Category Archives: Writing Tips

A checklist for aspiring erotic romance writers:

A checklist for aspiring erotic romance writers:

TakenByPassion_300YOU, TOO, CAN WRITE EROTIC ROMANCE IF YOU:

  Are willing to sacrifice the time to do extensive research with your partner.

        (Sweetheart, I prefer the velvet lined handcuffs.)

   Get turned on by what you’re writing.

        (Damn. Where’s my partner when I need him?)

   Can make readers believe that you’ve had sex with elves, vampires & cowboys.

       (Wow, you must have lots of experience to write sex like that.)

Can write “those words.”

        (Saying them out loud is not required.)

   Can write sensual and non-cliché dialogue in sex scenes.

        (As in more original than, “Oooh, yeah. Give it to me, baby.”)

   Can create a hero that you would like to have sex with.Forbidden300

        (Honey, can you start working out at the gym & grow your hair shoulder-length?)

   Are willing to read lots of erotic romances to get a feel for the genre.

        (It’s rough, but someone’s gotta do it.)

   Can write sex scenes without worrying what your family & neighbors might think.

        (Um, Mom. Sorry, but you can’t read my books.)

   Can write with an open mind and push the envelope—anything goes.

        (Yes, vampires can have mind-blowing sex with werewolves. Two at a time even.)

   can be creative and forget vanilla sex; instead triple almond caramel cherry crunch!

       inked300 (Ménages, sex toys, sex with faeries, sex while underwater…)

   can make something as simple as eating cheesecake sensual and sexual.

        (Give me some of what she’s having!)

□  can leave behind stereotypes, restraints on women’s sexuality, and shame.

        (When it comes to sex, if it feels good, honey, it is good.)

   can write a solid romance with strong sex scenes, a strong plot, and a HEA.

        (Funny thing how our readers actually love a good story along with all that sex…)

SOLD2_300dpi   can forget “the rules” that you may have learned in traditional romance publishing.

        (Yes, you can write that!)

   and most importantly, you, too can be an erotic romance writer if you

LOVE writing it!

~Cheyenne aka Jaymie

01_Cheyenne_BMG_MASTER_JPG copy 2

60 Helpful & Snarky Tips for Writers #WritingTips @TinaGerow

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I’ve been writing seriously for publication since August 2003. I’ve spent since then collecting writing tips (not really in a document or anything) but just mentally collecting them. And since it’s my blog day I thought I would jot some of them down and share them. Some are snarky, some are amusing, but all are actually helpful 🙂 There are TONS more, but those are for another day 🙂 So enjoy and feel free to share with anyone else who might appreciate them…

And here we go…

1. Remove 99% of your exclamation points, use your words to carry the emphasis, not throwaway punctuation that distracts the reader.

2. Avoid ‘Body Parts Gone Wild’ – If a cock leaps to attention, it should have little feet and be ready to run across the room…LOL.

3. Beware of wimpy verbs that don’t give the reader a visual picture. Words like ‘put’, ‘got’, and ‘went’. Use a more descriptive verb.

4. Keep in mind that it’s your job to paint a word picture for the reader so as they read, they can see the picture you have inside your mind when writing the scene.

5. Beware of over repeated actions. If your heroine is always sighing the reader is going to want to kill her by the 10th time…seriously.

6. Make sure the action is with the character, not the body part. Fists won’t clench on their own, the character clenches his or her hands into fists.

7. If your heroine’s vagina is “weeping” there’s salve for that…LOL. Get her to the doctor! Ewwwwwwwwww!!! SO not sexy.

8. Remember even when writing that heroes usually don’t want to kiss a heroine right after she’s “swallowed” – That’s jarring for the reader.

9. Don’t use flowery writing – readers like simple writing that paints a visual picture, not something schlocky that makes them groan.

10. “Mary was scared.” = Telling. “Icy tendrils of fear raced up Mary’s spine.” = Showing. Paint a visual picture.

11. If you’re writing a sex scene and you’ve never done whatever it is you are writing about – talk to someone who has. Seriously.

