Writing Basics 101
Writers often send me stories and ask me to read them. I’m not an editor but I’m an avid reader. I’m a writer as well and I take a lot of time to construct my stories so that they are not only arousing but also well-written. Unfortunately, many publishers, black and white alike, have done a great disservice to Black erotica and writing in general by publishing crappy material and lowering the standard of writing to deplorable levels. Here are my guidelines for writing basics, basics mind you, that should be the foundation of every story.
First and foremost. If you write in all caps or all lower case letters, you aren’t writing. Period. If you can’t manage to use the shift key, don’t waste your time writing, turn on the TV. Additionally, if you don’t know how to form a sentence with a subject and a verb, how to correctly use punctuation, and don’t know how to use spell check with grammar then it might be best to pursue another hobby. Get a book on basic grammar and read the rules. It’s something the school system is obviously not teaching anymore.
You must be consistent with tense. If you are writing a story in the past tense, make sure the entire story is in the past tense. You can’t switch up from, “He opened the door and let her in,” to the next sentence, “She sits on his dick and rides it hard.” You’ve just jumped from something that happened in the past to something that is happening now. It’s a very common mistake for Black writers for some reason. As is switching from first person to third person. EX. “We entered the hotel room and we were so hot for each other we couldn’t keep from tearing each other’s clothes off.” That’s first person writing, writing as if something happened to you. Third person is writing from the perspective of someone watching the story unveil. “He threw her on the bed and covered her body with kisses.” You can’t jump back and forth in the same story; it sucks.
One important lesson I learned from some great writers a long time ago is that you’ve got to show, not tell. Paint a picture with words rather than a linear ABC progression of events.
EX. He slammed his dick in her ass and she screamed, “Ouch.”
VS. She felt his strong hands slide down her body and rest on her hips. His fingers dug into her flesh. Without warning, he had successfully flipped her over, her neck strained against the pillow staring at the wall, her ass high in the air. He spread the cheeks of her butt and she felt the searing hot point of connection where his dick pressed against her asshole. Tears formed in her eyes as she gripped the sheets tightly and tried to shut out the excruciating pain as he took her ass without mercy.
One thing that urban erotica has done is make being ghetto equivalent to being Black. We do have a unique culture and experience that can come across on the page in our reflections, our words, and our perceptions that don’t include baby mamas, visiting day at prisons, and spelling the word boys with a z. Instead of writing about our beauty, our pain, our unique history, we write about our dysfunction and call it literature. Yes, our stories need to be told, but glorifying behaviors that are unhealthy isn’t the purpose of art. Think about it. Is there a trailer park trash section in the bookstore? No. Why? Because white publishers don’t think it’s cute to see themselves portrayed in a negative light. They don’t have a problem showing Black people in a negative light and for some Black people, their reality does exist around drug deals and parole violations but we can’t let dismal life dictate art. Especially if we aren’t making an effort to try to change it, or try to elevate our people by writing about it. We are descendents of slaves. We must, as people of color and victims of oppression, lift ourselves up from the conditions that created our ghetto reality, not wallow there in complacency.
I hope I’ve given some inspiration to at least one aspiring writer to examine their work and strive to make it at least a little better.