Jan 242007
 

If you’re going to write, you have to read. If you are going to write porn, you have to read something other than porn. By all means, keep reading porn because you need to know what everyone else is saying and writing but when it comes to your own consumption, you have to get influences from elsewhere.

Read some horror and learn how a writer can draw tension out. Learn how you can make the inevitable seem avoidable. Learn about the emotion of fear and think about the terror of getting naked for the first time for your lover. Learn how a horror writer makes you care about a character who dies a page later.

Read some romance even though you think you’re hardcore porn is hotter. Learn how a writer can make a snug t-shirt sound sexy for two pages. Figure out how a character can debate with themselves for six pages about something you know they are going to do, but they came close to talking themselves out of it. Work out how in a three hundred page book with one sex scene, the writer kept you turned on.

Read some science fiction and fantasy to see how they create whole worlds that exist only to tell the story the writer wanted to tell. Deconstruct the different races, languages, technobabble and magic systems to understand that all they really are is excuses to make the characters behave and act in certain ways. The theme of a pizza boy and the hot woman who has no money has nothing on the contrivance of a Jedi and his Queen falling in love.

Read some children’s fantasy and marvel at how a writer can make a tin man and talking scarecrow seem not only reasonable, but sympathetic. Remember what it meant to you as a child to know that Neverland was just the second star on the right.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of genres. Mystery will teach you misdirection, adventure will teach you action, and chick lit will teach you how to make a flawed character. If you find yourself in a rut in your erotica writing, go read a book outside your recreation list. Sharpen your skills by reading how someone else deals with the problems unique to their own genre.

Most of all, keep reading.

  5 Responses to “Book Swinger”

  1. So true. Heck, it isn’t just true of writers, but of any trade. Amazing the people I meet that don’t keep up with things going on in their own world. I’m lucky and cursed in that I really have to keep up with so many things, but I am always reading something.

    Right now I am almost finished with Michael Crichton’s Next, pretty good,just waiting to see how it all ends up.

  2. I would add that reading non-fiction is valuable, too (about sex and not). Like swinging both ways!

    :)

  3. Art- I agree, it’s a lot like meeting bloggers who are proud of the fact that they don’t read blogs. It always blows my mind.

    Wordslut- The best non-fiction can also teach you how to make an information dump interesting to the reader.

  4. Nice to see you writing again, Shon. I agree with this entry completely.

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