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Found 8 results

  1. With all my free time (hahaha!) I've been going through a hard edit of Camp Refuge. It's sort of the story where I found my favorite subject matter. It was where I decided I was no longer a writer of "porn with plot", but rather "erotica with purpose". Head-hopping became my enemy after Camp Refuge. I realized that I did it a lot, and I felt I had to eliminate it in order to improve, and grow. So I did (mostly). Yet, as I edit and as more players are added to the mix in Camp Refuge, I have begun to realize that I cannot rid the story of it. Something would fundamentally change in the telling and not all for the better. Yes, I'd be able to replace a lot of proper names with pronouns if I head-hopped less. But... the reader wouldn't get to see the differences between what Jeremy and Mason are thinking, right in the same scene. They wouldn't get to want to choke Clay for diving down the dark hole of fear, while his son is happy as a lark and unaware of how much his father is hurting. Simply stated: the story would lose something vital. Right now I build scenes linearly, in a single character's perception. Sometimes it's the MC, sometimes it's a raccoon, but it's always a single perception. It's easy, structured, and simple to read. I'm rethinking it. Because, though Camp Refuge needs help in many ways, ridding it of head-hopping doesn't seem to be one.
  2. I started rereading a story I wrote a while back. Camp Refuge is such a keystone for me. It has so many good things going for it, embedded in a package of terrible mechanics. I'm going to try and explain what I mean. I began it to help a reader who had written while I was in the process of releasing Guarded on another site. He was recently diagnosed with HIV, and he was wrecked. I'll never forget the last two lines he ever wrote to me - "Who could love me now? Who could possibly love me now?" I was a chapter away from finishing Guarded when I got that email, and I started Camp Refuge immediately after Guarded was done. I had to. I had to show him that he deserved love, acceptance, and peace. He never wrote again, and as I released chapters, I wondered if he even saw them. But, something started to happen around that story. Other's wrote. People who were HIV+, demisexuals, gray asexuals, trans folks, people suffering from depression, those who had been abused... they all reached out. I got some of them to explore getting treatment locally, even had our HIV nurse and a case manager reach out directly to a few who consented to such. I began to realize that it was bigger than the beginning. It made me understand something scary, and thrilling, all at once. It was the very first time I realized that my words have power. Rereading it now, I know I can't put it on GA. Not yet. I head-hop soooo much; it's almost laughable. But, the bones are there. It has a good skeleton. In the words of the esteemed Stitch, the story is "Broken but Good". I think it deserves to simply be "good". Another project... urgh.
  3. To any of you that enjoy using the application "Tapas," or frequent the website "tapas.io," I've been slowly uploading all of my work (even my collaborative work, with permission, of course) there. It's under Thirdly. Tapas has a more strict-ish setup for stories, so I have had the incredibly gargantuan task of CENSORING everything. 😱 For example, for Lust and Chastity, I had to "clean up" the smut down from NC-17 to rated R not once, but three times over per chapter. I know for a FACT that it's still not clean as the chapters should be. But, I have been doing my best to comply. Do any of you remember a chapter where Finian was apparently covered in cum TWICE before ever even crossing over to Zirao Zion? Apparently, it happened. If any of you have Tapas, I ask that you take a peek at Lust and Chastity for me and let me know if I did a decent job of it. I dread going over the Galamin chapter...I have to change it all to traumatic torture without pushing that rated R too hard. *drags hands down her face* Wish me luck. I started with LC first because it only has 19 chapters. I think I might break down crying when I start trying to censor Kidnapping is Always an Option. If I ever get that far, I'll probably update this post with my complaints.
