Marketing genius: Here’s a chapter that’s NOT actually in my book

Available late September, possibly sooner as an eBook. Or even SOONER if you want me to read it to you over the phone…

As some of you may know (and by “some” of you, I mean my publisher) I’ve been working on my manuscript, Pearls of Writing Wisdom: From 16 shucking years as a columnist, for the last few weeks.

I am now on the final chapter, which will be done tomorrow, depending on what time of day I decide to start drinking.

Ha! Ha! Just kidding! There’s no need to pick a time.

Anyway, this book is particularly special to me because, if you are a writer (or fear you might be one), I wrote this book for you. Think of it as the conversation we’d have about writing if we were sharing a cold beer. We’d talk about technique, style, personal experience and hopes. We’d encourage each other and share a few laughs. We might even get a little rowdy and start using air quotation marks.

In the end, we’d feel inspired about our love of writing. 


Because I never took marketing or advertising, and because the coffee I would have normally consumed by now is still drying on my crotch and part of my pant leg, I’m going to do something that any marketing specialist would tell you is “really stupid.” I’m going to include a passage that is NOT actually in the book.

Why am I doing this? Because:

1) It’s Friday, in the middle of July with no major holidays until Labor Day; We could all use a little inspiration right now.

2) I really need to get my mind off of my burned crotch and right inner thigh

3) Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll think: “If this is what he didn’t include, imagine how good the stuff is that he DID include? And,

4) Though there’s no place for it in the book, I’m hoping it will provide you with a laugh or two, some inspiration and a little writing perspective… Just like the book!

That being said, here’s part of a chapter most people will never read…


Chapter 5

Romance writing begins with yourself (or maybe that’s just me)

In this chapter, we’re going to focus on tips for writing intimate love scenes. Or more specifically, how to effectively insert (see what I just did there?) descriptive phrases like:

“He grabbed her bare shoulders, caressing them with the kind of longing one reserves for freshly-baked bread …”


“She de-pansed him in one quick motion, opening a floodgate of memories from freshman gym class…”

As you can see, this is a genre I am intimately familiar with because, as I’ve said before, you need to write what you know. And believe me, when it comes to intimacy no one knows it better than myself. That said, as a personal favor to everyone, I will actually NOT be offering insights regarding the the ins-and-outs (See how I did that?) of writing descriptive lovemaking scenes.

In short, that “fresh bread” example wasn’t something I pulled out (are you following these?) just willy-nilly (Did I mention subtlety is important?)

Instead, we will turn our attention to a different aspect of romance and writing. If you’re a serious writer who also happens to be in an equally serious relationship, I have news for you: We all know about your love triangle! That’s right! Don’t try to deny it. We know you’ve been spending a lot of time together with your lover. And yes, they get your heart racing too because, when things are going right, there’s nothing quite like it. Now, before I inadvertently send someone off to confess an affair, I need to explain that, in this case, we’re talking about your writing Muse; that voice of inspiration that whispers sweet somethings that just have to be written down.

Some of you might be asking:

What If I’m not in a serious relationship? Or
What if I’m single by choice because I AM serious about my writing? Or
Did my mother call you again?

Whether you are seeing someone regularly or have stopped seeing anyone due to irregularity, being a writer means you are already in a serious relationship with your Muse. And like any relationship you want to see flourish, you need to do your part in providing opportunities to help it grow. If one or more of the following statements could be made by your Muse, it’s time to make some changes;

1) You never take me anywhere — An integral part of any relationship is exploring new things. With your Muse, however, I’m talking about actually leaving your home/apartment/hand cuffs and getting out to experience new sights, sounds, scents — things that can inspire you and your Muse. Or at the very least provide experiences you can file in a mental cache and refer to later. In addition, consider taking some photos and jotting down your impressions in case, like mine, your “mental cache” is more like Snap-Chat.

