Forum posts made by morganhawke

Topic BURNOUT ~ SUCCESS is Out to Get You!
Posted 08 May 2011 15:55

The same could be said for almost any creative profession - artists asked to continue producing work in one particular style, typecast actors etc.

This is also true of Webmasters. Building a website is very creative. Maintaining and updating websites however, is quite boring.

...What I mean is, one "different from expected" book will probably not be enough to put off hardened fans, but may attract new ones in the process. It's a fine balance of course between losing your original fan base, and broadening your horizons.

LOL! And then there's me with EVERY book I write being quite a bit different from the next. However, it hasn't lost me any fans.

Topic BURNOUT ~ SUCCESS is Out to Get You!
Posted 08 May 2011 07:06

Hell yeah, Morgan! Excellent advice for us seasoned writers and newbies alike.

I'm glad you like it!

...My poor copy editor freaked and warned I'd hit the wall of overcommitment sooner or later...which I did. ...I don't recommend traveling that road!

I don't either. I made that mistake myself. What made it worse is that I do Not do well with deadlines. I freeze up on them.

And yes, the larger publishing houses don't encourage change. As long as the same old, cookie cut BS is selling they're not gonna rock the boat. Sadly, this stifles creativity and exacerbates mounting frustrations amongst their writers.

Yes, yes, and yes, but do they ever learn from their mistakes? NO.

Topic Ladies you must choose one.
Posted 07 May 2011 17:57

...Let's say you lose your job and/or your husband does too. You need to find someway to make some money. You only have two choices to make money. ...stripper or ...paid to have sex once a week with a total stranger.

-- Johns have a habit of not caring if they've got an STD they can pass, hepatitis being the most common one. They also have a habit of murdering the girl they've just slept with, especially if they're married and/or have high-profile jobs.

One too many of my friends turned call-girl -- only once a month -- and DIED at the hands of a john by disease or strangulation. The johns were never arrested for it either because the local cops didn't care if a whore died 'on the job.'

I worked in strip joints for 4 years. I never once had a problem keeping wandering hands off of me. In most cases the guys were older businessmen looking to get some attention from a pretty girl that wouldn't normally give them the time of day.

Yeah it's in a sleazy club, but it's only 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and there are bouncers, usually 2 to 4 of them that keep the guys in check. As long as you don't drink, pick fights with the girls or the customers, or buy drugs off the pushers that like to hang around strippers, you pocket your money and go. I ALWAYS had at least $100.00 cash in my pocket at all times -- and that's after paying rent and bills.

Topic Ladies...... Does it ruin the experience if you DON'T come?
Posted 07 May 2011 14:47

... she tells me it doesn't matter but ... Does It?????


Topic BURNOUT ~ SUCCESS is Out to Get You!
Posted 07 May 2011 11:26

... Those times i feel i HAVE to write a chapter, it usually shows - it's just not as good as it could be. I'd rather leave something hanging for a long while than submit something that's just ok, rather than amazing.

I do that myself, when I can afford to wait on it. Sadly the bills won't let me wait too long.

...i have abandoned well loved series because of this - it the author isn't into it, how does he expect me to be?

It's not the author. It's usually the publisher, or as in my case the Agent who's doing the pushing for more books than the author wants to write.

i recently read Change - Jim Butcher's latest Dresden Novel. It's an amazing series and it doesn't disappoint, but yes, after the end, i found myself wondering how much longer he'd want to keep going - it seems he's moving towards a place he could easily wrap it up if he wanted to. Hopefully, he does it in style.

Hopefully he hasn't gotten too dependent on those checks from New York. Giving up those fat royalty checks isn't easy.

Topic BURNOUT ~ SUCCESS is Out to Get You!
Posted 07 May 2011 11:21

A-freaking-men. It is so, so easy to burn out. ...Solution? ...I've forced myself to take 2-3 weeks off to recharge, and it works like a charm every time. I call it my self-imposed grounding.

Anyway, that's my ongoing experience with the burn-out demons. Great article!

I'm glad you liked it!
-- I take a week-long slacker's break every time I finish a full novel. In my case, I usually sleep all the way around the clock for the first few days.

Topic BURNOUT ~ SUCCESS is Out to Get You!
Posted 07 May 2011 05:15
The most detrimental problem for a writer, isn’t Failure – it’s SUCCESS .

The Mystery of the Missing Best-selling Authors.
-- You see it all the time. A hot new author puts out book after book, then suddenly the story quality drops, and those books aren’t so wonderful any more. But you keep buying them on the hope that what made them great (in the first 9 books,) will resurface. Instead, that author suddenly drops off the face of the earth; sometimes for years – sometimes forever.

What Happened?

In the corporate arena, the wildly successful with nothing left to achieve, often turn to self-destructive behavior; drinking, drug use, extramarital sex, embezzlement... just for something to DO.

Authors, become self-destructive too, but internally, rather than externally. They destroy themselves and their relationships, rather than turn to actual crime. Burnout causes many authors to become mentally unstable, neurotically paranoid, and bi-polar, as well as secret drinkers, and prescription-drug abusers. (How many of you take Xanax already?) Authors typically end up in the hospital , rather than in jail.

What causes burnout?
-- One of the primary reasons for burnout in Writers (and high-powered execs) is tedium, ahem BOREDOM. While building your career, you're developing your skills, and experimenting with techniques. With every new revelation, ("Wow! This works!") you feel psychologically rewarded.

Once you have the techniques down, and are recognized for a specific ‘style’ of plot or characters, you become locked in to producing that ONE style, often by the publishing house that recognized you -- and don’t discount your adoring fans! To keep that recognition, you start replicating the same story, over, and over, and over... Dull, dull, dull…

Out of sheer self defense against the mind-grinding boredom, your brain shuts down into Writer's Block. And then your brain -- and your body -- rebels. Exhaustion, mood-swings, health problems that the doctor swears is stress-related...(and this can take YEARS,) until you get total mental and physical meltdown -- BURNOUT.

“I do a lot of work with white-collar criminals, and invariably -- and I mean invariably -- they're not doing it for the money. They're doing it because they're bored.”
-- Steven Berglas, corporate psychologist who deals with burnout among the ultra-successful.

-----Original Message-----
Boredom began when I became bored with the sex scenes. (Yawn) Okay, you showed me how to fix that. Then, it was (writing) the series. Oh, yes, the series. That creativity-eating monotony of being locked into "What do I do now?" Oh, yes, how well I understand the series author's pain.

However, I will add one thing: Over-commitment.

