Sep 302010
 
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I’ve been pondering the question of what SEO is and how to write it, since it looks like I am to be your go-to-guy over this specific aspect of adult writing (and boy, if I’m your go-to-guy you are in trouble big!) but I realize I don’t have much to teach. So, so long and thanks for all the fish (if you know what this is from you get an extra prize in your Kracker Jack bucko), thanks for having me, don’t forget to tip your waitress and please, try the veal.

Ok, I’m joking. I do have some tips, advice, lead-you-down-the-garden-path nudges to nudge you with.

First of all, all SEO mean is search engine optimization, which in turn translates to mean (in our context here) writing copy that has key words in it. Say you have a site where you have Asian hookers displaying themselves on cam (a client I actually did do work for) and you want people (adults) to come to your site, pay a monthly fee and peruse the girls, in order to get people to your site you need to let them know you Asian hooker cam girls exists, right?  One of the ways you do this is to hire incredibly talented writers like me (and good looking to, let’s not forget that!) to write press releases, webcopy that will appear on your website, blogs, articles and in the case of this client, short fiction featuring Asian girls. The trick of course was in all of the above writing I had to make sure to include various key words or key word phrases that we knew would ‘tag’ this site when one was scrolling through Google etc, possibly looking for Asian cam girls or any variation on that theme. At that time I was working with my great friend and SEO expert, Lisa W. (Lisa has blogged here before) and Lisa was the one who did the keyword search for our client and later, took my copy to ad Meta Tags (and don’t ask me about Meta Tags, I don’t know how to do them, look them up…you want everything for free here!) The point is, once the keywords are established (in the above case words like ‘Asian’ ‘Oriental’ ‘flower’ ranked high as did all the variations on various Asian ethnicities) I knew what I had to work with. ‘Stuffing’ these words is looked down upon (putting too many phrases or keywords into copy where is reads terribly and obvious, like “The New York Botanical Garden is open year round, which is unusual seeing that no other New York Botanical Garden in New York is open year round, simply because New York’s Botanical Garden’s are at the mercy of New York’s terrible winter weather which can greatly affect Botanical Gardens) as is simply pluralizing the same word over and over. So the trick for me, and a pretty good writing challenge, was to bring this client fiction, articles, etc. with plenty of keywords in it, to be picked up later by search engines, but to make the copy sing.

This is the essence of SEO writing…as far as the writing is concerned. Like I said, dear sweat Lisa, truly the brains of our operation (but not just brains, she’s a cutie too) was the one who took my stuff and added the tags, ran the analytics for the client to keep up on what was working and what not, and generally made what I did, the writing, work so the client got hits.

The specifics of what works and what doesn’t in all this I will save for another piece.

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Sep 232010
 
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By Sascha Illyvich

Since I started covering plot basics, I have noticed a trend in authors. The fact that so many authors have no idea how or where their stories are going is bad because it slows down the writing process. Romance novels, whether erotic or not, have the same basic formula.

Revisited:
Hero meets Heroine
They end up in bed.
Conflict separates them
Conflict is conquered due to necessary character growth
HEA or HFN.

In that plot structure, we have to get across all of those elements just to write a story. Assuming we’re writing novel length stories (60,000 words and up) not only do we have to incorporate those elements into the story but writers must figure out what that conflict is, how it affects characters and how the story will progress. How do we achieve this?

We break our story into four acts. Three if we’re being lazy or don’t need to throw in action. This applies to movies, plays, screenplays, every form of entertainment.

Simplified, the typical Four Act Outline is as such:

Act One: Inciting Incident – What is the eternal incident that brings the characters together?
Act Two: Crisis/Ordeal – This is where we begin to throw internal issues of the characters into things.
Act Three: Confrontation – Our characters confront the issue and deal with it. If it’s an action story, a villain and H/H all share the same issue only the villain either dies a megalomaniac or fails to learn the lesson after it’s too late.

Look familiar? It should. This is ESSENTIAL to any story of ANY genre. What makes this work is the fact that it takes the reader on an emotional ride that should go through a variety of feelings so that we bond with the characters. We identify with them. Think back on the last book you read that you really enjoyed. Why did you like it?

Ultimately it’s because you probably identified with the characters and their struggle. In romance, erotic or not, the struggle is to escape loneliness and find that one person who will complete you. So our conflict and issues should revolve around why the H/H cannot be together despite all odds, until they figure out the need for growth. This happens at the end of Act Two and leads us into the Third Act with new behavior patterns.

In my next post we’ll cover how to extend the Acts and what should theoretically go next as well as how and where to write sex into our stories.

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Sep 172010
 
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by oceania

click here for the audio podcast

I am going to give you a tidbit….