  4. You've written a story, you've gotten from point A to point B, and you made sure to wrap everything up, nice and tidy...but it's just not ready yet. Right? You want it to be your best work. So you go back and edit it so that it'll seem like a much better, more professional, well-written story. You take a little more time with it, but even then, it doesn't seem quite right. So you go back again, and try to 'fix' everything that you think is wrong with it. You finish up...and it's OK...but...SHIT! Just before you go to bed, you toss and turn because you're thinking of a few more things that you want to say, and maybe a line of dialogue that you wanted to add to the third act. So you dive right back in and try to alter your project even more. You rephrase a couple of thoughts, add a little 'here', subtract a little 'there', and you wear yourself out trying to reach perfection. This is a natural, but often self-destructive way of handling your own writing in the long run. I know that sounds weird, but I've learned that this is a practice that needs to be recognized and avoided at all costs. There is no such thing as perfection when it comes to art. K? If anything, it is the collection of imperfections that will ultimately set you apart from everyone else who is pursuing the same audience that you are trying to impress. There is such a thing as 'overworking' a story, and in your valiant attempt to improve on your original ideas, you can actually end up doing more harm than good if you're not careful! So...this week's blog is all about leaving well enough alone and not letting your scrutinizing eye eat away at your story, taking the feeling and emotion out of what you're trying to say. This week, we talk about 'overworking' a story. Now, I can only speak for myself when I say that my writing is most potent when I am in the moment. While I have an idea and a game plan and an outline fixed in my head...the writing itself is very spontaneous in nature. Those thoughts and emotions come through me and get translated into words as I channel my muse as best as I can. There are times when my typing fingers can't keep up with what's going on in my mind and in my heart. It can be a rush, to just zone out and have a story evolve and blossom right in front of my very eyes. Then, once the story or that chapter is done, I take a short break from it to make sure that I can look at it with an objective eye, where I'm not still all buzzed and excited over what I just created. Naturally, there are going to be mistakes. Spelling and mechanical errors, dialogue mishaps, and a few things that could be delivered in a better way. So I go back to the beginning and try to give it that good old-fashioned Comsie polish so it's a smooth and enjoyable read for anybody who happens to stumble across it online. However...I have my worries and insecurities just like any other writer, and there exists this temptation to keep thinking about the story long after it's finished. As well as the need to jump back into it so I can fix it. One of the main reasons that I edit all of my own stories is because I would hate to drive an editor into a friggin' ASYLUM with the tiny tweaks and twitches that I'm constantly putting into my stories at the last minute. Hehehe, that just wouldn't be a fair fight for any human being who would try to figure out why some of these things needed changing at all. I still try to add little touches of 'last-minute magic' before posting a new story, but I had to train myself to stop agonizing over the tiny micro details of every chapter the way that I used to. It's not easy, but I feel it's necessary. You see...when you keep going back to your story, changing this and that, trying to correct issues that weren't really issues to begin with...you begin to work against the spontaneity of your own muse. That gut instinct that was pulling you along and guiding you to speak your truth and express your honest feelings? It can get lost if you become obsessed with bending and warping the natural flow of what you were trying to say in the first place. I've seen really heartfelt stories turn into something slightly 'wooden' and less appealing, simply because the original version was overworked in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience. Sometimes, the search for perfection can drain the 'life' out of a project. That's never a good thing. I'm not saying that you shouldn't strive to be at your very best at all times. Of course you should. But, at the same time, you have to develop some level of faith in your own instincts. That energy and that passion that you put into those phrases and metaphors and emotionally engaging moments is the very essence of a great story. It's raw and it's real and it says something about who you are and where your heart lies when talking about the situation at hand. Don't lose that. Think about some of the best moments in your real life. Take a second and think about those times when you fell head over heels in love, when you laughed until your belly hurt, or when you were totally surprised by a bit of good fortune. Did you plan for those moments? Or did they just sort of happen? Life is really a matter of 'winging it' from one moment to another, and having that same feeling expressed in your stories is only going to make it more relatable to everyone reading it. By going back and putting an extra gloss on every situation and word of dialogue can sometimes make it seem fake and unrealistic. That spur of the moment genius that you had while writing gets pushed aside for robotic corrections and stilted conversations. It can become a disconnect between you and your readers. If you think your readers can't recognize a labored scene in a story, you'd be wrong. They can often tell right away. And that's not your best work, is it? I, personally, think that there has to be a time when you let your work speak for itself. Leave it alone. In a way, I imagine it would be like raising a child. You want to give your story a good foundation and bring it to a point where you can be proud of what it can accomplish...but at some point you have to let go and let it breathe on its own. You won't lose any love for it, hehehe, promise. Go back, touch your story up in a few places if needed, and then let your heart take control and give your brain a rest. STOP thinking about it! Hit the send button and anxiously wait for the reaction. Your audience might surprise you. Remember, we can all be our own worst critics sometimes, and the mistakes that you think are so unforgivable when you're reading your own work...most readers don't catch the at all. They're too busy enjoying what it is you have to say. I've reached a point now where I barely even remember half of the stuff I write. Hehehe, it's true! Sometimes, somebody will quote something from one of my stories and I'll be like, "Wait! I wrote that? That sounds pretty cool. THANKS!" LOL! Sad, but true. But, like I said, that's because I write 'in the moment' and don't look back when I'm done. I would much rather have the passion take center stage. Don't be a 'George Lucas' and keep going back trying to fix "Star Wars"! "Star Wars" is fine just like it is. The extras aren't necessary, and they begin to intrude on the simplicity and innocence of the original work. Spill your heart out, make one or two edits for content and mistakes...and then leave it alone! Too much is too much. Less is more. And whatever cliché you want to attach to the same idea. Have some faith in your talent and let your story say what it needs to say. Allow your natural instincts shine without being hindered by afterthoughts and insecurities. K? The more love you have for your own stories, the more that love will be transmitted to the people watching. It's like the difference between hearing an artist or band on a marketable CD, and seeing them live in concert. The concert is an entirely different experience. Feel good about your initial gut feelings, and bring them to your audience without giving them that 'perfection' handicap. I think they'll appreciate it. I hope this helps you guys gain some trust in your muses, wherever they may be. And I'll be back soon with more! Now, if you'll excuse me...I'm going to go back over this entire article and scrutinize every last word and detail to see if it's ok for posting! LOL! What??? It needs 'fixing', dammit! I'm insecure. So sue me...
