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How to Write a Dirty Story: Reading, Writing, and Publishing Erotica [Paperback]

Susie Bright
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 5, 2002 0743226232 978-0743226233 0
For aspiring erotica writers -- and authors in any genre who want to make the "good" parts great
Susie Bright is the first and reigning queen of contemporary erotica. In How to Write a Dirty Story she reveals her tricks of the trade and shows you how to heat up sex scenes in everything from traditional novels and romances to science fiction and humor. Easing the aspiring writer into the creative process, she tells you how to write the steamy plots and sensual characters that publishers and readers are looking for. Bright makes it easy to:
Produce unique ideas * Master erotic language
Climax the story * Sell your work to the right place
Each chapter features practical writing exercises and suggestions for nonwriting activities that will galvanize the imagination and raze any creative or psychological hurdle. When it's time to go public, Bright draws on her own writing and publishing experiences and explains the most effective ways to find an agent, work with an editor, and grow a loyal audience.
As irreverent as it is practical, How to Write a Dirty Story is the only book an erotica author -- novice or seasoned -- needs.

Frequently Bought Together

How to Write a Dirty Story: Reading, Writing, and Publishing Erotica + Be a Sex-Writing Strumpet + How to Write Hot Sex: Tips from Multi-Published Erotic Romance Authors
Price for all three: $29.83

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Authors of erotica have it rough, says Susie Bright in How to Write a Dirty Story. Their work is often judged before it is read. They are assumed to be sex gurus. And if memoirists find it tough to share their work with friends and relatives, imagine what it's like for sex writers. A third of Bright's book is devoted to general publishing issues. The rest deals specifically with erotica and should appeal to anyone whose writing includes sex scenes. Bright, who has been dubbed the goddess of American erotica, is refreshingly straightforward about her subject. She likens a great erotic story to a great striptease act. Ideally, an erotic story takes all the time it needs, arouses both the reader and the author, is judicious with clichés and dirty words, and doesn't involve a complicated description of body-part placement or an excess of sex noises. Most important, a sex scene propels the story forward. If the story would work just as well without it, the sex scene shouldn't be there. And the good news? Even "really bad lovers can write great erotica." --Jane Steinberg

Review

Laura Miller Salon Every would-be and burgeoning author should read this.

Lavada Nahon Penthouse I invite anyone who wishes to get published to read How to Write a Dirty Story first! It will greatly increase your chances of seeing your words in print or online.

Linda Jaivin author of Eat Me and Rock 'n' Roll Babes from Outer Space What a fabulous book! Well-written (naturally), provocative (of course), and eminently sensible. It integrates all aspects of the process.

M. J. Rose author of Lip Service and In Fidelity From the exercises that Susie gives writers to the education she gives readers -- this book is a must.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (February 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743226232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743226233
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #601,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm an author, editor, publisher, performer, sex and culture critic.

I'm Editor-at-Large at Audible, acquiring and producing audiobooks from favorite titles on my bookshelf.

I live in Santa Cruz, CA.

My blog is: http://susiebright.com

My weekly show on Audible:
"In Bed With Susie Bright": http://www.audible.com/susiebright


