Originaly posted on July 19, 2010.
I have to share my number one tip for those who want to learn how to write erotica. You could spend weeks on end reading “how to write” books and visiting every website you can find about reading, writing, editing, and publishing erotica (and I highly recommend that you do). But if you want to get a quick-and-dirty education in writing erotica, then Dark Erotica is the place for you.
Not only has author Morgan Hawke generously shared much of her writing advice for free on her blog (which is good marketing–take notes), but she also has a comprehensive Cheater’s Guide to Writing Erotic Romance.
In it, and on her blog, she gives practical advice on plotting, character development, dialogue, mistakes to avoid, and even information on the publishing industry. The list of helpful information is endless. She’s obviously done a lot of research on writing over the years, and has condensed it down into the necessary essentials that every author needs to know. While I won’t say that it replaces reading the many books that exist on writing, it definitely provides an aspiring writer with everything she needs to get started.
I have found it invaluable in writing my current manuscript. Before that, I was a “pantser”, someone who “flies by the seat of their pants”–just starts in writing with only an idea of where they are going, rather than plotting it all out in advance. While this may work out for some writers, for me, it left too many holes in my plot, a lot of frustration, and a lot of unfinished stories.
Although I was familiar with the plot arc and other important elements of writing from my school days, much of the information I had been taught was basic (not to mention long forgotten). With a family to care for, I don’t have the time or resources to invest in stacks of dry tomes on punctuation, etc., before I can even begin to write. These books are essential for any writer, but for someone like me, they are best attacked one at a time, as time and money permit.
In the meantime, buy Morgan Hawke’s book and cut to the chase, finding out all the essentials you need to make characters come to life, create an interesting plot, and craft tight prose. If you’re new to the erotica genre, she will give you some pointers, helping you avoid “purple prose” and warning you what NOT to do, which is extremely important when it comes to submitting your manuscripts. I have been able to plot out my manuscript, develop my characters, and get a good first draft done, all in lightning-quick pace, and with (I believe) a higher quality of writing than before. My daily word count is off the charts.
I believe I bought my ebook copy at Fictionwise, where it is for sale much cheaper than Amazon, and I was able to copy and paste the document into a WAV file program, which translated the text into a WAV file that I could listen to on my iPod. [Note: It's been a while since I bought it, so if I'm mistaken and the Fictionwise version doesn't allow copying, please don't send me hate mail!]
Many parts of her book are available on Hawke’s blog, which is how I used her information before I found the book cheap on Fictionwise. But it is so much handier to have the full book, in an organized format, and it’s absolutely worth the six bucks. (Which is why I’m posting this review…I almost feel like I owe her more money!)
I haven’t read any of her books yet, because her sub-genres aren’t the type I would typically read. But I did read a few excerpts, including The Flight of the Titania, which I thought was excellent. So she really knows her stuff. Unfortunately as of this writing, that book has been listed as “coming soon” for quite a while, so there’s no way of knowing how much longer until it is published.
[ETA: I have bought two more books on writing erotica since writing this post, and they are not nearly as interesting to read. I'm still trying to slog my way through them, and I'll review them when I do. But Morgan Hawke's book seems to be WAY more useful, so far.]