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NaNoWriMo advice from a fast writer

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I’m a fast writer.

Seriously, short stories take me an hour or two (maybe) and a first draft of a novel has yet to take me more than a month and a half (at most).  Fast is just the way I’m built.  I think fast, talk fast (much to my parent’s confusion), hell I even do dishes fast.  I’m impatient to get on with life, so I get’er done.  To me this is a blessing, although some might see it as a curse.  Once I was in a writing group and one of my group buddies told me that one of my short stories should be revised and revised and that I should work on it for months.  I laughed in his face then quit the group (okay so maybe it wasn’t as dramatic as all that, but I still did disagree and eventually leave because the pace of the group was too slow).  Fucked if I’m going to work on a short story for months, I have things to do with my life.  Don’t you?

Sure you do.  We all have things to do with our lives and we want to get on with it.

So you’ve decided to jump into NaNoWriMo have you?  You think you can write over 50,000 words in one month?  You think you can get a first draft of a novel done in 30 days?

You’re damn right you can.

Here’s a list of my best advice for people who need to write fast this November:

Let go of slow

I feel as though writers have this romantic image of themselves more often than not.  Imagine a secluded space, a darkened cafe or a mountain top, or a secret garden or a dusty library.  There the writer sits, rolling up their sleeves, dipping quill into ink pot and writing the most romantic words of all time, the words that will make the world shiver with delight and quiver with depth of meaning.  There’s writerly advice all over the place suggesting we slow down, take some time and delve into the ‘true spirit of writing’; this pen/pencil/quill in hand idea of what writing really means.  I’ve heard writing compared to meditation, a slow unravelling of self onto the page, a long, deliberate exploration of your inner thoughts.  Does this sound perfect to you?  Do you want to be the hermit writer on the mountaintop slowly penning the perfect prose?

Forget it.  You know what’s boring?  Meditation.  I tried it once and it sucks.  There you are sitting alone in some room or some park when the world is getting shit done.  And please, the idea of writing by hand not only makes my carpel tunnel flare, but it also makes me want to stab my eyes out with pencils.  Who said self exploration has to be slow?  Who said good things take time?  Life is short folks, embrace speed.  Thanks to technology the world is moving faster and faster.  You’re keeping up, so why not your writing?  Forget the notion of slow and deliberate and open yourself up to the creative chaos that is breathless speed, the kind of speed that doesn’t let you pause and think, or ruminate on your success/failure.  The more you think (or over think) the slower you are likely to be because the thoughts and nit picking will slow you down.


Get busy

Schedule other things in your life, fill it up.  The more you have to do, the better because the more you will want to/need to cram into what little time you have left to write.

Also, the act of being out in the world is damn inspiring, walking inspires genius (so does working out – I’m pretty sure physiologically working out is good for your brain).  Taking time to let your mind work away in the background can be the very thing you need.  Don’t shy away from a social life, be inspired by it instead.  The more you force yourself into the writing without breaks or time to think the more clunky your thoughts will become.

Always schedule time to breathe.

Get bored

I bore easily.

As Ben can attest to, I need constant entertainment.

This is probably one of the main reasons I write so fast, because I get bored of my stories.  Not because my stories are boring (at least I hope not) but because there is only so long I like to linger in one spot.

So try getting bored.  Get bored of the word you are struggling with and move on.  Get bored of the sentence and keep going.  Get bored of the chapter, the situation and keep it fresh.  The more bored you are, the less you are likely to hang out with the same ideas forever.  Moving on is the best remedy for boring situations.

Relinquish attachment

I like to move.

I have changed apartments once a year for the past six or seven years.  Each time I move I toss out everything I possibly can (or sell it) and go into the new space fresh.  It’s liberating.  Stuff is just stuff, it means nothing in the grand scheme of things.  This state of mind, this relinquishing of attachment serves me well in writing too.

Words are just words.  They can be tossed out or rearranged like furniture, depending on your needs.  My ability to throw out things, items, objects, that I may have found important once allows me to quickly cull my words.  If a sentence isn’t working, I’ll cut it and start fresh with just the idea.  This allows me not only a certain amount of brevity, but a lack of attachment that I find speeds up my entire process.

Note:  If you have attachment issues and still want to try relinquishing as an experiment, just save drafts so you can go back and linger over your lost words once you are done NaNoWriMo.

