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Old 09-03-2016, 03:22 PM   #1
StrangeTamer
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I would like to improve as a writer

As the title says I would like to improve as a writer. This is the first story I've written and the longest thing I've ever written. I've reread my story several times since it was posted to try and see what I would do different. I still don't like the beginning, I rewrote that at least 4 times and finally settled for this one. I had a hard time transitioning between scenes, and where Mindy and Arianna explain everything to Mindy's parents even tho it's the logical next thing for a person to do I had to force myself to write it, and to me it still seams like it doesn't flow right.

Except for my wife I gave up on my bata readers, every time I would ask them what they thought of it they would tell me they hadn't read it yet, (and they still haven't read it, I gave up asking ). I lucked out and found an editor with the first person I messaged and he helped me and my story a lot (thank you, you know who you are). There are still some sentence fragments, but I liked them so I left them.

It's had a good rating since it was posted, it's never gone below 4.56 but I would like to know if the writing is good or just the sex. So before I get to far into the next part I would like to know what I should improve on. It's a lesbian love story between a sex goddess and a mortal female that's chosen to become another sex goddess and it'a approximately 27000 words. https://www.literotica.com/s/rebirth...ndys-awakening
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Old 09-03-2016, 03:48 PM   #2
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I read a few lines of your story.

Writers who know recommend collecting 6-12 books by your favorite authors (best sellers is possible) and read the books thoroughly, a few times, till you really know them. Then write and see how your prose improves.

My stuff is noir, so I read Raymond Chandler, David Goodis, Lawrence Block, Max Allan Collins, Michael Connelly, James Ellroy, and John D, MacDonald.
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Old 09-03-2016, 04:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOIRTRASH View Post
I read a few lines of your story.

Writers who know recommend collecting 6-12 books by your favorite authors (best sellers is possible) and read the books thoroughly, a few times, till you really know them. Then write and see how your prose improves.

My stuff is noir, so I read Raymond Chandler, David Goodis, Lawrence Block, Max Allan Collins, Michael Connelly, James Ellroy, and John D, MacDonald.
Since I'm writing lesbian do you think I could skip the books and watch a bunch of lesbian porn instead, do you think it would help?
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Old 09-03-2016, 04:38 PM   #4
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Since I'm writing lesbian do you think I could skip the books and watch a bunch of lesbian porn instead, do you think it would help?
More than the books JBJ recommended, which don't have anything to do with what you want to write.
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Old 09-03-2016, 04:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrangeTamer View Post
Since I'm writing lesbian do you think I could skip the books and watch a bunch of lesbian porn instead, do you think it would help?
I'm of the opposite school of thought than JBJ. I don't recommend reading for anything, but enjoyment. Trying to read with the 'can I write like this" mentality means you end up frustrated or copy catting a style, you want to write like you, no one else.
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Old 09-03-2016, 05:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrangeTamer View Post
Since I'm writing lesbian do you think I could skip the books and watch a bunch of lesbian porn instead, do you think it would help?
Do as you please.
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Old 09-03-2016, 05:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrangeTamer View Post
Since I'm writing lesbian do you think I could skip the books and watch a bunch of lesbian porn instead, do you think it would help?
I realise that the publisher itself is defunct, but try looking for Women's Press books - a lot of them include convincing characters who happen to be lesbians. Another writer to look at is Sarah Waters - Fingersmith, Tipping the Velvet, The Night Watch...
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Old 09-03-2016, 05:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrangeTamer View Post
Since I'm writing lesbian do you think I could skip the books and watch a bunch of lesbian porn instead, do you think it would help?
The question becomes, what do you want to write? You said you are "writing lesbian." Do you mean you are writing about two women in love or two women having sex to turn your readers on. There is a world of difference. Lesbian porn is most frequently the later of the two and has very little to do with two women in love.

So, if you are writing about two or more women having sex and you want your story to arouse men then by all means watch lesbian porn videos. It won't help your writing but it may give you some material and it will certainly be more entertaining than reading "The Grapes of Wrath"

If you really want to write about women who are in love with each other, skip the lesbian porn. It has nothing to do with that. Instead read some sapphic romance stories written by women and try to see the world through their eyes.