12. Don’t be afraid of words – use them, but use them well. Her yawning moist cavern is just icky. Soooo not sexy. 😦

13. KNOW your reader demographic – for romance – mostly highly educated women 18-50’s. Don’t talk down to them.

14. Word choice – jizz or love juice – YUCK. Just use come. Don’t gross the reader out.

15. Usually if a sentence begins with ‘And’ or ‘But’, the ‘and’ or ‘but’ can be removed without changing the sentence and it will read better.

16. If writing anal scenes – don’t do the ‘BrokeBack Mountain” thing – sliding in with one stroke with no lube or just spit – that would HURT. Ouch!!

17. If your hero’s “member” has a head the size and color of a large plumb, he’s got medical problems and his partner will NOT be excited. Get that man to a doctor!

18. Purple prose is distracting and annoying and doesn’t help your story, it only discredits your writing in the eyes of the reader. Just say NO!

19. Watch the body parts gone wild. Eyes can’t fly across the room unless they have little wings. Gazes can though…

20. Write what you mean. If a heroine leans INTO a hero – that’s gonna hurt and require surgery – she’s probably leaning AGAINST him.

21. Get rid of “filler” words like ‘that’ and ‘just’ which don’t add much value.

22. Who vs that. If you are talking about a person – use ‘who’, if you are talking about a thing, use ‘that’

23. If the heroine’s heart clenches inside her chest and she’s short of breath, she’s not in love, she’s having a heart attack!

24. Beware of wimpy verbs that don’t give the reader a visual picture – words like ‘put’, ‘got’ and ‘went’ Use a more descriptive verb!

25. Save often and in multiple places.

26. Watch out for rolling eyes – Always reminds me of dice…LOL.

27. Avoid clichés – find a new, fresh way to say something. Make it yours. Cliches are distracting to the reader and don’t add value.

28. If your hero is ‘hard enough to drive nails’ he needs to call the number on the back of the Viagra box!! That’s not healthy! OUCH…

29. Make sure your events aren’t out of order. If someone needs to retrieve a book from a room – walking OUT of the room before grabbing the book and then walking in the room doesn’t work unless you’re Harry Potter and you can ‘spell’ the book to you or reverse time…

30. Read widely. Pay attention to writing you enjoy and writing you don’t and then figure out why.

31. If your pacing is slow and dragging – go back and make sure your conflict is big enough and difficult enough! Conflict drives pacing.

32. Try to avoid using was/ing combos – makes it kind of passive. ‘was running’ can become ran…

33. Watch repeated words used close together. That really becomes distracting to the reader.

34. Schedule a time each day to write. Sit your butt in the chair and write. Your brain will get the hang of being productive on cue.

35. Use appropriate language for your characters. If your 20 year old professional and savvy heroine says, “Golly gee” – that’s odd and jarring.

36. Use of ‘locks’ for hair has become cliche – seriously. People have hair, not locks unless it’s a padlock in their hair. Odd bondage scene??

37. Try to avoid giving all your characters in the same book names that are too similar or all start with the same letter. Gets confusing for both you AND the reader.

38. Anything that pulls the reader out of the story and gives them the chance to put the book down – weed it out of your writing!

39. Avoid using euphemisms that will make most people laugh – “his hairy man sack” is just gross! NOT sexy…LOL!

40. If your prologue is just an excuse to do a backstory dump – cut it. Only use those when absolutely needed to set up a scene.

41. Make sure you know your book’s timeline. Keep a chart. If 3 nights have passed, but it’s never been dark, it better be a paranormal.

42. World Building: Make the rules for your world and characters and then don’t break them. You’ll lose the reader’s trust.

43. Tie up all lose ends at the end, even if it’s a series. Each book must have a satisfying ending or you’re going to lose the reader’s trust… You can have a story ARC for the entire series, but you must have an ARC for each book in the series, each with a satisfying ending.

44. Avoid complicated names for characters – pain in the butt to type and hard for the reader to remember, pronounce etc is a dissatisfier.

45. If a scene doesn’t move the story forward – cut it!! Seriously.

46. If the heroine or hero are chafing and handcuffs aren’t involved, get them some freaking lube people!! That’s just not sexy. LOL…

47. Word choice matters. Thigh is sexier than leg. Breast is sexier than boob or tit. Clit is sexier that ‘love button’ – ACK!