Plan, a little

I’ve been running through the opening line for my NaNoWriMo project for the past week.  Just the first line.  The rest is broad strokes, open ended but with a vague idea of where I’m going.
I find a little bit of planning goes a long way, but too much can spoil the fun.  I’m writing a project with my Mother-in-law during the month of November which necessitated more planning than I’m used to.  But I don’t mind.  In my head it seems to be working out.
I don’t want to get stuck.  I don’t want an insurmountable surprise hurdle half way through.

A basic structure is a good idea and knowing the end is key.  Just enough to be ever so slightly bored.  To feel as though the story is slightly written, but still be left with some unexpected moments.

Dream big & positive

Before I even start a book I tend to think big.

I like to think about my potential audience, if I can sell it.  How it will be appreciated.

I don’t write to be famous or make loads of cash and I certainly don’t think anyone should (because good luck with that).  But it’s nice to imagine that some day your work may be read, enjoyed and even awarded, because who doesn’t like to be recognized for their talents and efforts?

I give you full permission to dream big, to imagine your adoring fans and your book/movie deals starring the hottest movie stars you care to imagine.  Because who knows?  And it’s always nice to have a little extra incentive to get writing.

Fuck your word count goals

Keeping track of work count is fun, but it can also be bad.
You have a story to tell, not a word count to achieve.

When Ben and I work out, Ben knows he has to work out for half an hour at least.  He used to watch the clock and as soon as it hit half an hour he would start feeling tired and give up.  So he started turning the clock around and magically he went for longer.

I’m not a psychologist, but I reckon that seeing your daily word count goal achieved will make you more likely to slow down once you’ve hit the mark and that’s just not good enough.

Try re-working the goal in your mind here’s some ideas of new ways to frame it that will probably get more out of you:

• Start writing after breakfast and write until you are genuinely hungry for lunch
• Give yourself a chapter goal – a chapter a day for example (especially good if you have a more concrete story outline)
• Write until you can’t physically write anymore
• Write until the idea is complete

Get competitive

I recently heard someone referring to completing their NaNoWriMo goal as ‘winning’ and I thought: fuck yeah.  I want to win the hell out of this thing.

I’m very competitive though, some people don’t care as much about winning as I do.

But in my heart I believe everyone cares at least a little about winning.  Find that time when you cared about winning something, whether it was the swim meet in grade 3 or the heart of your lover.  Find that and remember that feeling.  The elation, the high of competition.

Then go for the gold.

Win, win, win!

Open the document

This is the first hard part.

This is the one that gets me sometimes.

If you’re afraid to do it, it will never get done.  So just open the damn document and get typing.  I promise it isn’t as bad as you think.

So there you have it.  Some tips from a fast writer.
Have any more?  Let me know below!

P.S. If you actually want to be a writer, don’t use NaNoWriMo as a crutch – read THIS to catch my drift.

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The art (and sandwich) of the critique

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So I’ve been attending various groups and trying to chime in on writing forums to critique other people’s writing.  I like doing it because I feel as though I am sort of paying it forward for all those times other people have helped me with critiques.  I also like it because it helps me delve into the craft of writing and really get a feel for different styles and what works for me and what doesn’t.  

So critiquing is awesome, it forces you to think critically about the writing world around you and (ideally) gives you a more honed ability to turn that critical eye on yourself.  

Critiquing is awesome, but sometimes it can be hard.  You want to be helpful, but you certainly don’t want to send the critiquee home bawling, dreams of a literary future crushed under the weight of your scathing review.  

So now, I shall bestow upon you my rules for the art of the critique, gathered during my relatively short career as a reviewer of many works of fiction and non-fiction alike:

Don’t try to change the writer (or the story)

I went to Ad Astra.  It was nothing to write home about (hence the lack of commentary posts about it) but I did hear one thing that stuck with me.  It was during a discussion on critiquing that someone piped up and said – don’t try and change the story you’re critiquing.  

At some point in our lives as readers and reviewers I’m sure we’ve all done it – thought (or said aloud): wouldn’t it be better if the story was (insert opinion on how the writer should change the genre, the style or the storyline completely).

Maybe it would be better if the story was completely different, or if the style was more up your alley…better for you.  Remember you are critiquing someone else’s work, not your own and it’s so much easier if you critique in context.  Don’t try and change a writer or their style, finding their own voice is up to them.  What you should be doing is trying to help them by making the style they’ve chosen and the story they want to tell the best it can be.  

