

“But if you only use One POV at a time, how will the reader know what’s going on in the other characters’ heads?”

The exact same way YOU know what’s going on in your friends’ heads. You GUESS by reading into what they say and what they do. You read their Body Language. This means that if you want your reader to guess right -- or wrong -- you put in the speaker’s body language too -- what they’re doing AS they speak.

When you have more than One POV character in a scene,
Who’s POV?
You pick ONE and stick to it. So, which one? Your main character ALWAYS. If your main character is not in the scene, then pick the the ALLY character, the buddy or Lover of the main character. Avoid using the Villain's POV. The Villain's POV tends to give too much of the plot away -- if you're doing it Right.

Note : You want to use as few POV characters as possible because every POV character becomes the star of their own story --a main character-- which means their plot lines MUST be tied up --their stories Must be completed-- by the end of the story too. Not completing a main character's story arc ALWAYS leaves a Plot Hole that will be noticed.

Avoid Hate-Mail: Always tie up your loose ends.

POV Problems & Cures

The Horrors of Head-hopping
Head-hopping is when the point of view changes, and changes, and changes, and changes...sometimes every few paragraphs, sometimes every few sentences.

Obsessive Head-hopping normally happens for these reasons…

The Author is still at the learning stage.
The most common reason for obsessive head-hopping is that they don’t even KNOW that they are head-hopping.

Dead Give-Aways:
1) Every character’s opinionated view is presented without any form of scene breaks, (often in the same paragraph.)

2) Poor grammar skills.

My advice to Beginners:
Write in FIRST PERSON, until you know how to STAY in one person’s head, then attempt Close Third person. Once you know how to STAY in one person’s head POV switching will be much easier to master.

Don’t rush. Handling one POV is tough enough. Seriously, I know a lot of published authors who have a rough time with POV. Taking one step at a time will save you a LOT of grief in the long run.

Emotional DETACHMENT from the Official Lead Character
A lot of obsessive head-hopping is caused by the author’s emotional connection to a character that is NOT the protagonist – the official lead in the story. When the author becomes fascinated by a character that is not the official lead, they will often pop in and out of their ‘favorite’. They simply cannot bear not being in that person’s head.

Dead Give-Aways:
1) No real subplots, no secondary stories about different but related sets of characters.

2) The POV characters are narrowed to only 2 or three people – and they are all involved in ONE plotline.

3) The official lead character does not affect the plot in any major way.

4) The second (and preferred,) POV character defeats the Villain – not the official lead character. This makes the second (and preferred,) POV character the Protagonist, the Official Lead.

The Author thinks they are enriching the story.
The author is convinced that both leading characters are interesting. They are attempting to provide the reader with a ringside seat to BOTH sides of the story. This shows up in Erotic Fiction of every stripe.

This problem normally takes a very firm publication editor to fix – because the author will often refuse to fix it for any other reason. They did it on purpose and don’t see anything wrong with it.

Dead Give-Aways:
1) Only the two main characters have a POV.

2) The POV switch happens without breaks, one successive paragraph after the next – from one end of the story to the other. (Him – Her – Him – Her…)

3) Events are often repeated; displayed in one POV and then the other.

4) Its deliberate. The author did it on purpose.

The Author thinks they’re making SUSPENSE.
The author is convinced that the entire cast MUST be revealed to the reader. The reader spends the rest of the story popping from head to head viewing the Unfolding story. Unfortunately, by POV hopping, peeking into each of the character’s heads, it does not take much effort for the reader to guess how the story will end.

Dead Give-Aways:
1) No real subplots.

2) The entire plot and every characters’ motivation, including the villain’s, is revealed by the third chapter.

3) Its deliberate. The author did it on purpose.

Think people…!
-- Why should the reader bother continuing to read a story they already know the ending to? (I won’t, that’s for damned sure.)

I can hear it already…
“But they don’t know HOW it all falls apart!”

So? Once the reader knows it’s going to fall apart, the reader is Distanced from the character. They are no longer a Participant inside that character’s skin; they’re an Observer that already knows a surprise is coming -- which of course, RUINS the surprise.

Look at it this way…
Someone leans close to you and says: “Watch this, I’m gonna yell Boo in that kid’s ear!” They yell, the kid jumps.

And you do — what? You smile, maybe you laugh.

