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Crash Course in Writing Slash

by Dichotomy

Things you don't want to read while reading a slash fic (AKA, a down and dirty guide to avoiding things that make readers laugh, cringe in pain or go "ewww" when they read it, AKA, a dummy's guide to slash writing.). These are all just my own personal opinions; your mileage may vary.

1. Lube 'er up and stick 'er in. Um, unless the guy is really, really loose and used to having anal sex, you need to prepare beforehand. Men don't have natural lubrication like women do (and some women need lube to have sex as well), having anal sex, especially rough anal sex, without adequate preparation and lubrication can lead to tearing, pain, blood, all that lovely stuff. Something you most definitely do not want to have happen if this is a loving encounter. Lube is good, lube is your friend, use it generously in your sex scenes.

2. Giving oral sex to a man who was the penetrator in anal sex without washing off his cock first. Let me just say, ewwwww. Even though the colon doesn't hold excrement, excrement does move through the colon. Excrement is your waste matter, ie, everything that your body doesn't use, and has lots of germs and such in it. Do you really want your character to be tasting excrement? Would you yourself want to do so? Unless you or your character is into scat munching, I highly doubt it.

3. Referring to sperm as "dead" or "cum". I'll start on the "dead" part. Nothing kills my happy mood while reading a good slash fic than seeing "dead sperm" in relation to a vampire. Yes, we know that vampires are of the undead; we know that their sperm is not living. Lets just leave it at that. If you have your heart set on making sure the reader knows that the sperm is dead, use "cool" or "cold" to describe it.

So you have this beautifully written, hot story with few grammatical and spelling errors and a good plot line, or if it is a PWP, just a really good sex scene or series of sex scenes. You've also used the word "cum" every time one of the characters has ejaculated. Nothing disrupts the flow of a sex scene faster than that word. It brings to mind cheesy porno flicks and large, sweaty, dirty men hitting on young women. To top it off, you have a spelling error in your perfectly spelled fic. Cum is not a word, come is. Most readers will know what you are talking about.

4. Condoms! I love a good unprotected sex fic; it just hits a kink button of mine. However, I don't always enjoy reading them. Why? Because sometimes it just doesn't seem right for the characters to not be using protection. Some instances of this are when two strangers pick each other up in a bar and go have sex. Condoms are a given in that situation where they might not be if your characters are in a monogamous relationship.

5. Geometry. Yes, geometry plays an integral role in slash fic writing. Having your character in odd positions is not always a good thing; people are only so flexible unless you happen to be an escape artist like Houdini. A fic is much hotter if you can imagine the position without your muscles aching just thinking about the position.

6. Lube...again. What maketh the lube? Something slippery, non-harmful and, depending if your character is using condoms or not, water based. Good condom friendly lubes: pick a commercial variety, a few ones that I know of that are good are Kama Sutra (plus it comes in all sorts of yummy flavors like chocolate mint and ambrosia), Astroglide, ID and of course the old standby-KY, olive oil. Condom unfriendly lubes: anything that has a petroleum base to it since petroleum degrades the latex in the condom. Bad lubes: blood (unless of course it is a blood play fic), spit, semen, and shampoo/body wash/anything with soap in it (soap will irritate the sensitive tissue of the colon so it wouldn't be very pleasant after sex). Let me reiterate again: lube is good, lube is your friend, use it generously in your sex scenes.

7. Adjectives and matters relating to size. Some adjectives relating to size are good; they give you a sense of how large a character's cock is. Others are bad, they bring to mind monster cocks that make you want to squeeze your legs together and run in the other direction. Let your reader decide how big to make a character's cock. An example:

Bad: "He had an impressive cock that was the width of his wrist and was nine inches long."

Good: "He had an impressive cock that was just to Xander's liking, not too big and not too small."

See the difference? The first one forces the reader to put a definition of impressive while the second let you decide how big to make Xander's cock.