Maybe you’d prefer if half the characters were anthropomorphized animals, maybe you think it would be smashing if the protagonist discovered latent super powers half way through the novel or maybe you think a good dose of gritty stylistic modification would spice up that children’s book.  But ultimately, it’s up to the writer.  Feel free to suggest whatever you want, but at some point it’s going to feel like you’re just banging your head against the wall, trying to make someone a writer they aren’t – and that just sucks for everyone.  

At the end of the day, if the writing just isn’t speaking to you maybe it’s best to just pack it in and pass it on to someone who might be more capable of critiquing that writer’s work.  

Use ‘I feel’

Let’s face it, when we create and allow others to critique our work we are making ourselves vulnerable and it’s a tough thing for anyone to do.  Although thick skin is always good, there’s probably very few people who are immune to the bad review blues.  So let’s do our part to soften the blow a little.  

Using ‘I feel’ can sometimes remind the writer that it is just your opinion.  This is important, because frankly, that’s all it is.  There will always be different strokes for different folks and your critique is probably not the be all and end all.  I try (as much as I can) to explain that my review is just my perspective and if I’m not their ideal reader, I like to tell them that.  Sometimes it helps make things a bit easier if the writer is reassured that your opinion is just one in a million and they ultimately have to do what they feel is best.  

Strengths and missed opportunities

I have someone in one of my writing groups who uses the system ‘strengths and missed opportunities’ for critiquing.  I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it’s pretty good.  Starting with the strengths is always a good thing.  As pattern seeking monkeys, when we are told we need to ‘critique’ something, we automatically look to be critical.  But so often when we do that, we miss out on what we liked or even loved about the piece.  Sharing the strengths is not only good because it gives us the warm fuzzies, it’s also good because it’s telling the writer what to keep doing.  

Missed opportunities can also be a helpful way to frame the more negative stuff because it reminds me of the number one rule, don’t try and change the writer.  Instead of thinking ‘why this piece sucks’, when I think of missed opportunities, it makes me think contextually and inside the framework of the existing piece.  So bravo to the person in my writing group who introduced me to this concept – and thanks!

The sandwich

Sandwiches are delicious.  Who doesn’t love them?  So why not make your review a sandwich!  This goes along with the above point and I find it useful in written reviews (or really any time you need to say something critical).  It’s the good-bad-good sandwich.  Start with the good, move onto the bad (or missed opportunities) and end on a high note, with something encouraging and awesome!  Yum – critique sandwich!

Give exercises

I like giving people challenges, or something they can do on their own to help them visualize what I’m trying to say.  If I’m not feeling the dialogue chemistry, I might suggest practicing writing scenes of pure dialogue.  If they’re stumbling over description I say slow down and write a half a page about a location.  This doesn’t mean they should absolutely use it in their writing, it’s just a way to practice to make things a little more footloose and fancy free!

Share your fears and feelings

If you’re a writer too, you probably have some stories to tell (see what I did there?) about bad critiques and times where you’ve felt unsure about yourself.  Share yourself with the writer you are critiquing.  Make that connection, because it might just help them (and you) in the long run.

Don’t be so definitive

Nothing is set in stone, so don’t make it sound like it is.  Try to hold yourself back from saying ‘this is crap’ with no further elucidation.  Also, please avoid making barfing sounds while you read their work too, they won’t appreciate it.*

Don’t be a douche!

Ah the final and most important rule.  Don’t be a douche!  It’s really easy to bring people down, but it takes skill and compassion to actually try to help them.  And ultimately, that’s what we’re trying to do!  Here’s my dos and don’ts:

Don’t

• Be condescending
• Make assumptions about them
• Talk down to them
• Try to ‘educate’ them (try saying how you feel or sharing what you’ve learned along the way instead)
• Write them off simply because you don’t like their writing

Do

• Tell them how you feel
• Make sure they know it’s just your opinion
• Share your own struggles and challenges
• Use the sandwich!

Did I miss something?  Let me know in the comments!

*This may have sounded like I was speaking from personal experience, but I’m not.  It just kind of popped in there.

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The Beauty of Corporate Writing

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Corporate writing can be beautiful.

Don’t believe me?  I guess I don’t blame you, but I’m telling the truth.

Fiction writing is an unbounded thing, wild and fancy free.  There are some boundaries, sure, but not many.  You’re unfettered, letting your imagination wander and run wherever it wants to.  Although this can be wonderful, it can be intimidating.  With fiction writing, it’s all on you.  It’s up to you to be fabulously imaginative, unique, un-cliche.  I used to have a reoccurring fever dream when I was young.  In it, everything felt big, not big and free, but big in an impossibly massive way that gave my little mind an existential freak out.  In my dreams the world felt too huge, too unwieldy, there was too much to be done, to be explored.  That’s sometimes how I feel about fiction writing.  Like if I pick one idea, I’m leaving too much out there, unwritten.

