Love Out Of Lust Series

Friday, July 6, 2012

Derek Johnson Guest Blogs for The AfterDark World.

I am happy to introuduce another indie-author with by far an erotic touch to make the ladies melt for him, and an intellect that draws such interest. I'm happy to introduce Derek Johnson (a.k.a Marcos London) to guest blog for The AfterDark World.

Also be on a lookout for his upcoming book Fresh Meat which will soon release from Secret Cravings Publishings.

Thinking Critically About Fiction
by Derek Johnson (as Marcos London)

Some time ago, when my ability to write amounted to little more than verbal doodles (calling them stories was charitable, at best), I read a “how-to” book on writing mysteries.  I learned a lot about structuring basic elements of story, how to think about character (including a sort of character rap sheet similar to the forms used in Dungeons and Dragons to create player characters; it’s a writing tool I still use), how to generate a sense of place, and so on.  Though my interest in writing suspense novels waned considerably after a time, I retrofitted most of its lessons easily for writing more, um, exciting fiction.

A couple of years ago, while selling off portions of my library, I came across that book again.  I perused its pages to see how much it had changed (read: how much I had changed) since first purchasing it.  Much of the advice remained vital and relevant, the book’s author admitted not thinking much of the value of criticism.  “I’m a reader and a writer, not a scholar and a critic,” he wrote. 

That statement bristled because I was, and still am, a critic.  Before I started writing erotic romance, if I was known for any writing at all, it was for criticism.  I’d written book reviews and film criticism, and also had a monthly film column.  (I still do, in fact.)  It’s fair to say that thinking of my viewing and reading habits critically helped make me a better writer.  How could a writer say something so dismissive?

Of course I knew what he meant: he simply did not let the semiotics of his chosen genre get in the way of writing a good story.  I agreed with him in principle, but thought then, as now, he wasn’t giving criticism a fair shake.  True, a writer must know the tropes of his or her chosen genre, and must be aware of what rules can be broken, and one of the best ways of learning is by reading your chosen genre.  I certainly don’t disagree.

But there’s more to it than that.

I often find that good writers are also very good critics.  Actually, I’ll go a little further: in order to really write well, you have to be able to think about your work critically.  You have to understand how fiction works, and why it works, in order to write effectively.  You have to have some degree of theory—even a rudimentary one—so that you understand how your fiction operates within the structures of your genre.

Think of it this way.  You don’t have to be a chef to know when a restaurant or host has served a bad meal.  Nor do you have to understand the thermodynamic of the stovetop when cooking for yourself or family members.  Of course you can leave that to Betty Crocker or Alton Brown.  But if you’re trying to be a master chef, one who can wow even the most jaded palate, then you have to understand why certain spices and textures go together, and why some should never be mixed.

This doesn’t mean you have to be Michael Dirda or Janet Maslin.  Far from it.  If you’re writing fiction, that should be your concentration.  But don’t dismiss the idea of writing criticism out of hand.  Your fiction just might benefit from a little pointed analysis.


 He swallowed, desire dancing in his eyes.  Nicole smiled inwardly and suddenly felt her body tingle with anticipation.  She was going to do this.  She was going to exact the revenge she had wanted for the past two days.

“You have to make up your mind now,” she said.  “My car is the beige VW Jettaover there.  The sports wagon.”  She nodded down the street.  “I’m going to get in it and start the engine.  I will wait one minute for you, so you can tell your friends that you’re going to come with me and that you’ll be back here in one hour.  If you’re not there in one minute, then I’m driving away.”

He looked back at his friends.  At her.  Already his breath was short, like he had started running.  She knew she had him.  Just to seal the deal, she lowered her voice, leaned to him and said the dirtiest thing she could think of.  “Imagine how jealous your friends are going to be when you tell them you got a very wet, very sloppy blowjob from the woman you just met.” 

Nicole moved very close to him to give his cock a quick firm squeeze through his jeans and walked to her car.  Opened the door, tucked her purse behind the driver’s seat, waited, wondered if she was going to have to wait a full minute, or if he would get cold feet.  A minute was enough time for both of them to back out.  She began counting seconds:  one one thousand, two one thousand…

She was at ten when she saw him walk quickly out of the restaurant and look for her car.

1 comment:

  1. what a wonderful interview and then again, a wonderful exerpt on the book. I am looking forward to reading this one. I am always interested in the thinkings of men writers with erotic interludes. Hmmm if only I could experience this in real life. Yummy!