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'08 Authors Insider Tips


Everything About Epublishing
by Angela James
Epublishing: A Different Way
Choosing an Epublisher
Your Milage May Vary
Understand Your Contract!
Reasonable Expectations


FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
The Publishing Biz
Critiquing: To Give and ...
Commerical vs. Literary...
Antiformalism for Fun &...
So You Want to Write a Novel
The Story Idea
Planning Your Novel...


The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
5 Steps to Success
Inspirational
Opening Passages
Let's Get Critical
Writer's Block
Learning Lessons


Two Girls Kissing
by Amie M. Evans
Be a Finisher ...
Listen to Your Characters
Conferences: Act Now ...
Starting an Erotic Story
Exercises & Writing Prompts
Revising & Rewriting
Copy Editing
The Manuscript Critique
How to Submit Your Work
Reading as Craft


Guest Appearances

Adventures in e-Publishing
by Lisabet Sarai

For the Love of Man
by Laura Baumbach

How to...Influence Editors
by Alison Tyler

Marketing your e-Book
by Brenna Lyons


2008 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
Role Play
Busy Doing Nothing
Picture of a Fish & Chip...
What I Did With My Summer


Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Naughty Cookies...
Tie Me Up, Please …
The Smut-Writer’s Holiday
Never Trust the Narrator ...
Compare and Contrast
Following the Pen
Naked at the Farmers Market
Iím Easy, But Iím No Slut
Good Girl Gone Bad
Pleasures of the Dark Side
Slow, Spare and Sexy


Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
Raising Daughters
Jamie Lynn
Utopias
Lust
The Good Old Days
Election '08
Traditional Marriage
Campaign 2008
Free Will


Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin
Masturbating on SSRIs
Sex and Disability
Besides Ourselves
Adjusting our Contrast


Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Sex Is All Metaphors
Turn-ons and Squicks
Sexual Truth
Fickle Muse
Porn, Erotica & Romance


Provocative Interviews

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
Alison Tyler
Ashley Lister
Debra Hyde
Donna George Storey
Jeremy Edwards
Kristina Wright
Rachel Kramer Bussel


Erotic Hot Spots
by William S. Dean
Interview with Tilly Greene
Interview with Devyn Quinn


Getting Graphic
with William S. Dean
New Times for Readers...
The Future in Words ...
Interview with Fantagraphics


On Writing Erotica

The Accidental Pornographer
by Lisabet Sarai

The End of Innocence
by Lisabet Sarai

Get Them Off in High Style
Helena Settimana

So, You Want To Write Erotica?
by Hanne Blank


Web Gems
Hot Movies For Her

Two Girls Kissing:
Writing Lesbian Literary Erotica

with Amie M. Evans

Reading as Craft

 

Amie M. EvansOne of the most often over looked, but critical tasks all authors should engage in is reading. Sometimes authors—as well as instructors—focus on craft issues and the work produced by the individual writer at the expense of neglecting reading other authors’ books. Instructors stress plot and character construction, offer exercises and tips, and focus on the execution of craft skills by the student. We encourage authors to write everyday and revise and rewrite, but often forget to stress a basic tool for learning that is observing and studying others executing the skill sets we are teaching and writers are attempting to master. While reading alone will not make you a great writer, not reading will slow your progress towards greatness. For writers, reading other authors’ works is critical for further growth of their craft. And reading critically will teach you more than you may have imagined.

Reading Critically vs. Reading For Fun
Both, I would argue, should be engaged in by aspiring authors. Reading for fun is when you read the book you’ve selected as a reader, a lay person, for the sheer joy of reading. An example of this for me would be vampire novels. I love them. I read them like crazy without much thought. Some of them are incredibly well written; others are not. But mostly I am reading them for the stories, not the finely crafted prose, strong plot, or rich character development.

Reading critically is when you read the book you have selected as a student of writing. You are not only reading the story for the joy of reading the story, but examining the techniques used to write the story. You are actively engaged in the process of reading to learn about craft skills. An example of this for me would be reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. This is a vampire novel, but I read it as a study of well composed prose and not as a quick subway read.

Critical reading takes longer than reading for fun. You aren’t just reading the book for the story. You are examining the plot elements, style, and character development. If you took a literature class in college, the process you learned is the same. You are examining the work and attempting to uncode what the author did, why they made the choices they made, and how they crafted their text. You are reading the work as a writer, not just a literary critic. You are consciously thinking about the choices the author made, potential alternatives and why (or why not) things worked. You may reread sections, take notes, do a practice exercise based on a section of the text, or rework a section that you felt didn’t flow well and try to fix it. You will at the very least be interacting with the text on a deeper level than the average reader. When you are finished reading the book, your opinion of its value (or lack there of) will be based on a critique of concrete writing elements, not just a knee-jerk it was “a good/bad story” but a thoughtful opinion of a finely/poorly crafted story because of X. X being character development, use of phrases, turn of words, plot structure, etc…

What You Should Read
“Bad” authors. Lots of poorly crafted books get published. I have a list of authors whose books seem to me to be first drafts at best. Reading poorly crafted books critically can be a great exercise. Don’t over do it, read only one or two a year. Focus on what didn’t work or could have been done better.