Authors are, by and large, a hungry bunch. We love praise, and sparkle when we get it. We succumb so easily to flattery, especially when the publisher that made us successful asks for you to "squeeze in just this little story" for the themed promo, the continuity, or whatever. (I have managed to resist, but not without a modicum of guilt.)

Let's not forget the other form of overcommitment: "Don't put all your eggs in one basket/publisher." Two baskets are good. Three may be pushing. Four is a killer, at least for me.

Writing for different pubs allows the author to stretch their creative muscles, change voices, and even experiment a little. In theory, that's good.

Until they all want your time and effort.

Until you start saying, "I'm sorry, I won't start on the book for you for another three months." One publisher actually said to me, "The fans will forget you in six months!" (They didn't.)

Publishers have their own timetables, and are not above trying to push an author into working harder than they should by moving a deadline or deliberately misunderstanding you. If you say, "I won't start on this book until June," it's entirely possible they'll set the release date for June! It's happened to me three times.

I no longer give them any clues like that.

Lena Austin
-- Multi-published author

What about money and success? Don’t they offer a sense of accomplishment?
-- At first, but to Keep that success going, to Keep those paychecks rolling in, you strangle your creativity to keep manufacturing the stories that made those paychecks happen in the first place – and put a time-limit on your whole writing career. Tick… Tick… Tick…

In most cases, the problem is NOT with the author, it's with the Publisher . The bigger publishing houses DON’T encourage Change. They encourage stasis -- especially with something that proves successful. They have no desire to fix what ain't broke.

To many of the larger publishing houses, authors are consumable product Manufacturers -- rather like the Pepsi Cola company. The last thing they want is a change in the recipe. But authors AREN’T factories, their work is NOT mass-produced, so this kind of thinking actually encourages author turnover , especially among the best sellers.

“When you try to get people off that track, they say, "What am I supposed to do? Take my kids out of Exeter, move from Nob Hill?" I say, "Well, what are the alternatives? You loathe your job, and you're gonna take it out on them." This is why you get these flagrant burnouts. When jobs become constraining, we will often do things that will (deliberately) throw us off the fast track.”
-- Steven Berglas

Is leaving the Publishing House or Quitting the only option?
-- Nope. Leaving one publishing house for another is just as career-killing as quitting altogether. (The publishing world is VERY small. The editors are constantly talking to each other.) Rather than scrapping everything, your books, your publishers, your careers... EXPAND on what you are already doing. Add an interesting twist, or a change in locations.

“The paradox is that to prevent burnout you need more challenges , not fewer.”
-- Steven Berglas

What role does stress play in burnout?
-- Stress ISN’T the problem. Stress can actually help alleviate the boredom by making you work harder to get that story down on paper.

“Stress and burnout are unrelated. Stress is being thwarted from a goal. A traffic jam causes stress. Burnout would be giving a canned lecture every day of the week for four months.”
-- Steven Berglas

Who is Least likely to suffer from burnout?
Those who are PASSIONATE in their work. The pains in the ass authors that constantly shift their style, their characters, and sometimes their genres, are never bored. These authors tend to avoid writing long-playing series, but instead, have a ton of good-selling, well-written, single-title books.

They’re the ones that publishers point to, and wince. “They could be superstars, if they only stuck to one thing.” And yet, they are far more likely to have steady careers that span decades .

Robert Heinlein
Poppy Z Bright
Andre Norton
Neil Gaimen
Dean R Koontz
Stephen King

These authors are usually passionately supportive of their fellow authors, (even if their fellow authors don’t want to hear it,) because they have a million ideas running through their heads, and aren’t afraid to share. They may not always play well with others, but they are NEVER accused of back-stabbing, or idea theft.

“Throughout my career, I've noted that the most authentically motivated employees are the ones who will get in your face and get angry. I always counsel managers that the yes-man/yes-woman is the most malicious force in organizational life because they're the ones who are whoring, who are mercenary, who are talking behind your back.” -- Steven Berglas

Who are candidates for burnout?
-- The wildly successful authors who made their success writing long-playing series of books.

Robert Jorden, for example, bored many of his more passionate readers to tears because his Wheel of Time series, stopped evolving -- and then he Died before he ever finished it. In all honesty, he was a One Hit Wonder. He only wrote ONE story, that story was over a dozen books long, but it was still only ONE story.

Laurell K. Hamilton, is fighting tooth and nail to keep her Anita Blake series going, by adding character after character and a lot of sex.

Jim Butcher is well aware of the danger, and intends to end his Harry Dresden series, and in fact, has already started another series. However, the big question is, will his Publisher LET him stop writing Harry Dresden books? Will his bank account ?

“Let's take an entrepreneur for example; Michael Dell. What did Dell do? He created a distribution system that was both economical and efficient. Ted Waitt, at Gateway , did the same thing. Those two men, I think, are in jeopardy of burning out because they're replicating and refining a single paradigm. When you're changing your product, that's when you're happy.”
-- Steven Berglas

What can you do early in your career to stay Inspired?
-- KEEP your Passion. If you are stuck doing a series, make sure that the fictional universe you’ve created is big enough to sustain radical shifts in theme, story-line, and characters. Fight boredom by giving yourself room to grow, and change.

“Easy for the fantasy authors, but what about us contemporary authors?”
-- For those of you trapped in the mundane world, try a Location change. Put your established characters in New places, and New situations. Send your characters to other cities, other countries. At least get them fired from their job, and have to deal with a new one.

Already stuck?
-- Try writing a new series, something different from your old one. Contract it with a new publisher, under a new name, if you have to. When a book in one series gets to be too tedious, you can switch over and write a book for the other series, to refresh your mind, body, and creative soul.

“Stay angry. When you notice you're not committed to an organization anymore, when you don't need to fight for changes, take stock. When Bill Gates handed over the running of Microsoft to Ballmer, he said, "I'm going back to the drawing board." About five other CEOs did the same thing.”
-- Steven Berglas

How can Publishers & Agents keep from losing their Selling Authors?
STAY CONNECTED to both the authors you work with, and their reading audience.

With the advent of the Internet, the reading market changes faster than ever before. With access to email, instant messaging, weblogs, and fan-groups lists, Authors are no longer isolated. They’re directly connected to other Authors, as well as their fans, and their fans talk to each other.

USE THAT RESOURCE! Don’t leave everything up to the Marketing department. Marketing is all about Packaging --> Advertising. They don't have a clue about managing your bread-winning authors, or dealing with their fans. They’re ‘idea’ folks with a pile of sales numbers on their desks – and those numbers are DATED, usually by months. Authors are actually more aware of the fluctuations in their readers’ tastes than Marketing is. They are connected directly to the source -- the BUYERS.

