Aug 032018
 

A friend of mine asked me a few questions about my ebooks on Amazon. I think he was a bit disappointed to hear that I wasn’t buying yachts with my royalties but after talking for a bit, he admitted that he had written a few stories and wasn’t sure what to do with them.  He wasn’t interested in shopping them out to a publisher but he also seemed hesitant to self-publish at Amazon or smashwords. I tried to press him on it but he changed the subject so I let it drop.

You, dear reader, don’t have that option.

If you are a writer, whether it is erotica or not, there is no better time to get your stuff out there to a wider audience. Unlike when I first started posting stuff, you can actually get paid for it. Uploading your fiction to an online ebook service costs you literally nothing. Okay, you may spring for a stock photo for the cover but even that can be pretty cheap these days.

Some of you might think your stuff is not good enough. That is silly. There is a lot of shit out there! I mean, it is not inspiring to tell people that their shit is not as bad the shit that is already out there, but it is true. Crap is generated non-stop in ebook markets. I guarantee you that if you are self-conscious about your work, you have already spent mote time scrutinizing your work for errors and inconsistencies than most of the shit available for purchase RIGHT NOW.

Some of you might think your stuff is too weird. There is no such thing. Name a fetish, a kink or an interest that you think is unique to you and I know there are at least 50 people there looking for that weird shit as we speak.

Look, I admit that I am passionate about this. Everyone has a story in them and some of us spend a lot of time crafting those stories. You are not going to get rich writing erotica unless you hit the lottery of Life and write the next 50 Shades but in the meantime, you can get the joy of putting your work out there. You deserve to be read and you deserve to be recognized for the story you came up with.

Publish it already.

 

Jul 112018
 

I miss writing short stories. I learned how to write by writing short stories. A short story is like a quickie; fast and dirty and get to the point. I used to post a short story a week but usually I was writing as many as three in a week. There is something seductive about producing that many stories. The regular pace encouraged people to comment on my blog and those comments inspired me to keep writing.

An artist friend of mine expressed disbelief at the idea of posting free stories every week. It would be more accurate to say he was appalled. He was trying to make ends meet by monetizing every artistic thing he did and here I am just giving my work away. He thought I was independently wealthy and when I told him I wasn’t, I had the clear impression he just thought I was an idiot. Maybe he was right, but I did enjoy the thrill of having something new to show off every week.

I stopped doing short stories when my interactive books started making money on Amazon. I already greatly enjoy making interactive books but the money proved that people enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. The problem is these books take a lot of work and there was no way I could keep writing them and do my short-story-a-week pace.

Having said that, I am still writing a short Vaquel story once a month because I like Vaquel and I have been writing them for eight years. I plan to do her full twenty year voyage and that is too big of a goal to stop at the 40% mark.

Still, I do miss doing random short stories about whatever strikes my interest. Sometimes I see ebooks on Amazon that strike me as being super short for the money they charge. It makes me wonder if I could get my personal short story fix by writing little stories and selling them on Amazon. It is something to consider but since no one writes fan mail, I doubt I would get that same emotional rush like I get from posting on my blog and getting comments.

Tell you what I don’t miss about short stories and that is coming up with ideas. I would lose entire days of writing just trying to come up with a new story. Days I am not writing feel like wasted days and that would play havoc with my anxiety. It became a real problem when my wife thought I was having a depressive episode during one dry spell and I realized that maybe this kind of pace wasn’t mentally healthy for me.

Not knowing what to write isn’t a problem when you are writing a giant book like Ravished by the Haunted House or this new one, Fight in the Sex Arena. Every day I know what I need to write next. Sometimes I may brainstorm on how to make the next part more interesting than I originally planned, but those days feel far more productive than a day or two where I have no idea what to write at all. My mood has been a lot more stable and my depression is related more to the hellish world we live in rather than my struggles with my hobby.

So yeah, I miss writing short stories. I might treat myself and write one or two just for myself or maybe an experimental ebook project.

Right after I write another 100K words for this book I’m doing . . .