If you want to improve your writing, as in your ability to combine words and phrases into meaningful sentences, paragraphs, and stories, then I recommend reading everything you can. Not to copy their style, if you read enough variety this won't happen, but to learn what works and doesn't work. Frequently in the English language rules are meant to be bent and sometimes even broken. Sentence fragments often work, even though they are not grammatically correct. But you have to know the rules before you can bend them effectively. So read Strunk and White's "Elements of Style." Keep it handy. Once you understand it, don't be afraid to stray away from it. Just don't stray too far
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Old 09-03-2016, 06:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by NOIRTRASH View Post
Do as you please.
Sorry NOIRTRASH, my comment of watching lesbian porn was kind of a joke it didn't come across in print. I try to read what I can I just don't have a lot of extra time.
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Old 09-03-2016, 06:45 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
More than the books JBJ recommended, which don't have anything to do with what you want to write.
I think NOIRTRASH was referring to what he reads, not what I should read.
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Old 09-03-2016, 06:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Penuche View Post
I realise that the publisher itself is defunct, but try looking for Women's Press books - a lot of them include convincing characters who happen to be lesbians. Another writer to look at is Sarah Waters - Fingersmith, Tipping the Velvet, The Night Watch...
Thank you Penuche, I will look into them.
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Old 09-03-2016, 06:54 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by StrangeTamer View Post
I think NOIRTRASH was referring to what he reads, not what I should read.
NOIRTRASH was just seeking attention. But he very definitely isn't able (or willing) to separate what his pet established writers write and erotica. The same with his own writing here. And, like today, he can be all over the place slapping a wet, irrelevant, and denigrating blanket on all discussions trying to make a go of it.
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:04 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by lovecraft68 View Post
I'm of the opposite school of thought than JBJ. I don't recommend reading for anything, but enjoyment. Trying to read with the 'can I write like this" mentality means you end up frustrated or copy catting a style, you want to write like you, no one else.
I like to read for my own enjoyment, but I can see what JBJ is getting at.
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:22 PM   #14
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Ibut I can see what JBJ is getting at.
So can I.

But I guess I'll bite the bullet too and note (once again) that, as nice as Strunk and White is, it's for high school term papers, not commercial fiction writing. For that, in the U.S. style, you need the Chicago Manual of Style and in the British style, the Oxford guides. For context and word usage, William Zinsser's On Writing Well and Theodore Bernstein's The Careful Writer are useful. If you can hack the convoluted, but correct, latch onto Fowler's Modern English Usage (an Oxford book and good for both U.S. and British styles because it notes the differences--the 1996 or earlier editions are best as someone less intelligent but more arrogant took the series over after that).

Strunk and White is good to go for high school papers, Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers is good for college papers, and the APA guide is good for scientific work.
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:36 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by GoldenCojones View Post
The question becomes, what do you want to write? You said you are "writing lesbian." Do you mean you are writing about two women in love or two women having sex to turn your readers on. There is a world of difference. Lesbian porn is most frequently the later of the two and has very little to do with two women in love.

So, if you are writing about two or more women having sex and you want your story to arouse men then by all means watch lesbian porn videos. It won't help your writing but it may give you some material and it will certainly be more entertaining than reading "The Grapes of Wrath"

If you really want to write about women who are in love with each other, skip the lesbian porn. It has nothing to do with that. Instead read some sapphic romance stories written by women and try to see the world through their eyes.

If you want to improve your writing, as in your ability to combine words and phrases into meaningful sentences, paragraphs, and stories, then I recommend reading everything you can. Not to copy their style, if you read enough variety this won't happen, but to learn what works and doesn't work. Frequently in the English language rules are meant to be bent and sometimes even broken. Sentence fragments often work, even though they are not grammatically correct. But you have to know the rules before you can bend them effectively. So read Strunk and White's "Elements of Style." Keep it handy. Once you understand it, don't be afraid to stray away from it. Just don't stray too far
Thank you, so basically the more I read about what I like to write over time my writing should get better.
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:46 PM   #16
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Thank you, so basically the more I read about what I like to write over time my writing should get better.
I think so. I think reading makes us better writers. Writing makes us better writers too. Learning grammar makes us better writers. Life makes us better writers. When I go back 10 years or so and read what I wrote then, I see how my writing has improved. I think you'll experience the same thing and it's pretty cool.

So keep writing and enjoy the journey you have started. No one can tell you where it will take you, but it will have good times and bad times and in the end you'll have stories that will delight your soul.
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Old 09-04-2016, 05:14 AM   #17
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I thought strangetamer's comment about watching lesbian porn was an ironic joke. Good to have that confirmed!

I started to read the story. The jumps are awkward at the beginning, as you say, even the first jump from Rachel and work to Arianna and the dream. I have the same problem with the stuff I am trying to write. I'm afraid I gave up half way down the first page when it got to the bit with the wings.

I think it's generally the case that the highest rated stories on this site are the ones with lots of explicit sex, rather than those of high literary quality.