Academically Praised authors. These are mostly Cannon authors, but there are always a few new authors who are receiving academic praise for their works. The masters have a lot to offer the aspiring author. There will be tons you love and also tons you hate. Keep the historical period in which they were writing in mind when exploring their styles.

Top Notch Titles. These are the books that make your mouth water. Author’s whose prose drip with magic and whose characters seem so real they could be your best friend. These are the books that if you were stranded on a deserted island you would want with you. The books you have reread and find yourself returning to or at least wanting to return to again. For me, these books include: The World According to Garp; The Crimson Petal and the White; The Historian; The Color Purple; almost anything by Alice Walker; and Bastard Out of Carolina.

Popular authors. These can be defines as authors who have multiple titles that have sold extremely well. Steven King, Anne Rice’s vampire novels, Daniel Steel, and the Harry Potter books are all examples of what I would describe as popular authors. There are more on the list, but you get the idea. Why do these books sell? What is the appeal of them? How do they rate to the Top Notch or Academically Praised titles?

Genre authors. You need to stay abreast of the genre you are writing in or hope to write in. Markets change, anthology editors change. The public is fickle. Read the most popular authors in your genre. Read the best selling anthologies in your genre. What makes them popular? How is your work similar/different? What do you have that is new to offer to the genre?

Writing Manuals. I always look at the writing manual section when I go to the book store. Sometimes a manual will catch my eye and I’ll spend a few hours a week for a few weeks reading it and doing the exercises in it. I find it to be, well in honesty, a lot of fun.

Something Different. Admit it; you have your favorite sections of the book store. You are drawn to a certain card catalog at the library. There are genres you haven’t explored yet. I always look at sci-fi/fantasy; memoir; graphic novels; GLBT section; and then crafts. I never wonder outside of those areas. I claim it is because I don’t have enough time in the bookstore, but that isn’t true. My partner would spend hours in the bookstore. The truth is those are the types of books I like to read. They are familiar and comfortable to me. Select at least one book a year that is actually something different. Read a mystery, romance, sci-fi, memoir, whatever that category is for you. You may discover a new genre you didn’t know you liked. You may learn a new craft skill. You may discover you want to write a book/story in that new genre.

Amie M. Evans
November 2008


More of Amie M. Evans' Two Girls Kissing in ERWA 2008 Archive.

______
"Two Girls Kissing: Writing Lesbian Literary Erotica" © 2008 Amie M. Evans. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Amie M. Evans is a widely published creative nonfiction and literary erotica writer, experienced workshop provider, and a retired burlesque and high-femme drag performer. She is on the board of directors for Saints and Sinners GLBT literary festival and graduated Magna cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in Literature and is currently working on her MLA at Harvard.
Read Amie M. Evans' full bio at the Erotica Readers & Writers Association.



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'08 Movie Reviews

Almost Perfect
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The Fold
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Two
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Fallen
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'08 Book Reviews

Anthologies

Best Bisexual Women's Erotica
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Best Fantastic Erotica
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Best Women's Erotica '08
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Bound Brits (ebook)
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Deep Inside: Extreme ...
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Dirty Girls
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Hide and Seek
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Hurts So Good
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J is for Jealousy
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K is for Kink
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Lust Bites
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Open for Business
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Possession
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Rubber Sex
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Rubber Sex
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Seriously Sexy
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Sex & Candy
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The Shadow of a... (poetry)
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Spanked
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Tasting Her
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Tasting Him
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Tasting Him
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White Flames
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Yes, Ma'am: Male Submission
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Yes, Sir: Female Submission
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Novels

The Art of Melinoe
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Demon by Day
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Gemini Heat
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Gothic Heat
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The Hidden Grotto Series
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The House of Blood
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In Too Deep
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In Too Deep
Review by Victoria Blisse

Incognito
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Nicholas
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One Breath at a Time
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Out of the Shadows (ebook)
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Phantasmagoria
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Reckless
Review by Rose B. Thorny

Seduce Me
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Seduced by the Storm
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Serve the People!
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Signed, Sealed and Delivered
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Sunfire (eBook)
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Templar Prize
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The Wicked Sex
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Wild Kingdom
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Gay Erotica

Backdraft
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Best Gay Romance '08
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Hard Hats
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Leathermen
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Lesbian Erotica

Best Lesbian Erotica '08
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Best Lesbian Erotica '08
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The Night Watch
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Non-Fiction

America Unzipped
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Best Sex Writing '08
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Bonk: The Curious Coupling
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The Book of Love
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Casanova: Actor Lover ...
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Dishonorable Passions
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Flagrante Delicto (photos)
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The Flesh Press
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Geisha, Harlot, Strangler, Star
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The Humble Little Condom
Review by Rob Hardy

Instant Orgasm (sex guide)
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Man O Man! Writing M/M...
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The Not So Invisible Woman
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Swingers: Female...
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Who's Been Sleeping in...
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