Naive Gnostic’s review of The Haircut + my retort

Okay, not all reviews can be 5 stars, that would be an unrealistic expectation.

Quite often, the most valuable reviews aren’t those full of unambiguous adulation. When properly worded, well-meant and constructive criticism can be quite helpful to any writer that is determined to grow as an author, even if the review is only for 4 stars or less.

One of the latest reviews for The Haircut got me thinking about story length. How many words a story has when it’s finished isn’t always within the author’s control, but when you begin outlining or drafting that new brainchild, you at least have an idea of the ballpark your story will be in.

Generally, stories are classified into a few categories as far as word count goes: (wikipedia)

Classification Word count
Novel over 40,000 words
Novella 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story under 7,500 words

At roughly 11,000 words, The Haircut falls nicely into the novelette category. This was a choice I had made at the onset, to end up between 10- and 12,000 words.

This choice bears a few consequences.

As highly regarded the principle show, don’t tell may be among writers, being succinct in your descriptions is a great way to trim those excess words and paragraphs from your manuscript.

Wouldn’t The Haircut have been a better story at 25,000 words? Or 50,000? Who knows.

I could have added a lot more background of every character, sure. I could have had them reminisce their childhood, I could have revealed their inner dialogues and conflicts, or showed my reader a lot more in places where I chose to tell, for the sake of brevity.

Every story deserves to be told, and I am convinced that it is often the story that searches for and finds an author, rather than the other way around. Once the two have found each other, it is in the author’s hands. His or her choices, skills, and experience play a key role in how the story will eventually turn out.

Not every story would work well as a full-length novel; some stories would be done a disservice if their author tried to cram them in a 3,000-word format.

“My main complaint is the length. Although it is a fully formed short-story it could be so much more. I’d like to know more about Lucy’s condition. And what’s the real deal with Arron? He’s got issues that weren’t sufficiently fleshed out.”

That said, The Haircut wanted to be a novelette, and that’s what I wrote. So indeed, that means I had to make some sacrifices. Aaron and Elbe’s backstory is indeed a fascinating one; so is Lucy’s journey up to the point where she met and fell in love with Elbe. But my characters tend to haunt me in my sleep, so I’m confident that future stories will raise the tip of the veil a little higher.

Read Naive Gnostic’s review on Amazon.

p.s. I’m still very happy with this review, of course 😀


 Check out my new book The Haircut on

Amazon – Smashwords – Barnes&Noble – iTunes

#succubus #erotica

teaser3

Subscribe to my mailing list for updates on my erotic stories

Sign my guestbook

Advertisements

Answering Steve’s question

Steve asked me a question, and I thought I’d share it with all of you:

“I’ve considered writing erotica, but I don’t really know where to turn for… guidelines, I guess you could say? Where should I submit work for sale? How long should something be? Are there certain subjects that are off-limits?”

It’s actually more than one question, a few pieces of the puzzle every budding writer needs to put in the right place.

The thing is, there are a plethora of answers to these questions, or not a single answer at all.

Writing

Becoming a writer is often a very personal path and the way to go about it is subject to everyone’s personal style, their frame of reference and opinion. Most importantly to become a writer, of course, it to write. You have to put the pen to the paper and let the magic flow. We all have ideas, prompts, inspirations…so whatever works for you, just go with it.

The most beautiful thing about being a writer is that, when you’re alone with your pen and paper (or word processor), you can do anything you want. You can undertake any voyage your mind can fathom, be any person you want to be. Villain or hero, it doesn’t matter. Writing a story really isn’t the issue

The rules

Every story deserves to be told, and every story deserves an audience.

Is there anything that’s off-limits? Like I said, inside your mind, and between you and your manuscript, literally anything is allowed. There are no taboos. Nothing is too vulgar, too sacred that it can’t become the plot of your story. Matching your story to the right audience, now this might be a little trickier.

If you want to write on a blog, which is the way I started, you shouldn’t worry too much about that. Especially in the case of erotica it is my experience, both as a reader and a writer, that no matter how vulgar or depraved, it’s always someone’s fetish.

If you want to publish your stories and reach a broader audience, however, things are a little more complicated. Publishing houses and publication platform like Amazon or Smashwords will make sure you have agreed to their terms of use before they even consider accepting your manuscript. And that’s where the most important brake on your creativity will become apparent.

As a rule, especially with erotica, anything relating to sexuality that’s forbidden in real life, is not acceptable for publishers. Child molestation is the most obvious example, but also bestiality, rape, kidnapping, and torture will be at least frowned upon, if not outright rejected. It can be a thin line sometimes. Rape fantasies, sibling incest, BDSM, are just a few examples of very popular erotic themes that will in many cases find their way to print, if certain boundary conditions are met.

What’s completely acceptable mainstream to one person, may be morally repugnant to another. My advice is to carefully read the publisher’s guidelines concerning content and to ask when in doubt.

As for the quality of your writing, well…some have talent. Some don’t. But writing is like a muscle that you can train. And your piece of paper is the gym, your pen the halter bars. There are also tons of online and offline resources, workshops, courses and writing blogs that can help you to learn the ropes and improve your skills.

Publication

You can have thousand of loyal followers on your blog who hang on your every word. You can have dozens of novel-length stories written with hundreds of positive reviews and people recommending you on every forum imaginable…on your blog. Continue reading