If you want to make the lesbian stuff more realistic, rather than just male fantasy fodder, it probably would be good to read what real lesbians have written, from Sappho to Sarah Waters. I don't think many of them would jump straight into clit-licking as you do!

Edit- oops, just realised I am completely wrong about Sarah Waters. She gets straight to it in the title of her novel 'Tipping the velvet' which means exactly that!

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Old 09-04-2016, 06:19 AM   #18
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I don't know if I ever said this here before, but I had never read an erotic story before I started writing them.

I'd read some brief sex scenes in horror novels and when I was in my teens maybe a couple of penthouse letters type things, but I started writing erotica twenty five years after that. So everything I wrote had no influence whatsoever other than my imaginations.

Now that I think of it I did read 120 days of Sodom in my early twenties, but as some can attest some of that material was far from erotic
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Old 09-04-2016, 01:51 PM   #19
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I thought strangetamer's comment about watching lesbian porn was an ironic joke. Good to have that confirmed!

I started to read the story. The jumps are awkward at the beginning, as you say, even the first jump from Rachel and work to Arianna and the dream. I have the same problem with the stuff I am trying to write. I'm afraid I gave up half way down the first page when it got to the bit with the wings.

I think it's generally the case that the highest rated stories on this site are the ones with lots of explicit sex, rather than those of high literary quality.

If you want to make the lesbian stuff more realistic, rather than just male fantasy fodder, it probably would be good to read what real lesbians have written, from Sappho to Sarah Waters. I don't think many of them would jump straight into clit-licking as you do!

Edit- oops, just realised I am completely wrong about Sarah Waters. She gets straight to it in the title of her novel 'Tipping the velvet' which means exactly that!
Yes I have a odd sense of humor, I thought I should clarify as it looked like people were taking me seriously . Sorry everyone . Thanks for starting to read it, I think my writing gets a little better midway thru. I have the books Penuche recommended bookmarked and I'd like to get then next month. Sorry your having the same problem, I'm hoping it will get easier the more I write.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:04 AM   #20
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Let me start by saying that Lesbian doesn't appeal to me so I didn't read very far.

My advice:
* Use past tense. Is the accepted standard for short story writing. Now, if you know what you are doing, you can break the rules but you don't
* If the story is told from Mindy's point of view, write it in first person. First person is much more intimate then third person

So the beginning should be:
Quote:
It was early spring, overcast and raining as I got out of my car at the offices of West Coast Antiquities. I opened my umbrella and headed in to work. I didn't mind the rain because it was refreshing and kept the air clean.
Actually, that shouldn't be the beginning. That it was early spring, overcast and raining is unimportant to the story. Instead, you want to get to the central theme or conflict of the story right away. So a better beginning would have been:
Quote:
I've never felt that I fit in at the offices of West Coast Antiquities. Sure, some of the people were OK and I've made two good friends here, but I've never fit into any of the office groups and that has made me a target for for the office bully Rachel. I've always had the feeling that I was meant for something more.
Dialog is the heart of a story and (a) you don't have much of it early on and (b) you bury what little you have in the middle of a big block of text.

Focus on having scenes. You have way to much rambling narrative summary that I found hard to follow. You need to get us into the room (or the dream in this case) with detailed description of what's happening.

Rather than having the flashback to the first time with Arianna, I think it would have been better to start us off with Mindy coming home after a bad day at the office, falls asleep and has her first dream with Arianna. That's an amazing scene that should have been filled with wonder. Take us through the wonder of the dream. By presenting it as a flashback, it's old hat. I think it would have been better to then have shown us the next morning, when Mindy wrestles with the significance of the dream. Then fast forward us to the next Friday night. Mindy has been disappointed that the dream hasn't reoccurred, then is very excited when it does. Then skip us forward six months to where you start the story.

I don't know the unwritten rules for Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Lesbian, but you might get a better response to the story if it was published in the Lesbian category.

Hope that helps.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:36 PM   #21
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On improving your writing - I think my writing has greatly improved in the three years that I've been writing and I wish I could tell you how I improved it.

On reading novels and such - I've done a lot of reading all my life and it did little prepare me for the challenge of cranking out my own story. I'm re-writing my first story and it's shocking to me just how bad the writing is. Watching someone drive doesn't teach you much about how to drive.

On reading books on writing - I've read quite a few. They're helpful, but they aren't as helpful as I wish they'd be. Probably still a good idea to get a few under your belt.

On reading grammar books - Strunk and White did nothing for me. I wish I could find a grammar book that has lots and lots of examples and exercises as that it how I learn grammar.

