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'09 Authors Insider Tips

Everything About Epublishing
by Angela James
Digital Publishing & Print
Common Myths of Epublishing
Ebook Formats and Devices

by Louisa Burton
Compelling Characters
Point of View, Part I
Point of View, Part II
Learning to Love Conflict
Story Structure
Keep ‘em Guessing
Keep it Simple
Keep Your Writing Real
The Importance of Pacing

Literary Streetwalker
by M. Christian
New World of Publishing
To Blog Or Not To Blog
Meeting & Making Friends
Thinking Beyond Sex
Selling Books
Walking the Line
e-book, e-publisher, e-fun
Still More E-book Fun

Shameless Self-Promotion
by Donna George Storey
Our Journey Begins
Pitches and Bios
Websites, Blogs & Readers
Publicists, Press Kits and...
Viva the Internet
Adventures in Cyberspace
Promoting In the Flesh
Make Your Own Movie
Bigger is Better
Looking Back, Planning Ahead

Two Girls Kissing
by Amie M. Evans
Questions to Ask Yourself...
Tough All Over

The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Practice Makes Prefect
5 Books for Fiction Authors
Poetry In Motions
Six Serving Men
Ashley Lister is Anal
Stealing Ideas
Celebrating Poetry

2009 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister

Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
A Year of Living Shamelessly
Adultery, Exhibitionism ...
John Updike Made Me Do It ...
Story Soup: Forbidden ...
Lessons from Amazon
Naked Lunches ...
Erotic Alchemy
Secrets of Seduction
Are You a “Real” Writer?
Don’t Fondle My Sentence

Cracking Foxy
with Robert Buckley
The Passionate Taphophile
Havens on Earth
A Knight Without Armor
Magic Carpet Rides
Getting Hammered
Keep It Quiet
Hang Around for a Spell

Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
Worked Up About Why
Worked Up About Why, Part II
All Worked Up About Porn
The Catholic Church
Purity Movement
The National Crisis
The Future
About Homosexuality
Public Indiscretions

Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin
Premature Ejaculation
Auctioning Off What?

Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Who's Who Around the Table
Ritual Sex
Mixed Legacy
The Spectrum of Consent
Drawing the Line
Marriage without the Hype
The Distracting Smirk
Innocent Guns
Gardens of Earthly Delights

Provocative Interviews

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
Anneke Jacob
D L King
Kristina Lloyd
Lisabet Sarai
Mitzi Szereto
Portia Da Costa
Shanna Germain
Sommer Marsden
Susan DiPlacido

Guest Appearances

Marketing a Self-Published Novel
by Jeanne Ainslie

The Write Stuff

by Ashley Lister



I gave a lecture on creative writing last week.  We covered most of the basic topics – plot structure, character development and whether or not the use of adverbs should be punished with the death penalty.  At the end of the lecture, there was a Q&A and, as often happens, someone asked, “Where do you get ideas from?”

Many writers ridicule this question and say things like: “I subscribe to Ideas Monthly: the magazine with all the plots idea.”  The less facetious make quips like, “I steal them,” or, “The voices in my head tell me what to write.”

Personally, I think it’s a valid question and undeserving of ridicule.  The reason so many writers recoil from this question is because it’s one where they don’t fully know the answer.  I’ve been halfway through a novel, pondering the next part of the plot progression and trying to tie it in with a character twist, and I sometimes wonder where the idea has come from.  The most disturbing realisation is: I don’t always know.

For those ideas I can trace to their origins, I know that much of my inspiration comes from watching films.  This is not an admission that I steal storylines.  I don’t.  This is me saying that I’ll watch a film, see two characters interacting in one specific way, and then think, “What would happen if that interaction changed slightly?”  If it’s a good film, I will forget about the inspired idea and get lost in watching the movie.  If it’s a dull film, I can mentally storyboard my way through a new plot idea before the end credits have started to roll.

Sometimes an overheard snatch of conversation will inspire me. 

I once heard one colleague confide to another: “And I still won’t touch it unless I’m wearing rubber gloves.”  That comment – heard without any context supporting it, immediately set my thoughts on a tangent.  My imagination spent hours trying to offer a logical explanation for that statement and several stories came out of that one snippet.  I have no interest in knowing what was really being discussed.  Somehow, I think the real reason for her making that comment would probably be a disappointment. 

There have been times when my imagination has been driven purely by character development.  Thinking about one or more characters, and considering what they’re likely to do in a given situation, has produced some work of which I’m very proud.  As a reader I enjoy discovering whole and complex characters.  As a writer I take particular pleasure in exploring characters and trying to bring them to life on the page. 

Sometimes an idea will spring fully-formed into my head.  Often this happens when I’ve read a Call For Submission from ERWA.  To me, there is something irresistible about the challenge of being asked to produce an innovative story on a specific topic, especially when I know that my efforts will be competing for the attention of an editor alongside a host of competent and respected writers from within the industry. 

And there have been other times when I’ve simply stared at a blank page on the computer screen and wondered where the ideas should be coming from.

When ideas aren’t immediately forthcoming, I can always busy myself by working on other things.  Sometimes the absence of inspiration is a relief and allows me to proof, edit and study.  Sometimes the absence of inspiration is a living hell and I begin to wonder if I’ve broken my creativity muscle. 

