How to Write a Dirty Story: Reading, Writing, and Publishing Erotica
I found this book to be an enjoyable read, but the title felt a little misleading.
As far as a writing book goes, this one has a lot going for it. Number one is that it’s easy to read. A lot of those writing books are dry and clunky; it’s hard to write about writing effectively. However, Bright does just that. I whizzed through this book pretty quickly. The second main strength of this book is its empowering nature. The key message repeatedly emphasized is that absolutely anyone can write a dirty story and they should feel proud about doing so. You don’t have to be a sexual god or goddess — you could even be a virgin — there are no qualifications that need to be met. Moreover, it’s not just that anyone can write it, but anyone who can write it should take pride in their work. Erotica and sex writing is often seen as dirty, terrible literature, or a blight on the book industry. But erotic fiction continues to sell and can sometimes feature stellar writing (such as in the lesbian anthology I read recently).
Where this book stumbles is in its practical advice. Bright seems to give little in the way of how to construct a story, how to write the erotic scenes effectively, or how to pursue the publishing process. Instead, a lot of time is devoted to exploring how her career developed. This was certainly an interesting read (and I’m glad I picked the book up), but the lack of effectiveness of these sections means that this reads less like a book on how to write a dirty story and more like… I don’t know… a companion book. Someone wanting to write a dirty story should pick up this title to learn more about the industry and its development, but they should also pick up a good book on writing tools to help them put together an effective story.
But, like I said, for its weaknesses, it is still an enjoyable read. Bright’s casual style of writing almost feels like she is relating this information over a cup of coffee in her kitchen. Her openness and honesty make this, and subsequently the erotica industry, open and accessible.