Someone else leans over and grabs a different kid, yelling: “TICKLE!”

And you…? You jump out of your skin, maybe even shout because it was totally unexpected.

See the difference?

Quick & Dirty Head-hop Proofing
Try writing it in First Person POV then do a Search / Replace.

Replace “I” with the Character’s Name at the BEGINNING of a paragraph.
You only need to use a character’s name once per paragraph -- unless they are directly interacting with another character of the same gender. If so, then you’ll need to use both names to keep the reader from getting confused as to who is doing what to whom. Use 'He / She' everywhere else in the paragraph.

(Need a gender-neutral word? I use THEM or ONE. “He didn’t know what to tell them.” “One needs to be sure before one acts.”)

Replace “my” with 'her / his'

Replace “mine” with 'theirs

Once you’ve done your search/replace, reread your story line by line correcting and adjusting as you go until the story reads properly.

Note: This the easiest way to do it, however, that doesn't mean it's Easy. It takes time and stubbornness to adjust an already completed story line by line -- and it MUST be done line by line to catch it all.

In Conclusion…
Using weird POVs and head-hopping is not that big of a deal when you’re only posting on your LJ or on free sites. Those readers don’t expect perfection, but don’t think they don’t notice. (I most certainly do.)

However, if your dream is to get published you might want to at least be familiar with what is acceptable to an Editor, and what is Not.

Head-hopping and POVs other than First or Third are Not Acceptable .

I am well aware that certain name-brand authors head-hop all the time, Nora Roberts, Anne Rice… How do they get away with it? MONEY. Their editors are not about to challenge their Cash-Cows. They know good and well that their devoted fans will buy their books anyway -- in spite of their mistakes Not because of them.

Unfortunately, until you become that famous yourself, any professional editor that gets a manuscript rife with head-hopping or in a weird POV will either toss it into the Reject pile, or send it back with so much red ink it’ll look like it’s bleeding.

Guess how I found out?


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 14 Feb 2011 05:07

Basic Plotting

A plot is the pattern a story follows, the most common being:


All successful (read: popular) stories have patterns. Sometimes it’s simple, sometimes it’s complex but all of the stories read or told often enough to remain in the popular mind of any culture have a pattern, a plot.

Here are some examples of simple plot patterns…

• He came.
• He saw.
• He conquered.

American Dream Version:
• He came.
• He conquered.
• He became very rich.

The Heroic version:
• He conquered.
• He became the leader of his people.
• He died in the middle of a glorious battle to defend his land, and became a legendary figure that would never be forgotten.

Erotic Version:
• He saw.
• He conquered.
• He came.

Aristotle’s Elements of a Greek Tragedy - simplified:
• Act One: He rose to glory.
• Act Two: His pride drove him to make a foolish but costly mistake.
• Act Three: He crashed and burned.

The American version of Aristotle’s Elements:
• Act One: He rose to glory.
• Act Two: His pride drove him to make a foolish but costly mistake.
• Act Three: He crashed and burned.
• Act Four: He fixed his mistake and rose again.

Your basic Romance plot:
• The lovers are thrown together.
• The lovers are forced apart.
• The lovers go against the odds to get back together.

Your basic M/M Romance plot:
• One lover seduces the other.
• A misunderstanding drives one lover away.
• The lover that misunderstood chases the other lover down to beg for forgiveness.

Your basic Adventure plot:
• Hero meets Villain.
• They fight and the Villain wins.
• The hero rises from his defeat to battle the Villain again, and wins the war.

Your basic Manga Adventure plot:
• A group of friends meet a Villain.
• The villain corners them individually and defeats each one.
• The friends rise from their individual defeats to team up on the Villain and win the war.

I can already hear the whining…
-- “ But that’s so…formulaic! Where’s the creativity? ”

Creativity is Overrated.
Ever hear the phrase: “It’s not what you have , it’s what you do with it,”? This is especially true when writing stories. It’s not the plot, but what you do with the plot that makes it creative.

No matter what those Creative Writing classes teach, for a story to be enjoyed by the widest possible audience, it needs to have some sort of structure, a pattern -- a plot.


Because a story without some sort of plot pattern reads…wrong. Everyone, in every culture, has been trained from childhood to EXPECT a story to follow some sort of pattern to take it from Here to There, and make some sort of point too. In fact, some of the hottest blockbuster movies including ‘Star Wars’ follow one of the oldest plot patterns in human history -- the Heroic Cycle, as codified by William Campbell.