48. Afraid of using the “C” word? It can be done… Read my Seduction series – used in non traditional way, but most of my readers loved it. Ceremony of Seduction – the first book in that series is my best selling book out of all that I’ve written under both pen names!

49. Call it what it is. It’s not a “man rod” or a “love shaft” or a “steely length”, it’s a penis or a dick or a cock. Really…

50. If the hero and heroine are running for their lives and they stop to have sex – they kinda deserve to die…Just sayin’…

51. Be realistic. Most guys (sorry guys!) can’t come four times in an hour…some women can… Don’t make your reader’s roll their eyes.

52. If your hero knows every brand name your heroine is wearing – he might be gay and/or a designer… Which is fine if you’re writing M/M romance or Chick Lit, but I don’t know too many straight men who even CARE what brand names a woman is wearing…

53. When writing romance, a hero who is a jerk or treats the heroine badly is NOT a hero. Readers want a romantic hero – give it to them.

54. A hero who looks at, fantasizes about or ‘plays with’ other women than the heroine (unless it’s a menage book) is NOT heroic.

55. Your heroine can’t flirt with or cheat on the hero either. NOT heroic. If they both agree to a threesome etc, fine, but not outside of that. And even then it has to fit with that genre.

56. Don’t forget to SHOW emotions in your scenes. How are the characters feeling? SHOW US! Don’t TELL us.

57. Action/reaction. Let us see the character’s reactions to things – internal thoughts, emotional reactions and physical reactions.

58. Make sure your hero and heroine’s internal thoughts and dialogue sound different. Each character should be unique.

59. If you aren’t getting hot and bothered while WRITING your sex scene, no one will while reading it!

60. Yes your story MUST have a plot – even if it’s erotic. Most readers like an engaging story with their hot sex! I know I do!

Tina

May Online Class: Writing Love Scenes

May Online Class: Writing Love Scenes

Spring is in the air!  Learn how to write love scenes from sweet to sweaty with Tina Gerow/Cassie Ryan.
WHEN:
May 4, 2014 @ 7:15 pm – May 18, 2014 @ 8:15 pm
WHERE:
Online
COST:
$25/$20 for members
Workshop Description:

When: May 4-18 (2 weeks)
How much: $25 for the general public, or $20 for HCRW members

Class blurb:

Writing love scenes is so much more than describing whose lips are where, doing what.  Good love scenes should read smoothly and clearly, and communicate who is doing what to whom as well as when and how, but without sounding like a How-To manual. It should convey emotions and passion, and reveal new insights into the characters as well as advance the plot.  Sound like brain surgery or rocket science?  Nope – no Doctorate degree required – I promise!  Come join us for some no-nonsense discussions about how to thread all of this together into love scenes that readers will devour and you will love to write – regardless of if you write sweet or smokin’ hot.

Instructor Bio:

Tina Gerow is a multi published author under two pen names. She writes sensual paranormal romance as Tina Gerow and erotic paranormal romance as Cassie Ryan.

She’s also an experienced line editor and a public speaker on many topics both motivational and writing related.

So basically she’s a slacker ex band director with an outgoing personality and an overactive imagination who has been put to work writing for the safety of herself and others.

Register:

Click here now!

Learn Tips & Tricks 4 writing Love Scenes Sweet to Erotic

Sexy High Heels and lingerie 391 by 246

Join me for an Online Class on Writing Love Scenes for the Carolina Romance Writers.  

May 4 – May 18

 

 

Writing love scenes is so much more than describing whose lips are where, doing what.  Good love scenes should read smoothly and clearly, and communicate who is doing what to whom as well as when and how, but without sounding like a How-To manual. It should convey emotions and passion, and reveal new insights into the characters as well as advance the plot.

Sound like brain surgery or rocket science?  Nope – no Doctorate degree required – I promise!

Come join us for some no-nonsense discussions about how to thread all of this together into love scenes that readers will devour and you will love to write – regardless of if you write sweet or smokin’ hot.

