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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

Beyond the Basics
With Tulsa Brown

Making the Reader Leap

Even if you’re unfamiliar with the term, you might have already used the Gap technique in your writing, and if you’ve sat through at least one movie, you’ve seen it in action. Quentin Tarantino’s "Pulp Fiction" had us leaping like cats on the proverbial hot tin roof, as we followed his amazing story.

So what the heck is the Gap?

Basically, it refers to the distance between expectation and result, and every time you consciously create it as a writer, the outcome is new energy. I’m not talking about ‘leaps of logic,’ where events happen for no apparent reason. Creating a Gap means giving your characters or your readers something unexpected and forcing them to mentally jump over into new territory. Here are a few ways to use it:

STORY ACTION:  If your hero draws his sword and turns to duel with the villain—yet sees a huge boulder rolling toward him instead—he has to respond in a new way, probably involving his feet.

In more complex writing, a Gap goes beyond a plot twist. It often forces a character to grow and stretch to meet the new challenge. In my story, "The Great Name and the Novice," (Best Women’s Erotica 2004) first-time novelist Josey attends a film writing seminar, hosted by ‘The Great Name’ in screenwriting. She’s flattered to be invited to dinner with him, and even more flattered when he asks for an autographed copy of her book—right before they tumble into bed. The next day Josey settles into the class, still glowing and a little smug. Her mood changes, though, when the Great Name begins to lecture about poor storytelling, using her book as the bad example.

I was rooted to my chair. He was describing my plot ...savaging it in front of me, ripping it to pieces in front of a hundred people. (He) might as well have poured gasoline over me and lit me on fire a dozen times, while the theater rang out with laughter.

Although a relentlessly ‘polite Canadian,’ Josey has to respond to this unexpected attack on her work. The Gap between what she expected and what she got becomes a turning point in the story, and her life.

CHARACTER ILLUMINATION:  The distance between what people think and what they actually say can be rich in revelation. For example, in one of my novels, a young man named Jens is thinking that his younger brother is a brilliant guitarist. Yet when he opens his mouth, he instead apologizes for not sending a birthday card. This Gap sends a strong message about Jens’ jealousy. He can’t bring himself to praise his brother, although it’s never said.

NEW IMAGES:  Whenever you bring contrasting words together, you create a third image, packed with new meaning. Iron ballerina. Whispering watercolors. Tractor song. These normally unrelated words cause their own tiny Gap, and our minds leap to cover the space. Even a well-worn story idea feels fresher because the reader is fashioning new images in the Gaps you’ve created.

The real trick to making the Gap work is to use it consciously, and to be sure there is some connection between point A and point B. The story still has to flow. And because each Gap adds a burst of energy, you don’t need many. If you make the reader leap once or twice during a piece, that’s plenty. With too many Gaps, a story begins to resemble a Modern Art painting—splashes of color that might be attractive, but don’t actually produce an image.

"Beyond the Basics" © 2005 Tulsa Brown. All rights reserved.

About the Author:  Tulsa Brown is an award-winning novelist who has also written for film and media, and has led many writing workshops for adults and young people.

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> 2006 Book Reviews

4 Erotic Ass-ets
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The Best of Both Worlds
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Blood Surrender
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Bound to Love
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Double Dare
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Leather, Lace and Lust
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Oedipus & Rode Hard
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Passion of Isis
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Sex in Uniform
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Stirring up a Storm
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Sunshine and Shadow
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The Commitment
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International Exposure
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A Profane Wit
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Secret Life of Oscar Wilde
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Sex Collectors
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