I received a submission recently from a woman looking for help.
She wanted to narrate erotic stories.
Her voice was unusual,
but pleasing.
So i sent her a sample to read
and that is exactly what she did.
She read every single word

My first reaction was
It’s audio!
It’s for the ears!
Don’t you realize …
and that is when i stopped in mid-thought
No, she didn’t realize!
And the majority of narrators don’t realize

This isnt grade school. We don’t read every word – We project emotion
see, As a voice talent you have some artistic license in the erotic/romance realm.
For example if you had to read the following line
“I hate you!” Clare cried.

Should you read the line word for word?
HELL NO!

Remember you are not a text reader when you record an audio story. If Clare cried you bring the water works on. If she yelled and screamed then you yell, scream and throw a temper-tantrum when you deliver the lines!

It’s fairly simple!
People want to feel the words and they wont feel them if you just read it! You have to be the words, be the story and the characters and feel the emotions!

I mean really feel it and then telegraphic them to the audience in a clear voice.

Now that is harder than it sounds and does take practice!
So if Clare cried I HATE YOU! it doesn’t make one damn bit of good if the words are muffled between sobs, or if the crying is louder than the words and requires the listener to replay the scene just to know what you said.

Keep in mind that real life may be stranger than fiction, but fiction has to be believable! Well audio has to be even more so!

Here is an example from the movies:
The room is dimly lit and sparely furnished. The drapes are open and there is a sheen on the wood floors. A woman walks across the room. She is wearing high heels. You expect to hear the click clack of those heels as she crosses the room but the sound guy, as hard as he might, cant give you the sound you want to hear. It is up to the foley expert to reproduce that sound.

You’re the foley guy!
This is performance art and should be written and then performed as such!
You have to make it believable!
There are no crutches to lean on – no pictures, no video – just your voice and the imagination of the listener.

With that kind of power you flood an stadium with orgasms.

So ready for the test?
I would like you to record the line:

“Shut up and Fuck me!”, she(or he) said whispering low.
add a link to it in the comment area below!
I look forward to your read!
Oceania

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Sep 092010
 
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Most writers and authors I know are so much more. They are mothers and fathers, caregivers, homemakers, cooks and bread winners. They work day (or night) jobs as accountants, factory workers, cashiers, salespeople, business owners and top executives. They all struggle with finding the balance between their writing passion, their family and meeting their mortgage. Life is complicated enough without trying to write, but every one of them is driven, obsessed with their plots and characters, striving for perfection with the written word and usually dog tired. They’re courageous and talented and among the most creative and busy people I know.

Now, add negotiating the shifting paradigm of the publishing industry and what do you get? A borderline crazy person. Some writers are new and baffled by the currently vacillating publishing maze. Some are embedded in the original publishing business model and having a difficult time accepting the reality of this new landscape.

I’m proposing that change is deceivingly simple; it’s just our mindset that makes it appear complicated. Don’t panic.

Breathe.

THE QUAKING LANDSCAPE. Rising up from all this upheaval is more promise and potential than a writer ever had. There are more options and more variations available today than ever before in publishing. All should be looked at, dissected and considered for making intelligent choices. Traditional publishing, sprouting indie publishers, POD, e-publishing, market shifts in reader genre preferences, purchasing outlets and how the reader likes to read a book. (Kindle? Hardcopy? Online?). Yes, it seems like the zoo has gotten overpopulated, but really … the reader base has expanded vastly and that’s a good thing. Honest.

Breathe.

NO MATTER HOW YOU PUBLISH, YOU MUST MARKET. All authors are terrified of this prospect but in truth, I have never met a writer who isn’t so completely sure of their story, that in a few excited words they can’t sell it. You CAN speak in front of a group. You CAN talk to the media. You CAN do this. All an author needs to do is believe it and make the time for it. Time was carved from a hectic, full life to write the book, there’s no logic in deserting your baby just as it’s about to take flight.

Breathe.

MAKE PLANS. Don’t shy away from this, it’s no different than plotting your novel. All you’re doing now is plotting your success. You need a book business plan, a marketing plan, an author platform and a book platform, a press campaign plan, a speaking engagement/event/book signing plan and a plan for your next book. Close your eyes and imagine the success you want, then simply get it down on paper.

Breathe.

DEALING WITH PROFESSIONALS. Of course, you may have a literary agent and you will have a publisher to deal with. Those are based on your informed choice and you deal with them as you would your doctor or lawyer; respect them, stand your ground and smile. But there are other professionals, all clamoring for your attention, your project, your money and a coveted place on your coattail should you make it big.