The Heroic Mythic Cycle:
(Paraphrased to avoid copyright issues.)

Act One - Chosen

Humble Beginnings
Destiny Comes Knocking
Shoved into Adventure
Sagely Advice ~ Paramours & Sidekicks

Act Two - Challenge

Leaving the Known World behind
Challenges, Friends & Foes
Battle at the Crossroads

Act Three – Crisis

Into the Labyrinth
Temptation & Betrayal
Anger ~ Despair ~ Sacrifice
Inheritance / Blessing / Curse
Treasure & Celebration

Act Four – Climax

Escape / Expelled from the Labyrinth
The Hunter becomes the Hunted
Rescue & Loss of Paramour / Side-kick
Battle at the Crossroads to Home
Death / Rebirth
Delivery of Treasure & Just Rewards

A great many people who write quite successfully ‘by the seat of their pants,’ may tell you that they don’t need to plot, they just…write it from beginning to end. That doesn’t mean their stories don’t follow a pattern. It’s merely that the plotting pattern they use is so ingrained into their subconscious they follow it instinctively -- without even knowing they’re doing it.

Unfortunately, that’s not a talent I possess. I have to work everything out on paper or I get lost in a hurry.

How to Use a Plot
“ What is plotting good for anyway? ”
Well, the best use of a plotting pattern is so you don’t get lost in the story. Think of it as a road map marking out the most direct route from Here to There. This doesn’t mean you can’t take side trips to sight-see or visit friends along the way. It’s merely a way of keeping track of where you are, and where you should go next, by knowing where you intend to end up. Knowing your basic route ahead of time also makes it much more difficult to get lost in a back road or trapped in a cul-de-sac.

In short, if you know where you’re going when you start out, sooner or later, you’ll actually get there.

In Conclusion…
Using a plot pattern, the writer can keep track of not only where they are in their story, but where they intend to end up. This makes it very easy to avoid the most common pitfall of fiction writing: “The story’s halfway done and I have no idea how to end it!”


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 Emotions VISUALLY
Posted 13 Feb 2011 09:31

Thank you! I am sure this passage will help me be brave enough to attempt a story. I am told that my poems are capable of painting the picture that you describe but I find that my stories lack that same skill. This was just what I needed.

You're very welcome.
-- I love inspiring people to write!

Topic Writing Emotions VISUALLY
Posted 13 Feb 2011 03:45

Amen to show it, don't tell it . I'm a non-visual imaginer, so if the writer doesn't help me by creating visuals of characters, scenes, I am left with reading what is essentially a recitation by characters with whom I have no connection. That's just no fun and boredom is not something I want to experience while reading.

I keep trying to tell people this, but nobody ever wants to listen to me. ~sigh~
Thank you sweety!

Topic Writing Emotions VISUALLY
Posted 12 Feb 2011 07:59

Writing Emotions VISUALLY
"What is ...VISUAL writing?"
Visual writing is when the reader can SEE your story unfolding in their imaginations just like a movie.

* Non-visual: It was a dreary day.
* Visual : Icy rain slithered down the window glass from an iron gray sky.

This is more commonly known as SHOWING vs. TELLING.

* Telling: It was a dreary day.
* Showing: Icy rain slithered down the window glass from an iron gray sky.

"What's wrong with just...Telling them?"
The problem lies with Reader interpretation. Abstract (poetic) words and ideas rely on the readers' interpretation of what those words mean to them personally.

For example:
She was woefully depressed.

* How does Big Bird act when he's woefully depressed?
* How do YOU act when you're woefully depressed?

Is there a difference?

Well yeah, birds molt. They lose all their feathers when they're depressed. When you were woefully depressed, did you lose all your feathers? (Do you have feathers?)

If your definitions of those feelings don't match with the reader's definitions -- you're screwed. In other words, the moment you and the reader come to a strong enough ' difference of opinion ', they'll stop reading and put your story down, never to pick it up again. Do it too much and the reader will stop reading ANYTHING by you.

Think I'm exaggerating?
Get on one of the book/author fan-lists and ASK. (I did.)