Jul 062018
 

It is hard for me to write in silence. Music is comforting to me and I find that my attention drifts more if everything is quiet. I also find that when I use a playlist to write to, the first few songs will instantly kick me into a writing mentality even on days when I would rather be doing anything else. Repetition is the best way to form a habit.

The trick to a good writing playlist to pick songs that fit the mood I am shooting for in my writing. For my Haunted House book, I played songs from magic conscious bands like Purson, Jess and the Ancient Ones, Blood Ceremony and Mount Salem. Mixed in with those were psychedelic bands like Vintage Caravan and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats for that out-of-body mind experience I find useful in supernatural stories.  this playlist worked really well for me and never failed to keep me in the mood.

For my Alien Sex Arena book, I was tempted to go with science fiction music but most scifi music is hopeful and on a grand scale.  It didn’t quite fit with the theme of an arena where the player will live and die simply to please the crowd. The sex was going to be rough and sweaty, which is not something you can find in a Star Trek soundtrack. I needed something more superficial and yet still exciting.

I found my anwser in Britney Spears music. if I had to list pop female stars in order of personal favorites, Britney might have been near the bottom of list but the dance beat simplicity of her music really sets the tone.  Trim out the songs about how sad it is to be a superstar diva and you have a bunch of songs that I could easily imagine playing in between sex fights at the arena.

The other upside to using Britney songs is that since I am not super fans of the songs, I don’t get distracted by them as much as I would with more favorite songs. This is why I don’t use disco music. Disco would be perfect for my theme but I wouldn’t get any writing done if I was singing Blonde’s Atomic full six minute version. I need upbeat catchy songs about dancing or fucking but not songs that are too good that I sing along.

For the rest of the soundtrack, I turned to other pop singers. It seems like every pop album has at least one song about how the singer is going to fuck someone’s brains out.  Some like Nicole Scherzinger and Kelly Rowland have multiple fuck songs with every album. I picked and choose, omitting songs that were more romantic than sexy and dropping singers I simply don’t enjoy. I also threw in some older songs from the late 80’s that didn’t hit these qualifications but evoked memories from my hormone-crazed teenage years.

I have been listening to some version of this playlist since November, when I first started work on the Sex Arena book. Some have become real favorites, like Britney’s “Work, Bitch” that I will probably add to future playlists. Others are more recent additions like Janelle Monae’s wonderful “Make Me Feel”.  It has been fun to curate and the act of picking songs makes me thinki a lot about the kind of story I am working on. Even if you don’t use music to write with, I suggest making a playlist of songs that you think would work as a compliment to your art.

Here is a link to my playlist if you would like to browse it yourself.

 

Jun 202018
 

Sometime around last October, I published my interactive book, Ravished Inside the Haunted House. It was a monster of a book and took my half a year to write it. I was exhausted and told myself that my next book would be a hell of a lot shorter.

About a month later, I decided what I wanted to write next was a story about a sex gladiator on a faraway planet who battled for his ass, literally. In front a screaming crowd and an evil Queen, he would fight aliens and people, with the winner having the right to fuck the loser with domination sex. It would be part of a grand tournament with a big finale where the winner gets to fuck the Queen.  It would be an interactive book where the reader took the part of the sex gladiator.

My initial thought was to write fast and dirty. Just spit this draft out there and I should have it done by June. Polish it and get it published in July. It would be like my version of a summer blockbuster: loud, crass and big. I would even get the jump on it and write some of it in December. Hell, I may have it done by May!

It is now June and I am about 80% of the way through the first draft. Whoops.

My rough outline was simple. Gladiator has a night before the match where he bangs the servant assigned to him. He then has a fight. If he loses the fight, he gets fucked and he is out of the tournament and the story ends. If he wins the fight, he fucks the loser and the story moves on.  The gladiator goes back to his room, bangs the servant and repeat. Easy-peasy. That is six fights and six nights before.

