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Writing

Character Variety

Character Variety

A veritable cavalcade of variety.

Let’s say I want to write a political thriller set, in part or in whole, in Hong Kong. It’s an interesting location because, while it is technically a part of China, it’s also an independent state with its own laws and cultural and societal pressures.

As such, one of the first questions I’d ask would be: what race should my main character be? Chinese? If so, are they natural-born? From mainland China? Grew up in Hong Kong but travelled the world? Or could they be an American or British or French or German person who simply lives there and ends up being involved in something rather more than they bargained for?

The story will largely dictate at least part of the answer to this question. If there is some overriding reason for the character to be a particular race, then I will make them a particular race and build everything else up from there. But let’s say, for sake of argument, that this is just some random, regular guy who gets caught up in a dangerous spy game. Does their race matter then?

The easiest test for whether a character’s race is important to the story is to simply change it. Make your white British newspaper reporter African-American instead. Does it change anything in the story? Or in your plans for the story? No? Then mix things up a little! (more…)

Yurika

Yurika S. Grant is a writer and yuri lover who writes lesbian fiction and lives in the sunny yet unbelievably flat East Midlands. Secretly a witch.

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The Trouble With Time Travel

Have you ever noticed in science fiction stories involving time machines, that the machines in question seem to defy all logical explanation? And I don’t just mean the physics of time travel, though that’s an interesting topic by itself. No, what I mean is how the machine seems to ignore physical location when travelling through time.

In any story, a degree of narrative convenience is necessary simply for the sake of having the story happen. But one convenience—or more accurately, contrivance—time travel stories too often suffer from is failing to take into account the fact that Earth is a celestial body travelling at some 67,000 MPH. It wouldn’t be in the same place when travelling through time!

Let’s say you build a time machine in your London flat’s basement. You climb in, start the machine up, and decide that as a simple test you’ll go back in time by precisely 24 hours. So where was the Earth 24 hours ago? If it travels 67,000 miles every single hour, then multiplying that by 24 gives us a rough figure of 1,608,000 miles travelled.

Our scientist, who probably isn’t very bright if he’s not thought about this issue, sits in his machine, prods the buttons, sets the Flux Capacitor just so, and hits the big red GO! button. He travels back 24 hours to the exact same spot he’s in right now. Unfortunately, the spot he’s in right now is based on the position of Earth right now as well, not the Earth of 24 hours ago.

As a result, he appears in space and immediate dies from being exposed to hard vacuum. This is something I’ve never actually seen mentioned or explored in any show, book, or movie that deals with time travel, and it’s a fairly major issue that I feel should be explored. (If you do know of any fiction works where this is addressed, I’d love to hear about it!) (more…)

Yurika

Yurika S. Grant is a writer and yuri lover who writes lesbian fiction and lives in the sunny yet unbelievably flat East Midlands. Secretly a witch.

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Fetishizing vs Fetishes

Footwear, one of the staples of fetishland.

You’re probably wondering why I’m making a distinction between two very similar words. And that’s entirely fair to wonder, so let’s talk a bit about it. In the context I’ll be talking about here, specifically writing erotic fiction, fetishes and fetishizing, while basically the same on a superficial level, generally refer to two quite different concepts. Especially anything like romance and ero where you’re describing people in detail, including sexually.

Fetishes are obvious, basically everyone knows what those are, and huge numbers of people have them. They’re perfectly normal and not something anyone should really be worried over or ashamed of. Alas, society often disagrees, but here on my site at least I’m entirely open-minded on the subject. Fetishes are also fun to write. I’ll write a post on fetishes at some later date.

Fetishizing is a whole other ballgame, though. The reason I’m separating these is simple: fetishizing is the act of making something or someone into a fetish. For example, focusing on dark skin or large breasts. It’s perfectly fine to be personally attracted to someone with these or other physical traits, everyone is different and people all have their own tastes, no problem.