2) I need to be romanced a little first — It’s easy to fall into a pattern of groping at your Muse, getting what you want and then — at least in the case of many men — falling asleep at the keyboard. Much like having a lover, there is a certain amount of foreplay involved when “seducing” your Muse. Even if yours is slutty like mine, the seduction process — i.e., your writing preparation routine — is important. My writing foreplay involves making a cup of java that is best described as a liquid Coffee Nip, then putting on my headphones to listen to AC/DC, checking and responding to any comments on my blog and Twitter account, then getting to work on whatever I’m writing. If I can’t finish a piece I’m working on, I always leave off in the middle of a sentence. That way, when I come back to it, I can start right out with some momentum by finishing the thought I had. Your Muse will appreciate you coming back to finish what you started.

3) I think your Mom hates me — If your Muse tells you this, it’s a good indication you might be spending too much time together. If nothing else, it’s time to take a break and re-evaluate your relationship. Possibly with the help of professional.

Whether you’re in a love triangle or monogamous relationship with your Muse, it needs to be nurtured and appreciated. It’s the little things you do on a daily basis to express your appreciation that will keep your relationship strong, supportive and continually inspired.

Oh, and the same applies to your Muse, too.





Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. This has NOT been an excerpt from his upcoming book (I know, WTF, right?) Pearls of Writing Wisdom: From 16 shucking years as a columnist. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

31 thoughts on “Marketing genius: Here’s a chapter that’s NOT actually in my book”

  1. I’ll take all the advice you can give on writing!!! My muse has gone into full silent treatment mode, not speaking to me AT ALL currently and I might very well be losing my sanity! Perhaps getting out would be a good start, I think my muse and I are going stir crazy… Can’t wait for the new book!!!

    1. Lol! It definitely sounds like your muse is in “You never take me anywhere” mode, Abbie! Treat your muse — and yourself — to some time out today 😉

      And I’m working on the final chapter as we speak (post?). I’m very excited about it and can’t wait to get it out there!

  2. I’m in a place where your success causes me physical pain, Ned.
    This may sound harsh but it’s true.
    But this is also true: you deserve all the success in the world, buddy.

  3. That’s interesting – anthropomorphizing your muse – that never occurred to me before. I always thought of my Muse as more spiritual with no physical form – but what the hey, I can make her any way I want, so why not? Oh, and your auto correct is getting away from you “Anyway, this book is particulately …” I’ve never seen a book on particluates – although they do exist in chemistry when the results of a reaction are described as being in small chunks of material – it is called particulate matter. Or maybe that is what you meant – your book is deliberately chunky to improve understanding.

    1. Did you notice that I deliberately misspelled particulate just to see if you were paying attention. 😀

  4. Oooh, I new book. I have been away for far too long. Another signed copy I hope? 🙂
    Seriously though, I look forward to reading it.
    As to my muse…. here’s around here somewhere. Hopefully doing the dishes or something useful like that.

  5. Such a timely post — and marketing point #3 is what will make me purchase your book. I am gone from home 12 hours a day every weekday while my husband works “as needed” in healthcare. Thankfully, this means he is gone long days most Saturdays and Sundays., which gives me the opportunity to spend time with muse — in between chores such as grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, and taming my humidity-induced hair. I am more of a “morning delight” lover with my muse, and if my husband doesn’t leave for work quickly enough, I find I miss the opportunity to simply reflect and write. (Or, I suppose, if I get up and then start reading and responding to other people’s blog posts instead of attending to my muse while he is asleep…. so, I gotta go!)

      1. Spent time with the muse and uncorked the bottle of words that simply had to find an outlet. Whew. (And all before my husband demanded breakfast. Lovingly, of course.) Seriously, thanks for the advice, Your humor is akin to Mary Poppins’ “spoonful of sugar” in making me accept words of wisdom and get moving with my writing. My husband came home yesterday to a freshly made bed and drawers laden with clean laundry, a stocked refrigerator and subtly unhappy wife. Thankfully, he asked, and I was astute enough to recognize it as my frustration for not having the time or solitude to write (mostly because I put chores first). I definitely needed to romance the muse this morning! So, again, perfect timing for you to write your unwritten chapter. I look forward to more such gems in your book. 🙂

  6. Can’t wait for the book! These writing tips work, and I know you’re right about the daily nurturing (never mind that I’m currently living the writing equivalent of “He’s Just Not That Into You”)…

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