  5. I have an editor who has been working on Planet Redemption. He is doing an excellent job. I would like to get another editor or two to look over it so that I can publish this bad baby. Otherwise I'm going to have to save up for professional editing. Any volunteers? I can share the edited edition with you through Google Docs that way so you can see the changes that have been made. Here is a synopsis of the story: Danni Aarmodt is exiled to Planet Redemption, a penal planet a hundred years away from Earth. Frozen for the trip, he wakes up on a new planet in Colony 12. Soon Danni learns that survival on Planet Redemption is the only currency. The only person he can trust is himself. As if that's not bad enough Colony 12 discovers something that is equally fascinating and terrifying in nature...and it's been buried underneath the ice for millions of years. Warning: This is a very dark story that tackles heavy subject matter. If you are easily bothered by such content I don't recommand reading it.
  6. As an editor of fiction, (in South Africa there aren’t many), I have come across manuscripts that belong at the bottom of the slush pile, manuscripts with a literal value, manuscripts that are mediocre, entertaining, and some downright sloppy. At times I value the plot, other times the characters, but, in the end, it doesn’t matter what I value, essentially the publisher has the last say. All I do is make sure that the manuscript is as perfect as it can be the moment it lands on the publisher’s desk. My view of perfection must always be linear to the writer’s view of perfection. You might argue and say, Well, I’m writing for myself. By all means do so, and make sure that you stash it in a drawer, with all the other manuscripts you have written that will never see the light of day. If you are writing for yourself, please, please do keep it to yourself. However, if you wish to share your writing with a workshop group, or editor, and you wish to grow through the process of learning the craft, by all means I will do my best to make sure your writing is handsome to the eye. With this in mind, there are words that I never want to see in a novel. I make a list of the author’s favourite words, these are words that the author uses repeatedly. In many manuscripts I mark the margin with something like: Be careful of this word, it is used repeatedly throughout the chapter. A word like JUST. It is used in dialogue so often that the author is not aware that he has repeated it 45 times in a chapter. The warning will be something like this: JUST – try to stay away from using this word, it tends to be repetitive. I am reducing all JUST’s. Other repetitive words include: SO, WELL (especially at the beginning of sentences, and often used in dialogue), SMIRK, THE FACT THAT. The following qualifiers and verbs: A BIT, A LITTLE, FAIRLY, HIGHLY, BACK, LOOK, KIND OF, MOSTLY, PRETTY, QUITE, RATHER, ACTUALLY, REALLY, SLIGHTLY, SOMEWHAT, SOMETHING, SORT OF, THAT WHICH, AS WELL,THOUGH, LOVERLY, WONDERFUL, BEAUTIFUL, ADORABLE, HORRIBLE, NASTY, TERRIBLE, SILLY, COMELY. THE REASON WHY. THEN (too many). THAT (too many). The list goes on and on. These words do not convey what the writer is seeing. He sees something terrible but doesn’t allow the reader to see it. He sees a beautiful man or woman, but fails to convey the beauty. If the writer uses any of the 5 senses to convey the last nine words in the list, then he will have succeeded in showing the reader, instead of telling the reader what he/she is seeing. Another pet peeve of mine is WOULD OF, instead of would have, COULD OF, instead of could have. Body parts that act on their own: HER HAND WAVED, instead of He/she waved. LOOK and GAZE. These two verbs are so overused in all writing, including mainstream. There are better words to use, that is why there is such a thing called a thesaurus. The words BEGAN TO and STARTED TO. In good writing, there is no beginning. The characters just DO IT. Which is better? He began to scream or He screamed? The horse started to gallop up the hill or The horse galloped up the hill? Leave out the word THEN as much as possible. Why? Most things happen sequentially anyway. He THOUGH TO HIMSELF. Well, who would he think to other than himself? TO HIMSELF is redundant. Delete it. There are so many words that I scream