Erotica Readers & Writers Association
Home | Erotic Books | Authors Resources | Inside The Erotic Mind | Erotica Gallery
Adult Movies | Sex Toys | Erotic Music | Email Discussion List | Links

'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

Broken Rainbows


I saw a rainbow this morning.  It was a huge thing: impossible colours arced across a faded-denim sky.  Even though the weather was cold, and flecks of rain spattered against my head and shoulders, I stood for a while admiring its improbable beauty.

According to Greek mythology, the rainbow was a path made by the messenger Iris, between earth and heaven.  According to the Bible the rainbow is the sign of God’s promise that earthly life would never again be destroyed by flood.   And, according to most folklore, the rainbow is the sign showing where a leprechaun’s pot of gold is hidden.

And then there’s the scientific explanation: a rainbow is a meteorological/optical phenomena caused by sunlight shining onto droplets of moisture in the atmosphere.  The scientific explanation is probably the most accurate and it also happens to be the dullest.  In short: scientists broke the rainbows.

Over the past three years I’ve been studying writing.  Now I’m teaching writing. 

I’d written before.  I’ve got an opus of a couple of dozen novels to my credit as well as a couple of non-fiction titles and too many short stories to count.  But, for the past three years I’ve been learning the mechanics of writing so I can more effectively teach the subject.

In many ways it’s like science.  There are rules that need to be followed to make a narrative cohesive, coherent and enjoyable.  There are laws of communication that have to be obeyed to transform an idea into an experience worthy of being called literature.  And, just like science, the efforts of examination and inspection offer the dullest explanations and invariably threaten to break the rainbow.

Under critical examination, rainbows stop being pretty arcs of light stretched across the sky.  They become refracted and reflected beams of light perceived through droplets of atmospheric moisture. 

Under critical examination, novels and short stories cease to be entertaining pieces of fiction: they become expositions of an unwritten feminist manifesto prior to emancipation; or a Marxist commentary on the inequities of a tiered social system; or some other stream of prolix verbosity that’s far removed from its original intention.  Whatever they become, they’re seldom described as ‘a bloody good read.’

I have to admit, there have been times when I’ve found this whole situation to be disheartening.  What’s the point of working on a story when I’m no longer sure what it is I’m writing?  Why struggle to tell a story when, under analysis, the fruits of my struggle become lost beneath a burden of interpretations, criticisms and puzzling, over-complicated phrases.  Am I able to tell a story?  Or is story merely the argument of causal versus casual in the events of a character’s bildungsroman fate?  And, even if I am able to tell a story, shouldn’t I be showing a story (because we all know that writers should show and not tell). 

In short, after wilfully breaking so many rainbows, I became a little disheartened. 

But, this morning, I had an epiphany.  Admittedly, I was only staring at refracted and reflected sunlight as it shone against droplets of moisture in the atmosphere.  But it was one of the prettiest specimens of refracted and reflected sunlight I had seen in a long time.  And it was pretty enough to make me smile.

And that’s all that writing can ever hope to be.  Regardless of the mechanics that create a piece of fiction, whether it comes from a writer steeped in knowledge about the tradition of the novel, or a newcomer with a burning desire to tell a story, the results can be (and often are) a beautiful experience.

All of which is my longwinded way of saying: I’m now going to re-immerse myself back into my writing.  I shall attempt to spend 2010 creating more fiction.  And, even if I do have the opportunity to break some more rainbows, I won’t be harming them until after I’ve chased my way to their ends to see if the pot of gold is still there.

Have a good holiday season and a New Year that exceeds your expectations.

Ashley Lister
Decmeber '09 - January '10

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

Find more of Ashley's Write Stuff in ERWA 2009 Archive.

"The Write Stuff" © 2009 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

  E-mail this page

Search ERWA Website:

Copyright 1996 and on, Erotica Readers Association, Inc.
All Rights Reserved World Wide. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or
medium without express written permission is prohibited.

'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