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An invaluable resource for erotic writers at all levels January 28, 2002
Format:Paperback
This is a fabulous book for people coming to erotic writing from any skill level or experience level. It is most of all honest, something I've come to expect from Bright's writing, and that is what makes this book so useful. Instead of giving some formulaic "how to write" answer, Bright dives into the many kinds of erotica one an write, and the many reasons one may have for doing so. She also doesn't gloss over her own journey but dishes the dirt on how the publishing industry works and other "dirty little secrets" that are useful to know.
She also has some great exercises to keep you on your toes, such as trying to write in many different erotic genres. It's also strikingly clear just how well-versed in the erotic world Bright is, not just works deemed "erotica" today but their historical predecessors and the whole culture of adult literature.
I really liked that Bright showed how different authors can break convention and still succeed, and she delineates exactly what it is that makes an erotic story pass muster. She also touches on other aspects of the writing life, such as how writing will affect your sex life, reactions to those who are upfront about their writing, and the possible perils of publishing.
Overall, this book deftly combines writing exercises, a literary erotic history, as well as practical insights into specific writing problems or issues that may arise and how to deal with them, all drawing from Bright's experience as a writer and editor. Most of all, it's witty, funny and easy to read, so much so that I didn't feel like I was reading a typical writing book so much as something much lighter. And I finished it with many of my own ideas for future stories and ways of generating new ideas.
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66 of 70 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Title is Misleading April 3, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this on a whim, I wanted a book that would help me with any romantic scenes in my own writing, something that would help me keep them from seeming canned or forced. I figured a novel about writing erotica could help. This is really not what I expected, the title is misleading. It could have been Dirty Stories: Getting past the writer's block and getting published.
A third of the book is devoted to what you do once you've written your erotic novel. That's great if you already have the novel written and you're ready to get it ready to sell. If you're looking for how to write that dirty story, or that romance scene, you're out of luck.
Another third of the book is getting ready to write. You get the history of erotic novels in the United States, how to find the erotica you like, and reading it aloud to get a sense of it's style and power. It also details how do you deal with your family and friends reading something you're written that's sexually explicit, and what you can do about it. This stuff is helpful, but between it and the publishing guide you're really left with very little about how to write itself.
Once into the actual writing bit, Bright's exercises are helpful, but limited. She sets up the exercises and outlines the goals they should accomplish, and where to get ideas, but aside from saying that stringing together a bunch of sex scenes does not automatically make a plot and a good piece of erotica, she's pretty vague. She doesn't touch too much on characterization, and her chapter on mixing sex with other genres is disappointing as best.
The book focuses solely on erotica, and not even really writing it, but getting ready to do it, and then what to do once it's written.
Read more ›
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The title says it all. December 17, 2003
Format:Paperback
This book just didn't help me much at all. It promises to help a person learn the specifics of writing erotica, but there was very little in it that isn't really just common sense. (Don't string a bunch of sex scenes together and call it erotica. Put a plot in your story.) The general information for novel writing is basic and can be found in any book on novel writing. (Spell check your manuscript. Come up with interesting characters.)
I have not seen any novels by this author, but if an aspiring erotic author has a choice between this book and an actual erotica novel to learn the 'biz', I'd suggest the novel.
No one on my erotica writer's groups has recommended this book for learning such an enticing, beautiful, fun-filled craft. They recommend: "Writing Erotic Fiction: How to Write a Successful Erotic Novel" by Pamela Rochford instead. That is the book I am looking into getting. I certainly hope it is better than "Dirty Story".
Sorry, Suzie, there have got to be better books out there.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book on writing April 17, 2002
By Anthony
Format:Paperback
Great autobiographical work in the tradition of Stephen King's "On Writing" ... don't avoid it if you're not looking to write a dirty story because it's far more on writing as a whole than on writing erotica specifically. That being the negative as well since there's less specific advice on erotica than a review of the industry and process as a whole. Not the best book on writing I've read, but it's definitely on the short list and worth looking into. If you're looking specifically for a "how-to write a dirty story" however, keep looking.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring! January 16, 2002
Format:Paperback
One of many things that struck me while reading this book was how affirming Susie finds the process of writing erotica and pointing out how for decades it was considered the "poor stepchild" of writing, that no one wanted to admit that erotica could be well-written. And also too how in school any book that was considered "dirty" could be the subject of much whispering and secrecy among the schoolkids. And how erotica was always an easy target for criticism.
What I liked too was the way Susie writes, it's as if you were sitting down with her over coffee or lunch and she describes how to go about reading erotica and what kinds of "hooks" the author uses to "lure you in," how to go about writing it and what kinds of erotica to look for. She points out you should read quite a bit of it to get an idea of how to write your own. That makes sense, since I've gotten inspired for stories to write based on other erotica I've read.
She also includes writing exercises designed to show that writing erotica is not something to dive into lightly, that it deserves to be written well, no matter whether your audience is yourself and your lover, or the audience of book or 'zine readers.
Having written far too many erotic stories to count, I always wondered if the stuff I wrote was really any good, even if I (and my friends of either gender) thought them to be quite good. I would love to see them stacked up against someone like a Pat Califia or Susie Bright herself, even if they would most likely would pale in comparison.
If you enjoy writing erotica, whether it's just for yourself or for an audience, you really need to grab this book, read it and refer back to it often. With major sections on Thinking about Erotica, Reading it, Writing about it, Editing it, and getting it published, Susie gives a lot of wonderful advice. Heck, it's not a bad book about writing in general.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Hope to write one soon
I have yet to put a single word to paper, but this book gives me hope that I will be able to write a story that others will enjoy reading.
Published 1 month ago by Linda Crawford
5.0 out of 5 stars very real and very practical
Loved this--I feel like it helped me with both "dirty" and "regular" writing, since there really ought not to be a difference anyway. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Melanie Neale
2.0 out of 5 stars I got very little out of it
If you want to read a book about writing sex or erotica, you need Elizibeth Benedict's book,_The Joy of Writing Sex_. I got little out of this book. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Joe LeDux
4.0 out of 5 stars More about Inspiration than Technique
For the aspiring writer of sex-centric fiction, finding a source of sound information and advice can be daunting. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Terrance Aldon Shaw
3.0 out of 5 stars Join us in 2013, Susie
I will begin by saying Bright is one of my favorite people. She was a groundbreaker in the 90s when it came to pretty much sex-positive anything and especially women's sexuality. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Marie Prudence Gagne
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and helpful book
I've got all Susie's books and she lives in my town so I don't suppose I'm objective here but I loved this book. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Dan E. Nicholas
4.0 out of 5 stars Suzie Bright's Tricks of the Trade
Usually with books on writing, I only find some information in them I can use. I was able to pull some things from this book that I found very helpful in improving love scenes in... Read more
Published on March 24, 2012 by Cornelia Amiri and Maeve Alpin
4.0 out of 5 stars How to Write a Dirty Story
I think the title is a little misleading. What I learned from the book is how to get your story published, which is much more inportant. Read more
Published on February 21, 2011 by snowball
2.0 out of 5 stars Not even close to what i hoped it would be
The first 100 pages or so are about the history of erotica and the evolution of a sexual revolution from the female perspective. Read more
Published on July 4, 2010 by sirreadsalot
5.0 out of 5 stars Best and Brightest of the Bunch
While I've only recently read four books on this subject, this is the one I found most helpful. It was obviously written by an articulate, motivational expert teacher of the... Read more
Published on May 25, 2009 by James R. Holland
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