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2006 Authors Insider Tips

Beyond the Basics
With Tulsa Brown
The 30-Second Solution
Backstory vs. Flashback
Intimacy Begins With "I"
Hit the Ground Running
Make the Reader Leap
Meaningful Dialogue
Pulling the String
Central Image
Elegant Smut
Better Plots
Bitch Power

The Write Stuff
From Ashley Lister
Predefined Your Goals
Spell Ink Miss Takes
Plotting & Planning
Character Building
Speech Therapy
Talking Sense

Two Girls Kissing
With Amie M. Evans
Intro to Lesbian Erotica
3-Dimensional Characters
Submitting for Publication
Five Year Writing Plan
Setting Up Your Plan...
The Power of Naming
Language of Lesbian...
Sexual Description
What Can I say?

Hard Business
From Greg Herren
What Are Your Priorities?
How to Edit an Anthology
Follow the Guidelines...
A Cock is Just a Cock
But is it Still a Story?
Who Am I Fucking?
Potential Material
Rejection ...

The Business End
By Kate Dominic
Effective Cover Letters
How to Lose Contracts
Contracts: Agent Issues
Contracts: Read It!
Double Duty Bios
What's Sex?

Literary Streetwalker
By M. Christian
Ground Rules for Writers
No Muse is Good News
Effective Cover Letters
Location, Location
Say Something!
Dirty Words

The Erotic Book Docter
By Susie Bright
Marketing Your Book
Submission Concerns
Promotion Strategies

2006 Smutters Lounge

Pondering Porn
With Ann Regentin
Babes & Hunks of Erotica
Fantasy, Reality & Rape
Selling Ourselves Short
Selling Smut in Motown
The Frankenstein Bride
Frankenstein Revisited
Porn and Perfect Shoes
Porn's Passionate Pull
Instruments of Joy

Get All Worked Up
With J.T. Benjamin
Orwell's Eerie Parallels
Redefining Marriage
The Porn Menace
High-Quality Porn
About Profanity
Dirty Laundry
Big Brother


Wrong Reasons to do SM
by Midori

The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister

Plotting & Planning

I do everything I can to avoid frustration.

I carry three cigarette lighters. The Zippo stays in my jeans pockets and itís the one I will use nine times out of ten. Itís silver coloured and looks sleek, masculine and cool. Thereís a Bic disposable that perpetually sits in my shirt pocket, as a backup for those days when the Zippo has either popped its flint or run out of petrol. The third is one that has fallen into the lining of my leather coat. Laziness, and a wish to avoid falling victim to Sodís Law, stop me from retrieving and removing it.

Three cigarette lighters. One smoker. And youíre probably wondering: WHY?

Until you find yourself holding a cigarette, wanting to smoke it but not having a light, you cannot fully comprehend the meaning of the word frustration. The only thing that comes close is having a great inspiration for a story, starting to write it down, and then floundering after the first few thousand words because you canít remember where you wanted to take the idea.

Consequently, I carry three cigarette lighters with me to make sure I can always have a light for my cigarette. And I plot and plan everything that I write before I commit one printable character to a Microsoft Word document.

I donít handle frustration very well.

People argue against plotting and planning it is alleged to make the process of writing boring, it encourages formulaic writing and it supposedly dulls creativity but it doesnít have to have any of those negative connotations. Usually outlines for stories are scribbled on paper or saved as appropriately named documents on a computer hard drive. They are seldom written in stone. The scope for change expansion, revision and reductionóis always there.

And outlines are vital to progressing forward on those days when inspiration isnít forthcoming and the story seems to have ground to a halt. They can truly help fight against the threat of frustration.

For theories, help and advice on the mechanics of plot you canít beat 20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them by Ronald B Tobias [Available at†/ Amazon UK / Amazon CA]. Aside from breaking down the structure of familiar stories into their key plot points and necessary elements, Ronald B Tobias also discusses some of the thinking that has been devoted to plots, all of which makes the book interesting, absorbing and invaluable.

More importantly, Ronald B Tobias points out the often forgotten structure of every story in three simple words: start; middle; end.

At the start we should be introduced to the storyís principle characters and its main theme(s). It doesnít always happen this way but, more often than not, the beginning is the best place to begin. In erotic fiction, if weíre dealing with a heroine, we want to learn who she is, what she wants, and gain some idea of how sheís going to try to get it.