So, how do you SHOW emotions in writing?
According to Dianna Dorisi-Winget in " Let's Get Physical! ":
"... fiction writers must employ description that accurately expresses a character's feelings."

She's not talking about flowery, sentimental, poetic words, AKA: purple prose, she means describe the physical characteristics of the emotion you're trying to convey.

How does one DESCRIBE feelings and emotions?
Emotions appear as Body Language. Describing an emotion is as simple as describing the character's body language in addition to describing what they feel physically and mentally. Don't say: "she was sad," describe the way her tears feel as they run down her cheeks, and the way her heart feels in her chest.

According to James Scott Bell in his article " Leave Them With Hope ":
"...the author must experience the emotion and describe (the emotion felt) with all five senses, write it as he "feels" it.”

Dorisi-Winget says:
"The trick is tapping into your 'emotion memory.' Get beyond the pounding heart and clenched fist."

Emotion Memory is simply remembering how you felt when you were experiencing the emotion your character is going through.

Let's go back to Depression...
Do you remember what you felt like physically when you were depressed? That's what you write. Now consider what depression looks like... What did you do when you were depressed?

Hold that thought because THIS is where characterization gets tricky!
While depression pretty much feels the same for everyone, how people react to it is another whole bowl of kimchee .

Depression affects different people very differently. Some get very quiet, some get violent and hurt others, (picking fights,) some only hurt themselves, (cutting). Some eat a lot of food, some stop eating altogether. Some throw loud temper tantrums, yelling at anything that gets too close, and others refuse to say even one word.

How would YOUR character react? Describe the feelings AND the actions. Show them being depressed in all their torrid glory.

Don't TELL it:
She was woefully depressed.

SHOW it:
She leaned to one side against the wall with her shoulders slumped, staring at nothing at all. Her eyes burned with tears that wouldn't fall. Every beat of her heart seemed to take more effort than it was worth, but somehow, it just kept beating. She was long past pain and well into numb. If only she could stay there, and never feel anything at all, ever again.

Believe it or not, TELLING the reader what the character is feeling is not nearly as effective or powerful as SHOWING them.

* Write a scene where you tell what the character is feeling and doing using as many flowery words as you can.
* Write the same scene describing what the character is doing and feeling.

By the way, it's perfectly okay to use one or two flowery decorative words in addition to your physical descriptions, and in Dialogue -- internally, or out loud. When used to flavor descriptions, it gives what you are describing emotional impact. When used in Dialogue, it gives your characters flavor.

* Hand both versions to your beta readers and see what they think.

Looking for a Cheater's Guide to the physical characteristics of emotions?
The Non-Verbal Thesaurus

The following is for those looking to get published.
If you're just writing for fun and not profit, feel free to skip this part.
Is this advice Cramping your LITERARY Style...?

"What about all those flowery literary phrases that everybody else uses?"
AKA: "But Anne Rice does it, why can't I?"
Who is everybody else? Are they alive and still publishing books, or dead?

Once upon a time, literary writing was how one got published, so naturally that's what they teach in college. I got news for all you literary students going to class to become fiction authors: Euphemistic and/or literary writing is all well and fine in Creative Writing and Fan-Fiction, but that won't get you published any more.

Keep in mind, I'm talking BOOK publishers, not magazines or anthology publications that will only pay you $100.00 flat fee and No Royalties. Hell, even the EBook publishers won't take literary stuff. (They're all looking for Erotic Romance.)

Of course, there's always the 'self-publishing route...?

Outside of poetry, and high-brow literary journals, the only stuff in the Literary style being bought by the general public -- and publishers today, are Classics. We're talking stuff that were originally called Torrid Romances, ( Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre. ..) Pulp Fiction, ( Sherlock Holmes, HG Wells' novels, Dickens' novels ...) and Penny Dreadfuls ( Dracula, Frankenstein, Edgar Allen Poe's works ...) Stuff that was published a hundred years ago or longer; stuff that was NOT considered Literary in their day; stuff by authors that are currently DEAD.

"But! But! But what about the great literary authors still alive today...?"
London Times
Publishers toss Booker winners into the Reject Pile
by Jonathan Calvert and Will Iredale
...Typed manuscripts of the opening chapters of Naipaul's In a Free State and a second novel, Holiday, by Stanley Middleton, were sent to 20 publishers and agents. None appear to have recognized them as Booker prizewinners from the 1970s that were lauded as British novel writing at its best.

