Love and Sex: The ChallengeJohn Reynolds
“Love is a matter of Chemistry, but sex is a matter of Physics.”
Describing in detail intimacy between two human beings is often a difficult challenge for the fiction writer. After all, even in these liberal times where sex is discussed openly, personal details of lovemaking are not generally an accepted topic of normal conversation.
Yet sex and love are human activities of crucial importance and therefore your fiction writing, at some stage, is likely to require the characters to indulge in some form of physical intimacy.
Such scenes should be integral to the development of the characters – not just raunchy sex to titillate the readers. The scenes should not only provide your readers with a greater insight into your characters, their emotions (hidden fears, guilt, passion) and their relationship with one another, but should also advance your plot – in terms of the difference which each love/sex scene will make to the future direction of your story and its characters.
An Important Distinction
It is important to make a distinction between sex and love. Sex without love is common enough – prostitution being an obvious example. In this case the coupling is a commercial arrangement between the prostitute and their customer. In other cases couples can engage in sex as a result of alcohol or drugs, or as a means to an end.
Rape is a brutal sex act. Lovemaking, on the other hand, is a physical expression of strong feelings between two people. There are, of course, considerable variations between these two extremes. (Consider the controversy of E.L. James’s bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey – described by some as ‘mommy porn’.) Variations depend on variables such as the environment and the emotional circumstances. Yet always remember in
describing scenes of sex and love that it is the characters themselves who are an integral part of the process, and it is they who determine the nature and level of the intimacy.
So, as the writer you need to decide if you are describing sex or love, or a combination of both. In doing so, consider the following questions – Does the love or sex scene advance your story? Does it provide your reader with greater insight into your characters? What sort of activity would be appropriate to the characters and their situation – raunchy and lusty, or slow and gentle? Will the lovemaking be wonderful and deeply satisfying for either or both or the participants, or will it result in doubts and fears – like life itself.
A Standard Formula
A standard yet effective formula in fiction writing is for the lovemaking to take place after a series of setbacks and difficulties between the couple – boy meets girl, fall in love, quarrel, and make up. Sound too simplistic? Not really. As I said earlier, it’s all in the telling. If your reader can identify with the characters they will want them to ultimately make love. Note that I said, ‘ultimately’. Let your reader enjoy the tension of the courtship, smile at the growing attraction, become frustrated at the setbacks, worry at an apparent break up and ultimately join with them in the pleasure of climaxing the relationship – literally and figuratively.
One of the challenges of writing about sex and lovemaking is the way in which intimate body parts are described. D.H. Lawrence caused considerable controversy when he made direct reference to these hitherto unmentionables in Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Now, although explicit sex is commonplace in literature and on the electronic media, it’s still an area that needs to be written with care in order to convey the appropriate mood.
Here are some useful guidelines for writing about sex and love:
• Avoid using ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ – they’re more suited to health department pamphlets on communicable diseases. (Yes, I know D.H. Lawrence was biologically explicit but he’s the exception that proves the rule.) Your reader knows the mechanics of sex so concentrate on the
senses that are brought into play during lovemaking – tastes, scents, feelings, textures, and sounds.
• Foreplay is important. It not only provides you with the chance to explore and develop your characters and their relationship with each other, but also builds the anticipation in your reader’s mind.
• Avoid euphemisms for nipples – they are what they are in their various shapes and sizes and it’s OK to refer to them as such.
• Resist the temptation to use exaggerated euphemisms such as pleasure garden, love chamber, wand of delight, or rod of manhood.
• Sex is fun so, while avoiding the pitfalls of inappropriate vocabulary, don’t be afraid to show its amusing aspects – often a factor when couples grow more confident in their sexual relationship with each other.
• Use yourself to test the effectiveness of your sex scenes. If envisioning the scene that you are writing arouses you, then there’s an excellent chance that you’ll engender the same feelings in your readers.
• Describe the scene from the point of view of one of the characters. While you can show the other’s reactions, it’s simpler and more effective to stay with one consistent viewpoint.
• Use dialogue appropriately. Lovemaking is not a horse race and therefore doesn’t require a running commentary. However, pertinent dialogue can very effectively heighten the tenseness, sensuality and expressions of love.
• Lovemaking doesn’t always have to end in successful shuddering climaxes. It’s a delicate business, fraught with frustrations and pitfalls. Unsatisfying sex can be a very effective device in conveying insight into the characters or shifting your plot into a different direction
In writing scenes of sex and love always consider your characters as the prime determiners of the nature of the physical act and develop your description from that point. Oh, and when writing love scenes, enjoy yourself. After all, you’re an active participant!
BooksGoSocial summer Magazine
THE CHALLENGES OF WRITING A MEMOIR
by Linda Strader
Despite the popularity of memoirs, in reality, the market is flooded, which means getting a new memoir noticed is hard work. I read recently there are over 150,000 memoir titles on Amazon alone. That’s a heap of competition. If, despite those odds, you are considering writing a memoir, here are some questions you might want to think about first.