Register

#WritingTips Fun snippets of Writing Tips to Make You Smile

It’s been a while since I’ve posted these and figured this would be a fun, quick blog for a Friday morning 🙂

Every now and then I’ll go on a Twitter binge and post a bunch of writing tips or pet peeves or whatever else is on my mind that day.  So in light of that, here’s one of my recent Twitter “binges”

For those of you not familiar with Twitter – if you’re posting something under a topic you want people to be able to search on and follow, you use a hash tag.  And mine was #writingtips.  So since a lot of my Facebook friends either aren’t on Twitter or don’t follow me on there – I have a TON of Facebook friends…lol…I decided to do a blog about them so everyone could experience my warped-ness…  I know – if you follow me on Facebook you already get a big dose, but hey – if you can stomach that much, what’s a little more, right?

Again, for those of you who don’t Tweet – you can only use 140 characters in your tweets so that’s why some of the funky abbreviations.  I didn’t type them all fresh – I copied/pasted…LOL!

Now for those of you who have had me edit your books somewhere in your past – some of these will look familiar – and you’re already used to my warped sense of humor…LOL!  But you may even have more “Tina gems” that I don’t have on here…

So here we go!  Here are mine – feel free to add your own in the comments – especially the fun ones!!  Don’t give up too early – some of the really fun ones are toward the end of the list! 🙂

1.  #writingtips If a cock leaps 2 attention, it had better have little feet & B ready 2 run across the room…LOL!

2.   #writingtips If writing anal scenes – don’t do a BrokeBack Mountain thing – sliding in w/ one stroke w/ no lube would HURT! Ouch!

3.  #writingtips Another bad euphemism:  “Dangling globes of manliness” – ACK!!  Just say NO!

4.  #writingtips If you aren’t getting hot and bothered while WRITING your sex scene, no one will while reading it!!

5.  #writingtips Make sure your hero and heroine’s internal thoughts & dialogue sound different. Each character’s should be unique.

6.  #writingtips Usually if a sentence begins with And or But, the ‘and’ or ‘but’ can B removed without changing the sentence & will read better

7.  #writingtips Action/reaction. Let us see the character’s reactions to things – internal thoughts, emotional reactions & physical reactions.

8.  #writingtips Don’t forget to SHOW emotions in your scenes. How are the characters feeling? SHOW US!! Don’t TELL us.

9.  #writingtips A hero who looks at, fantasizes about or ‘plays with’ other women than the heroine (unless it’s a menage book) is NOT heroic

10.  #writingtips Heroine can’t flirt/cheat on hero either – NOT heroic, If they both agree to a threesome etc – fine, but not outside of that

11.  #writingtips When writing romance, a hero who is a jerk or treats her badly is NOT a hero. Readers want a romantic hero – give it to them.

12.  #writingtips If your hero knows every brand name your heroine is wearing – he’s gay, folks! Which is fine if you’re writing M/M romance 🙂

13.  #writingtips Be realistic. Most guys (sorry guys) can’t come four times in an hour…some women can…Don’t make readers roll their eyes!

14.  #writingtips Word choice – jizz or love juice – YUCK! Just use come or orgasm. Don’t gross the reader out!

15.  #writingtips KNOW your reader demographic – for romance – mostly highly educated women 18-50  Don’t talk down to them!

16.  #writingtips If hero/heroine are running for their lives & stop to have sex – they kinda deserve to die…Just sayin’ LOL…

17.  #writingtips Call it what it is. It’s not a ‘man rod’ or a ‘love shaft’ or a ‘steely length’ It’s a penis or a dick or a cock. Really…

18.  #writingtips Don’t be afraid of words – use them, but use them well. Her yawning moist cavern is just icky! Sooo not sexy!! 😦

19.  #writingtips Afraid of using the “C” word? If can be done..lol! Read my Seduction series – used in non traditional way, but readers loved it.

20.  #writingtips “Clit” is better than a euphemism like “love button” – ACK!

21.  #writingtips Word choice matters. Thigh is sexier than leg. Breast is sexier than boob or tit.

22.  #writingtips If heroine/hero are chafing – and handcuffs aren’t involved – get them some freaking lube, ppl! LOL…That’s just not sexy!

23.  #writingtips If a scene doesn’t move the story forward – cut it! Seriously!!

