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'07 Authors Insider Tips

FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
Formatting Your Manuscript
Scams / Choosing an Agent
Pitching Your Novel...
From The Call to Published...


Hard Business
From Greg Herren
Who Is Telling This Story?
It’s Work, Not A Hobby
Where Ideas Come From


Sexy on the Page
With Shanna Germain
Plotting Erotic Fiction
Seducing Your Muse
Creating Characters...
Description, Action & Dialogue
Fucking on Paper
Ten No-Nos of Erotic Fiction
Climactic Moments: First Draft
Critique Groups
Revising Your Erotic Story
Finding the Perfect Markets...
Just Submit Already
Rejections and Acceptances


Two Girls Kissing
With Amie M. Evans
Verb Tense Confusion
Coming Up with Story Ideas
Attend a Writers’ Conference
The Fundamentals of POV
Should I Sign That?
Etiquette for Authors
Erotica is Serious Work
No Body Writes for Free...
Shameless Self Promotions
The Myth of Writer's Block


The Write Stuff
From Ashley Lister
The Time is Write
The Beautiful People
A Book by Any Other...
Synopsis: the Necessary Evil
Erotica or Porn?
Feedback Whine


2007 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
What's it like being a writer?
Blog
An Apology to Salespeople


Get All Worked Up
With J.T. Benjamin
About Secrets
The Perfect Fuck
About Choices
The Age of Consent
The Kingmaker
Kids and Sex
M.Y.O.B.
The Price of Beauty
The G.O.P.
All Worked Up About Hate
Real Men


Pondering Porn
With Ann Regentin
Good Sex: A Physics Lesson
Meet Frankenstein
Thoughts on the Orgasm Gap
The Very Bloody Marys
The Doomsday Erection
Online Threesome Porn

Hard Business: Writing Gay Erotica
with Greg Herren



Who Is Telling This Story?
Point of View

 

 

One of the biggest mistakes beginning writers make—within the context of either a short story or a novel—is point of view.

I’m not sure why this is the case. In nine cases out of ten, the reason I reject a story or a manuscript is because of a point of view problem—and even with experienced authors, when I am editing their manuscripts, point of view always seems to rear its ugly head. When I knock back a drink or two with other editors, the most frequent complaint about writers is point of view problems.

In a nutshell, point of view is the perspective of the story; in other words, from whose view are we seeing the action, the characters, and the dialogue. Are you with me so far? No? Okay, let me give you an example. If a story is told in the first person, that character is obviously your point of view character—and unless the character is psychic, you have no idea what the other characters are thinking or feeling. Likewise, even if you are writing the story in the third person, you still have a main character whose internal dialogues, feelings and perspective the reader is privy to. However, the same rule applies; if you are telling the story from this character’s perspective, he/she has no way of knowing what the other characters are feeling, thinking or doing unless they share that information with the character.

Still not sure what I mean? Okay, here’s an example:

Jill ran her fingers through her hair in exasperation. Her feet hurt, she’d had a terrible day at the office, and now this. Why couldn’t Jack understand her in the least? Why didn’t he even try? "Jack, maybe we should just order a pizza. I’m worn out."

Jack shook his head. Didn’t she understand she was the wife, and she was responsible for dinner? That the last thing he wanted to eat when he came home from a long day at the office was pizza? He wanted a meal, the kind his mother used to make for his father. "Jill, I don’t want pizza. I want a home-cooked meal." She was just so selfish.

What an ass he is, Jill thought. "Then cook something."

Lazy bitch! Jack couldn’t believe what he was hearing. "You want me to cook?"

Who in the above incredibly poorly written passage is the point of view character?

The answer is they both are, and hopefully now you can see what I mean. By showing the inner dialogue of both characters, the reader is being cheated of suspense and dramatic tension. Think about it this way. If you are reading a romance novel, part of the tension of the story comes from not knowing what the main character’s romantic interest is thinking or feeling. However, if at the end of every chapter, the point of view shifts from the main character to the romantic interest, and we get inside their head—all the tension in the book is suddenly gone. When I was an editor of lesbian romance novels, I would get manuscripts exactly like that regularly—and the author would fight with me about changing it!