> Want to know what’s happening in the reading market?
> Want to know where the trends are going?
> Want to know who has buzz -- and who is getting a bad reputation?
> Want to know if your Author is dealing with undue stress – or extreme boredom?

Get your answers straight from the source – the authors you work with, and the readers they talk to. Get a blog and encourage the readers to talk to you directly. Run a poll, ask questions and get answers before you lose that money-making author.

“If you're a manager and you don't have someone to tell you that you're a fool, then you're in big trouble. Hire a court jester. Just give someone carte blanche to say, "Berglas, you're an asshole." And "Berglas, this is (what’s being said on) the grapevine.

"What managers don't understand is that they will not know (what’s being said on) the grapevine unless they beg for it. The grapevine will give them the negative information (that they can’t get anywhere else)."
-- Steven Berglas

The Business end is killing me!
-- Them’s the breaks. Publishing IS a corporate business. Dealing with contracts, filing taxes, convincing your family that you need to be left alone to WORK, and handling publicity, is part of the job – and not the fun part.

If you have an agent, you can shunt a lot of the legal crap on them, that’s what they’re there for. However, managing your time and handling Publicity -- going to conventions, book-signings, managing a fan-group, and a building a website to promote your work -- is ALL YOU.

Welcome to the world of Fame.

Extra reading:

Reclaiming the Fire: How Successful People Overcome Burnout
By Steven Berglas Random House

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 Guide to Punctuating for the Reading Impaired ~ by Phil Phantom
Posted 28 Apr 2011 23:03

Some sound advice there, written in a very witty manner.

RIP indeed.

It's a terrible shame that his writing articles have pretty much disappeared off the 'net. I posted them on my home site so they wouldn't be lost to new writers.

Topic Guide to Punctuating for the Reading Impaired ~ by Phil Phantom
Posted 27 Apr 2011 22:36

Yet another reason I adore you! Great info.

Glad you liked it!
-- THIS was the first guide to punctuation that I actually remembered , simply because it made me laugh so hard.

Topic Guide to Punctuating for the Reading Impaired ~ by Phil Phantom
Posted 27 Apr 2011 20:43

From Phil Phantom’s: “Guide to Writing Good Trash"
-- I know, you hate to think of your writing as trash, but if done well, others will. If done poorly, your magnificent creation is just crap, shit, or garbage. Excellent trash can rise to the level of good shit, but you and your good shit will never be studied in English Lit. As for riches, sure, but it helps if you are wealthy when you start.

Guide to Punctuating for the Reading Impaired

Okay, so you wan'na rite reel good.

Good use of punctuation is key to effective communication, even in trash, especially in trash . You may think trash is easy to write, but trash is the most difficult to write well. When you write about sex, passion, erotic feelings, and powerful emotions, you are taking on a major communication challenge. When you add scenery and a large cast of characters, you are taking on a writing challenge that makes "Moby Dick" look like a fishing trip to Lake Wannapoopoo.

Melville hardly needed any punctuation until they caught up with the whale. Mark Twain, in fact, used no punctuation. After his editor chastised him for this, Twain sent in a page full of periods, commas, colons, semi-colons and such with the following note:

"Here is the punctuation marks you wanted put them where you want them"

I can make punctuation easy for you. Simply imagine that all of your readers suffer from a condition called Myopic Un-Mitigated Balance of biLateral Equilibrium (MUMBLE). They move their lips when they read.

Actually, they silently speak what they read. They need punctuation in order to breathe properly. Long paragraphs of run-on sentences cause them to pass out. Please consider these unfortunates when you write. Although writing without punctuation or proper capitalization is no reflection on a person's intelligence or education, doing so is inconsiderate of people who suffer from mumbleopia. They knew nothing about mumbleopia in Twain's day. He had an excuse; we don't. MUMBLErs (as they prefer to be called) suffer in silent neglect.

Guide to Punctuating for the Reading Impaired

ALL CAPS is like shouting. Writing in all caps causes swelling of the inner ear which presses on the cerebral cortex, leading to a loss of bladder and rectal control. Avoid using all caps for more than a few words in a row, even during explosive orgasms.

PERIODS allow a MUMBLEr to breathe. Sprinkle a few in each paragraph. Mumbleopiacs don't care where, but after each complete thought is generally a good idea.
-- (Note: Follow a period with a sentence or paragraph that starts with a capital letter. MUMBLErs breathe out on the period and breathe in when they see the capital letter.)

COMMAS don't give time to breathe, but do give the lips a rest. Severe lip injury can result from long sentences with no commas. On the other hand, overuse of commas is the leading cause of stuttering in mumbleopiacs.
-- (Note: You probably had a teacher who advised (as a rule of thumb) place a comma where a natural pause seems right. That teacher didn't write trash, or good trash. Commas have a purpose. Commas separate items in a series, phrases in a series, an introductory phrase, a parenthetical expression, nice-to-know shit you don't really need, or a person being addressed. You don't just slap them where you feel like it or omit them where they are needed. We all need commas to make sense out of a complex sentence in a crazy, mixed-up, tumble-down world.)

SEMI-COLONS are better than commas for easing lip fatigue but do not allow for the taking of a breath. Use them sparingly to separate short sentences that beat the same drum.

DASHES signal a pause - so mumbleopiacs take advantage and snatch a dash of oxygen.

HYPHENS join words to make a combo word, like "that no-pussy-eating wimp." Also ex-this, ex-that. MUMBLErs seem to be ambivalent toward the hyphen.

ELLIPSES MARKS (...) are like speed bumps on a page. In proper English usage, they signal omitted (or skipped) material, but they make a MUMBLEr's head rapidly bounce three times. Never get carried away with those dots as speed-reading mumbleopiacs have lost contact lenses and jarred fillings loose when they hit multiple periods, ie: ....................
-- (Note: Grammar pinheads get all twisted when you use their precious ellipses dots as indicators of long periods of silence. In our field of literature, we need this tool as sex often involves long periods of silence. Mouths are often occupied and the writer has to wait. Most will keep tapping the dot key while waiting the suckers out. Readers of trash, shit, crap, and garbage have learned to ignore three dots as meaning omitted material, because fuck and suck stories don't omit anything.)

COLONS introduce lists of shit. MUMBLErs and proctologists know to take a deep breath when they see a colon.