Of the 21 replies, all but one were rejections .

Only Barbara Levy, a London literary agent, expressed an interest, and that was for Middleton's novel. She was unimpressed by Naipaul's book. She wrote: "We . . . thought it was quite original. In the end though I'm afraid we just weren't quite enthusiastic enough to be able to offer to take things further."

-- Read the Rest of the story?,,2087-1965623,00.html

As I said before, outside of poetry, and high-brow literary journals, the only stuff in the Literary style being bought by the general public and publishers TODAY (not 20 years ago), are Classics.

“So, how come Anne Rice can get away with her florid and rather literary style of writing?”
Because she's ANNE RICE.

Consider this, no matter what she writes, or how she writes it, she's going to sell a million copies. NO ONE is going to argue with an author that can sell a million copies with their name alone.

Is your name Anne Rice? No? Then, you're just going to have to follow the publishing house rules just like the rest of us not-quite-famous authors.

When you can sell a million copies on just your name alone, you'll be able to write any gosh darned thing in any gosh darn way you care to because absolutely no one will argue with you. Don't want an editor? No one will argue that either; just ask Steven King or Anne Rice.

In short, if you want to be published in this day and age, forget the expensive literary writing courses. Take a nice cheap class on commercial copywriting because that is the style of writing publishers are looking for today.

"Copywriting...? Isn't that for Advertising...?"
Yes it is. Think, what does Advertising do? It delivers its message with as much emotional impact and persuasive power as it can jam into One Sentence or less:

-- "Got milk?"
-- "The incredible, edible, egg."
-- "The Quicker Picker-Upper."
-- "Takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'."

Copywriting teaches you to deliver the most amount of information in the least amount of words. Just think what that style of writing could do for your fiction! (It's done wonders for mine.)

Parts unashamedly raped from:
Create Emotion, Not Sentimentality, in Fiction:
By Vivian Gilbert Zabel,-Not-Sentimentality,-in-Fiction&id=160141


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 Sentence Structure for FICTION.
Posted 11 Feb 2011 23:41

The evil "As" -- Looks like I've got some work to do on my stories. I searched for as and found a number of issues. There is always something to work on.

LOL! There's always something new to learn, and old to correct. I've been writing professionally since 1980 and I still learn new things almost every day.

Topic Tricks for Writing DESCRIPTION
Posted 11 Feb 2011 23:38

This is really great advice! thank you for sharing it. Despription is my weak point, my own opinion, but i fairly confident of it. i think i need to take this to heart and see if i can change that. i'll let you know how that works for me. :)

I'm glad you liked the essay!
-- I'd love to hear your comments on the results.

Topic So, you wanna write SEX?
Posted 11 Feb 2011 23:33

If you write erotica in the same way porn sex plays out then why would we read erotica? I would watch porn for that.

Actually, I agree 100%. We read erotica for the details we Cannot get in porn; mental, emotional and physical.

Virgins will not learn sex from porn.

I think you missed something completely here. This guide was Not meant for virgins . This IS an ' over 18 only ' site yes?

I said "watch porn" because when one is sexually experienced, one knows what it feels like, but one doesn't always know what it LOOKS like.

This guide to erotica seems misguided to me. Centering your story around the sex act reminds me of a micheal bay movie. He centers the plot around the action. Maybe if someone uses it they can let us know so we can see how good your story turned out?

I think you've missed the point of an erotica story. If sex isn't what makes the story happen it's not Erotica, it's something else.

Edo Von Belkom:
"If you can remove the erotic from the erotica story and still have a viable story in another genre, you did it WRONG."

This is paraphrased from Issac Azimov:
"If you can remove the science from the science-fiction and still have a viable story in another genre, you did it WRONG."

In fact, if sex isn't what makes the story happen, the sex doesn't need to be there. NOTHING that doesn't Do Something , Show Something , or Make something Happen , needs to be in there and Should be CUT.

I think you'll find that some of the hottest stories on this site aren't even about the sex but the psychology behind it.

Ah! But that psychology you're so fond of happened BECAUSE of the Sex, therefore those stories ARE centered around sex making them Erotica.

Topic So, you wanna write SEX?
Posted 11 Feb 2011 23:09

Are you implying that sexual virgins cannot craft decently believable erotic fiction, right out of the chute?

