What I Didn't Know: The Collected Columns
By C.B. Potts





From the Forward...


Much of what you’ll read here comes from personal experience. It’s only through making mistakes, experimenting, and discovering truly “What I Didn’t Know” that I’ve garnered the knowledge to bring me to my present level of success. Remember, the first rule of the writer is to always ask Why? The second rule? Always ask Why Not?

Added to the columns already published on Katy’s site, you’ll find commentary based on reader feedback. I always, always learn more about my writing from my readers – whether they are editors or members of the public at large – than I have anywhere else. A piece of writing is only half complete until someone else reads it, completing the cycle of communication. What I’ve discovered is that, without fail, a reader will have a point of view or question that never, ever entered my stream of consciousness – and that often times, upon reflection, it should have. Perhaps that will be the title of the next series: I Should Have Thought Of That!

In addition, I’ve included three columns written specifically for this book. They’re designed to cover some basic concepts and are a little more “timeless” than the average column.

So, gentle reader, begin! Enjoy the words to follow. Perhaps reading of my mistakes will allow you to avoid making those same errors. If nothing else, I hope it gives you a few smiles along the way.


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Columns Include

What I Didn’t Know
Talk about nervous. I put this column out there with absolutely no idea of how it would be received by the public at large. After all, who am I to set myself up as an authority? I’m not Susie Bright – or any other kind of expert, for that matter! What helped? Remembering that the vast majority of people who have shared great life wisdom with me were not ‘experts’ either – just regular people who had been there, done that a few years before I had. From that vantage point, I could write comfortably. Here’s the result...

Dress You Up in My Love
Every now and then, even the most dedicated porn writer gets tired of writing about naked people. Let’s face it, when you get down to brass tacks, everyone has the same basic anatomy. There’s only so many ways to describe appendages, features, and skin tones. After a hundred stories or so, it gets a little boring...

Writer’s Groups
You’re almost finished. After two weeks of hard labor, your short story is done. Everything is perfect – word choice, characterization, pacing, even the delicate choreography of intimate action. All you have to do is drop your manuscript in an envelope, give it to the postman, and await the inevitable fame and glory that is your due as a porn writer. There’s only one problem, one hesitation that stays your hand. What if everything is not as great as you think? What if the envelope you’re so proudly clutching contains nothing but crap...

Non-Stop Action
There was a cold edge to the air, but the sun was shining. A breeze kept any late-season mosquitoes away. A perfect fall day to spend in the apple orchard with one’s family...

...To this day, I can’t drive past that orchard without a chuckle, and a little nod of gratitude to Mako, Cliff, and Mitch – the characters who “inhabited” it, for at least a while. They taught me a truly valuable lesson: That eroticism is everywhere...

The Taxman Cometh
You should be just about recovered from New Year’s by now. Even the most fervent guest will have left the party, bleary eyed, and ready for his own bed. The dog has eaten all the leftover hors d’ouevres. The wine stain in the carpet is decidedly permanent. Now it’s time to face those New Year’s Resolutions...

All Life’s Little Lessons: In Leather . . . .
The sexiest sentences I ever read – and the ones that taught me the most about writing – are the following...

The Value of Our Voices
Recently, this newsletter ran an article explaining the benefits and reasons for writing for free. This is an issue I feel rather strongly about, and I’m going to use this column to climb onto the proverbial soapbox and preach from the opposite camp. As writers, we should NEVER work for free, and here’s why...

Necessary Evil
Do you want to know the single most important thing you can do to be a better writer? The mysterious magic that will help transform you from Plain Jane to something a little closer to Shakespeare? The one solitary act that most aspiring writers fail to do?

Read...

The Power to Say Yes
There’s a tiny bit of wisdom that shows up in every salesmanship manual. It goes something like this:

When approaching any organization, don’t bother wasting your time with the people who can say no. You want to talk to the one person who can say Yes – and then do everything in your power to ensure that they do...

The Language of Love
At first I thought it was only me. It was not something I talked about, ashamed to admit my ignorance. Who wants to say that they’re not sure how to spell titties, that they’re uncertain exactly how many “m”s there are in cumming? Obviously I was doing it wrong – for each time I completed one of my porn masterpieces, my word processing program diligently highlighted each, shall we say, non-standard bit of language...

What To Do When You Get Screwed
Who would think that a bunch of porn writers would need instruction in this arena? After all, this is our bread and butter. For those neophytes among us, though, here’s some instruction......

34 Never The Last Word
Rejection. There’s nothing worse, is there? My heart sinks when I see one of those carefully prepared self-addressed envelopes waiting in the mailbox – after all, when the editor wants the story, they usually spring for their own postage to send the contracts...


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