EXCLAMATION POINTS raise the eyebrows of mumbleopiacs but do no lasting harm unless repeated after every statement or used in multiples. Overuse of EPs can lead to nervous brow twitching. Multiple EPs (!!!!!!) have caused the eyebrows of some mumbleopiacs to migrate to the top of the head.
-- (Note: Here, again, we give the pinheads fits with our multiple EPs. Fuck 'em. If that is your style, go for it. Me, I prefer to go to CAPS when the hubby walks in and finds the wife in bed with her mom. I think "WOW!" is better than "Wow!!!!! and WOW!!!!!! should be reserved for those times when you catch your wife and mother in a threesome with Bigfoot.")

QUESTION MARKS wrinkle the brow and bring the eyebrows down and in. Question marks should never be sandwiched between two EP sentences! Never leave a question unanswered. The answer allows the individual to slap the forehead and re-align the eyebrows (note that hyphen) .

PARENTHESIS If something isn't all that important , (nice to know stuff, but you can live without it,) put it inside a set of parenthesis. In long sentences, a MUMBLEr who is running out of breath knows he can jump over this part in a pinch.

APOSTROPHIES thrill a MUMBLEr as they know you are omitting letters, words, and sometimes, bunches of words. For instance, "them" can be shortened to "'em," and spitting can be spittin', and in words that show possession, ie: "Mary's ball" replaces "the ball that belongs to Mary." Thrill a mumbleopiac; use apostrophes.

QUOTATION MARKS also thrill mumbleopiacs as they signify a speaker speaking. Very often, they are familiar with the speaker and can simply inject, "blah, blah, blah," or "yadah, yadah, yadah," and move right along.

And finally, a word on PARAGRAPHS .

Every new speaker gets his or her own paragraph, even if all he or she has to say is, "Huh?" Try to keep paragraphs short and sweet. Lump all of your (character's) related thoughts into one paragraph and start a new one when you get another thought.

~ Note from Morgan ~
Every new speakers' ACTIONS go in the same paragraph as their DIALOGUE. I have seen one too many lines of dialogue 'stranded', just hanging out all by its lonesome, staring at the action done by that speaker in the very next paragraph. Take pity on your poor Dialogue and put it with its Actions.

One other thing; if John licks Mary's nipples and Mary moans... John's licking and Mary's moaning do NOT go in the Same Sentence! They don't go in the same Paragraph either!

John wriggled his tongue across Mary's nipples.

Mary moaned, and gasped. "Oh God! That is so good!" She grabbed his head to pull him closer.

John yelped. "Hey, watch the hair!"

Paragraph breaks allow MUMBLErs to go to the bathroom. This also helps those who read from a scrolling monitor.

And another thing. Hit the return key twice following each paragraph. That places white space between paragraphs. Do not indent or tab. Keep it clean; keep it tight; just like pussy. (Note the use of the semi-colon with short sentences, and this don't-really-need-to-know shit I placed in parenthesis along with a combo word I made using the hyphens.)

Thank you for your attention.

From Phil Phantom’s: “Guide to Writing Good Trash"
Copyright Phil Phantom (C) 2003

May he rest in peace.

Topic Copywriting Secrets to Writing Fiction
Posted 25 Apr 2011 17:47
Everything I learned about Writing Fiction
I learned from Commercial Copywriting.

Fiction writing is a lot like professional Copywriting. A lot of the rules are the SAME. For example, the “AIDA Formula” is the basic formula for Advertising: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.

> Get their Attention.
> Develop Interest.
> Create Desire.
> Get them to Take Action.

In Fiction it becomes:

> Get their Attention – with Unusual circumstances.
> Develop Interest – with gripping Drama.
> Create Desire (to know more) – with Hints, not Answers.
> Get them to Take Action – KEEP them READING

The 3 Rules of Selling Anything - such as Your Story
1) People hate to be Sold.
In other words: Don’t offer something you don’t intend to give them.

Certain genre labels, like Romance, have very specific connotations that lead to very specific Expectations. People get really pissed if you MIS-REPRESENT those genre labels.

For example... Don’t advertise your story as a Vampire Romance if the Vampire ISN'T the Hero, even if the story IS a Romance! In fact, ESPECIALLY if it’s a Romance!

Labeling a story as a “Vampire Romance”, leads a very specific group of readers to think they’re getting "a Romance about a Vampire". If they buy that book and it’s Not what they expect, or WORSE the TRUTH has been used against them, it’s a Romance with a Vampire in it, but the Vampire is the VILLAIN…! They not only feel Cheated they feel SCAMMED. NOT a good way to keep Readers.

2) People Buy for Emotional reasons, Not Rational reasons.
People buy what they think they can USE. What do people get from a book? Knowledge and Information. This INCLUDES fictional stories.

Everybody is looking for solutions to their personal issues. To make your story a “must read”, offer an ANSWER to a BURNING QUESTION! (Ahem, PREMISE = the story’s ISSUE.)

“So, how do I get the handsome guy I just met?”
“How do I deal with my new stepchildren?”
"How do I deal with a sucky job, and a boss I seriously loathe?"
“How do I know I found someone worthy of being my husband, or lover?”
“How do I deal with a monster in my closet?” (VERY popular among Young Adults.)

Ever hear the phrase: “People are People”? No matter who 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:

From: Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
-- Sucky bosses - How do you think Saruman really felt about working for Sauron?
-- Love interests - Arwen Evenstar's Dad, the king of the elves, did not approve of her dating that scruffy human.
-- Family issues - Eowen of Rohan had to deal with a senile dad PLUS several bossy older brothers.
-- Monsters under the bed - Wringwraths & Orcs. Need I say more?

No matter how fantastic or unusual, people STILL suffer from the same issues. The trick is making those issues INTERESTING.

Traditional hard-core Sci-Fi answers theoretical (scientific) questions such as, “What if we lived on another planet?” but few of them talk about PEOPLE Problems. This is all well and fine for those interested in scientific theories, but the average reader is far more concerned with personal issues, which is why the popularity of hard-core Sci-Fi suffers.

NEVER FORGET: People only buy what they think they can USE RIGHT THEN – not tomorrow, not next week, not a hundred years from now. And people have only ONE true interest – Themselves .

People buy Erotic Fiction for a REASON:
The plain truth: People buy erotic fiction to get the warm tinglies. No if’s, and’s, or but’s – they are buying it for the SEX.

It doesn’t matter if you have the most fabulous story in existence, if you have labeled that story as Erotic, no matter what kind of pretty words you couch it in, or sit it next to, (and that includes the word Romance,) that story had better deliver on the SEX.

ANY story labeled as Erotic, MUST deliver on the SEX and that Sex better get the reader Hot and Bothered, because that’s what the reader buys Erotic Fiction FOR.

If you can’t deal with this basic truth, DON’T label the story as EROTIC!