My biggest concern is that this would be most linear interactive adventure I have written. All of my books read like amusement parks; you can only visit so much on one trip. The early choices determine what part or theme of the book you explore. This allows the reader to play through the book at least three or four times with clearly different stories. I like this approach because it gets a lot of replay-ability out of a single book.

This book wouldn’t have that feature. You start at the same place, fight the same six sex gladiators and have the same six nights after the fight. There would be variations of how you fight or how to spend your night, but all in all, it is a single story-line without any real reason to read again unless you really like the story. This was a problem but I figured that I would just have to make sure the story is really good and worth revisiting.

Halfway through writing the first fight, it occurred to me that I have stressed that sex gladiators play to the crowd and play to the Queen but there is no mechanism to encourage the player to keep it mind. It seemed obvious that winning wasn’t enough, I had to quantify how good your win was. By adding that element, it stood to reason that your night after the fight would change as well. If you win and please the crowd and Queen, the Queen sends you a gift. If you win and only please the crowd, then someone from the crowd visits you. If you simply win, then you just have sex with your servant and maybe some luxury that has been provided for your quarters.

Now I have a lot of variety to play with. We have the same six fighters, but now there are three different ways to spend your night after each fight. That will help a lot with repeatability.

Of course, once I introduced the idea of three different ways to spend a night before a fight, it seems logical that the fight itself would change. Maybe fucking a member of the crowd gives you a hint about your next opponent. Maybe the Queen’s gift gives you an advantage. Maybe having sex with your servant can have risks in that you don’t adequately prepare for the next fight.

As you can easily see, now instead of fighting the same six gladiators, you have three possible variations for each of those fights. The math works out to three possible versions of each of the six fighters equals eighteen different mini-stories. Add to that the three different versions of the six nights before each fight for another eighteen mini-stories. Add them together, and I have thirty-six variations to write out for this tournament. Plus any variations I want to do on the grand ending when the Queen rewards you.

So that is how my simple story ballooned into a massive space gladiator epic that has consumed all of my writing for this year so far. I think it will be worth it. On a single run through, you will see twelve of the mini-stories and have twenty-four that you never saw. Of these thirty-six combinations, you could repeat some and see new ones depending on your choices. It may be linear, but there are a lot of ways to get to the end.

It is a lot of work but I can’t wait to share it with you.

 

 

 

Aug 302017
 

Congratulations on writing your story/novella/manifesto! You put your blood, sweat and other bodily fluids into it and can’t wait to unleash it on the world! This is going to be the written work that makes you a legend as well as getting that cute redhead to finally notice you!

But hold on, you still need to proofread that sucker! You don’t want typos, bad sentence structures and poor grammar to distract from your genius. Someone needs to read this thing and make sure it is understandable.

In a perfect world, that someone should be someone other than you. A fresh set of eyes without inside knowledge of the masterpiece you created will look at your work with unbiased eyes. They are the best hope you have at catching all of the errors.

The problem is, proofreading is work and like all work, it should be compensated for. Oh, early on you will have people volunteering to proofread for you and those eager souls are truly a blessing but let’s face it, they are doing work for free and that is not right. The longer and more complex your work, the more of a burden it will be on your volunteer proofreaders to put aside their responsibilities to do you a favor. You should really hire someone to do it.

But what if your genius isn’t recognized by the world yet? What if your cutting edge work only gets three purchases a month on Amazon? In short, what if you can’t afford someone to proof your work?

Well then you need to go to to it yourself and I am here to offer my top six tips for Do It Yourself Proofing!

Tip #1

Take a long break and do something else before you proof something that you have written. The worse thing you can do is finish something and then turn around and edit it. You are too close to the forest to see the trees. I recommend writing another story, or ideally, something close to the length of the thing you want to proof. The more separation the better. This way by the time you come back to the story you want to proof, you will have forgotten some bits and be almost like a new reader to your own work. That is when you are really going to notice the unclear shit that you wrote.

