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'11 Authors Insider Tips

Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
From Inspiration to Publication
Writing the First Draft
Seduce Your Reader
Be a Real Writer
Sexy Writing Partnerships

Kill Electrons, Not Trees
by William Gaius
What Does It Mean...?
The Decision to Self-Publish
The Decision To Self-Publish, 2
Printing ... for Self-Publishers
A Copyright Primer
How to POD, free (almost) Part 1
How to POD, free (almost) Part 2

The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Three Top Tips...
Not Writing Erotica
The Importance of Being Colin
Dream Writing
To Boldly Go
The Unforgivable Taboo
Managing Multiple Projects
Doing it in Public
Nil Bastardum Carborundum
Workshop Insights

Assorted Attractions

Meet Robert Buckley
Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister

The Write Stuff

by Ashley Lister

Three Top Tips to Improve Your Erotic Writing


The Write Stuff by Ashley ListerWith the end of 2010 in sight, and the dubious pleasures of another year looming on the next page of the calendar, I thought it would be prudent to provide a list of the top three things a writer can do to improve their erotic fiction.

1) Sit comfortably.  Writing is a sedentary occupation.  Make sure your chair is comfortable and offers good back support.  Make sure your working environment is ergonomically friendly.  There are no self-help groups for those heroes of the literary world who have injured their backs by writing whilst sitting with inappropriate posture.

2)  Write every day.  I talk with some students who claim that they don’t have the time to write.  “I’ve been busy with my family and my job,” they explain.  These people have been too busy to find five minutes to write during the entire week since our last lesson.  In each week there are 10,080 minutes.  These students, although they claim to be committed to learning the mechanics of creative writing, they haven’t been able to spare five of those minutes to work on a set exercise.

Consider this for a moment in financial terms.  If you were given 10,080 dollars a week, and you had a desire to improve your skills in creative writing, how much of a financial investment would you be willing to make?  Five dollars sounds like a small amount from such a vast sum, doesn’t it?  Five dollars a day (35 dollars a week) also sounds paltry.  It doesn’t even knock the initial sum below the 10,000 level.  It doesn’t knock the initial sum below 10,000 if the writer commits to 10 minute/dollars a day.

To not make this investment can be seen as tightfistedness.  It’s as though the student is saying, “I want to become a creative writer, but I don’t want to invest any time or effort.”  If I went into a store with the same mindset it would mean an argument with the cashier at the end of the shopping expedition.  I would explain that I wanted to walk away with a basketful of groceries, but have no intention of paying because I’ve already committed my resources to family and the job. 

I have tried this approach to shopping and it doesn’t work.  I can’t say I’ve tried this approach to writing because, technically, this is called not writing.  One of the most obvious ways of ensuring your writing is not successful is to not write.

3) Enjoy your writing.  One of the reasons why some students can’t find time to write is because they’re not enjoying the experience.  I can relate to that and I sincerely believe, if you’re not enjoying the writing experience – quit it.  Obviously you need to experiment with other genres; try different approaches to the craft; make an attempt to work out what’s not working with your fiction and see if the issue can be resolved.  I’m not suggesting, as soon as any writing experience becomes a challenge you should give up and invest your energies into water colours.  But if you’re regularly unhappy with the idea of writing, then it’s time to look at a different outlet for your creativity. 

If you don’t enjoy writing a story, there’s a strong chance your reader won’t enjoy reading your story.  More importantly, because writing is such a piss-poor-paying excuse for an occupation, you will have wasted an important part of a precious life doing something you despise. 

Writing can be a lot of fun.  Sitting comfortably whilst you write can make sure it’s not a painful occupation.  Investing enough time will ensure you produce suitable quantities of work.  And enjoying your work will mean it gives you some pleasure, even if it doesn’t offer any financial rewards.  Enjoy your writing over the forthcoming festive period, and good luck with all your projects for the forthcoming New Year.

Ashley Lister
December 2010 - January 2011

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" © 201o 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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