I'm Not implying it, I'm stating it as a Fact. Virgins cannot write decent sex because they don't know what they're writing about.

Or is it possible to hope that eventually 'they' might get most everything right with healthy doses of online sex chat or web-cam horsing around?

IF the writer does serious research involving books and in-depth interviews that ask the right questions, they might actually fool the average reader and/or the sexually inexperienced reader. They won't fool someone with real sexual experience, especially not someone that enjoys sex. They certainly won't fool a professional writer -or editor- with real sexual experience.

Someone who only horses around on web cams and chat lines will never fool anyone.

I personally believe it might be difficult to visually discern pupils dilating, nostrils flaring and beads of sweat forming atop your partner's skin (unless you were actually on-site to witness). Perhaps, as part of their research, they simply gaze into a mirror and watch their own physical reactions as they furiously masturbate? Embarassed

Actually, they CAN get the descriptions right. Any high quality porn movie will show all those details. What's missed are the FEELINGS and the SENSATIONS. If you've never had sex, how do you describe an orgasm? How about accurately describing the flavor of Semen or vaginal liquid? How about accurately describing the differences between an anal orgasm, a vaginal orgasm or a masturbation orgasm? They are all Orgasms, but where they begin, where they occur, and what they feel like are vastly Different.

Nipples on a woman have a different Texture from a man's nipples. Having a cock in your ass does NOT feel the same as a cock in your pussy. A man having a cock in his ass does NOT feel the same as a woman having one in hers because a man's g-spot is in there. (A woman doesn't have a Prostate.)

Virgins rarely have any clue about the interior g-spot in a woman or a man . Those take physical exploration to find -- and usually by a second party. A virginal woman can't even access hers because the hymen is in the way. Nor does the sensation from such a g-spot feel anything like what one gets from rubbing the cock or the clit.

And that's just scratching the surface of what's commonly missed.

Welcome to Lush, Morgan wave

Thank you so much!

Topic Basic Sentence Structure for FICTION.
Posted 11 Feb 2011 05:35

Thank you for the excellent advice.
You're very welcome. I hope it proves helpful.

Topic Basic Sentence Structure for FICTION.
Posted 10 Feb 2011 21:36

Great advice and nicely presented.

Thank you!
-- A writing tutorial shouldn't take a college education to understand -- or use.

Topic Basic Sentence Structure for FICTION.
Posted 10 Feb 2011 20:08

Basic Sentence Structure for Fiction

Everything I ever learned about writing Fiction DIDN’T come from school; not even college. In fact, the way one writes fiction is almost the complete opposite of everything I learned in school about writing.

In order to make my stories crystal clear in my readers’ imaginations, I write in precise Chronological Order , the order events actually happen, PLUS in the order that the eye (camera) sees it. Yes, the Camera's view and the Eye's view are two different things.

Case in point, when describing a character, I describe them top to bottom, in the order that the eye notices them. Face, hair, upper body, arms, hands, then lower body, legs, feet, then over all impression. <-- In that order, UNLESS a body part is doing an action, such as a hand (grasping, slapping, twiddling a pencil, etc…) or the feet, (walking, jumping, kicking, running, etc…) When someone is doing an action, that action ALWAYS comes first.

Try it yourself. Go to the mall, or any other place where people gather, and LOOK at the people around you. Pay close attention to what you notice first then next. Next, watch a movie and look at how the camera pans across someone.

-- Top to bottom = friendly
-- Bottom to top = sexual
-- Hands (weapons) to top to bottom = fearful/threatened

THAT’S how it should appear on the page because THAT’S how it will appear in your readers’ imaginations.

He flipped up his middle finger, narrowed his green eyes, and tightened his full mouth. His red hair spilled in messy finger-combed spikes across his brow and down his back. His shoulders were stiff with tension under his dirty white t-shirt. He stood with his booted feet apart and his jean-clan knees slightly bent as though braced for a punch.

And yet…
-- Writing in chronological order means that your sentence structure can't always conform to the 'proper grammar' rules. This is because the basic composition of an Essay (what they teach you to write in class), isn't anything like the composition of a Story.

Essay composition:
1. Tell them what you're going to tell them.
2. Tell them in detail.
3. Tell them why you told them.

