Posted: 2005-02-23

Common Mistakes Made by Amateur Writers

by JoshuaW

This document is an overview of common mistakes made by authors on SoL, and by other writers of erotica. There are several other guides posted on this site to help you become a better writer, and this document will not attempt to duplicate the same information. Instead, it is meant as a guide to help both new and existing writers avoid some of the most common mistakes and make their writing more readable.

Section I: Sexual Inaccuracies

Poison Pen's Writer's Guide includes a section on sexual accuracy. Two mistakes in particular are very common:

  1. The hymen is not inside the vagina! It is part of the vulva, near the entrance to the vagina. This mistake shows up so often that storiesonline has posted a page with more information (link is not safe for work). In addition, there is no concept of being "technically" or "physically" not a virgin due to the absence of the hymen; virginity is related only to having sexual intercourse. If you are going to write about the hymen, or the clitoris, or the g-spot, make sure you know where they are located.

  2. Withdrawal is not a very effective method of birth control (if your characters believe it is, that's a different matter). While most of the sperm is released during ejaculation, some are released with the pre-ejaculate lubrication produced for intercourse. Even if a man withdraws before ejaculating, a small number of sperm are already in the vagina, so the possibility of pregnancy exists.

  3. This is not a common mistake, but it's an embarrassing one for those authors that make it, so here it is: A woman does not urinate through her vagina, but through her urethra (which is below the clitoris and above the vagina). For a picture of the various parts, see the link above to the page Lazeez posted about the hymen.

» Poison Pen's Writer's Guide
» Hymen Info

Section II: Using the Wrong Word

A common mistake made on SoL is using the wrong word, either a word that sounds the same, or a word that is spelled similarly to the one you are looking for. Use your spell-checker to catch typos, but do not depend on it to select the correct word for you. Some common examples:

» A More Extensive Wrong Word Usage Guide

Section III: Punctuation

By far the most common mistake made by amateur writers is the incorrect use of commas and semi-colons. Using punctuation correctly makes a big difference in how readable your story is. When commas and semi-colons are used in the wrong places or a sentence is incomplete, it throws the reader off and can hurt the flow of the story; it can even change the meaning of what you have written. If it happens too often, some readers will give up on your story for that reason alone.

The other guides on this site discuss how to use punctuation correctly, and plenty of in-depth punctuation guides can be found through Google. At the time of this writing, the first hit on Google is to this site. In particular, pay attention to the pages titled 'The Comma' and 'The Semicolon.'

» Punctuation Guide