3) After they Buy, people seek to Justify their emotional decision with logic or reason.
After a buyer coughs up their cash for your worthy product, they need to be reassured sure they've made the right decision with logic and reason. You have to deliver EVERYTHING the Buyer expects, seriously, to make their purchase seem worthwhile.

It’s as simple as: DELIVER on that excitement you posed in the cover blurb. ANSWER your story’s problematic Issues, and make it Good! Writing about a relationship problem without delivering on a Satisfying Conclusion to the ISSUE makes Frustrated Readers.

Frustrated Readers = Won’t read your next story.

Oddly enough, a Happy Ending doesn’t seem to be as important as delivery on that satisfactory Answer. However, if the genre you are writing in has a reputation for Happy Endings, you better deliver that Happy Ending PLUS a Satisfactory Answer. (And people think writing Romances is EASY???)

Justifying Erotic Fiction to the Reader:
You absolutely, positively MUST reassure the Reader that they are NOT Reading PORN!!!

Yes, they bought the book for the SEX, but they Don’t want to admit it! Your job is to make sure They Never Have To! (Unless of course, they want to.)

This means you better have a Damned Good STORY with the Sex, so they can turn to their husband, wife, and granny and say: “Oh, it’s just a Fantasy, a Suspense, a Sci-Fi, a Romance…” To make that argument convincing, you had better make darned sure that story is EXACTLY what it’s co-labeled as: a Fantasy, a Suspense, a Sci-Fi, a Romance..., in addition to being Erotic. And you better make it GOOD. That means: worth talking about, so they don’t have to mention the sex-bits if they don’t want to.

Other Copywriting & Marketing Wisdom Bits

Write like You Talk
You’ve been hearing it everywhere – “Use snappy dialogue!” Why is that? Because that’s how people in this day and age talk, it’s what the Reader is used to HEARING. Anything else just sounds…wrong.

You’ve also been hearing “Cultivate your writing VOICE!” Boy, has that one been misunderstood big-time.

VOICE = “Write like the POV CHARACTER talks.”

How simple is that? The story is ALWAYS told in the POV character's style, snotty, aggressive, sweet, whatever... Anything else is AUTHOR INTRUSION!

Know Your BUYER Cold
What's your typical Readers’ age range? What's their approximate income level, on average? What things do they tend to like or buy? Their gender? Marital status? Have any children? Own their own home? Are there any hobbies that a lot of your customers seem to have in common? What do a lot of them do for a living? What kinds of things do they consider "good" "bad" "great" "awful" "a sin" or "saintly"?

Readers identify with characters. They like to think that THEY could handle your story situations EXACTLY like your characters! Possibly better! Your job as a writer, is to ENCOURAGE this impression.

Knowing your typical Reader allows you to TAILOR your Fiction to your Readers. Make your characters the same kind of people as your Readers, with the same likes and dislikes. Use situations that your Readers face, such as relationships issues and careers problems. This automatically makes your characters sympathetic – and Likable.

Okay, so you have a totally fantastic landscape with totally fantastic characters, how do you make This type of story sympathetic to Mary Ordinary? Give them a problem, a situation and ISSUES similar to a situation your Reader would have to deal with.

Say you have a Unicorn in a fantasy land. How could a creature like this possibly be similar to Mary Ordinary? Have the Unicorn fall in love with a Dragon. Now there are some serious Relationship issues!

Know Your Product - Intimately
Want to get hate-mail fast? Write about something you don’t know a gosh-darned thing about. I can’t say it enough: RESEARCH! RESEARCH! RESEARCH!

Whether you are writing a Vampire story, a Historical, a Fantasy, or a Sci-Fi, be aware that your reading audience has very likely read every single book on that subject they could get their grubby mitts on – for YEARS. They probably know your subject Better than YOU.

NEVER write about something you don’t know backwards and forwards, because the Readers will KNOW if you don’t know diddly-squat about your subject.

Have Passion for your Product!
If you're not sold - completely and utterly - on the story you are telling, you can forget about getting to the Reader.

Your level of passion for your subject and characters shines through your fiction. This is where “bleeding on the page” comes in. When you write about issues and situations truly close to you, something you yourself have lived through and suffered, that passion, that feeling, comes through on the page.

If you want to make the Reader laugh or cry or scream with rage use issues that make YOU laugh, cry or scream with rage in your fiction. BUT make darned sure you only use issues you’ve already handled . Remember, you are not just presenting Issues, you are delivering ANSWERS. Don’t write about an issue you Don’t have an Answer for or you will paint yourself into a corner Really Fast.

Educate Your Buyers
Expose the reader to new ideas, new cultures, and give them new experiences that no one else can give them… BUT never in big honking "no-action happening here" paragraphs!

Info-dumps are bad. Okay?

Don’t just TELL the Reader stuff – make the reader LIVE through that stuff in your story. Make them EXPERIENCE your worlds, your situations, and SEE what you have to say! Back-story should be dropped in bits and bites through out the action and dialogue. Description is the same way, keep it Short – keep it TIGHT.

Make everything - characters, settings, objects - do Double-Duty! If you don't USE it more than once, Don't bother putting it IN the Story!

The rule of Mystery Fiction: “If the gun is shown in Chapter One, it better go off by Chapter Three -- and there had better be a damned good reason for that gun to be there.”

The Rule of Erotic Fiction: “If the Kiss is shown in Chapter One, the Sex better happen by chapter three -- and there had better be a damned good reason for that Kiss to be there.”

A Final Tip from:
~ Walt Disney ~
"Do what you do so well and so uniquely that your customers can't resist telling others about you."


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 Would you rather...
Posted 25 Apr 2011 17:16

WYR have a three orgasms yourself or give your partner three?

I'd rather give my partner three orgasms.
-- It makes the Grateful, and usually enthusiastic about returning the favor. :) the kitchen or in the bathroom?

Kitchen. It's more exciting.

Would you rather...
-- Wear something your lover insists looks hot on you, or wear something You think looks better?

Topic 10 second Tip: FORESHADOWING
Posted 25 Apr 2011 17:09

Nicely summarised.

Thank you!

Ah, precedent. The trick is to slip it in without it being obvious, and sometimes it's not easy :P Usually I have to go back and re-write whole sections to address this.

This happens a lot to me too, but it's absolutely necessary of you want a water-tight plot. Thank the gods that my beta-readers are fantastic at catching things like this.

... And this doesn't just relate to objects or scenarios either, it relates to character's skills too. Can't have a every-man office worker type suddenly hot wire a car with no prior reference to why he might know how to do such a thing.

