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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

Talking Sense

Snyder: "Thereís some things I can just smell. Itís like a sixth sense."
Giles: "No, actually that would be one of the five."
óBuffy the Vampire Slayer


Itís easy to forget that we have five senses. Touch, taste, sight, sound and smell. (Iíve listed them so none of us are trying to remember what they are while we continue with the rest of this article. Sometimes it can prove as maddening as those dumb questions where youíre asked to name the deadly sins, Snow Whiteís dwarves or the original line-up for the Magnificent Seven).

Admittedly emotions, character, plot and other considerations are important but the story is brought to life in the readerís mind by the use of vivid description. And, the more senses that are involved in that description, the more vivid the finished scene.

Itís true that a scene can be built using any one of these senses alone. But the results can only ever be one-dimensional.

Tall, broad and dressed like a banker, his cheeks had the vulnerable flush that suggested they were freshly shaved. The dark hair and clothes could have made him appear sinister but his eyes and teeth glinted with so much confidence he looked as wholesome as a toothpaste commercial.


She whispered into the bedroom. Each button sighed as it was unfastened. The hiss of silk, slithering down her body, preceded the snowfall patter of her blouse tumbling to the floor. Her skirt echoed that sound but heavier, with the promise that there was more to come.

When I was a child I was repeatedly told: "look with your eyes, not your hands." This statement was invariably bellowed at me as I picked up something I shouldnít and then cowered behind the favourite childhood refrain: "But I was only looking."

Fortunately it was a lesson that I never fully learnt.

Looking is good for any writer. But itís never enough. To describe a situation fully you have to look, taste, touch, hear and smell. Like most impressive feats, kudos only comes if you can do them all at the same time. Readers demand that their authors present this level of involvement and they want to read the evidence.

This is not my way of saying you need to describe something Zen, such as the sound of an erection hardening, or the colour of a midnight orgasm. But, as a writer, you need to be aware that your readers want to participate in the experience described to the fullest extent.

And Iím not suggesting that every detail be catalogued with such meticulous attention, otherwise the pace of the story would soon suffer. 

But, in those passages where the reader requires detail, particularly in erotic passages, it is vital to make sure the scene is described as fully as possible. Few of us experience sex with just one sense. We can all be moved by the sight of a familiar face, the sound of a favourite song, the smell of a perfume, the taste of a particular flavour, or the recollection of subtle caress.

In stories where a blindfold comes into play there are many masterful authors who can make the action strikingly vivid even when the protagonist is enveloped in a world of blackness.

Lips touch: are they warm or cool? Soft or demanding? Smooth or scabby? (Perhaps itís best if theyíre not too scabby). Is she wearing lipstick? Is he wearing lipstick? Is the flavour reminiscent of fruit, flowers, chemicals or only sexuality? Does either party breathe during the kiss? Do they gasp or moan? Try to speak? Or do they let their wordless sighs carry on the conversation while their mouths are employed with more pragmatic matters? When your protagonist inhales, will they breathe perfume, perspiration or the fragrances of a recent drink?

It is a lot to think about. And not every detail needs including. But the more vivid you make each encounter, the more memorable itís going to be for the reader.

Sounds can be an extremely effective catalyst for progressing action. Listen to the sultry soft crackle of stocking-clad thighs rubbing together. Note the difference in tone between stiletto heels clipping against a wooden floor and bare feet kissing the same polished surface with each step. Sighs and whispers are suggestive of erotic involvement. And, while it may not be possible to describe the sound of a held breath, such a detail can be mentioned so that the reader hears its silence.

Smell and taste are so closely related it is easy to blur the boundaries. A man can bury his face in his partnerís hair and smell the soapy fragrance of her shampoo. A woman can push her nose against her partnerís chest and breathe in his manly cologne or his clean perspiration. She could even catch the aroma of the last woman who embraced him. The more that lips and tongues become involved, the more the scent of smell transforms into the intimate sense of taste.

And what would erotic fiction be without the sense of touch? Warm hands, cool skin, sweated bodies, slippery contact, rigid flesh in a firm gripÖ

Erotic fiction depends on the successful description of all five senses. Donít be afraid to use all of them in your writing.

You know it makes sense.

Ashley Lister
March 2006

"The Write Stuff" © 2006 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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> 2006 Book Reviews

4 Erotic Ass-ets
Reviews by Ashley Lister

Review by Lisabet Sarai

Bad Girls & More...
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The Best of Both Worlds
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Black Masque
Review by M. Ellis

Blood Surrender
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Review by Lisabet Sarai

Bound to Love
Review by Ashley Lister

Double Dare
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Filthy: Outrageous Gay...
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Review by Gary Russell

Forbidden Reading
Review by M. Ellis

Leather, Lace and Lust
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Mr. Stone & Lessons
Reviews by Ashley Lister

Nina Hartley's Sex Guide
Review by Adrienne

Oedipus & Rode Hard
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Orgasms & More
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Passion of Isis
Review by Ashley Lister

Sex in Uniform
Review by Ashley Lister

Six Top Picks
Reviews by Ashley Lister

Stirring up a Storm
Review by M. Ellis

Sunshine and Shadow
Reviews by Lisabet Sarai

Surrender & Dying for It
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Review by Lisabet Sarai

Wicked: Sexy Tales...
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Writing Naked
Review by Lisabet Sarai


Americaís War on Sex
Review by Rob Hardy

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Covent Garden Ladies
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The Commitment
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Eroticism and Art
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Expletive Deleted...
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Female Orgasms
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Government Vs. Erotica
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Heloise & Abelard ...
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International Exposure
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A Profane Wit
Review by Rob Hardy

Secret Life of Oscar Wilde
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Sex Collectors
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Sex Machines
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