Tip#2

Print it out. Look, you have been staring at this work on your screen for quite a while. I bet if I asked you about a certain part, you could scroll to it instinctively without looking.  You know the computer document inside and out but what you haven’t seen is the paper version. Print it out, and maybe choose a different font, and it will almost be a stranger to you. Strangers are good because you first meet a stranger that is when you immediately notice how big their nose is, or the fact that you use the word ‘sensuous’ in every other sentence about sex.

Tip#3

Read it out loud. This might seem annoying and it will certainly slow your proofreading down but let me tell you, it fucking works. This is the best way to catch when you have omitted a word from a sentence. Oh my Goddess, you also have no idea how bad your dialogue might be until you read it out loud. Weirdly, I learned this from the first Sin City movie. I loved the books, but when the characters were reading word for word from the book on the big screen, I was struck by how utterly ridiculous it all was. Reading out loud also slows you down and forces you to pay attention to every word.

Tip#4

Document your weak points. As you read your work, keep an eye out for patterns that you do. Some patterns are good and are what Richard Laymon called “your special sauce.” Other patterns like a tendency to use the phrase “deep inside her” twelve times in a single sex scene are not so good. As you note these problems, put them in a list that you refer to before every editing job. It will be a refresher course for you on what to keep an eye out for.

Tip#5

Your spellchecker is not to be trusted. Oh sure, it will help you from typing a garbage collection of letters but for some reason my spellchecker thinks ‘bene’ is a word. I am sure it is somewhere in some universe but it sure as fuck isn’t ‘been’ which is what I wanted to type. The spellchecker is there is to catch the big giant errors but only a proofreader is going to catch that you left out the word ‘the’. Just because there are no red squiggles on the screen doesn’t mean there still aren’t problems. They are just better hidden.

Tip#6

Read it backwards. This is my most effective tool after Tip#2. Some people read every word backwards but I can’t do that. What I do is start with the last paragraph and read it to the finish. Then I go to the start of the previous paragraph, read that and then repeat. Doing this makes me approach each paragraph fresh and lacking context. It is chopping the proofing into bite-size bits that are independent of each other. I catch all sorts of shit this way and my self-proofing has vastly improved.

 writing  Comments Off on Edit It Yourself
May 242017
 

In my interactive haunted house story, I have several endings where the reader is given the opportunity to join the house as a resident. This means they essentially become a monster in the house, ready to molest and terrorize new people coming in. I did something similar in my interactive UFO book where the aliens recognize that the reader is just as big of a pervert as they are, so they invite the reader to help them abduct and probe other races.

I like this kind of ending a lot. I have done it many times in my regular writing, especially the magical stories. That kind of ending casts the story in a new light. Instead of just being adventures, you understand that it is more of an initiation. By the end of the story, the main character, and in part the reader, is invited to become the story.

Even though I have been writing these kinds of endings for years, I only now realize where the inspiration came from. It is the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. If you have never seen the movie, Charlie is a poor kid who wins a lifetime supply of chocolate and a trip to Wonka’s famous factory. Charlie is asked by Wonka’s rival to steal a sample of top-secret candy in exchange for untold wealth.  Charlie goes to the factory, encounters many wonderful mysterious things, watches other kids get eliminated one by one for their greed, steals the candy because hey, Charlie is dirt poor but then because of a minor transgression, loses the lifetime supply of chocolate. Now this is a big deal because Charlie’s family is so poor that the chocolate might be the only steady meal that the kid gets but instead of cashing out with Wonka’s rivals, Charlie returns the candy to Wonka because Charlie is the Best Kid Ever. That is when Wonka reveals that IT WAS ALL A TEST and now Charlie is his new heir and will now inherit the chocolate factory and live happily ever after.

Yep, I have been copying the end of this movie ever since. As a Poor-but-Good kid, this movie really impacted me. I realize that I have been giving away chocolate factories to characters and readers ever since.

Oh well. It is a good story to steal.

Mar 082017
 

I am about to embark on a big novel and one of my first hurdles with any novel is deciding what kind of job the main character has or had before all this sex stuff happens. Jobs help define characters in the minds of the readers but for me, it helps me understand what kind of skills or personality the character has. A scientist for example is going to approach magic and threesomes a bit differently than a freelance artist.