But, most times, inspiration eventually comes.

For those who are struggling to drum up ideas, there are ways to inspire creativity.  I recently attended a creative writing class where the lecturer handed out a list of single plot elements.  These included:

  • A couple meet for lunch.
  • An exchange is made on a bridge.
  • Someone sees their name mentioned in a friend’s diary.

The lecturer then went on to remind us of the traditional fiction genres and told us to write in the style of any one that took our fancy.  It was a fairly tight remit and I found myself writing a horror story about a man making a deal with the devil on a precarious bridge.  The finished product – three and half thousand words later – was a pleasant reward for my efforts.

Another lecturer advised starting with a line of dialogue. 

Another suggested looking at old movie titles and seeing if the phrasing used in those classics inspired any story ideas. 

Some of the best ideas for stories simply come from wondering, “What if…?” 

Ideas can come from lots of places: they can strike from nowhere or they can be forced like the last smear of toothpaste from the tube. The important thing to remember is – when an idea does come – it’s up to the writer to handle it to the best of their ability.  Even more important, regardless of where your ideas come from, it’s vital that the writer should have fun with them.

Ashley Lister
December '08 - January '09

Find more of Ashley's Write Stuff in ERWA 2008 Archive.

"The Write Stuff" © 2008 Ashley Lister. All rights reserved.

About the Author:  Ashley Lister is a UK author responsible for more than two-dozen erotic novels written under a variety of pseudonyms. His most recent work, Swingers: True Confessions from Today's Modern Swinging Scene (Virgin Books), a non-fiction book recounting the exploits of UK swingers, is his first title published under his own name.
Ashley’s non-fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Forum, Chapter & Verse and The International Journal of Erotica.  Nexus, Chimera and Silver Moon have published his full-length fiction, with shorter stories appearing in anthologies edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Mitzi Szereto.  He is very proud to be a regular contributor to ERWA.
Email:  Ashley Lister

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'09 Movie Reviews

Blame It On Savanna
Review by Byrdman

Cry Wolf
Review by Spooky

Review by Spooky

Heaven or Hell
Review by Oranje

House of Wicked
Review by Diesel

The Office: An XXX Parody
Review by Spooky

This Ain't The Partridge Family
Review by Spooky

'09 Book Reviews


A Slip of the Lip (ebook)
Review by Jean Roberta

Best Women's Erotica '09
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Bottoms Up
Review by Ashley Lister

Enchanted Again
Review by Victoria Blisse

Review by Kathleen Bradean

Girls on Top
Review by Ashley Lister

In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed
Review by Ashley Lister

Libidacoria (Poetry)
Review by Ashley Lister

Licks & Promises
Review by Ashley Lister

Like a Thorn (ebook)
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Mile High Club
Review by Ashley Lister

Nexus Confessions: Vol 5
Review by Victoria Blisse

Nexus Confessions 6
Review by Victoria Blisse

Oysters & Chocolate
Review by Kristina Wright

Playing with Fire
Review by Ashley Lister

Sexy Little Numbers Vol 1
Review by Ashley Lister

Up for Grabs
Review by Lisabet Sarai


A 21st Century Courtesan
Review by Donna G. Storey

The Ages of Lulu
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Amanda’s Young Men
Review by Kristina Wright

As She's Told
Review by Ashley Lister

Bedding Down
Review by Victoria Blisse

Review by Ashley Lister

Brushes & Painted Dolls
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Cassandras Chateau
Review by Ashley Lister

The Edge of Impropriety
Review by Kristina Wright

Review by Kathleen Bradean

Free Pass
Review by Ashley Lister

The Gift of Shame
Review by Victoria Blisse

Kiss It Better
Review by Ashley Lister

The Melinoe Project
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Mortal Engines & The ...
Review by Ashley Lister

The New Rakes
Review by Ashley Lister

Ninety Days of Genevieve
Review by Victoria Blisse

Obsession: An Erotic Tale
Review by Kristina Wright

Sarah's Education
Review by Ashley Lister

Seduce Me
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Lesbian Erotica

Lesbian Cowboys
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Night's Kiss
Review by Jean Roberta

Where the Girls Are
Review by Jean Roberta

Gay Erotica

Animal Attraction 2
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Boys in Heat
Review by Vincent Diamond

Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Low Road
Review by Jean Roberta

Personal Demons
Review by Jean Roberta

Ready to Serve
Review by Vincent Diamond

The Secret Tunnel
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Review by Kathleen Bradean

Review by Vincent Diamond


Best Sex Writing '09
Review by Kristina Wright

The Big Penis Book
Review by Rob Hardy

Erotic Encounters
Review by Rob Hardy

The Forbidden Apple
Review by Rob Hardy

Hollywood’s Censor
Review by Rob Hardy

Lady in Red
Review by Rob Hardy

Licentious Gotham: Erotic...
Review by Rob Hardy

Live Nude Elf
Review by Rob Hardy

Live Nude Girl
Review by Rob Hardy

The Other Side of Desire
Review by Rob Hardy

Scripts 4 Play
Review by Ashley Lister