There are knowledgeable people everywhere and they’re knocking on your door. You’re no longer a lone, private writer tapping away at your keyboard. Now, you’re visible. Early on you may have come across an Author’s Liaison, a newly created professional geared toward helping writers find self or join publication for their novel. If you’re not super duper computer savvy, you may be either approached by, or on the prowl for, a website designer. Later, when your book is a reality, you’ll meet local media people, bookstore owners (real and cyber) and a slew of other authors. All these people are brimming with great advice and want to help you … some for a cost. You’ll consider hiring an assistant to help organize all the wonderful book events and speaking engagements you see in your future. Then you’ll notice that all these eclectic, scattered, dismembered efforts require someone to pull them all together and keep them targeted and you may consider hiring a publicist.

Here is a vital piece of advice regarding any and all of these professionals: If they don’t know when to hold your hand and say “Breathe”, then they’re not worth their salt, much less their fee.

Everyone clambering to be part of your future success is not always there to support you, the author. Everyone you come across who loves your book and knows someone who knows someone related to Jeffrey Katzenberg or Oprah, is not necessarily your ticket to the big time. They may be, but keep your head on straight and don’t forget to …Breathe.
.
Breathe deep and do it often, with intent and determination to remain centered and think clearly. This is where all those plans you made earlier come into play. They target the goals and help you keep your eye on the prize. With the right attitude you can attract the right professionals to get where you want to go. The best professionals understand that there are times an author needs to be reminded to step back, think, and enjoy the ride.
Be happy and remember to …

Breathe.

For more information on Deborah Riley-Magnus and/or the Author Success workshops she’s teaching:

PARADIGM WARRIORS
Author Success Coach
Publicity Marketing Promotions
writerchef@sbcglobal.net

I blog – http://rileymagnus.wordpress.com/
I fiction – http://coldincalifornia.com
I write – http://deborahriley-magnus.com/
I play – http://whispersofthemuse.org/
I cook – http://vampiresdonteat.wordpress.com/
I tweet – http://twitter.com/rileymagnus
I facebook – http://facebook.com/deborah.rileymagnus

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Sep 022010
 
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In this post, I’m going to address in my own special way one of the recurring problems of a writer’s life. Many of us find that while we’re in a writing phase, we can’t seem to read. It’s not just about time, it’s about attention.

For what it’s worth, I’m going to argue that you gotta. Ignore me at your peril, but then, listen to me at your peril. Do what works for you, because when it comes right down to it, I don’t know shit.

All I’m trying to do is remind you — or maybe remind myself — why you sat down in that stupid chair to begin with. We all began writing because at some point writing something down seemed like a better idea than doing the dishes or emptying the litter box. Locked up in the problems of fiction, it’s way too easy to forget why it ever did.

Anyway, here’s the story:

Recently, while lost in a finger-gallop reverie in the virtual pages of my newest tender romance between a half-clothed young socialite and the crew of the HMS Bon Vivant, I realized something strange and wonderful.

All my recent first-drafts evince a familiar narrative rhythm — one I was completely unaware of during the writing of a considerable number of words.

The novels open with a conversation or interpersonal conflict that leads to an action sequence for which there’s clearly backstory that the reader doesn’t know, so that the resounding “WTF?” in the reader’s mind both intrigues them and troubles them.

The novel then proceeds to a chapter of backstory from the perspective of a single character, which tells you part of why the action sequence in Chapter 1 matters and what in the hell the characters were talking about.

Following that, there’s another conversation and another action sequence that both illuminates the events of Chapter 1, but you still don’t quite know WTF is going on.

You as the reader are more illuminated after the subsequent round of backstory, again from another character’s perspective — often a different character than the first backstory.

So on and so on — through about six or eight chapters, until roughly the midpoint of the book. After that, the narrative proceeds more or less unchecked as a series of conversations and actions sequences, to an ending that’s either a suckerpunch or a bitch-slap, depending.

Let me say here that structuring novels has always bothered me. I don’t do it naturally, which is why I’ve been more successful writing short stories. But as I wrote this round of longer works — about five of them since June — it all came to me as easily as a Cleveland drama teacher who’s mistaken me for Robert Mitchum. And for a time, I didn’t have the faintest idea why it was suddenly so natural.

Then I picked up a Jim Thompson novel, my tenth in a few months, and I realized I was aping  Thompson’s formulaic structure.

James Meyers Thompson, 1906-1977,  in case you don’t know your tough-guy literature, was one of the codifiers of redneck noir, and more importantly of the overall hard-boiled esthetic in the postwar crime thriller — and here I’m talking really hard-boiled, not the saxophone-drenched diaries of some trenchcoat-wearing wisecracker who handwashes his delicates and jots his crime scene notes in a cute little spiral notebook with unicorn appliqués and a glue-glitter “Detective Jake Fist’s Notebook” on the cover, and dots the I’s in “high-velocity impact splatter” with little pink hearts.