What are your publishing goals? Do you plan on publishing traditionally with a literary agent, small publisher, hybrid publisher, or go for self-publishing? It is important because if you want to publish traditionally, you will have to prepare for a long road of rejection to a book deal. Literary agent representation is the most difficult, because they prefer easy sells—those written by a celebrity. On the plus side, though, if you are accepted, you don’t have to invest a dime for editing, cover design, and occasionally, you might even get an advance for promotional expenses.
With both hybrid and self-publishing, it will cost you for editing, cover design and printing—money you may never recoup. To whom are you writing your memoir? To help yourself recover from a traumatic event? To get revenge? To help someone get through a similar challenge faced by you?
There are many reasons to write a memoir, including a relatively new approach which I will discuss later. But let me say first that I fiercely suggest you do not write a revenge memoir. Few people want to read about how terrible someone treated you, and listen to you trash that person, even if what they did is heinous and true.
A memoir to help someone is admirable, but writing about what happened to you is not enough. In order to engage the reader, it’s
important that you tell a story. It will need to read like a novel, including “show not tell.” You will need to address what was at stake.
What choices did you have to make? How did those choices change you? Why are you writing your memoir? To find some kind of resolution? That writing your story will be cathartic?
Be prepared: What you wish for might not happen. For some, writing about traumatic events can trigger anxiety and depression. It’s important to have a support system in place before beginning. How will you handle hurting someone’s feelings?
If you are really worried about this, you might want to take a hard look at why you are writing the memoir to begin with. If you are telling the truth without passing judgment on that person, don’t worry. I read this, and stand by it 100%: If someone objects to what you say about them, then maybe they should have treated you better. What about liability and lawsuits?
From what I’ve read, usually only defamation of character, or making up something which harms someone financially, could possibly result in
a lawsuit. If you are thinking all you have to do is change someone’s name to avoid litigation, you are wrong. You will need to change all of the particulars that point to that person, including: physical appearance, places, and circumstances. If you are worried about a lawsuit, consult an attorney. Personally, I doubt the average person has the time or money to pursue a legal action against you, especially if you are telling the truth. What about negative feedback or rejection?
Face it: not everyone will like your story. But that doesn’t mean your story isn’t valid. What makes rejection hard for the memoir writer is the story is deeply personal. The biggest challenge for you will be keeping the “you” in the story separate from “your writing.”
As tempting as it may be, do not share your story with family, especially while it is in process. And maybe not with friends, either. Those people are the ones most likely to be offended, or not objective enough, for you to take their comments seriously. They may say love it (even if they don’t) or they may challenge your recollection of events. Even though it’s hard to share a personal story with strangers, they are the ones whose opinions count the most.
A new type of memoir?
In today’s digital society, written record of daily life is disappearing. When is the last time you wrote an actual letter and mailed it to someone? Historians love old letters, because they are the main documentation we have of daily life many years ago. Maybe someday memoirs will be seen as having an important role in documenting a history that might have otherwise been lost.
Writing a book is challenging. Writing a memoir is even more challenging. However, if you know what you are up against and write accordingly, your story will have the best chance of achieving success.
Linda Strader is a landscape architect, certifi ed arborist, and former fi refi ghter. She is currently working on a prequel to her own memoir, Summers of Fire: A Memoir of Adventure, Love and Courage.
BooksGoSocial summer Magazine
She does not know them. They know all about her.
"Rikard Sommer may well be the next Jo Nesbo." Laurence O’Bryan, author of the international bestseller, The Istanbul Puzzle.
Available on Amazon now!
BooksGoSocial summer Magazine
Trends We Like to Follow
By Mirna Gilman Ranogajec
What is desirable, trendy and popular is constantly changing. That is why we, at BooksGoSocial as book cover designers have to be up to date all the time with what are the trends in today’s book cover designs. Here are some of the trends we like to follow and pay attention to when designing a cover:
A Stylized Typography
The font that you are using can also say a lot about what your book is about, as well as the selection of your background image. The are a lot of big, clear, sans serif fonts used on thriller, mystery, crime book covers nowadays, but we also like to play with the font if we get a fantasy or a Science Fiction novel that needs a new cover. Breaking the letters of a certain typography, playing around with them on the artboard and making it magical and mysterious is our favourite part of book design. And, of course, we are always being careful about not getting too carried away and end up with sloppy and tacky book title design.
Layers, Frames and Patterns
We want our author’s book covers to stand out among a sea of other books online. So, if we feel the cover is too simple, too plain and simple, we like to add more layers to it by using different images with patterns on it, frames that would serve as that “perfect design touch”
Say it or Show it
A timeless rule. We will either send a message with the background design we make, or we will say it with typography. Never both. Meaning, we are never too literal with our designs. The worst you can see is the title literally mirroring what is happening in the background. we don’t want to underestimate our readers and we want to be a little mysterious as well. We communicate with our authors to decide what setting and which character we should depict on the front cover. Also, a human element is a must have. Even if it’s just the back, or face, but it certainly captures the attention more than just to have a dead object such as: house, a piece of furniture etc.
