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Be a Sex-Writing Strumpet Paperback – January 13, 2011
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The content is quite good. Kane uses a lot of examples and it's obvious she likes her topic. I learned something from her. If it had been organized more clearly, I would have given the content a five.
But the book seems to have been plucked straight from her blog with no editing at all. For example, there is no table of contents. I understand that fiction books often don't have a table of contents page, but this is supposed to be a reference guide. It seems lazy not to include one, especially because some of us want this in print. (I don't have a Kindle so I can't do electronic bookmarks, and I don't think it should be necessary to flag 25 chapters, squeezing their titles onto sticky notes or whatever.)
There are typos and inconsistencies (btw/BTW, Part One/Part 2, etc). She doesn't know how to close parenthetical material. She refers to "these posts" and "Monday's post" throughout. She admits she is "jumping around a lot." She says we'll get to things "the week after next." (Which chapter the week after next refers to is unclear. Should I put down the book for a week?) It makes for a jarring read and only reminded me that I could have saved my money.
At the end, she writes that she had wanted to write about BDSM, do an interview with a friend, and write about threesomes. But the series was over and she just didn't have time. Why not do that? Why not beef it up?
Her excerpts from her published books are excellent. I've never read Kane before, and I'm not into vampires or magic, but I really enjoyed the excerpts. The high quality of the excerpts made me wonder: does she have an excellent editor or does she just care more about those books than this one?
I read a lot of blogs and understand that blog-speak can be more casual. But this is presented as a book, not a blog. Some editing and polishing would have done this text a world a good. Obviously other readers were not distracted by these issues, but I finished the "book" feeling a bit cheated.
Everything in this book was originally on her blog. And it's obvious by the blatant copy-and-paste technique she used to compile this book. There are basic things she could have taken the time to edit, like "in this post, I will blah-blah-blah." Or, she could have made true block quotes instead of just changing fonts for long quotes like you would on a blog. I won't pick on each and every thing, but those little things do add up to look like lazy writing.
The things she teaches in this book are so obvious (no aha moments), so I'm left with what seems like mostly commentary: "I don't like using this word for that body part" because of whatever reason or "without the sex scene, you're just telling me about a couple's relationship, not showing me." While I don't necessarily agree with the latter statement, I like her personality. She's funny, honest, charmingly self-deprecating, and if I knew of her blog I would have been subscribed to it. As a teacher though, she lacks poise and professionalism. I feel at times like she's being silly just to mask her own nervousness as an instructor.
I can tell she's studied the craft and I respect that. She made sure to mention the role of audience and genre expectations, sexual personalities as characterization tools, sex scene placement, etc. Her lists of sex words, body parts, and sex places were all thought-provoking and helpful. Also, I appreciate the discreet, plain spine on the book. I would be embarrassed to have my parents come over and see this on my bookshelf.
Luckily, that wasn't at all the case. Yes, the chapters began as blog posts. But Kane clearly plotted out the whole book in advance and came up with one very cohesive whole.
The result was eye-opening and explained why so many of the sex scenes I've read in various novels didn't hit the mark. Using her techniques, I'm hoping I can do a much better job. Highly recommended for any writer trying to up their game!