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6 Tips for Turning Awful Fan Fiction into a Best Seller

#3. Pile on the Deity Comparisons

Gods embody ideals, so when you're writing in a genre like fan fiction about a topic like sex, restraint isn't really on the menu. You'd better believe you're drawing from antiquity and beyond.

I didn't understand why this Adonis wanted me. But when he looked at me with his divine eyes, I felt like a goddess. It was like staring into the eyes of Apollo, if Apollo wasn't such a dick. He looked at me now, with a gaze that promised when we made a loving tonight, it would be heavenly. My inner goddess tingled up my spine, and she was hungrier than the most wretched, starving, bloated baby in Somalia. But this was no ordinary hunger, like poor people have. This was a goddess famine ... for sex.

Photo: Glenn McKechnie

Drop divine references no more than 42 times per chapter, but double down the rate of recurrence in any sex scenes. (Tip: They are ALL sex scenes.)

#2. Be Realistic

You're already writing about impossibly beautiful and successful people, half of whom can turn into a mist when the moon is full. You're going to want to ground your book in the vivid details of the scenes. Remember, it's important to put your reader right there in the scene, as deeply as you can. Then put them in deeper. That's right. Right there, baby. Oh God. Baby. Baby.

See if you can spot what's wrong with this excerpt that Publisher's Weekly called "Sizzling, the way an egg sizzles in a skillet," and then apologized, because they're supposed to come up with more quotable reviews than that:

The lush, full-bodied hair on Eros Blaque's naked tushy wafted sensitively in the bedroom breeze. Now revealed before his lady lover, Mary Sue Standynn, Eros did not shy from waggling his gifts nudely for her pleasure. She nodded at his offering of a penis engorged with blood, and accepted him into her musky cave.

"I am going to plow through you like a freight train," he murmured in her erect ear. And then they sexed.

Eros' godly hips rhythmed erotically as he love-thrusted the quivering, wet loam of his lady lover, Mary Sue Blaque (for so she thought of herself after marrying him in her head just now. She would tell them of their brain-elopement later. For now, it was adult-hug time).

Mary Sue groaned with an ecstatic agony that revealed heretofore undicked depths of agonizing ecstasy. She raked her fingernails across his back swiftly and with great speed, urgently scratching him almost instantly. Suddenly Eros looked her in the eye the way a man does when he is using his lady lover like a gym sock soaked in warm moisturizer but realizes that he loves her. This was pleasant to her, and she indicated such by continuing to have sex with him.

Suddenly, without warning, and much too soon, after a couple minutes, though it seemed like more, and anyway, it's a compliment, Eros' face twisted with unwanted delight. "Mary Sue, my loveeeee! I fear I am going to spend!!!" he howled, "Yes! It is definitely about to occur!"

And there, of course, propriety commands us to direct our gaze to the wafting curtains.

Did you spot it? That's right, for all this scene's gritty realism, the man never tied the woman up and called her -- oh my, the most terrible names.

Photo: Glenn McKechnie

If fear and eroticism thrive when the audience fills in the gaps for you, sleeping with the devil means your entire book should be whittled down to "I fell in love with my stalker, and the sex was good."

#1. Be Unrealistic

Love in books is irresistible and instantaneous. Love in reality is a long, drawn-out process of waiting for one party to realize it's out of the other's league. When that doesn't happen and two people do manage to trick themselves into falling in love, it's one of life's most beautifully obnoxious experiences. At last, a woman can have sex without worrying about her reputation, and a man can have sex without pretending to be a generous lover!

Yes, love is a beautiful thing, even if the guy is no longer free to shoot hoops because he has to go to brunch. But it's not as beautiful as what happens in books. In romance novels, that magical feeling of being special to the Most Amazing Person in the World happens in not only the lucky lovers' heads, but the world around them. And that's the kind of once-in-a-lifetime magic that we're going to sell to these dopes for as much cash as we can wring out of them.

To live -- to LOVE! To clasp another human being to thy pulsing breast in the blind of night! To flourish and be happy -- ah! Our happy lovers have found their purpose at last. The real question is -- why haven't you? Could it be that there's something wrong with you, Becky? Be sure to read the sequel to find out!

Photo: Glenn McKechnie

Right now, you're worried that you don't have what it takes to describe the miracle of lust and love the way Fifty Shades does. But just because James can bring herself to get up in the morning and feel emotions, that doesn't mean you don't have what it takes to write erotic fiction. Just do what I do: Fill the hole in your heart with money. Sweet, filthy, glorious lucre!

Anyway, you can score some serotonin for half the price of a first date. If by some chance you can picture yourself in love again, by all means, express that in a story about a domineering, rich bastard who abuses young virgins. For the rest of us, love is nice, but money doesn't break its promises.


Brendan McGinley was cursed by a gypsy to never know true love until he revised his comic pitches for original characters.

Check out more from Brendan with The 7 Most Terrifying Rejected TV Ads and 5 Ways the '90s Made Us Strong.

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