I’ve been asked for the notes from my Eroticon writing workshop, Finessing Sex and the In Media Res exercise I used at the end, so here they are. Sadly, the forty-five minute time allotted to us meant that most of the people in the workshop didn’t get the chance to share their work. The lovely Mia Moor has kindly taken it upon herself to solve that problem by allowing anyone who participated or anyone who wasn’t able to attend the workshop but wants to do the exercise to post their creative efforts on her wonderful website, Irregular Voice Thank you SO much, Mia, for sharing your site! You’re the best.
Below are the notes from the hand-out I used, which I’ll also pass on to Ruby for the Eroticon site. I’ve added just enough to clarify where needed. Enjoy!
Part 1: Creating Characters
Create at least two characters, and give yourself five minutes to create a very rough character sketch of each. Feel free to use characters from a story you’re working on and use the scene for your story or simply use the exercise for raw material. Do whatever you want with your characters as long as by the end of your scene at least one character has sex
Number one rule: Write! Keep on writing! Don’t stop!
Setting yourself a limited amount of time in which to brainstorm a topic or a character is a fantastic way to get beyond the internal editor to the good stuff! Allow yourself to play with the words and have fun.
Part 2: Cause some chaos. Ask yourself:
2. What are the consequences of this sex scene?
3. Who is affected by this sex act?
4. What revelation does this sex scene bring about?
5. How can this sex scene be used most affectively to drive your story?
Remember! Sex should NEVER be gratuitous. Sex always serves a purpose.
6. When the sex is over, how will the landscape of the story be changed?
Part 3: Choosing a POV. Ask yourself:
1. From whose POV is the sex in this scene most interesting. Why?
(If you choose to write your scene from the third person objective POV, why is that the best POV?)
2. Whose POV will best move your story forward? Why?
3. Whose POV will result in the most chaos?
4. Whose POV will give the most emotional charge?
5. Who has the most baggage?
Hint: Baggage is one of the best tools for helping choose POV. Baggage is what every person carries from childhood, from traumas, from past sexual experiences or lack thereof, from anything within the emotional place where your character is when you write her/him having sex.
Note: Not all of these questions may be satisfied by one character’s POV. You’ll have to choose which POV will best serve the story. Sometimes the most important thing about the POV character is the insights he/she offers the reader into another character!
Part 4: The ‘Photo Shoot’
Think of the scene you’re writing in terms of a series of snap shots. You, the writer, are now the photographer, and you get to choose the snapshots you believe will give your reader the most vivid experience of the story you’re telling. Remember, the ultimate voyeur in the story will be your reader, so make the scene worth looking at. Think in terms of:
1. The physical attribute of your characters.
2. Using all of the senses.
3. What does the person who’s POV you’re writing from actually think about her/his experience of sex. The running internal commentary can sometimes be the sexiest part of a sex scene, or the most revealing. Remember, this is why you’ve chosen this person’s POV.
4. The language used in the sex scene is also a powerful tool for eliciting emotion, arousal, a sense of who these people shagging are, what matters to them, and how they experience sex.
5. Location can raise the risk factor, raise the discomfort level, raise the heat level and affect the pacing of the scene.
Step 5: Write it!
1. In Media Res. Minimise the setup and start in the middle of the action. Tell the story from the inside out.
2. Remember! Editors are busy folks. They may give you as few as three paragraphs. If you hold their interest for three, then you get a fourth. If you enthral them for four, then you get a fifth …
Your job is to start at the point that grips and make the reader unable to leave until they find out what has happened to put your characters in such a position.
The Exercise: Using the above tools, write for ten minutes. Write without stopping; write without slowing down. Start in the middle of the action and create some chaos as quickly as possible.
Now write like the wind!
And when you’re finished, don’t forget to head on over to Mia’s site, Irregular Voice, and add your results and check out what everyone else came up with.
Erotica Readers and Writers Association: http://www.erotica-readers.com/
Erotica for All: http://eroticaforall.co.uk/
How to Write Erotic Fiction: http://howtowriteeroticfiction.blogspot.co.uk/
The Erotic Literary Salon: http://theeroticsalon.com/
How To Write Erotic Fiction and Sex Scenes — Ashley Lister
How to Write a Dirty Story –Susie Bright
Writing Erotic Fiction – Pamela Rochford
Writing Craft and Inspiration:
Writing Down the Bones – Natalie Goldberg
Best book ever on giving yourself permission to write badly in order to get to the good stuff.
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers – Renni Brown and Dave King
Best book on self-editing and honing craft I’ve found.