Story composition:
1. What happened first.
2. What happened next.
3. What happened after.

Essays are NOT written in Chronological order, they're written in order of Impact .

1. This is Important!
2. These are all the reasons why it's important.
3. This is why it's important to You.

See the difference?

One of the greatest enemies of fiction that one is actually taught in school is the use of the word: “as.”

The Evil “As.”
In school, they teach you that ‘as’ is a word used to connect fragments of sentences together, rather in the same way as you would use “and.” Unfortunately, “as” doesn’t quite work the same way as an “and” in fiction.

-- “As” means, “things that happened simultaneously.”
-- “And” means, “this happened too.”

Events in real life DO happen simultaneously. However the written word is read one at a time . (Battle. Rain. Pain.) Even if the events happen simultaneously, the reader will always read those events --and Picture them-- in the exact order you Wrote them; one at a time. (Rain. Pain. Battle.)

'As' CAN be used to imply simultaneous events, but you have to do it at the very Beginning of the line so that the reader knows immediately that it is simultaneous.

As all the soldiers marched, the drums and fifes played.

By the way, any group of events listed in one sentence are generally perceived as happening all at the same time -- until you get to the "and". However, they should still be listed in the order in which they happened so as to make the reader's VISION of the whole event crystal clear.

Where “As” goes WRONG…
I consider “as” a red flag word. A word that marks that something has gone terribly wrong in your sentence structure.

What went wrong?
-- In fiction, the word “as” usually marks where a sentence has gone out of Chronological Order.

The vampire scratched his head thoughtfully as he crouched over his victim.

Think: Which actions actually happened first?
1. The vampire crouched over his victim.
2. He scratched his head thoughtfully.

The chronological way to write this would be:
The vampire crouched over his victim AND scratched his head thoughtfully.

Why does this matter?
A sentence Out of Chronological Order means that the reader has to Stop Reading to reset their mental movie of your story. That’s bad , very, very, BAD . Do this enough times and your reader will stop reading your story to go find something easier to imagine. In fact, some readers will not only drop your story, never to read it again, they’ll avoid anything else you write.

How to Grammar Check for “as”:
Do a Search/Replace substituting “as” for “and,” then go back and read through your entire work. If “and” doesn’t fit right in your sentence, then it’s most likely Out of Chronological Order.

The werewolf flattened his ears angrily as he faced the hunter.

The werewolf flattened his ears angrily and he faced the hunter.

“And” doesn’t quite work there, does it? Why not? Because the werewolf didn’t flatten his ears before he faced the hunter.

Which actions actually happened first?
1. The werewolf faced the hunter.
2. He was angry.
2. He flattened his ears.

The werewolf faced the hunter and he angrily flattened his ears.

Now the “he” doesn’t fit, so let’s chop that out.

One more time:
The werewolf faced the hunter and angrily flattened his ears.

See what I mean?

Rule of Thumb on the use of “AND”:

One “and” per sentence.
If you need a second “and,” pull out the first one and use a comma, or use “then.”

Example with comma:
The werewolf faced the hunter, angrily flattened his ears, and growled.

Example with “then”:
The werewolf faced the hunter, angrily flattened his ears, then growled.

If you need three “ands,” replace all but the last with commas.

The werewolf faced the hunter, angrily flattened his ears, growled, and lunged.

If you need more than three “ands,” then it’s time to cut that sentence into two separate sentences.

The werewolf faced the hunter, angrily flattened his ears, and growled. He lunged and snapped.

In Conclusion…
-- Fiction should ALWAYS be written in Chronological Order, even when the grammar rules say that you don’t have to for your Readers' Visual Clarity. Believe me, they'll appreciate it!


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 So, you wanna write SEX?
Posted 10 Feb 2011 16:29

Wow, I know what I want to be when I grow up... Why didn't my high school guidance counselor ever tell me about this job???

Mine didn't either. I lucked into it by being published before I left high school. However, it took almost 18 more years to get published again. By then, though I had learned a great many things about the writing craft and had the life experience to write from.

Topic So, you wanna write SEX?
Posted 10 Feb 2011 15:29

Hi Morgan...I read with interest your article on writing about sex. In it you recommend watching porn as part of your research. My question is, since you are a professional erotica writer...does that make porn tax deductible?