Corporate writing is the exact opposite.  It is tightly bound by rules and values, concepts and plans.  You must take a specific idea and communicate it in the exact way someone else wants you to (but with your own flair).  You must aggregate massive amounts of information and churn them through the well oiled machine of your mind, then it must come out clearly and concisely on the other end.

Sound boring?  Think again.

I think what people often forget is that corporate writing is still writing, so it’s a gift.  The trick is to remember it is writing and you are a writer.  As writers we have the unique enjoyment of being allowed (and sometimes even paid) to play with words.  It’s our job to put one word after another and make them sound smooth, flawless and wonderful.  Corporate writing can be a challenge, which is great, and better yet you are allowed the opportunity to add in your own personal challenge.  The challenge of making it beautiful.

So what is beauty when it comes to corporate writing?  Pretty much the same thing that beauty in fiction is.  Here’s some ideas for challenges you can issue yourself when it comes to adding beauty to your corporate words:

Brevity

I think brevity is stunning.  The simplicity, the awe-inspiring lack of confusion and clutter.  It takes a masterful mind to write something short, but exactly to the point.

Rich Imagery

I was writing a proposal for a client the other day and I was inspired by how much imagery I got to infuse.  It was a challenge to balance the imagery with the information, but by the end I was proud of the simple beauty of the piece.


Making it compelling

A lot of corporate writing can lean towards being a little dry, but it’s your job as the wordsmith to make it compelling.  Words have an endless amount of combinations, but if you choose the right order, any piece can have an element of art to it.

Information

Weaving information into the writing can be a challenge, but to do it well can be enormously satisfying.  Think of all the times you’ve had to communicate a bit of information.  You juggle the words, play with them, move them around, then bingo!  If that eureka moment isn’t a bit of beauty then I’ll eat this paragraph.

Still think I’m nuts for thinking corporate writing can have beauty in it?
Just surf the internet for a bit and check out websites.  Read a bunch of the copy and compare.  Some websites are quick, punchy and to the point, while others are slow, paunchy and drop the ball.

Corporate writing can be beautiful.

Beauty is everywhere, but sometimes we have to look a little closer to find it.

Look closer at your corporate writing and tell me how you find beauty in it.

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The Plague of Backstory

I shudder when I hear the term ‘world building’.

It makes me think of people sitting there for weeks, months, years, plotting every minute detail of their story universe and the thought of it just makes me itchy.

I know it’s integral to a lot of speculative fiction writing, but whenever people talk about it I wanna grab an umbrella to prepare for a deluge of backstory.

I’m not saying backstory is bad by any means, but I am most certainly the kind of person who gets bored of it really easily.  The Silmarillion, for example, has been sitting on my shelf for ages, half read because I just can’t bring myself to trudge through it.  Tolkien’s writing is stunning sometimes, but the backstory reads like a text book and I left school long ago.

So you want to write a story that’s full of backstory and myth and history?  I get it, some people like that kind of thing.  Maybe I’m not your ideal reader and that’s cool, but if you want your book to appeal to a wider swath of speculative fiction fans (or people like me who get bored of detailed histories) I can offer my thoughts on backstory and how to keep it from spreading like the plague that rocked your fantasy world thirteen centuries ago and caused lasting devastation.

***

Sprinkle don’t pour

The info dump is my worst enemy.  Thick, meaty paragraphs of history about the world with no break for action or dialogue.  I’m here for the story, not the history lesson.  Please keep it minimal, sprinkle, don’t pour.

In the beginning

In the beginning you want to keep it especially light because I want to head right into the story and learn about the backstory once I’m invested.  If I don’t have a reason to care and you dump backstory on me, it’s likely I’ll just cut my losses and leave your book on the shelf next to The Silmarillion.

No info dumps in dialogue

Usually people don’t sit around and tell each other tales of history (unless it’s a bard and then it’d better be funny).  They don’t spew out whole massive stories in one breath and even if they do, people don’t really want to listen.  Keep your dialogue minimal and realistic and save the backstory for small sprinkles in the text.