On reading the best erotic stories - Pacofear's "Words on Skin" is generally considered the best incest story on the site. Reading it pissed me off as the plot holes were big enough to drive a truck through. The erotic stories I enjoy the most are nothing like what I write. I love stroke stories. I write complex stories with gobs of character development.

On providing feedback to other authors like this thread - I think it is a good idea. It makes me think about why I liked a story or not. But most of the requests for feedback are from first-time authors who aren't very good.

On knowing the unwritten rules of your category - In general, a good idea. There are buttons for each category that if you hit, you're going to get a good response from your readers. And there are buttons that if you hit, you're going to piss off your readers. But those are more like guidelines and you can break them if you have a great story.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:41 PM   #22
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On reading grammar books - Strunk and White did nothing for me. I wish I could find a grammar book that has lots and lots of examples and exercises as that it how I learn grammar.
You might try English Grammar, by David and Barbara Daniels from the HarperCollins College Outline series.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:11 PM   #23
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You might try English Grammar, by David and Barbara Daniels from the HarperCollins College Outline series.
The reviews on Amazon make it sound excellent. Thank you, sir.
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Old 09-05-2016, 03:48 PM   #24
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Thank you 8letters for reading what you did even tho Lesbian doesn't appeal to you.

Quote:
* Use past tense. Is the accepted standard for short story writing. Now, if you know what you are doing, you can break the rules but you don't
* If the story is told from Mindy's point of view, write it in first person. First person is much more intimate then third person
I did't even know I broke the rule for that, I'll look into it. As for the second I just sat down and started writing and it turned out to be third person and I was comfortable with it so that's what I used. I agree first person is more intimate but I'm not sure how that would work later in the story as it's mostly Mindy's point of view but it's Arianna's in places as well. I will give first person a try in another story.

Quote:
Dialog is the heart of a story and (a) you don't have much of it early on and (b) you bury what little you have in the middle of a big block of text.
Thanks for pointing that out to me, that's something I will work on.

Quote:
Focus on having scenes. You have way to much rambling narrative summary that I found hard to follow. You need to get us into the room (or the dream in this case) with detailed description of what's happening.
So have my characters help describe things more instead of having it mostly in the narrative?

Quote:
Rather than having the flashback to the first time with Arianna, I think it would have been better to start us off with Mindy coming home after a bad day at the office, falls asleep and has her first dream with Arianna. That's an amazing scene that should have been filled with wonder. Take us through the wonder of the dream. By presenting it as a flashback, it's old hat. I think it would have been better to then have shown us the next morning, when Mindy wrestles with the significance of the dream. Then fast forward us to the next Friday night. Mindy has been disappointed that the dream hasn't reoccurred, then is very excited when it does. Then skip us forward six months to where you start the story.
Thanks for saying it was an amazing scene, it's the first sex scene I've ever written I really like this idea, if you don't mind I would like to use it when I rewrite the story.

Quote:
I don't know the unwritten rules for Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Lesbian, but you might get a better response to the story if it was published in the Lesbian category.
I almost put it in lesbian I know it would get more views there, but dealing with mythical beings and Arianna's pet vine monster I thought Sci-Fi/Fantasy would be a better fit.

Quote:
The erotic stories I enjoy the most are nothing like what I write. I love stroke stories. I write complex stories with gobs of character development.
That's like me, I mostly don't like chaptered stories on here. When I started writing I said I wasn't going to write one and now look what I'm writing lol. I tried to get this at least from a beginning to an end. The more I wrote the more the ideas piled on top of ideas. The next 2 chapters are going to be stroke stories while I settle my thoughts and notes for ch.4 that will continue the story line.

Quote:
On knowing the unwritten rules of your category - In general, a good idea. There are buttons for each category that if you hit, you're going to get a good response from your readers. And there are buttons that if you hit, you're going to piss off your readers. But those are more like guidelines and you can break them if you have a great story.
I'm not really worried about pushing the buttons I'm writing for me, if people like it that's great if not that's fine to. When I do something I try to learn what I can about it, and I'm finding out that writing is a very big rabbit hole lol.
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Old 09-05-2016, 04:06 PM   #25
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I did't even know I broke the rule for that, I'll look into it. As for the second I just sat down and started writing and it turned out to be third person and I was comfortable with it so that's what I used. I agree first person is more intimate but I'm not sure how that would work later in the story as it's mostly Mindy's point of view but it's Arianna's in places as well. I will give first person a try in another story.
There is no such standard or rule, so you didn't break anything.
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