However, when writing you should be aware of this as a potential issue. I don’t want to linger too long on this so I’ll make it as succinct as possible. Describe your characters equally and leave your personal tastes at the door when you write from a neutral narrator’s point of view. Keep your prose as objective as possible, and avoid letting your own interest in dark skin or large breasts or whatever other tastes you have seep into the work. (more…)

Yurika

Yurika S. Grant is a writer and yuri lover who writes lesbian fiction and lives in the sunny yet unbelievably flat East Midlands. Secretly a witch.

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Using Euphemism in Explicit Scenes

An image completely unrelated to euphemism in any way.

English is a flexible language with huge variety in vocab and many, many alternate words you can use to describe things, and euphemisms can be some of the most fun and enjoyable of the lot. So go nuts and have fun with it! Euphemism, genteelism, analogy, simile, they all have their place. But also be aware of when not to use them, and when to adjust word choice a little for particular situations.

For example, when I had just started out writing yuri/lesbian romance I used horrible euphemisms like ‘magic button’ in place of ‘clit’. I was hesitant to use that word, partly because I was still unsure of how explicit I felt like being with my works in general. It’s one of those things that can demonstrate a lack of confidence, and you probably don’t want your writing to come across like that.

After reading some recent lesbian erotica and various blog posts by other writers on the subject, I dropped that practice entirely. Just use ‘clit’, you don’t need to worry unduly there, assuming you’re writing something explicit. Be bold and confident in your word choices, you don’t need to beat about the uh… the bush, as it were.

You should also think about your characters themselves. How do they feel about sex and sexuality? Use words appropriate to the characters in question when describing scenes.

Like I have a character who loves breasts, and she can get a bit flustered when seeing her own girlfriend undressed because said girlfriend has a large and shapely pair. I therefore use a lot of euphemism for this character, describing in terms of fluffy pillows or comfy airbags, using silly descriptors in the prose to match the character’s own feelings and flustered state.

Likewise, ‘pussy’ is a word I’ll happily use for any girl who is openly sexual and liberated, but I might default to more gentle euphemisms such as ‘wetness’ or ‘moistness’ for characters who are more unsure of things, or who are enjoying their first ever experience. This is by no means set in stone, though, I mix things up a great deal as well.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid using the same word more than a couple of times in a scene. So if I open a sexy scene using ‘pussy’, I’ll switch to ‘wetness’ the next time a direct reference is required. Then I might use ‘centre’ or ‘moistness’ for the next, before moving back to ‘pussy’.

Similarly, a phrase like ‘her most intimate area’ serves well to break things up and prevent monotony, adding some additional variety to the prose. (more…)

Yurika

Yurika S. Grant is a writer and yuri lover who writes lesbian fiction and lives in the sunny yet unbelievably flat East Midlands. Secretly a witch.

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How Characters Alter Their Own Stories

Sitting here at my PC, banging away on the keyboard as I write a scene for a new character I’m going to introduce in a later book of my romance serial, Aida, a scene pops into mind. A random scene, not something I’d planned or even thought about before this point.

I write the scene, laugh at the scene because my character has just been introduced to a new situation and is both mildly annoyed and somewhat flustered, then move to the next scene. If you’re thinking this is in any way unusual, trust me, it’s not. In fact, this is how I normally write, more or less completely at random, at least when it comes to individual scenes.

It’s been said by numerous writers that ‘your characters know their story better than you do’, or variations to that effect. And the totally random yet utterly perfect scene I just wrote for this character confirms that more eloquently than I could ever manage, even if given an unlimited word budget.

If you’ve read the first book, you’ll remember a flamboyant character by the name of Falconi. He exists to introduce the reader to the concept of character-type idols, people who create a character—a whole persona—and roleplay it at all times, at least in public, and sometimes even in private for simple authenticity’s sake. (more…)

Yurika

Yurika S. Grant is a writer and yuri lover who writes lesbian fiction and lives in the sunny yet unbelievably flat East Midlands. Secretly a witch.

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Maintaining Writing Momentum

I was asked quite a while back how I go about maintaining momentum writing past the 10,000 word mark. For me this is a pretty easy question to answer, because I’ve never really struggled to maintain momentum. Quite the reverse, actually… I tend to be way too prolific.

