Erotic Writing – the course

Last night was the first night of the five week course, which has a couple of week’s break in the middle for Easter and stuff. I have five truly awesome students and we are meeting in a quite unbelievably kitsch hotel. Only in Brighton …

Next week I hope to have pictures of the hotel’s new cocktail menu launch amongst other things, meantime you have to content yourselves with Brighton’s Glory aka The West Pier.

The course aims are that by the end of the course students will:

• Be able to distinguish the various categories of sex writing: pornography, high literary erotica, genre erotica
• Be confident about writing stand-alone genre erotica for paying markets and about using erotic scenes in longer works – plays, novels, short stories – to give depth to fiction that is not primarily erotic
• Understand what a genre erotica editor or publisher is looking for
• Be ready to send out an erotic short story to a paying market.

We started with a test/discussion - I gave the group seven very short stories, which the writers had all identified as being about sex, and asked them to guess the gender of the writer, whether the story was published or not and if it was published, whether the writer got paid. The results were interesting – some stories they ‘nailed’ immediately, and some they got completely wrong, but what it did show was what I’d hoped – that men can write convincingly from a female pov and vice versa, even when writing about sex. Above all, it showed the students how differently they look at work as writers to the way editors look at work. This is a vital skill for genre writing – to be able to think like an editor IS to be able to produce a publishable story time after time after time …

I had a great evening, I hope they did too, and I am looking forward very much to getting their homework.

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