Three Books that Improved My Writing
As you know, or don’t know, depending on how inquisitive you are, I am a writer of things. Sometimes it’s romance, sometimes it’s dark fantasy, horror or whatever strikes my fancy at the time. One thing my stories always have in common is they have people in them. These people need to be described to a certain extent. If the story gets a little hot, the people join up and have a physical relationship, which is usually described on the page. What do these things have in common? I have to describe things.
After writing a few stories, I found myself using the same words over and over again. A quick internet search led me to a page where I was warned against using certain words to describe persons of color. I ignored that. As a writer, I basically do what I want. However, what NOT to write wasn’t helping me with what I needed. So, I trotted (virtually) off to Amazon.
Here were the answers I found:
How to Write Descriptions of Eyes and Faces — Val Kovalin
How to Write Descriptions of Hair and Skin — Val Kovalin
The Cheater’s Guide to Writing Erotic Romance — Morgan Hawke
Unfortunately, I’m unable to reference the website that also helped out because it’s no longer online.
Describing characters in a book isn’t an easy thing, especially if you’ve written more than one. It’s so easy to fall back on the adjectives you’ve used before: they are safe and proven to get the reaction you seek. It’s, if I may be so bold, lazy. To depend on what has come before prevents you from exploring further and stretching your boundaries as a writer. It’s akin to writing the same book over and over again, and I’m sure you don’t want that. Each character is different and as writers we must strive to describe them as differently as we can.
Onto the love/sex scenes. We are well aware that for the standard sex scene, the same physical actions usually take place. So, what’s the secret to differentiating sex scenes? The emotions and the actions.
Again, I learned of Morgan Hawke through her website, which is also offline. She likened a sex scene to a fight scene, where each action had a reaction. There was a precise order of action, reaction, thought and feeling– which I will not duplicate here — that came together to create a pretty good love scene.
I also took the time to read and re-read the scenes I felt epitomized, or at least came close to, the type of writing I wanted my writing to be most like. As I read, I noted the word choice, the rhythm, and the sentence structure. Were the sentences long? Short? How did the author change the flow as the actions and/or emotions in the scene changed? How did the scene end?
If you are a writer of fiction, you are well aware you’re always evolving and changing in your work. The first book you published or the first story you wrote, is quite different from the stories you are writing now. And that’s a good thing!
Constantly studying your craft and making adjustments as needed is the only way your writing will stay fresh. It also keeps you from getting bored!