Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How To Read/Write A Dirty Story, by Susie Bright

(pb; 2001: non-fiction)

From the back cover:

"Susie Bright, the bestselling editor and founder of The Best American Erotica series and the first Herotica anthologies, has finally written the complete guide for people who like to read, write, publish, and think about sex.

". . . Bright offers the dream How-To book -- not to mention a How-To-Dream book -- for the erotic literati:

"For Erotic Writers:
"What is Your Sexual Story?
"Creating Sexual Characters
"Steamy Plots
"How to Mix Sex with Other Genres
"Up-to-Date Resources for Erotic Authors

"For Erotic Readers:
"Is This a Stroke Book or Is This Art?
"The Erotic Reader's Bill of Rights
"The 'Good Parts'
"Susie's Favorite Erotic Reference Library

"For Erotic Thinkers:
"Is Writing Sex Better than Having Sex?
"The Similarities Between Erotica and Pornography
"Sex and Violence
"Erotica Burn-out

"For Erotic Publishers:
"A Devil's Argument Against Publishing
"Finding the Perfect Editor
"Money Money Money
"Big-Time, Small Press, and Internet Publishing
"Can You Be an Artist and a Salesman?
"Fan Clubs, Book Tours, and Book Reviews

"With candor and humor, Bright tells her own explicit adventures in erotic publishing from the creative inspiration to the nitty-gritty economics. She offers provocative exercises for writers and readers alike to hone their writing and critical skills, and opens up the whole treasure chest of erotic literature and history. Here's a guide that will teach you not only how to 'write a dirty story,' but also to recognize the most powerful and insightful places in the erotica experience."

Review:

How To... is a practical, informative and supportive guide for any fiction writer who may find themselves (or their characters) confronting the issue of sex. A well-written, plot-centric sex scene furthers the narrative, and reveals (non-)emotional elements of the characters in question; it's not just thrown in to titillate: so says Bright early on, a point she maintains throughout How To....

In straightforward, warm language, Bright tells readers how to start and maintain a writing career, no matter what genre(s) you write for, fiction or non-fiction, erotica or mainstream pop fiction, et cetera. It covers how to become/stay sane and successful while navigating the wild and unexpected script-flips life throws at you: publishing and marketing joys, follies and failures; critics, many of whom won't (intentionally or unintentionally) "get" your work, no matter what you write; financial woes and boosts. . . You know, life!

This is one of the best 'how to be a writer' books I've read.

If you're an open-minded and mature writer or artist (i.e., you acknowledge that diversity and sex is healthy and nothing to be ashamed of), this may be an excellent resource for you. (Experienced writers/artists may get a lot of out How To..., as well -- a creative life is one lined with inevitable, particular blues, and we all need suportive reminders, from time to time, about how to get back on our feet.)

Worth owning, and re-reading, this.

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