Abso-flogging-lutely. An easy way to do that is by introducing that skill early with a short scene that shows that skill on a smaller scale. For example, fixing a transistor radio and admitting that they were once into tinkering with rewiring things they probably shouldn't have at a younger age.

Topic 10 second Tip: FORESHADOWING
Posted 25 Apr 2011 16:20
Foreshadowing is when the opening scene of a story is a kind of nutshell prophecy for the whole story.

The Beginning
* In a Horror, this is when the originating Bad Thing happens.
* In a Mystery or Crime story, it's when the first victim is slain, and/or object (McGuffin) goes missing.
* In a Sci-fi, this is where the ruling Theory is presented.
* In a Gothic, this is where the main character meets the monster he is about to become.
* In Erotica & Romances this is where the main character meets their soon-to-be lover for a fleeting but memorable moment.

This also reveals the Premise, or ruling argument that the story is trying to illustrate; what the story is trying to Prove.

• The results of Revenge
• The path of Ambition
• The reality of Love
• The pain of being Different

The Middle
The meat of the story should fulfill that prophecy using twists, turns, and surprises that compel the reader to Keep Reading to discover 'what's really going on?' Never forget: The readers DON'T want to see what's coming. They want to figure it out THEMSELVES.

However, if you intend to use (what looks like) chance and coincidence to move your plot you're going to need careful preparation. Using deus ex machina (situations, objects, and helpers that were just suddenly THERE without explanation,) is unacceptable . The author should NEVER pull a rabbit out of their hat simply to rescue their hero.

The trick is to put the plot element into your story EARLY without making the reader aware of its importance. Never telegraph your punches. Every choice made MUST seem logical for that character.

The Conclusion
The last part is what that prophecy brought about--what happened BECAUSE of the events in the story.

* Were the guilty punished?
* Was the lost object or person found? Plus who did it and why?
* Did the lover gain the attention of their beloved?
* Was the scientific theory convincing? (Or horrifying enough?)
* Did the monster reconcile with their nature?

Always complete each circle you began. Solve EVERY problem presented, no matter how small. Any unsolved problems become Plot Holes your readers WILL notice and call you on. "Hey, whatever happened with...?"

The easiest way to do this is by keeping your Main cast SMALL.

* Hero
* Ally (buddy or lover)
* Villain

Side characters are those who occupy places in the story: the waitress, parents, coworkers, the beat cops..., but don't actually change anything. Main characters are the characters whose actions actually affect the plot.

The more Main characters you have, the more problems you add--which means the more story you have to write to solve those problems.


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 Exercise: DESCRIPTION
Posted 25 Apr 2011 15:43

Creative Narrative
A Description exercise

DESCRIPTION is the key to fleshing out ANY scene, but especially Sex Scenes .

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

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

You have 5 senses -- USE THEM:
Texture, Flavor, Appearance, Sound, Aroma

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

"So how do you DO that sort of writing?"

The same way you do anything, you PRACTICE.

For this exercise, you will need the movie Sin City . If you don't have it, The Matrix or Equilibrium will do.

WATCH the movie undisturbed from beginning to end. NO INTERRUPTIONS. This is Important!

Watch where the Camera looks. Sin City in particular is a brilliant example of how to describe using pictures. The movie is filmed in black and white with splashes of color here and there only where the viewer's eye needs to be.

When a character is first introduced, LOOK at how the camera starts in Close Focus on the character's face and then pulls back to reveal the character's body, lovingly showing the viewer exactly what the character looks like AND their distinguishing characteristics from top to bottom. THEN the view expands wider to disclose where that character is and what they are doing at that moment.

After those first few moments of sheer View, you get a narrative from the Point of View character -- which may Not be the character the camera is showing you. You get the narrator's opinions, their feelings, their delusions. THAT is how the viewer (the reader) learns about the character.

Once the movie is over, put on some music that fits the movie. (I actually have the soundtracks, to these.) Next! Break out your remote control and Watch The Same Movie AGAIN -- but this time, with the volume OFF.

Sit on your couch and Out Loud, Narrate what you are looking at. Do NOT write anything. Just talk to the TV screen Out Loud and describe -- in detail -- what you are looking at as though it was a book you were reading.

Describe the Characters.
Describe the Actions.
Describe the Fight Scenes.
Describe the Kisses.
Describe the Backgrounds and Setting -- including the rooms and weather conditions!

Use your remote control and STOP the scene where you have difficulty describing what you are seeing. Work at it until the words come to you. They don't have to be perfect -- close IS good enough for this exercise.

Do NOT write anything down.

Keep going until the movie is Over.

This should help loosen up a few things in your writing mind -- and give you some strong visuals to write from later.

-- Write a 1000 word Scene that introduces a character of YOURS. Make sure you picture the scene in your mind with the same dramatic camera angles and close-ups the movie and Describe it so that anyone Reading it can clearly see it.

Compare that scene with any introductory scene in a story you've already written and SEE the difference.

Just so you know, this is an exercise I created to make my own writing more Visual back when I first started writing. The movie I used was "The Lost Boys", the original 1984 version. It really helped my ability to describe in my stories. I though other people might find it useful too.


Topic "The story must have an ending?"
Posted 25 Apr 2011 15:35

----- Original Message -----
...There's a Short Fiction Contest going on. I already thought of my theme and I have a complete first draft. But, I'm confused. One of the rules says "The story must have an ending." I don't know what that means. You see, usually I like to end my stories with a feeling that the characters go on with their lives even after the plot is solved. Thing is, I don't know if that could be considered an "open ending" or "inconclusive ending" or whatsoever, or not even an ending at all!
-- Anxious Contestant

It means that your story must be more than just a ramble of words. In order for a Story to BE a a Story, it must Say something, Show something, or Prove something. A story must make a POINT .

Think: What are you trying to SAY 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
No good deed goes Unpunished.
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

A story ends when you prove your point. Seriously. It has nothing to do with whether your characters live on or die at the end.

What matters is that:
Monsters are faced.
Emotional hang-ups are dealt with.
Problems end up solved.
What was begun - finishes.


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 DUAL-NATURED Character
Posted 22 Apr 2011 15:53

You really know your movies!

There are a LOT of movies I don't know. However, I have this knee-jerk habit of analyzing everything I do see, (and read.)

Topic Plagiarism
Posted 18 Apr 2011 18:19

Creative people, published or not, have to stick together or we'll find ourselves stuffed in cubicles. *cringe*puke

Been there. Was NOT a happy place.

Topic The DUAL-NATURED Character
Posted 18 Apr 2011 18:01

Building the DUAL-NATURED Character
Let’s start this lecture with a HUGE secret:
-- There are Three Essential Characters in every story :

> Adversary – The one causing all the trouble.
> Proponent – The one trying to keep things the way they are.
> Ally – The close companion of one or the other caught in the middle.

