Wednesday, March 24, 2010

5 Tips to Writing Erotic Fiction that I learned from writing kids' cartoons for TV



I didn't always write erotic fiction. I started out writing kids' cartoons for Disney, DIC, Hanna-Barbera and other Hollywood studios (including a Japanese film company).

When I was preparing for a teleconference with Heidi Richards, author, entrepreneur and business coach, for her Women’s Writing & Publishing Series re: writing fiction, I thought about my early days in TV and the valuable lessons that I learned from writing scripts.

I discussed this topic in depth with Heidi in the teleconference, but I've included my 5 tips for writing erotic fiction for you at the end of this blog. But first--

How did I start writing erotic fiction?

When I wrote a monthly column for a computer magazine called Sweet Savage Byte, who knew years later mainstream would meet bitstream, making erotic fiction available at the click of a mouse. The Internet's easy access and anonymity made it all possible.

It also gave the opportunity for so many writers to bring out those stories from underneath their beds and see their works published.

My erotic coming-of-age story "The Blonde Geisha" was published by Harlequin Spice during that time. My first erotic fiction was then followed by several other titles that I've written for Spice as well as a non-fiction book for Stone Bridge Press, "The Japanese Art of Sex: how to tease, seduce and pleasure the samurai in your bedroom."

Here is the short version of my 5 Tips for writing erotic fiction that I learned from writing kids' cartoons for TV: ***

1. Beat It: know your story beats.

2. You gotta have heart. What is your emotional theme?

3. Dialogue is king (or queen).

4. The white rabbit syndrome: getting into the scene as late as you can and out as quickly as you can.

5. Writing is rewriting.

So the next time you sit down to watch your favorite TV show, watch it with the eye of a television writer: note the story beats, boil down the emotional core of the story to one or two words, listen to the dialogue, watch how they get in and out of a scene, then press rewind and watch it again.

And don't forget the most important tip of all when you write your story: let your imagination soar.

It's the magic that makes the elephant fly.



*** From the Inventing Women Website : "For access to the recordings of this and at least a dozen other interviews planned, you can buy a 6 week pass by clicking on the PayPal link below [on website]. Your investment for this series is on $17!"

11 comments:

Michelle Polaris said...

What great advice Jina. And from such an unexpected source of kid tv. I'm going back to my current scene now and take a look. Thanks.

Wynter Daniels said...

Great post. One of the best TV examples of this art is Law and Order. I always walk away with great respect for the writers.

Jina Bacarr said...

Glad to help you, Michelle!

Writing kids' cartoon scripts is different than writing live action scripts (which I've written for daytime TV and cable)--you write each shot as if you are the director. Reactions of characters, action scenes, etc.

A script for a 22-23 minute cartoon runs anywhere from 38-45 pages.

Jina Bacarr said...

Excellent example of TV writing at its best, Wynter!

Watch an episode of the show with pen and paper or laptop at hand and make notes of the story beats first, then listen to the dialogue on the next go round.

You'll get a better understanding of the story breakdown, which will help you craft your own stories.

KC Burn said...

Dialogue! The bane of my existence! But assessing it in tv and movies is a good way to learn, I've found, because they aren't able to add in all that lovely narrative prose... I've said before, if I could write a book without dialogue I would. Okay, I'm sure I could WRITE one, but no one would want to READ it!
Great post.

Jina Bacarr said...

KC -- I thought about what you said about writing dialogue. I want to give you an example of how you can take narrative thought and turn it into dialogue.

THIS IS A LONG POST

I've taken dialogue out of a short story that I've written about Molly Pearlbottom, a saucy Victorian lass with a penchant for spanking. But first, here is how the same section would read if it was all NARRATIVE:

=========

A sight she had ne'er expected from gentry greeted her. A red-suited, gold-buttoned monkey wearing a tiny round cap sat on her ladyship's shoulder, picking at the outdated wig plopped on her head as she sat at a desk worthy of a queen, shuffling notebook papers and scrutinizing a long list. Molly watched her pulling a hairpin out of her blue-tinted wig and tossing it on the polished marble floor. Then the butler announced her.

Molly curtsied, but she couldn't take her eyes off this elegant woman in her stiff, crackly silk the color of dried almonds. She was embarrassed when her ladyship mispronounced her name and corrected her. She was eager for this dressing down to be done with. Where was his lordship? Surely Lord Edward would defend her. She kept her eyes lowered when Lady Serise indicated she would call her "Molly," settling the matter as she did everything in the household, from arguing with Cook over trussing a pheasant to cutting down on expenses by dying her gowns a new color each season to make them appear new.

==========

Now with DIALOGUE

A sight she had ne'er expected from gentry greeted her.

A red-suited, gold-buttoned monkey wearing a tiny round cap sat on her ladyship's shoulder, picking at the outdated wig plopped on her head as she sat at a desk worthy of a queen, shuffling notebook papers and scrutinizing a long list.

"Egad, I shall never get through all these names--" she sputtered, ignoring the monkey pulling a hairpin out of her blue-tinted wig and tossing it on the polished marble floor.

"Your ladyship, the girl you asked for has arrived," drawled the butler in the monochromatic tone of those who feign importance where there is none.

"Lady Serise…" Molly said, her voice barely above a whisper. She made a curtsy, though she couldn't take her eyes off this elegant woman in her stiff, crackly silk the color of dried almonds.

"Oh, yes, Molly Puttbottom," she said, looking her up and down in a curious manner.

"Pearlbottom, milady." Molly lowered her eyes, eager for this dressing down to be done with. Where was his lordship? Surely Lord Edward would defend her.

"I shall call you Molly," Lady Serise said, settling the matter as she did everything in the household, from arguing with Cook over trussing a pheasant to cutting down on expenses by dying her gowns a new color each season to make them appear new.

====== I chose a scene where I didn't use a lot of dialogue but enough to give the scene life.

KC -- take a narrative scene that you've written then have your character speak the information to another character, make up a character if one isn't there, and it will help you in your writing.

I hope this helps you! Plz ask more questions if you like.


Read the entire short story here:

A Naughty Victorian Lady receives a naughty spanking featuring Molly Pearlbottom

Stephanie Adkins said...

I never knew that about you, Jina. That is SO cool. :) Great advice. Thank you! *Hugs*

Jina Bacarr said...

Glad you enjoyed the post, Stephanie. Thank you!

Naima Simone said...

Hi, Jina!
Wow! Cartoons? And erotic romance? LOL! That's awesome. Isn't it funny--and cool--that no matter the genre the tools to writing a fascinating story apply across the board.

Thanks for the tips, Jina!!

Jina Bacarr said...

Thankz, Naima! You're so right--story is story. I would spend days on the story beats with the story editor and/or producer before I wrote the cartoon script, talking about the motivations and the emotional core of the story.

My job was to turn animated two-dimensional characters into three-dimensional ones for the viewers!

Dalton Diaz said...

Cartoons have always amazed me with their ability to get from start to finish in such a short timespan. They have to; they're dealing with short attention spans! Cartoons like Dexter's Lab, Spongebob, Johnny Bravo, etc., did entire episodes that ran about 12 minutes. Amazing!