24.  #writingtips World building: Make the rules for your world/characters & then don’t break them! You’ll lose the reader’s trust…

25.  #writingtips Make sure U know your book’s timeline. Keep a chart. If 3 nights have passed, but it’s never bn dark-better B a paranormal LOL!

26.  #writingtips If your prologue is just an excuse to do a backstory dump -cut it! Only use those when absolutely needed to set up a story-RARE

27.  #writingtips If writing a sex scene & you’ve never done whatever it is U R writing about – talk to someone who has!!  Seriously!

28.  #writingtips Avoid using euphemisms that will make most people laugh – “his hairy man sack” is just gross!  NOT sexy…lol!

29.  #writingtips Anything that pulls the reader out of the story & gives them the chance to put the book down-weed it out of your writing!

30.  #writingtips Try 2 avoid giving all your characters in 1 book names that R2 similar or all start w/ same letter-could confuse reader!

31.  #writingtips Use of “locks” for hair has become cliche – seriously. PPL have hair, not locks unless it’s a padlock in their hair – ouch!

32.  #writingtips Use age appropriate language 4 yr characters. If yr 20 year old heroine says “Golly gee” – that’s odd & jarring 2 reader

33.  #writingtips Schedule a time each day 2 write, sit butt in the chair & write-brain will get the hang of being productive on cue.

34.  #writingtips Watch repeated words used close together -distracting for reader. For me it’s usually a diff word in each scene I have to edit!

35.  #writingtips “Mary was scared”=Telling. “Icy tendrils of fear raced up Mary’s spine”=showing. Paint a visual picture!

36.  #writingtips Try to avoid using was/ing combos-makes it kind of passive. Was running can become ‘ran’  🙂

37.  #writingtips If yr pacing is slow & dragging-go back & make sure yr conflict is big enough & difficult enough! Conflict drives pacing!

38.  #writingtips READ widely. Pay attention to writing you enjoy & writing you don’t and figure out why on both counts!

39.  #writingtips Don’t use flowery writing-readers like simple writing that paints a visual pic, not something schlocky & makes them groan!

40.  #writingtips Make sure your events aren’t out of order. pick up book, walk to door, open it, walk through, out of order won’t work here

41.  #writingtips If yr hero is “hard enough 2 drive nails” he needs 2 call the # on the back of the Viagra box!! That’s not healthy!! Ouch!

42.  #writingtips Avoid cliches – find a new, fresh way 2 say something! Make it yours. Cliches R distracting 4 the reader & don’t add value

43.  #writingtips Remember even when writing that heroes usually don’t want to kiss a heroine right after she’s “swallowed” – Jarring for reader

44.  #writingtips If your heroine’s vagina is “weeping” – there’s salve for that…LOL! Get her to the doctor! Ewwwwww!!!!

45.  #writingtips Make sure the action is w/ the character, not the body part. Fists won’t clench on their own, the character clenches them…

46.  #writingtips Beware of over repeated actions. If yr heroine is always sighing the reader is gonna wnt 2 kill her by the 10th time…seriously

47.  #writingtips Keep in mind yr job is 2 paint a word picture 4 the reader so they cn C the pic U have inside yr mind when writing the scene

48.  #writingtips Beware of wimpy verbs that don’t give reader a visual picture – words like ‘put’, ‘got’, and ‘went’ Use a more descriptive verb

49.  #writingtips If the heroine’s heart clenches inside her chest and she’s short of breath, she’s not in love, she’s having a heart attack!!

50.  #writingtips Who vs That. If you are talking about a person – use ‘who’.  If you are talking about a thing – use ‘that’

51.  #writingtips Get rid of “filler” words like “just” and “that”, which don’t add much value

52.  #writingtips Write what you mean. If a heroine leans INTO a hero – that’s gonna hurt & require surgery – she’s prob leaning AGAINST him.

53.  #writingtips Watch out for body parts gone wild. Eyes can’t fly across the room unless they have little wings. Gazes can though…

54.  #writingtips Purple prose is distracting & annoying & doesn’t help your story, it only discredits your writing in the eyes of the reader.