On the flip side of the size issue is the adjective thin. Whenever I read about a "long thin cock," it brings to mind a nine-inch cock with a small girth, it also makes me laugh. Stick to letting the reader decide the cock's size unless you absolutely must let us know how big Xander's cock is.

Not related to penis size but still relating to adjectives are physical features and describing physical features. Try to not overuse phrases while describing someone's features. It gets old real fast, be creative, after all, you are writing *fiction*! Also, watch what words you use to describe with. I'll use an example that is found commonly in the Highlander fandom, alabaster.

"Methos' skin was the color of alabaster."

This does not bring to mind a pale color; it brings to mind a rock. I'll use Merriam-Webster's definition of alabaster:

Main Entry: al·a·bas·ter
Pronunciation: 'a-l&-"bas-t&r
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English alabastre, from Middle French, from Latin alabaster vase of alabaster, from Greek alabastros
Date: 14th century
1 : a compact fine-textured usually white and translucent gypsum often carved into vases and ornaments
2 : a hard compact calcite or aragonite that is translucent and sometimes banded
- alabaster or al.a.bas.trine adjective

There are many different adjectives for pale, please, use them. The same goes for all physical attributes but don't overuse them. There is a fine line between the right amount of adjectives and too many adjectives.

8. Be reasonable about how much time it takes for a man to become aroused again after having an orgasm. Unless the man happens to be a teenager, it is doubtful that they are going to become erect again in ten minutes. Also, it is highly unlikely that they will have sex more than twice in one night unless they are a teenager or are under the influence of some strange drug or possession. Moderation is the key.

9. Use a beta reader. A beta reader can almost always make your story better and help you to become a better writer. It isn't hard to find a beta reader, if you are on a list, ask and most likely unless you have really pissed off your list sibs, someone will answer your call. Or alternately, if you don't feel comfortable asking on list for a beta reader, there are many sites out there that have lists of betas who are willing to read your story and give their input on it. Make sure to tell your beta what you are looking for and to ask them what their strengths and weaknesses are. It doesn't make any sense to get a beta who is very good at characterization but is weak at grammar when you are good at characterization but weak at grammar. Not every beta reader will be right for you, if you don't feel comfortable with a beta reader, thank them for their insight and find another beta reader.

If you hate the thought of a beta reader, at the very least make sure your story is spell and grammar checked at least twice and wait twenty-four hours before posting it. I know that I've written something, spell and grammar checked it twice, liked it and put it aside for a day. When I went back to read it again, I didn't like it. Writing a story is like making a fine wine, it takes skill, patience and an appreciation for the process.

Lastly in this section, thank your beta reader! After all, they did help you make your story better, they deserve some of the credit!

10. Last guideline. Have fun! Writing fan fic is not supposed to be a painful process. You're hopefully not doing this because you don't want to, you're doing this because you feel like doing it and want to do it. If a story isn't flowing or coming out how you want it to, set it aside for a while and go back to it. You may just find that whatever wasn't working right is working now, and you've zoomed past the block. Emphasize your strengths, work on your weaknesses. To quote Methos, "We're none of us perfect." All the great fan fic writers out there put a lot of time and effort into learning how to write fan fic well. It doesn't come overnight; it takes time and effort to write great fan fic. But the most important thing is to write because it makes you happy, not because you feel you have to.

There endeth my short (and hopefully informative) crash course on slash fic writing. For more tips on slash writing visit Minotaur's site: http://www.squidge.org/~minotaur plus he runs a wonderful slash database filled with many slash sites to wile away the hours at.

For help on finding a beta reader(*), the Yahoo!Group Beta_Unlimited might help you, the URL is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Beta_Unlimited/

A database of multi-fandom betas: http://www.haelen.org/cleocalliope/BetaList/

-Dichotomy

Many thanks as always to Lady Athena for giving this a lookover.

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(*) Or for S/X-specific betas, you can also see the list on this site. ~ The Mgt.

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