Choose carefully

Is it really relevant that nine hundred years ago there was a battle between two warring tribes somewhere on a far continent?  Do we really need to know every detail about the invention of the laser guns that are so prolific in your world?  You’ve worked hard on all the details, but that doesn’t mean that they are all relevant, or even interesting.  I want to know what I need to know for the story’s sake or for character building, not much more.

It’s about character & present story

Ultimately your story is about your characters and what happens to them.  Sometimes that may include a little context or history, but overall it should be present and future, not past or ancient history.

***

It’s your world, you’ve poured all your blood, sweat and tears into it.  It’s awesome you’re having a good time, but at some point it’s time to administer the drugs and stop the plague of backstory before it takes over the entire universe.  Backstory and history are great things to add in sprinkles, but more than that and you’ve lost me.

Agree and have more tips on keeping it simple?

Hate me for saying you should cut down on your favorite part of writing?

Let me know!

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The Importance of Words

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I love words.

I fucking love words.

Isn’t it wonderful how the two sentences above mean exactly the same thing but feel so different?  It’s all thanks to one word.  Just the addition of one little word can make a sentence feel different, it can tell us something about the writer and change our entire perspective.  It’s a bit like magic, isn’t it?  By adding the word ‘fucking’ to my love of words, I’ve increased the boldness, maybe added a little shock and told you I’m not afraid of using words some people might find offensive or distasteful.  That’s a lot of information crammed into seven letters.

Here’s some examples of more words that change meaning:

Murder vs. Slaughter  

I love the word slaughter.  I think it’s so evocative and tells us something more specific about the death in question.  Murder is almost mundane, it’s the tame sibling of slaughter.  Murder is broad and sweeping, less perverse and savage.  To me, slaughter evokes images of a killing floor, a sociopathic, willful and gruesome act.  It adds to the gravity of the death and makes it something more than it would be if it was simply murder.

Making Love vs. Having Sex vs. Fucking

This is an exciting trio because each choice can say so much about the individual.  If you have two people and one refers to sex as making love, while the other calls it fucking, you immediately learn about both personalities and even the status of the relationship.  The dynamic possibilities are so rich despite the brevity of the terms.

Dirt vs. Earth

Earth is epic.  It’s vast, elemental and evocative. Dirt is small, local and simple.

“I can’t” vs. “I can not”

Words can also make a massive difference when it comes to dialogue.  The difference between an abbreviation and two separate words can tell us so many things about the speaker.  Perhaps it’s education or social status, maybe it’s time period or situation.  The choices we make for our character’s speech patterns can vastly restructure their personalities based on the smallest tweaks.

I fucking love words.  They are so important that just one (or the lack of one) can change the entire meaning of a story.

Tell me how you feel about words.

What are your favorites?

How do you use words to change meaning and character?

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Love Your Dialogue

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I was at a writing group the other day and someone asked about how to write good dialogue.  I sat there for a moment thinking, then I realized I had a helluva lot to say on the subject.

I used to be afraid of dialogue (see my post about it HERE) but now I love it and I find the more I write it and critique it in other people’s stories, the more I’m learning how to rock it.

So here are my tips so far on how to love your dialogue (and hopefully have other people love it too):

Stop Cramming Backstory

Stop cramming backstory into your dialogue now.  Stop it.  Nobody wants to hear your characters tell their whole life story in conversation because it feels forced and completely unnatural.  There are very few situations in life where I have ever had to sit down and tell a person my whole life story.  In relationships and friendships it comes in bits, over time.  As far as you should go is a vague mention of something here or there that can be filled in as the story progresses.  No one likes* info dumps and long boring histories, especially in dialogue.

*Okay so maybe some people might like it, but I would think those people are few and far between.

Don’t think of dialogue as story

Dialogue is character, not story.  This basically means that if you are trying to progress the story too much within dialogue than you are probably doing your characters a disservice*.  So just take some time to make sure that your action isn’t entirely being pushed through in conversation, because it can come across as stilted and it can even dilute certain opportunities to use dialogue for character building.

*The exception here would be a story that is made entirely of dialogue.

Talk around meaning

This one was brought up by an awesome lady in my group.  She said that people don’t often say what they really mean, so generally you should avoid flat out honesty.  I totally agree.  People use all sorts of psychological tricks to get around getting to the point.  You can use this to your benefit in conversations.  Beat around the bush a little (if it’s in your characters character), play with double meanings and metaphor and allow your characters to be reluctant to say what they mean.  It’s only human after all.

Try accents

I’m sure some people wouldn’t agree, but I say give them a try.  If they suck, you can easily change them, but there’s no harm in experimenting!