In other words, you can tell any story with ONLY these Three Characters; perhaps not with any real detail, but you could still do the entire basic plotline.

And each essential character is governed by one of three SPECIFIC aspects, or Drives :

> MOTIVE - Driven by a REASON to Make something happen, such as Revenge.
> ACTION - Driven by the need to ACT, normally because if they don't they die, but an incentive such as a Reward or Prize works too.
> EMOTION - Driven by emotional impulse to REACT; out of love, out of honor, out of guilt...

There may be any number of side characters, but in traditional Adventures and Romances of every stripe (erotic or not,) the main conflict is always a triangle of these complimentary opposite drives. Just to make things Truly confusing, the Hero, the Heroine, and the Villain can be any one of them!

In ‘Leon – the Professional’ , Leon is a very Action-driven professional assassin Ally who is pestered into taking in his Motive-driven and Adversarial Heroine who was looking for a safe haven from a very Emotionally-driven and impulsive Proponent Villain cop.

In ‘Tomb Raider’ Lara Croft is an Action-driven Proponent Heroine with Emotionally-driven impulsive Allies and Adversarial paramours that are usually, if not always, Motive-driven.

In ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves’ , the Sheriff of Nottingham plays the impulsive Emotionally-Driven Proponent Villain to Robin Hood’s Motive-driven Adversarial Hero. Maid Marian is an Action-driven Ally Heroine.

In ‘The Crow’ , Eric Draven is the very Adversarial and Motive-driven Hero who goes after the Action-driven Proponent Villain trying to keep his little kingdom of crime under control. The little girl Nell, is Eric’s impulsive Emotionally-driven Ally Heroine, who gets caught in the cross-fire, like any other side-kick.

Why does a character's 'Drive' matter?
Because a Dual-Natured character possesses TWO DRIVES - one for each side of their nature.

Man against Himself
When a character is at war against his inner-nature, you treat both his likable nature, and his unlikable nature, as separate drives (Motive / Action / Emotion,) separate URGES that are darn near separate entities .

> Outer Man – Emotionally Driven to Protect
> Inner Beast – Motive Driven to Destroy

Additionally, the other two main characters should Frame, or bring attention to this drive and/or personality split.

> Hero = Divided character
> Ally / Lover = Represents everything the character DESIRES, (and likes about themselves.)
> Villain = Represents everything the character HATES, (and despises about themselves.)

Duality = Main Conflict
In a story where a character’s opposing nature (inner-man verses inner-beast,) is heavily pronounced, the character and his battle with his inner nature overpowers the story, and in fact BECOMES the story.

There's nothing you can do about it either because regardless of what you may have intended to write, once you split your main character's nature in Two, your character’s “duality” becomes the story’s Core Issue = the PREMISE. Resolving that “duality,” that division in their nature becomes the story’s main conflict.

If you don't, if you leave your character hanging, your readers will LOATHE you.

Hint: The Character assumes the third drive (Action / Motive / Emotion -- the one they Don't have,) to resolve their split! The idea behind it is: Balance.

The CURE -- or not?
-----Original Message-----
What about a fight to find a "cure", for the duel-natured character, like for a werewolf?”

The BIG Secret!
-- A “Dual Nature” in Fiction is symbolic of a Psychological issue – not a Physical issue.

Every monster you can think of is in actuality, a symbol of a human Issue from the dark side of the psyche.

> Ghosts = Memories that ‘haunt’
> Vampires = Manipulative Male Sexuality
> Witches =Manipulative Female Sexuality
> Sorcerers & Scientists = Control – either loss of, or overwhelming
> Werewolves = Passions that Consume
> Faeries = Inability to fit in with the society. This is why Urban Faeries tend to have a ‘punk’ look to them.
> Monsters in general = Destruction

(What? So, I read a lot of Carl Jung, Wilhelm Riche, Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary…)

One does Not CURE a Psychological Issue.
One learns to ADJUST to it.
It is a Proven Fact: There is No Medical Cure for Psychological Issues. Drugs do NOT make psychological issues go away, they merely SUPPRESS their symptoms -- and only temporarily. After enough time, no matter how powerful, ALL Drugs wear off .

There is only ONE satisfactory Answer to a split in Nature / Personality: Acceptance and INTEGRATION.
The only other option is madness and death.

In FICTION, the search for a Cure for a dual-natured character (such as a werewolf,) is a symbolic delay tactic ; something the character does to Run Away from his ISSUE rather than face it.

A character’s “Dual Nature” should be written as two Necessary halves, that need to come together to defeat the bad guy. In fact the two halves of a personality split MUST integrate if you are to have a happy and satisfying ending.

A CURE should be used precisely in the same fashion as a drugs are used for psychological issues: as a Delay Tactic to Avoid the Issue by Suppressing the Issue. In fact, the application of a Cure should be used as symbolic proof of the character's FAILURE to face and deal with their personal Issue.
Failure and the CURE: Van Helsing
In the movie “ Van Helsing ” the Premise: “Man vs. Monster” demanded that the answer be “self control”.

Gabriel was changed into a werewolf, psychological symbol of a complete lack of control over one’s temper, (and everything Gabriel suppressed within himself.) He went from Action-Driven hero (paid to do what he does) to Emotion-Driven monster (I am so pissed off...!) which gave him the strength and determination necessary to defeat the Motive-Driven vampire.

Logically, (plot-wise,) Gabriel should have gained self-control over his second nature (becoming Motive-driven to control himself -- attaining he third drive) and thus remained a werewolf, albeit able to transform at will; gaining the prize of Controlled Fury -- and the girl.
However, after his battle, he was unable to come to terms with his “emotional” nature. He failed to gain self-control of his Temper, and Killed his Heroine , symbol of everything he Could have had – unconditional acceptance and love. She forgave him, (as a ghost) but that did not change the fact that he had Failed to accept himself.

The movie’s writers had no intention of killing off his character, so a remorseful suicidal cliff-dive was right out. Instead, Gabriel was cured. However, this “cure” is a blatant flag that Gabriel will have to face this same issue again, in a later story.

Just to keep things rounded...

Man against Nature
The Old man & the Sea
A “man against nature” tale, is in fact a “man against himself ” story. The Nature elements, that the character is in opposition with, are (or Should Be) symbolic representations of the Opposing Drives within the character.