Jim Thompson, much like Hitchcock and Cornell Woolrich, raised misanthropy in the thriller to a high art — but, most importantly, Thompson was a consummate plotter. His books pound the pavement (or West Texas alkali dust) so tight and fast Raymond Chandler curls up in his grave and weeps, “Uncle.”

Many of Thompson’s short, to-the-point suckerpunch thrillers follow exactly the structure I mention above — some don’t, sure, but the commercial crime novels he sat down and cranked out while slamming down liquor in the ’50s and ’60s all follow a similar pattern. Thompson sure as hell didn’t invent it — really, the structure’s pretty standard. But you tend not to see it quite as evidently nowadays in category crime fiction, which today is thoroughly dominated by 400-page P.I. books and lawyers from Sausalito. With the stripped-down, 60,000-word structure in 12 or 15 or 20 chapters, it’s easier to see the moving parts.

And as far as I’m concerned, the structure works.

I don’t mean it works from a writer’s perspective — who gives a shit about writers? I mean it works for the reader. Remember them? That is to say, it works for me — I love reading it. Add to that predictable an enveloping sense of atmosphere, vivid characters, wonderful narrative language and an ear for dialect, and I’m as happy as a pig in shit as long as no one tries to talk to me while I’m reading.

With Thompson, specifically, he can stuff my peepers with an endless parade of corrupt Texas oilmen, L.A. grifters, slowly-coming-unhinged small-town sheriffs and St. Louis bellboys plotting the perfect murder of a corrupt politician’s cocaine-addled wife; I’ll always be convinced I’m reading a new book, even though I’m actually reading the same damn book over and over again.

That’s probably why I read about ten of Thompson’s novels in couple months — immediately before I started writing in exactly that structure, without even really meaning to do it.

Having found the style fantastically satisfying as a reader, I started pumping it out as a writer despite the fact that at the moment I’m not writing anything even remotely resembling crime novels. The supremely satisfying framework imprinted itself so thoroughly on me that I utilized it without even knowing it — after years of not quite “getting” novel structure.

What’s the point? You are what you eat. You have to read to write. If you are writing novels, you need to read novels; if you are writing short stories, you need to read short stories; if you are writing deconstructive poetry in Georgian — well, you get the point. And you need to read a lot of it, because the structural conventions of the genre you work in need to seem so completely natural to you that you can not only make it your own but make it your own without even knowing you’re doing it.

For years I have been telling people they need to write to write — and there ain’t a damn thing wrong with that assertion, either. But you also have to know what a work of art feels like to be able to do it with a depth of instinct that allows you to make it your own.

I should say that I’ve been somewhat inaccurate for the sake of clarity above; you actually don’t need to read obsessively in the genre or genre you’re writing in. You need to read in the genre(s) you’re most influenced by. In the same way that I”m influenced by Jim Thompson in writing erotica (an improbable marriage if ever there was one), you might be influenced by Robert A. Heinlein in writing gay werewolf romances.

Mazel Tov! The more unlikely your influences, the more likely you can bring a new voice to a given genre, to which — assuming you learn to do it well, or well enough — your readers will say “Thank you, Ma’am and/or Sir, may I have another?”

Now, please don’t take that as an engraved invitation from me (like you need one?) to write “A multigenerational epic fantasy inspired by The Daily Show.” Wacky ideas are one thing. But as a cynical son of a bitch who has heard — seriously — just about every undercooked idea possible come out of writers’ mouths, nothing’s more tedious than writers who intentionally look for improbable concepts in order to impress you with how “original” they are (Hot Tub Time Machine, anyone?), I’m telling you to keep your self-satisfied precocious inventiveness down to a dull roar and leave the truly contrived mash-ups to people with absolutely bloody well nothing of their own to say. The point is not to blow people’s minds with your half-assed ideas, but to blow their minds with the vividness, genuineness and personal flavor of your writing.

You want to give readers That Barton Fink Feeling, for the simple reason that if you don’t, no one else can. How do you do that? You give them what you love — what you really love, not just what you pat yourself on the back for having come up with a sentence-long summary for.

What I’m trying to get at here is that a writer must find what books he or she enjoys reading — or, preferably, LOVES reading with a passion that makes her or him sacrifice sleep and risk life and limb to squeeze in a few extra pages while walking down the street.

I discovered that in spades this year. I spent a decade or more of being sort of lukewarm on all the fiction I read. Therefore, I didn’t read nearly as much of it as I should have. Then I started reading fiction aggressively, and I realized that the experience of reading a book that blows you away is what all this ludicrous self-torture is about.

You do have to write to write — that fact is as unassailable as the meaning of the word is being, well, “is.”

But you are what you eat — so go read something that reminds you why you ever sat your ass down in that stupid chair to begin with.

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