at. Unnecessary articles, a/an/the. Whole cliché’s. Unnecessary words. Roundabout and indirect words. Redundant words and phrases like THE SKY ABOVE. The sky is above. Everyone knows that. (I should hope so). Unnecessary possessives like: She held up the diamonds, (her) eyes gleaming. Other words I dislike are: SO AS. UH OH. VERY. SUDDENLY. I AM SAT HERE. (It’s true that someone may have sat you there) but it should be I am sitting here. Why do I dislike all of the above? They call attention to themselves. The moment a reader starts noticing repetition, he/she is no longer lost in your story. When the reader begins to play with his commitment ring after the tenth THE FACT THAT, you’ve lost a reader. I am not against using any of the above in dialogue. Dialogue exists to show character and to move the story forward, it exists to create conflict. But if I find these words used repeatedly in the narrative, most of them will be deleted. Churchill once said: This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put. I second this. If your manuscript is riddled with all of the above, then it’s not ready for an editor. Your work is not finished until you have these all ironed out. When I say ironed out, I mean that you should play with the sentences. Never rush. Especially if you are writing for an audience. I dislike rushed work. I can see it immediately from reading the first paragraph. Make your sentences crisp, clear and precise. Clarity and precision are paramount. Rewrite that troublesome sentence 100 times if you must, but please get it right. Not for the editor, not for the publisher, do it for yourself. Have a juggernaut weak, and should I not great, my hand will wave from where I am sat. Hugs
  7. Hello, everyone! I emailed my beta today and now I'm wondering what folks here think. I'm editing https://www.gayauthors.org/story/dark/theoneiwant. There are parts of it that still felt rough after posting it here the first time and I'm fixing those annoying POV shifts. Seriously, they annoyed me before but I couldn't figure out how/why at the time. Now I know how to fix them. Plus, there are some loose ends that need tied up. For example, anyone want to know why Ben was crying in the bathroom after Ollie was born? And what happened right after the birth? I know they send preemies home much earlier than they did 20 or even 10 years ago, but I'm sure Shelly would need her mom around for a bit longer. Or the S/M stuff I was dancing around before and what happened with Will to screw Ben up so completely. And of course I want to write about the wedding that never happened. That one, I know you want. LOL So, I'm thinking of breaking the story into three chunks about 75 each. 1. The One He Wants, to include the first 9 chapters. 2. The One He Needs, to include chapters 10-18. I'm thinking to end that one with Ben's kidnapping... 3. The One He Loves, to include the remaining posted chapters and some new content, to include Ollie's story and Ben/Rick's commitment ceremony. It seems weird now to be thinking about splitting up the story after having first gone from a dozen short stories into the single, complete story that it is now. I'm just thinking that 200k seems awfully long. If I want to publish this thing, which I'm totally thinking about now that GA has the new ebook system, I think it'll be better received if it's in smaller, more digestible chunks. What do you guys think?
  8. I think there is a definite lack of information about the less technical and more practical side for writers who are publishing to the web (on places like GA too), I set about to change this and have started to write this guide. I hope it will be of use for some of you. Guide for online published stories, Part 1 Wordpress / Blogspot Guide for online published stories, Part 2 Wordpress / Blogspot This is the list of topics: Writing: 1. publishing 2. Description of the story, blurb, summary 3. Narration, tenses and grammar 4. Dialogue 5. Setting and talking heads 6. “flowery” language 7. Names 8. Narration styles, voices 9. Clichés to look out for Website: 1. How to find readers/writers 2. How to make people remember you 3. How to give feedback that people appreciate 4. Know the Terms of Service of the website (or, How to keep out of trouble)
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