In Pauline Reageís Story of O, we meet O in a first chapter that has two beginnings. She is riding in a taxicab. Her lover and his friend take her to a strange building: Roissy. During the journey her lover makes demands on her. Because she loves him, O happily submits. And she agrees to do whatever those in charge at Roissy demand.

We learn that O is besotted and submissive. We wonder if sheís going to remain sufficiently smitten to endure the obvious torment of Roissy.

In the Marquis de Sadeís Justine, we are introduced to the heroine on the first page. She is a pious, innocent, good girl and knows nothing of sin and vice. The Marquis de Sadeís story is subtitled Good Conduct Well Chastised and he extrapolates his cynical theory that no virtue will ever go unpunished. Consequently, before the first page of Justine is finished, the heroine has lost her family and her money and is starting on a journey that will bring her face to face with escalating levels of corruption, humiliation and indignity.

From the beginning of the story we move onto the middle.

By definition, erotica has to have some sexual content and, ideally the middle section is where the focus of this erotic content should lie. Here is where the heroine can discover new positions, the benefits of same-sex encounters, the pleasures of multiple partners, or the confusion of being aroused by pain. Whatever kink can be best exploited by the individual author belongs firmly in the middle.

O submits to a regime of splendid sexual discipline at Roissy as she learns how to properly love Sir Stephen. In any other genre this would not be a strong enough story to carry a novel but Pauline Reage makes O work by introducing subordinate characters and paralleling their loves and lives with Oís progression toward the taleís climax.

Justine retains her piety even though the Marquis de Sade throws every conceivable piece of ill fortune in her path. Every time Justine makes a decision, it is almost guaranteed to be the wrong one. Each time she tries to do the right the thing, her simple belief in honesty, justice and goodness causes her unhappiness and upset.

Both stories use the middle section to introduce varieties to their theme. O is punished, repeatedly and ingeniously. Justine continues to strive for virtue when every character she encounters encourages her to sin. Both stories use these developments to move smoothly toward their inevitable end.

Oís tale started with two beginnings and it ends with two separate conclusions. The expectations of the opening, the intimate narrative, and the intricate developments of the middle, lead perfectly into these dual climaxes. We have followed her emotional growth at Roissy and we have enjoyed her subjugation at the hands of those who control that establishment. Now we have to see whether or not she has earned the love of Sir Stephen or if some other fate awaits her.

Justine survives a cruel hand of fate that would have bested any other fictional character. In the final chapter she meets with her long-lost sister, Juliet, and discovers their lives have been mirror opposites. Where Justine chose piety and decency, Juliet chose vice and profit. Where Justine suffered for making the right decision, Juliet benefited from doing what society would condemn as being wrong. Justineís death at the conclusion of the story proves de Sadeís theory correct. He mocks her attempts at propriety in the novelís last line when he biblically intones: is not virtue its own reward.

Admittedly these stories could have been achieved without plotting and planning, but their structure shows us how to lay out a carefully crafted erotic novel to the greatest effect.

However, remembering that there is a beginning, middle and end is only part of the process of plotting and planning. For those who concentrate on character development: this is the part of the creation process that will allow a writer to decide where key events shape the protagonistís ambitions and aspirations. For those who want to produce vivid descriptive encounters, this is the time where the pacing of the prose and the narrative can best be planned. And, for those of us who want to tell the whole story that is currently at the forefront of their mind: this is the time to write it down before itís forgotten.

While itís trite to say that failing to plan is planning to fail, the axiom is frustratingly true. And, especially in the erotic genre, itís always wisest to do everything to avoid frustration.

Ashley Lister

"The Write Stuff" © 2005 Ashley Lister. All rights reserved.

About the Author:  Ashley Lister is a UK author responsible for more than two-dozen erotic novels written under a variety of pseudonyms.  His most recent work, a non-fiction book recounting the exploits of UK swingers, is his first title published under his own name.
Ashleyís non-fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Forum, Chapter & Verse and The International Journal of Erotica.  Nexus, Chimera and Silver Moon have published his full-length fiction, with shorter stories appearing in anthologies edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Mitzi Szereto.  He is very proud to be a regular contributor to ERWA.
Email: Ashley Lister

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Passion of Isis
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Secret Life of Oscar Wilde
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