Keep it short

People don’t usually talking in long, sprawling sentences.  They are generally short and quick and use sounds and abbreviations and contractions.  Think really hard before allowing your character to say ‘It is’ instead of ‘It’s’.  Always take the shortest route possible and minimize the word count*.  The shorter it is, the faster the read and the more it will feel like real conversation.

*Unless of course your character is a long winded kinda person.

Dialogue tags are distracting

He said, she said, he shouted, she laughed.  We get it.  Do your best to minimize.  Your characters voices should be unique enough and the context should be concrete enough that we know who’s talking without dialogue tags.  If you need them, try to tie them in with actions as well, so if we have to be distracted, it’s for a good reason.

Get your lingo right

Don’t be the person who has teenagers saying ‘radical’.  No one says that anymore unless they’re being sarcastic.  If you have to, go stalk some teenagers and listen to them.  Listen to the way people talk, the words they choose and even if you can’t find anyone to listen to, just think about it hard.  I’m sure you’ve talked to a million people in your lifetime and you can pull up some memories of how they speak.  Be careful with teenagers though, they seem to be the hardest.

Get in the flow

Read out loud.  Feel the flow.  Match the flow to the tone of the conversation and the quality of the relationship.  Try to imagine what’s happening in each characters mind. I wrote a scene the other day where a character was on the verge of tears.  I remembered what it feels like to be almost crying, so I wrote her dialogue with single word responses.  I know when I’m about to bawl any single word could send me over the edge and so I get down to ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or ‘okay’.  Doing this added to the scene because it gave it an undercurrent of being on the edge of a breakdown.  Remember that the flow of a conversation and patterns of dialogue change for any given situation.  Match that and you’ll be laughing.

Those are my tips, I’ll update if I think of more.

Feel free to comment and add your own.  Tell me about dialogue challenges and successes you’ve had.  Tell me how you’ve learned to love your dialogue.

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Let’s talk about Sex (baby)

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Sex is awesome.

It’s dynamic, sexy and it makes things more interesting pretty much every time.

I have recently been writing an novel/la that involves a bunch of sex and I’ve been learning as I go about the ways in which I want to approach it.  I don’t read a lot of erotica or romance novels or even loads of stories in which there is a lot of sex, but I’ve still read enough to know what I like and what I don’t.

So here’s Star’s Dos & Don’ts for sex in stories:

Don’t

Don’t use terms like throbbing member or glistening folds or heaving bosom.  I’m sure the first time someone wrote that it was novel and maybe even evocative (probably not though) but by now it’s just dumb.

Don’t make sex sound pedestrian or clinical.  Anyone can use the words penis and vagina and tits and ass, but if you use the words too much they’re excessive and if you use them only once in awhile then they can be jarring.  There are always exceptions of course, like if you’re meaning to be shocking or you’re writing about medical kinks.

Don’t make sex a toss away.  Don’t just throw it in to be evocative, make it mean something.  Even if that something is that it means nothing, that’s better than just sticking it in where it otherwise might not belong.

Do

Remember your most exciting sexual experiences, what do you recall?  Was it the tension of the moment before the electric union?  Was it the thrill of a glance across a room?  Was it a subtle gesture?  Was it the fun after a particularly cerebral relationship?   Don’t be shy, use your experiences and your fantasies to your benefit and focus in on the things that matter most.

Think outside yourself.  Now that we have you thinking about your own experiences, think beyond that (unless of course you’re sex connoisseur and have tried everything imaginable).  Don’t be afraid of experimenting with orgies and same sex partners, kinks and fantasies.  Don’t go overboard (unless you’re writing erotica) but don’t be afraid to add a little extra.

Use sexy language.  I don’t mean dirty talk ‘ooh ooh you are such a sexy beast’, I mean find the poetry in the moment.  Think about metaphor and rhythm and try to match your tone to the pace you want to achieve.  Remember you are a wordsmith and you have free reign over the language, explore it, get sexy and have fun!

Finally and most importantly, investigate the relationships and how your characters interact.  Explore more than their physiological feelings in the moment and see what happens.  Sometimes the best sex is with someone you’ve known and loved for years, other times that could be fraught with problems.  Find out what motivates the sex and that will set the tone.  It doesn’t always have to be super passionate and steamy, it can be lonely, painful, meaningful, joyful, fun, desperate.  All of this depends on your characters relationships with themselves or others though, so dig in and go wild!

Have I missed a spot?

Let me know!