YES. This works especially well if you hand the tax guy the receipts and Don't Elaborate on what you actually bought. "This is for research material."

Topic MY Beta-Reader's Questionnaire
Posted 10 Feb 2011 15:02

Have you hugged your Beta Reader today?
Anyone who writes with the intent to be read by the public, from the brand-name published authors to the fan-fiction scribbler, will tell you that a good Beta Reader is worth their weight in GOLD.

What IS a Beta Reader?
-- For those new to this concept, a Beta Reader is your own personal Pre-Editor that looks at your work BEFORE you post it and helps you edit your story to its best potential.

Where do you get one?
-- The easiest way to get a Beta Reader is by simply posting a note on your blog or journal ASKING for one. " Would anyone like to beta-read my stories for me to make sure it reads smooth and clean? "

So, what is a Beta Reader really for?

Most Beta Readers look for obvious grammar boo-boos and glaring spelling errors, but the really good ones look at your story as a whole and tell you where your strengths and weaknesses are so you can adjust them.

These are what I ask MY Beta readers to check.

Whether you’re a Writer looking to check your work or a Beta Reader who wants to point out a few things to your favorite writer, feel free to borrow, spindle, and mutilate this list of questions to your heart’s desire.

MY Beta-Reader's Questionnaire

• Does any part of the story Drag?
• Are their parts that you skipped to get to ‘the good part’?
• Do I over-inform (info-dump) anywhere?

Did you Get it?
• Did you understand every phrase / term I used?
• Did I forget to mention that someone was demon-possessed, half angelic, or had mystical powers?

Love Scenes?
• Do any of the love scenes seem overly cliché? (Or overly sappy?)
• Were the love scenes too fast, too slow, or too frequent?
• Did you have to reread any part of the love scenes to understand who was doing what?
• Did any action in the love scene make you cringe?
• Did it make you hot?

Do the scenes FLOW?
• Does one scene lead logically into the next?
• Do the scenes flow smoothly from one action to the next, or did they jump as though something was skipped?
• Is there enough downtime between intense scenes to allow it to build to the next?
• Were the Flashbacks smoothly integrated to fit onto the current scene -- or did they seem plopped in, like a chapter that was in the wrong place?

Is anything VISUALLY Confusing?
• Can you SEE every action clearly?
• If you went there in real life, would you recognize the places?
• Did you have to reread any part of the action sequences to understand who was doing what?
• Could you SEE what the characters looked like clearly?
• Did I forget to describe their Clothes, their Hair, their Eyes, or any other distinctive feature?

During DIALOGUE scenes…
Does the Dialogue sound realistic for the individual characters?
Could you SEE what the characters were DOING while talking?
Could you SEE where the characters WERE while talking?

Did the Characters WORK?
• Do their actions & reactions seem logical & realistic?
• Could you feel the Emotions between the characters?
• Does the story stay focused on my Main Character?
• Is the villain actually Villainous?
• Were any of my female characters too much of a b!tch or a bimbo?
• Were any of my male characters whiny, wimpy, or overly dramatic?

• Who did you like best and WHY?
• Who did you hate and WHY?
• Who got on your nerves and WHY?
• Do any of the characters get in the way of the STORY?

The answers to these burning questions will keep your fiction crisp, focused and Popular. If your Beta readers liked it then loads of other people will too.

(I still think that if George Lucas had used a few test readers for those last three Star Wars movies, the scenes with Aniken as a child would have been much shorter - and made more sense. Jar Jar Binks would never have appeared. The romance between Aniken and Amidala would have been a Romance, and the clone war would have been a frikkin Clone War. But that’s just MY opinion...)


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 Tricks for Writing DESCRIPTION
Posted 10 Feb 2011 13:04

I think you may need 21 posts and the filter is removed.

Perfect timing. This is post 22!

Topic Writing Fetish Fiction
Posted 10 Feb 2011 12:58

Great tips here. I will sticky all these icon_smile
I'm honored. Thank you so much!
-- I hope that people some of the writers here find them helpful.

Topic Things that just piss you off
Posted 10 Feb 2011 07:51

What pisses me off is when the computer crashes before I can save the last 15 minutes of the story I've been writing.

Topic The 7 Letter Game
Posted 10 Feb 2011 07:42


Ophelia Pendleton's timely intervention aroused nightly secretions.