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'10 Authors Insider Tips

Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Have More Good Sex
I Can Do Better ...
Trying to Get the Feeling
Plotting and Planning
Character Profiles
Discovery Draft
Be Bad to Be Good
E-Book Revolution
Naked for Halloween
Sex With Pilgrims

by Louisa Burton
The Music of Words
The Balancing Act
Your Fictional World
Backstory & Foreshadowing

The Fine Art of Submission
by Shanna Germain
Nailing the Query Letter
Banish the Boring Bio
Becoming a Market Master
Become a Market Master, 2
Backstory & Foreshadowing
Enticing An Editor, Part 1
Enticing An Editor, Part 2
Contracts, Money & More

Serious about Smut
by Vincent Diamond
No More Horsing Around
Short Stuff
Selling Short Stories
Editors' Pet Peeves
Settings: Beyond Time & Place
Beating Up Your Scenes
Selling Your Books in Person
Staying in the Saddle

The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Broken Rainbows
Talk the Talk
10 Commandments for Writing
Plotting to Avoid
Cover Story

'10 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
St Valentine's Day
Renaming Body Parts
Sex, Cigarettes & Erotic Fiction

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
C. Sanchez-Garcia
Kathleen Bradean
Lucy Felthouse
Neve Black
PS Haven
Tracey Shellito
Tresart L. Sioux

Cracking Foxy
with Robert Buckley
Plenty of Miles Left
Don't Worry, Be Happy
Fly the Unfriendly Skies
Coffee Time
Castrated Words
Virtual vs. Actual Romance
The View from Gallows Hill

Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
The Fashion Industry
The Same Old Same Old
Writing Porn
About the Closet
... About Spirituality
Making Sense of Religion
Worked Up About Monogamy
What's Next
All Worked Up About Nature
Still All Worked Up...

Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Holiday Ghosts
Love and Romance
An "Interracial" Epic
Trying to Make It Go Away
Sexual Etiquette
Sex and Children
People Against Bad Things
Virtual Acceptance
His Cold Eyes, His Granite Jaw
A Flash of Northern Light

The Write Stuff

by Ashley Lister

10 Commandments for Writing


The Write Stuff by Ashley Lister
  1. Read.  You can’t write if you don’t read.  Read books from your favourite genre.  Read books that friends recommend.  Read books critically.  Read books that friends say they’ve loved.  Work out why those books were so well-loved.  Read books that friends have hated.  Work out what went wrong in those books.  Read outside your comfort zone and critically analyse what you enjoy and what you don’t enjoy.  Above all: read.
  1. Write.  Write every day.  Cut out time-consuming habits that could interfere with your writing.  Do you really need to watch those soaps?  Can you spare half an hour before going to bed on an evening?  Find time to write whenever possible.  Even if it’s only ten minutes writing, it’s time enough to get an idea down that might otherwise be lost.  If you don’t have access to a PC or laptop, write with a pen and paper. 
  1. Plot.  Repeatedly ask the question: what if…?  Don’t just ask the question but answer it.  What if… a writer falls in love with someone who doesn’t read books?  What do they talk about?  Is there any hope for the relationship?  How do they overcome this obvious divide between them?  What if… a daily horoscope is unerringly accurate ever day for a week?  How soon would a character notice this?  Could it be used to the character’s advantage?  Would that impact on the accuracy of the horoscope?
  1. Write Poetry.  I know this could be considered the same as writing, but poetry requires a different approach to writing fiction.  In poetry every word counts.  Don’t necessarily concentrate on form.  Concentrate on capturing a moment with a haiku.  Concentrate on specifying a mood or a description with a brief burst of blank verse.  Don’t worry if the poetry isn’t publishable.  Focus only on expressing your thoughts with perfect clarity.
  1. Look.  Watch people.  Watch how they interact.  Watch their body language – or lack of it.  Note colours.  I live in a part of the world that has the most remarkable sunsets.  A Blackpool sunset can include peach, salmon, lemon, gold, orange and silver.  Observe similar features in your own area and include them in your fiction.  Don’t be satisfied with saying the sky is blue.  Look at the true colour and decide whether it’s denim, cornflower, sapphire, turquoise, aquamarine or cerulean. 
  1. Listen.  Listen to people talking.  Listen to how they speak as well as what they say.  Obviously, ambiguous comments could inspire ideas for an entire plot: I told him it was either me or the leg…  But listen to HOW people speak. Listen to the cadence in different voices and the way the same words can sound so different when there’s an inflection of emotion colouring their delivery. 
  1. Rewrite.  No one writes a novel, poem or short story.  They rewrite it.  First drafts are wonderful.  Completing a first draft is an accomplishment that few people make.  But first drafts need to be read and re-read; revised and edited; polished and perfected.  Rewrite to make sure the pace is correct.  Rewrite to make sure character voice is consistent.  Rewrite to make sure the reading is a pleasurable experience for the reader.  Rewrite to make sure the story you wanted to tell is the one you are telling.
  1. Push yourself to improve – but don’t be too hard on yourself. Identify your strengths and your weakness.  Resolve to improve the strengths.  Resolve to eradicate weaknesses.  Never take a rejection personally: most of them aren’t personal.  And never stop believing in your own ability. 
  1. Avoid clichés.  Avoid them like the plague.  They’re old hat.  You shouldn’t touch them with a ten foot barge pole.  Avoid clichéd language.  Avoid clichéd rhymes.  Avoid clichéd plot lines.  Avoid clichéd characters.  Your readers want to be excited by new ideas – don’t disappoint them.
  1. Enjoy your writing.  Writing is not easy.  And there will be days when you can’t face the page and the words just aren’t coming.  These are things that happen to all writers.  But it should remain something you enjoy doing and want to continue.  Whether it’s a fiction or poetry, the achievement of putting words on paper should give you a sense of satisfaction.