This is how the above section, with the point of view problem corrected, should read:

Jill ran her fingers through her hair in exasperation. Her feet hurt, she’d had a terrible day at the office, and now this. Why couldn’t Jack understand her in the least? Why didn’t he even try? "Jack, maybe we should just order a pizza. I’m worn out."

Jack shook his head. "Jill, I don’t want pizza. I want a home-cooked meal." What an ass he is, Jill thought. "Then cook something."

"You want me to cook?"

Or, from his point of view:

Jill ran her fingers through her hair. "Jack, maybe we should just order a pizza. I’m worn out."

Jack shook his head. Didn’t she understand she was the wife, and she was responsible for dinner? That the last thing he wanted to eat when he came home from a long day at the office was pizza? He wanted a meal, the kind his mother used to make for his father. "Jill, I don’t want pizza. I want a home-cooked meal." She was just so selfish.

"Then cook something."

Lazy bitch! Jack couldn’t believe what he was hearing. "You want me to cook?"

While both revisions are still badly written, they are now stronger than the original.

So always be careful with point of view. It can make the difference between staying in the slush pile and getting published.

Greg Herren
February 2007

______
"Hard Business: Writing Gay Erotica" © 2007 Greg Herren. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Greg Herren is the senior editor of the Harrington Park Press. He has published five novels, including Mardi Gras Mambo, and the forthcoming Murder in the Rue Chartres (Fall, 2007). He has edited seven anthologies—including the critically acclaimed Love, Bourbon Street: Reflections on New Orleans—and published over fifty short stories. He has been nominated for four Lambda Literary Awards. He lives with his partner, Paul Willis—the organizer of the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival—in New Orleans.



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'07 Book Reviews

Anthologies

A for Amour / B for Bondage
Review by Ashley Lister

Best Women's Erotica '07
Review by Ashley Lister

The Butcher, The Baker...
Review by Ashley Lister

C is for Coeds
Review by Ashley Lister

Cream: The Best of ERWA
Review by Ashley Lister

Cream: The Best of ERWA
Perceptions by Cervo

Coming Together for the Cure
Review by Lisabet

Cross-Dressing
Review by Ashley Lister

F is for Fetish
Review by Ashley Lister

Got a Minute?
Review by Ashley Lister

He's on Top
Review by Ashley Lister

Love on the Dark Side
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Lust: ...Fantasies for Women
Review by Ashley Lister

The Mammoth Book Vol 6
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Naughty Spanking Stories
Review by Ashley Lister

Quickies 1
Review by Angelika Devlyn

She's on Top
Review by Ashley Lister

Sixteen of the Best
Review by Ashley Lister

Novels

Amorous Woman
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Boss
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Burning Bright
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Call Me By Your Name
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Cockhold
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Continuum
Review by Ashley Lister

Dark Designs
Review by Ashley Lister

Equal Opportunities
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Enthralled
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Flood
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Gothic Blue
Review by Ashley Lister

Hotbed
Review by Ashley Liste

The Lords of Satyr: Nicholas
Review by Helen E. H. Madden

Love Song of the Dominatrix
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Ménage
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Riding the Storm
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Silver Collar
Review by Ashley Lister

Split
Review by Ashley Lister

Suite Seventeen
Review by Ashley Lister

Sweet as Sin
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Tiffany Twisted
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Top of Her Game
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Whalebone Strict
Review by Ashley Lister

Wife Swap
Review by Gary Russell

Wings of Madness
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Gay Erotica

Historical Obsessions
Review by Erastes

Homosex: 60 Years of Gay...
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Mammoth Book of New Gay...
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Standish
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Lesbian Erotica

Iridescence:...Lesbian Erotica
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Sex Guides

The Path of Service
Review by Ashley Lister

Secrets of Porn Star Sex
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Touch Me There
Review by Ashley Lister

Non-Fiction

Concertina: An Erotic Memoir...
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Daddy's Girl
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Dirt for Art's Sake
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Entangled Lives
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Impotence: A Cultural History
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I, Goldstein: My Screwed...
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In Praise of the Whip
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Insatiable: ...Porn Star
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Letters of a Portuguese Nun
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Mississippi Sissy
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Ron Jeremy
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Virgin: The Untouched...
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The Year of Yes
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