55.  #writingtips Remove exclamation points, use your words 2 carry the emphasis, not throwaway punctuation that distracts the reader.

56.  #writingtips if hero’s “member” has a head the size & color of a large plumb, he’s got medical probs & his partner will NOT be excited!

Donald Maass workshop

As I’ve blogged before about taking a Donald Maass workshop in July.  I had asked several people who have taken the class a lot of questions.  One of them is, Do I need to do anything special?  No, you’ll have a great time.  Relax…said the spider to the fly.

Well, I got the email this week going over the workshop logistics and everything we need to bring.  To my amazement I have homework.  Whew, how much time do I have left before the class?  2 weeks, yikes!

One of the items they would like is a brief note regarding my goals for the workshop.  Well, of course I want to sell my book, have it sell a million copies, have it enable me to be a NY Times best selling author, have it show up as the top list in Publishers Weekly, and have it win tons of awards.  Maybe I want to build a world like Sherrilyn Kenyon and have everyone dress as my characters at a convention celebrating my book.  Yeah, well dreams do come true.

Come to the class having already read his book writing a breakout novel.  No biggie, been there done that. 🙂 – Whew, one thing I’ve done.

I need to bring fifty pages and synopsis – what?  I thought I would do updates in the workshop – so I haven’t been working on it.  NO!!!  OMG, I really need to get it ready.

I need to put all my scenes on index cards.  Again, OMG – do I have all my scenes.  Are they in a state that I can share them with others?  Do I share well with others?

I need to also bring six copies of my chapters so I can get into a critique group.  I also need to bring paper in case I need to print.  OMG, at this point I’m wondering if I know what paper is, can I work a printer.  I’m clutzy and am in a panic mode.

I can also bring a tape recorder.  Just in case I would like to record my one-on-one consultations.  OMG, I’m pitching.

They also have a great loop for the workshop so the authors can ask questions and get to know each other.  OMG, another loop!!!

Okay, I have to get all this done while working 10 hour days, playing with my cats, seeing friend and family, doing critiques, working on taxes I still don’t have done, getting my car worked on, do fourth of July, and well of course I need to sleep.

No in all seriousness, I’m excited and re-engergized to really get my book published.  I can’t wait and I’ll give everyone updates I progress down Maass lane.

Isebella, really going grey and needing a good drink.

Goals & Motivations

I’ve set myself some pretty good goals for 2008 and some even loftier goals to be achieved by 2010.

First, an update. I lost 10 pounds in January! At this rate I am going to look amazing in my Faery outfit for RT. 2 more months, another 10 pounds a month, I’ll be right back where I wanted to be, and in better shape than I’ve been in years.

Heart of Glass, my November 2007 release made the top 10 bestseller list at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid. This is the 2nd consecutive month my titles have made the top 10.

The same title received a 4 star review in Romantic Times Magazine, the review will be published in the March 2008 edition, along with my ad.

 

On the writing side, I’ve been slacking. Not a single word written since January 5th. I did not meet my goal of 3 submissions for January, but will strive to make it happen in Feb. I sat at the computer last night and opened my current work in progress. Not a bad story if I do say so myself. Whether a publisher thinks so is entirely another story. Hope to blog about “the call” here soon. J

 

Anyway, I digress. I opened the document and began to edit chapter 1, again. Now, this can be a good thing or this can be considered destructive. In this case, it’s destructive. How am I ever going to progress and write the rest of the book if I’m hung up on editing the first chapter? Answer: I’m not.

 

I need to back up for a moment and tell you where I found my motivation again. I spent the weekend at the Glendale Chocolate Affaire and shared a tent with 26 other romance authors in various stages of their writing careers. Everyone from self published to USA Today best sellers gathered to autograph their books and chat with people. They were the friendliest and nicest group I’ve had the pleasure of spending a solid 48 hours with. This event which happens the first weekend in February, every year, was the key. The spark to relight my writing flame.

I brought my laptop to work with me today and spent my lunch hour writing. I only managed to eke out 2 pages, but, and this is a big but (pardon the pun) they were 2 NEW pages. Maybe that 2010 goal I set isn’t so lofty after all.

 

What rekindles your writing flame when the fire goes out?

Kayla Janz