Ashley Lister
August 2010

If you have comments or questions about this column, please send them to Ashley Lister

Find more of Ashley's Write Stuff in ERWA 2010 Archive.

"The Write Stuff" © 2010 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, Swingers: True Confessions from Today's Modern Swinging Scene (Virgin Books), a non-fiction book recounting the exploits of UK swingers, is his first title published under his own name.
Ashley’s 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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'10 Book Reviews


Apocalypse Sex
Review by Ashley Lister

Bare Souls
Review by Ashley Lister

Best Women's Erotica 2010
Review by Jean Roberta

can’t help the way that i feel
Review by Ashley Lister

Coming Together...C. Sanchez-Garcia
Review by Ashley Lister

Coming Together...M Christian
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Coming Together...Remittance Girl
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Erotic Brits
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Fairy Tale Lust
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Like a God's Kiss
Review by Kristina Wright

Like a Sacred Desire
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Like a Veil
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Making the Hook-Up
Review by Ashley Lister

Review by Kristina Wright

Peep Show
Review by Kristina Wright

Please, Ma'am
Review by Ashley Lister

Spark My Moment
Review by Ashley Lister

Three In One Blow
Review by Shanna Germain

Review by Ashley Lister

Erotic Novels

Backstage Passes
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Review by Ashley Lister

Fire in the Blood
Review by Jean Roberta

Freak Parade
Review by Jean Roberta

I Came Up Stairs
Review by Jean Roberta

Marianne! A Journey...
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Marketplace
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Memorial Garden
Review by Lisabet Sarai

On Demand
Review by Ashley Lister

Once Bitten
Review by Shanna Germain

Rock My Socks Off
Review by Ashley Lister

The Tower and the Tears
Review by Lynne Connolly

Sensual Romance

Coin Operated
Review by Lynne Connolly

Review by Lynne Connolly

I Spy a Wicked Sin
Review by Harriet Klausner

Libertine's Kiss
Review by Lynne Connolly

The Master & the Muses
Review by Lynne Connolly

Review by Lynne Connolly

Review by Lynne Connolly

Review by Lynne Connolly

Tangled Web (MM Romance)
Review by Vincent Diamond

Tucker's Sin
Review by Lynne Connolly

Review by Harriet Klausner

Gay Erotica

Best Gay Erotica '10
Review by Vincent Diamond

Best Gay Romance 2010
Review by Vincent Diamond

Biker Boys
Review by Jay Lygon

Necessary Madness
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Personal Demons
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Royal Treatment
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Silver Foxes
Review by Vincent Diamond

Review by Jay Lygon

Special Forces
Review by Vincent Diamond

A Sticky End
Review by Jean Roberta

Wired Hard 4
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Lesbian Erotica

Best Lesbian Roamnce 2010
Review by Jean Roberta

Fast Girls
Review by Ashley Lister

Girl Crush
Review by Jean Roberta

Sometimes She Lets Me
Review by Jean Roberta


Best Sex Writing 2010
Review by Ashley Lister

A Brief History of Nakedness
Review by Rob Hardy

Condom Nation
Review by Rob Hardy

Dictionary of Semenyms
Review by Donna G Storey

Doctor of Love
Review by Rob Hardy

Florida’s Purge of Gay & Lesbian...
Review by Rob Hardy

John Holmes
Review by Rob Hardy

How Sex Works
Review by Rob Hardy

The Orgasm Answer Guide
Review by Rob Hardy

Screening Sex
Review by Rob Hardy

Sex at Dawn
Review by Rob Hardy

Whip Smart
Review by Rob Hardy