In ‘ The Old Man and the Sea ’ by Hemingway...
> Proponent -- Old Man, Motive driven to fish. (He needs the money.)
> Adversary -- Ocean / Weather, Unpredictable and dangerous. This is the symbol of the man’s opposing drive of Action . Fishing takes inaction and patience -- something in old man doesn't possess a lot of.
> Ally -- Shark, this is the Symbol of the old man’s impulsive Emotional drive to Survive. This is the drive he must adopt to survive the story.

Man against Man
When you have only two characters: Proponent, and Adversary, you give each character an opposing Primary Drive and additionally, opposite aspects of the SAME second drive as a Sub-drive.

The first one to adopt the Third Drive (the one they DON'T have,) Wins!

In the movie “ Ravenous ”...
Proponent – Captain Boyd
> Main drive: Emotion Driven "Why is this Happening to me?"
> Sub-drive: Action Driven in the aspect of Refusal to Act.

Adversary – Calhoun
> Main drive: Motive Driven "I will Make something Happen."
> Sub-drive: Action Driven in the aspect of Determined to Act.

Circumstances force the “Boyd” to adopt the Third drive of MOTIVE, while the "Villain” resists his change in drives and remains Motive-driven.
The Villain's Inability to Change is why the Villain LOSES to the Hero.

Does this sound a little too planned out?
-- It should because it's Supposed to be. Another name for it is: PLOTTING. :)

Never forget:
Reality may be full of Random events – but
Fiction MUST make Sense.


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 The Subtle (and Annoying) STATIC TRAIT
Posted 17 Apr 2011 12:18

...And Morgan...if I'm only two or three days behind, I consider that pretty good...

I prefer to be two or three days ahead , myself. :)

Topic Plagiarism
Posted 17 Apr 2011 12:11

...It's difficult to ignore facts.

Which is why a writer's best protection is a personal Author site with a Full List of their stories. This way all you need is a single link to make your point.

Topic The Subtle (and Annoying) STATIC TRAIT
Posted 17 Apr 2011 03:59

You did start a thread about raping plots though I noticed. Somehow the moderators let that slip by...don't worry, I won't say anything...

You're a little behind the pace there Alan.

Only two or three days behind. :)

Topic The Subtle (and Annoying) STATIC TRAIT
Posted 16 Apr 2011 13:21

That was kind of my point about audience and the Lush zero tolerance policy. Even if you intend something to be viewed as horrific or painful, and use it as part of a story to add depth to a character, in an environment such as this you know there are people who will read it in an entirely different way.

That's true of ANY story in ANY genre because people automatically read Subjectively -- they put themselves in the place of the characters, UNLESS you draw a strong clear line between them, which is NOT an easy thing to do.

So for example, if I wrote a story that started out with a woman being raped, but she was rescued by someone and went on to form a relationship with them. The rape would not be intended to be arousing, it would be intended to be scary and horrific, but it still wouldn't be accepted.

Yep, that's the rules for LUSH.
-- I couldn't even use the word 'rape' in my story. I had to pull it out.

On other sites though, I've discovered that the best way to handle something potentially explosive with the readers is by Telling it. I DON'T describe what happened, I state it:

"Back when she was fresh out of college, her apartment was broken into. She never quite recovered from it."

Topic Plagiarism
Posted 16 Apr 2011 13:06

I submitted a a rather scathing review on one of the stories yesterday (about how it was stolen) to see if it would get approved on Amazon. It's up today! I'm going to add it to the other stories as well. I wonder if Elizabeth Summers reads these. :)

It doesn't matter if the plagiarist reads them. What matters is the Site Authorities and Potentials Buyers who Will.

Topic Plagiarism
Posted 16 Apr 2011 13:03

i was wondering, since Amazon has a place for reviews that go with the storie, if it would help for one of Damon's fans to write a review there stating it's been stolen?


Topic Plagiarism
Posted 15 Apr 2011 22:46

Devoted bloggers and rabid fans are the best defense. They kick ass!

-- However, one needs a place those fans can point to to prove that something has been stolen from their favorite author -- which is why Every Author needs a Personal Website, even if they only write drabbles.

Topic Plagiarism
Posted 15 Apr 2011 17:06

...I just found out, that several of my stories have been stolen by some supposed "author" named Elizabeth Summers, and are on sale on Amazon in Kindle form for 6.99 a pop. ... Now I'm not sure what to do about this. Does anyone have any ideas?

First -- contact Amazon and report the stolen material . Be aware that you're going to need Proof that the stories are actually yours. Unfortunately, I don't know what they'll ask for because my publisher usually goes after them for me -- along with the company Lawyer.

The best way to keep a story from being stolen is to make it EXTREMELY PUBLIC who that story belongs to. For online stories, an author website -- where you keep the full collection of your free posted stories -- is your best insurance for this. Having an online site will Brand those stories as yours far more effectively than you think.

Never underestimate just how rabid your Fans can be!

Believe it or not, my Fans have proven extremely effective in not only spotting poached stories, but providing a storm of hate mail to the offender. (Keeping my nose clean.) This is in addition to notifying the site hosting the stolen stories (and bitching them out) in droves. :)

And all this is Before my publisher gets a hold of them. (evil grin)

All of you authors that Don't have a personal Author site:
GET ONE NAOW...! even it's just a free Word Press or Blogspot site.

Sometimes a link to a story on an author site is all the proof you need to say a story is YOURS.

Topic The Subtle (and Annoying) STATIC TRAIT
Posted 15 Apr 2011 16:49

...I understand why Lush has to have a zero tolerance policy though, it's all about the audience.

-- The audience for those stories does exist, just not here.

Topic The Subtle (and Annoying) STATIC TRAIT
Posted 15 Apr 2011 16:48

I have plenty of BDSM sex scenes, but not in this book. lol The water-boarding was detailed, written in first-POV from the victim's perspective, plus there's a chapter or two after that with him dealing with what amounts to PTSD from it. But it was necessary for the story. It's an erotic suspense, so there's plenty of sex in the book...just not THAT scene. lol

Very sensible.
-- I've discovered that as long as you draw a solid line between what's supposed to be pleasurable and what's Not, you can cross some erotic romance publishers' 'no-go' lines. SOME...

Topic The Subtle (and Annoying) STATIC TRAIT
Posted 14 Apr 2011 15:31

I actually have a scene of water-boarding in one of my upcoming books, but it is NOT part of a sex scene or anything of the sort. lol It's used as a method of serious torture. (And was rather skin-crawly to write, if I'm honest...)

I've done one torture session, but I didn't go into any real detail. I mostly stuck to what was going on in the victim's mind rather than go into gruesome detail as to what was happening physically.

I squick the readers enough with some of my borderline BDSM Sex scenes. I don't need to send them gibbering into corners too.