If I’m in the mood to write something specific I can get 5,000 or more words done in a day, no problem. My personal best at time of writing is 9,000 in ~12 hours, which ain’t bad at all. But if I don’t feel like it? 1,000 might be a struggle, and chances are I’d give up after 500 words. And what I did write probably wouldn’t be very good.

So how do I write so I can maintain a level of momentum, especially past the 10,000 word mark? Simple, I vary what I write and don’t get hung up on writing linearly. Condensed down to a single word, I’d use this: Leapfrogging. Confused? That’s probably a reasonable reaction.

It’s really very simple, though, you simply jump—or leapfrog—back and forth over already-written sections (or scenes that don’t exist yet!) and write whatever the hell you feel like at that precise moment, anywhere in the story. (more…)

Yurika

Yurika S. Grant is a writer and yuri lover who writes lesbian fiction and lives in the sunny yet unbelievably flat East Midlands. Secretly a witch.

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Donate to my Ko-fi.
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Please share! Every retweet, like, or remind helps loads, thanks!

The Process of Writing

Writing, it’s as easy as sitting at your keyboard and bleeding continually until something good happens. I wish that were hyperbole. It really isn’t, though; writing is tough, writing is difficult, writing is occasionally terrifying. But writing is also immensely fun and satisfying if you stick at it. And writing comprises far more than the simple act of sitting at your keyboard and hammering on the keys.

Here, I’ll be sharing a bit of the process behind how I write and what goes into the whole business from start to finish. I’ll keep it reasonably brief, but hopefully you should have some decent idea of how much work actually goes into writing by the end of this post. Work that the average reader is rarely privy to.

The Process of Writing Stage 1: Preparation.

Now, hold your horses a moment there, put that keyboard down, it’s dangerous. Before the real business of writing can begin, there are a few things I’ll generally deal with first: planning, research, creating characters and settings, procrastinating, and drinking many cups of tea. Let’s dig into these briefly.

Some people plan, others wing it. I tend to sit in the middle, planning the overall structure but winging it for most of the individual scenes. If you’ve ever seen people talking about NaNoWriMo you’ll probably have heard these two referred to as planners and pantsers, as in writing by the seat of one’s pants.

What I plan is the main meat of the work; general structure of events, which girls end up in relationships and with whom, individual scenes I’d like to write, how this might tie into other parts of the work, and potential new settings/characters I may use later on.

Personally, I use simple notepad text files for my notes, but other people use programs like Scrivener or OneNote to collate and keep everything neat and tidy. I use separate files for each character, each part/book of a work, and for any other random things I may need to jot down.

Once initial planning is complete, I start on any research that may be required. If it’s a real world setting, deciding on an area of the country (or world) is probably a good idea. Looking up images for reference purposes, checking nearby areas for interesting locations/things I can use for scenes, using Google Streetview for getting a handle on street layouts and local businesses. And so on.

Alternatively, for something like Aida, which takes place on a new world, I’ll again be looking for good image references to base locations and characters on. But I’ll also start thinking of all the essential world building. Stuff like names, history, back stories, relationships old and new, economies in use, major historical events impacting current events, etc.

Then it’s onto the really fun part: characters! At this point it’s back to research. Figuring out interests for the girls, building a back story for each, establishing relationships, and anything else that might be necessary based on the world building I already worked on.

So that’s the planning stage. Though I’ll end up going back to my notes and editing, revising, adding new scenes, removing or changing things, and otherwise fiddling all through the process of writing, this stage just provides a useful basis to work from initially. This’ll be less necessary if you’re just writing a short one-shot story, however. But for an enormous planned-out work like Aida or Starlight? Yeah, this stuff’s essential.

(more…)

Yurika

Yurika S. Grant is a writer and yuri lover who writes lesbian fiction and lives in the sunny yet unbelievably flat East Midlands. Secretly a witch.

Support me on Patreon.
Donate to my Ko-fi.
Follow me on Minds.com.
Please share! Every retweet, like, or remind helps loads, thanks!