As in terms of colors, we tend to not mix more than two, or in rare cases three colors. We like it simple, but also gorgeous and rich, so we tends to colors that draw attention such as red and yellow, or captivating like purple and turquoise for Fantasy and Science Fiction covers. We are always sure not to over do it, as the tile of the books should remain clean and readable. If we have a lot of going on on the background image, the typography we use is going to me clear and simple. If the don’t have much going on in the back image, we are going to emphasize the title will full and interesting looking typography.
Feeling intrigued? Want proof? Visit us on our web page at:and see more book covers on Facebook here:
The Dublin Writers’ Conference: From the Eyes of an Internby Nora Graham
For weeks, all I had done in Dublin was get lost. My phone – its screen alight with Google Maps – had rarely left my hand as I walked through the city, and my head had rammed into a variety of objects (and people) as I looked down at the app in pure, unbridled confusion.
But once I stumbled into the Academy Plaza Hotel, I knew I was in the right place.
People had books in their hands and pens tucked behind their ears. I heard words like “authorpreneur” and “IngramSpark” as I passed groups in conversation. At the back of the lobby, there was a line of attendees eagerly peeking their heads into the room that would be their home for the weekend.
It was the first day of the Dublin Writers’ Conference – and my first day at work.
I am interning at BooksGoSocial this summer in order to learn about the world of indie authors and self-publishing, the world that I think is producing some of the most interesting, enjoyable books on the market. It was a beautiful, weird coincidence that my start date landed on that of the conference.
Just like I had never been to Dublin before, I had never been to a conference of any kind before. Once I took my seat, I prepared myself to feel utterly lost again. Though I study writing at my university in America, I had always thought of it as a private, personal thing. I had no idea what independent authors and a large conference could have in common.
About five minutes into the first speaker, I figured it out.
What I admire most about selfpublishing and self-promotion is that writers have the opportunity to be independent – artistically and professionally. Traditional editors are no longer the gatekeepers of whose stories get told. However, foregoing the ageold publishing industry does not mean that independent authors must do it alone.
The Dublin Writers’ Conference showed me that indie writers are a community – and a strong one at that. Not only were the speakers engaging but the attendees also offered great insights. Some of my favorite moments of the weekend came from the Q&A portion of each presentation, when the audience could directly interact with the experts. The panels became conversations, and the large, daunting conference became the first place where I didn’t feel lost in Dublin.
Now, I spend most days making graphics and book trailers for authors, as well as learning the ins and outs of promotion through BooksGoSocial’s services on NetGalley, Instafreebie, Facebook, and Twitter. I interact with writers and get just a glimpse of the unique, complicated worlds they’ve each created through the page.
Attending the Dublin Writers’ Conference was just one of the great opportunities that came with my internship at BooksGoSocial. It gave me the chance to see how independent authors support and learn from each other. With a variety of speakers, workshops, and opportunities for networking, the Dublin Writers’ Conference offers guidance and a sense of community for any wandering independent writers, like me.
The Dublin Writers’ Conference 2018: What You Missed
At the 2018 Dublin Writers’ Conference, attendees had the chance to hear from acclaimed speakers and participate in cutting-edge workshops, all guided by the theme of “Finding New Voices.”
With presenters like Nicola Solomon, CEO of the Society of Authors, and best-selling author Amy Collins, the conference provided insight into the everchanging publishing and marketing industry. Writers in attendance learned the best methods to ensure their book thrives on Amazon, as well as how to use social media to build readership and recognition.
On Saturday, acclaimed writers, including Laurence O’Bryan and Susanne O’Leary, discussed their journeys to success. Presentations touched on the importance of author collaboration and community, especially for authors who wish to self-publish.
The conference itself was a prime example of collaboration and community. Attendees said that opportunities to network and meet fellow writers made for some of the weekend’s best moments. Furthermore, bonus workshops allowed for writers to receive feedback from experts as well as their peers on their book descriptions and more. Most popular was the “Pitch a Producer” event, where Hollywood movie producer Ken Atchity listened to authors pitch their stories for the big screen and offered his life-changing feedback.
Finally, Sunday saw BooksGoSocial’s own Tanja Slijepcevic and Elisabeth Schaffalitzky discuss their experience in book marketing. Breaking down all that goes into making a book successful, the final day’s speakers offered insights into the workings of Amazon, Netgalley, and BooksGoSocial’s most popular services.
Over 90 writers traveled to Dublin to take part in the 2018 Writers’ Conference, and more are sure to come for what will be an even bigger, better event next year. Remember, you can sign up to attend the 2019 Dublin Writers’ Conference now at https://thedublinwritersconference.com. We’ll see you there!
BooksGoSocial summer Magazine
BooksGoSocial summer Magazine