Part of my problem when it comes to thinking of jobs is my own work history has been insane. As a teen I worked at two different fast-food chicken places. Dropping out of college, I worked ten years in a car factory. I then worked with a telephone company auditing calls, had a stint as a lab technician and worked a few months at a gas station. I am very fortunate to have married well and no longer need to work but I feel like my lack of experiences hamstring me when I write characters.

The fact of the matter is that the job I have the most experience with is being a writer. Which I guess is why 80% of horror novels seem to be about writers. I don’t know about you, but when I read that a main character is a writer, I have a hard time not thinking the author is writing themselves as the main hero. It bugs me so I refuse to do it.

Which brings me back to today. I have a character in mind and he will be a modern day Prophet/Cult Leader. Traditionally cult leaders are charismatic con men who upgrade their cons to becoming a religion. I intend my character to actually have contact with Higher Powers and serve more as a conduit for Divine Sex Orgies. I want him to be Real in the sense that he is trying to bring a new religion or philosophy to the world. With that in mind, I am skipping the usual con men cult leader professions like musicians, salesmen, and science fiction writers.

After a long meditation in the shower brought up nothing, I decided to resort to Google. As a writer, I’m not even sure what jobs people doing these days so I typed in “Most Common Jobs” as a starter search.

The result was this article from 2014. Here is the money quote, “The top three are all basically in the retail industry: salespeople, cashiers, and fast-food workers.”

Holy shit, it turns out that my gas station cashier experience puts me in the top three of most common jobs.

I will admit, as a writer of science fiction and fantasy, I was a bit disappointed by these choices. They don’t exactly inspire character ideas and look, salespeople are already likely to be cult leaders. I thought about refining my search for something more interesting.

But something nagged at me. Those are some real shit jobs for far too many people. I often think of my own poor job experience as a personal thing because I dropped out of college. A lot of people in the work force did graduate college and they still work fast-food and sales. If I have learned anything from the financial crisis of 2008, it is that it is harder and harder for the middle class to stay afloat when all the good jobs are somewhere else or don’t exist in the first place. That sucks.

It seems to me that maybe a fast-food worker might be the kind of person to understand that the world needs changing; perhaps by starting a cult and preaching a message from a Divine Sex Being.

Aug 192016
 

I have spent the last two weeks working on a four issue script for Faustus’ wonderful Gnosis College. Now that I have submitted the script for the second issue, I can spare a moment to talk about things.

When Faustus first approached me to write a four issue arc, I was thrilled and also intimidated. It is a new kind of writing and four issues at twenty-eight pages each for a total of one hundred and twelve pages of panel-by-panel breakdowns seemed a bit overwhelming. That is funny to write after putting out a 10,000 word interactive alien abduction story but hey, new things are inherently more intimidating.

So I did what I always did when I have a big task and I break it down to little tasks. First, I did a very broad outline of what happens in these four issues. Once I knew what each issue would have to cover, I broke it down even further. I sat down and figured out how the first issue would cover the things it needed to cover. Then I broke that down even further, assigning number of pages for each story part. After I had that in mind, I could deal with each page by itself on how it fit into the bigger story.

It still took me awhile to get the first issue together. The really interesting thing about comic script writing where a page gets posted to the public every day is that I want the reader to be able to keep up if they are reading it day-to-day. To do that, I have tiny little arcs that happen on each page. This also creates tiny little cliffhangers for the reader to look forward to the next day. If the reader waits until the whole thing is published and reads it in one sitting, it should have a natural flow of things.

To me the biggest challenge of comic script writing is this constant feeling of compression. With twenty-eight pages, every page and every panel is precious. I find myself writing two pages, looking at them and realizing they can be one page if I cut out stuff that doesn’t add to the story. In the first draft it might feel important to show a character move from point A to point B in four panels but the reader can fill in most of that journey in their head in just two panels or even one. It is something I am still learning and I think I am getting the hang of it.

