How to Write More Engaging Sex Scenes with JoSelle Vanderhooft

Character How to Write More Engaging Sex Scenes with JoSelle Vanderhooft

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Sex scenes can make or break a romance, regardless of heat level. Unfortunately, they can fall victim to lazy descriptions, cliché, overreliance on mechanics, and a lack of characterization. This class is designed to teach authors of all skill levels and experience how to avoid these and other pitfalls to create sex scenes that are as individual as they are unforgettable. This class will also cover how to handle sex and sexuality for characters who are rarely featured as protagonists in erotic romance, due to such things as disability, illness, or age.

What makes a bad sex scene? What makes a good sex scene?

1. We’ll cover what I see as common mistakes in writing erotica and sex scenes including: lack of personalizing and individualizing a character’s feelings and actions, lack of emotion, overly clinical descriptions (“the tab A goes into slot B” phenomenon), and lack of detail (depending, of course, on how “graphic” one wants the scene to be).

2. And we’ll cover the inverse: how to add detail, how to make the way your character perceives the sexual experience unique to them (so that it could only happen to this character), how to add detail, how to leave things to the imagination, and how to write what you personally find sexy without making a reader feel like they’re looking through your bedroom window. (I’ll be using a few examples from TV for this, most notably Sherlock and Doctor Who, which I hope won’t be too obscure for participants.)

Writing more inclusive sex scenes.

1. We’ll explore the specifics of how to write sex scenes involving underrepresented/oppressed groups, or writing sex outside your experience (e.g. writing F/F sex scenes if you’re not lesbian or a bisexual woman). This will focus on:

a. Being aware of racial stereotypes around sexuality (oversexualized black women and predatory black men, the “spicy” Latina and “Latin lover” (with the caveat, of course, that a white woman is writing this section). This will include links to resources by people of color.

b. How to write sex between people with disabilities, including mental illnesses (with the understanding that this is not a comprehensive list, but a starting point, and that every disability is different).

c. How to write LGBTQ+ sex scenes if you are not transgender/nonbinary and are heterosexual.

d. How to write sex for older characters (I’m thinking over 40) while dealing realistically with issues facing aging bodies.

e. How to write sex for fat characters/characters of size.
Author
Jo Vanderhooft
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