My advice to anyone doing comic script writing for the first, second or third time is to keep writing. Staring at the blank page isn’t going to help but once you have words on the page, your storyteller instincts will kick in and tell you what needs to be fixed. At least that is how it was for me.

 writing  Comments Off on Hip Deep in Scripts
Aug 012016
 

I have begun work on a four issue script for Dr. Faustus’ Gnosis College. It is a bit daunting to work on so I thought I would go over what little I have learned from the process so far.

First of all, the biggest difference from my usual writing to script writing is space. Usually I can write for as long as I want until the story is finished but with a script, every moment is precious. There are twenty-eight pages in a script and the pages themselves are posted one at a time. My story has to fit within those pages and more importantly to me, the individual beats of the story has to be contained in a single page.

I was pretty intimidated by this at first. My sloppy solution that works well for me is to write the last page. I put down where I want the issue to end and then I work backwards. I write my entire outline in this manner. In every case, I found I had too much story for the pages and I started sniping like mad. At the outline stage this isn’t too bad as I am cutting summaries of pages as opposed to entire panel layouts.

In a few cases, once I start writing the actual script, I find myself with extra space. This doesn’t happen often but when it does, it is a glorious moment. It is easier to add content once your outline is written than it is to cut content.

As a visual person, my biggest mistake in script writing is showing every little thing. If I have a character go into a room, my inclination is to write them approaching the room, entering the room and standing in the room. It was a big transition to realize I could just have the character in a walking pose inside a room and it conveys everything that my three panels would have. Plus, it is a lot less boring that a full page of someone walking into a room.

Speaking of writing characters walking, it was a huge change of mindset to understand that my script was essentially a letter to the artist. I couldn’t just say it was a rundown house, I had to be explicit in what I thought a rundown house looked like. Same with the characters, what they wore, their expressions etc. Anything I imply won’t make it to the page. I need to be clear on every little detail that is important to me.

At the same time, if I was an artist, I would go crazy if someone told me every single little thing to draw. That is why I make sure to give the artist room to improvise. If I don’t care too much about what a rundown house specificall looks like, I write something like this: “The house looks deserted and kind of trashy. Less of a haunted house and more like a house where a killer stashes dead bodies.”

I am still learning the process but I will say I enjoy it a lot. I highly recommend that even if you don’t have an artist to draw it for you, go ahead and work on your own scripts. It forces your mind to work differently and to creative types, that is always a plus.

 

Nov 132015
 

I learned an important lesson a little too late in writing my alien abduction chose-your-own-erotica story today. It might be too late for me but I will share it with you so you can learn from my mistakes.

An interactive story has branches but often these branches come back together to the same place. Imagine a story about investigating a haunted house. The first option asks if you want to check out the first floor, or go up the stairs to the second floor. if you pick the first floor, the story branches into the kitchen, the living room, etc. Eventually after checking those places, you will have the option to check out other first floor rooms or go up the stairs.

Now what most writers would do is if you pick going up the stairs, then the writer will link you to the same choice as if you decided to go up the stairs at the beginning of the book. You would then follow the story along that one path. That is what smart people do.

Dumb people like myself felt the need to make even similar choices different. I felt that readers on multiple read-throughs would get bored reading the same passage about going upstairs multiple times. My solution was to write a different going-up-the-stairs scene for each time the option came up. That way it never gets boring.

The problem is that I ended up writing what is essentially the same scene, eight fucking times, without any real significance between the eight. I may have changed up from where you were when you decided to go up the stairs, but when it came to the stairs themselves, it was pretty much the same. When I realized this and tried to add more variety to the stairs, didn’t create a difference worth mentioning. this is especially true for the reader who on their 3rd, 4th or 20th time up the stairs, probably won’t be paying that much attention themselves.

The only thing I ended up doing was really hating those fucking stairs.

So my advice to future interactive fiction writers is to feel free to recycle previous choices you have written and only skip recycling if you have something important that is going to be different.