Friday, July 18, 2008

SWC Day 3--Dark Comical Sex

I'm going to regret posting that title. Some pervert is going Google "sex" and stumble upon my blog, only to find a bunch of stuff about writing. How very disappointing. Sorry. 

So. Today's morning lecture was on the topic of writing sex, and much nervous giggling and tittering ensued the first few minutes. Elizabeth Benedict lectured (author of The Joy of Writing Sex) on what makes for a really interesting sex scene that's not just full of heaving bosoms and panting. She says that a good sex scene is always about sex and something else--it's the conflict of what they want and how that motivates their behavior that makes for good reading. The relationship between the two people (or three, or...whatever) is key to originality. She also said we need to turn off the sensors about what other people will think (I know that's an issue for me. My mother might read it! Ack!) and just write the scene. She also said a bunch of other useful stuff, ss here's her website: www.elizabethbenedict.com.

After lunch, the cartoonist Gahan Wilson spoke about dark humor and how being playful with the grotesque can help people cope with tragedy and turn it into something that can be handled. As someone who is prone to bursts of inappropriate laughter, I agree. 

Then literary agent Chris Calhoun answered questions about the agent/author relationship. Some of the stuff you might already know, like how to write a query letter, and if you don't, please see the list at the left and click on Nathan Bransford. He's a lit agent who blogs and he has some very useful information on this topic. (And here's a tip about Chris Calhoun: he strongly prefers snail mail.)

Homework time again. 

8 comments:

colbymarshall said...

My mother is usually the first one to read my work since she gives me some good feedback, but that being so, its always on my mind when writing sex scenes, haha!

WendyCinNYC said...

I have the added benefit of my kids being able to read as well. I'm going to make them wait a few years before they read my book. Or maybe for the rest of their lives, if possible!

Melanie Avila said...

That's good advice about the sex. So far I've just avoided it altogether, but one of these days it's going to be important to the story. ;)

I also get nervous about my mom (and gramma!) reading it, but I shouldn't because I've read some of her selections and blushed because I know she read it!

aaroncrocco said...

God I'm jealous about this conference you're at. Such great information!

As for people googling to here because of sex in the title. I tried putting those words into my blog as a test and nothing ever came of it. Oh well! :-)

WendyCinNYC said...

Melanie--Yeah, she said that sometimes the hardest stuff to write turns out to be the best material, so just write the darn thing and edit later.

Aaron--Good. I'd hate click on the new comments and have one say "What are you wearing, baby?"

Janna Qualman said...

What's the deal?! This writer's blog wasn't at all what I expected when I was googling sex. Pfft!

WendyCinNYC said...

Ha! I DID get someone searching for "sex scene" and finding this site.

Sorry, dude!

Anonymous said...

I have Elizabeth Benedicts's book and refer to it frequently. It's excellent!

I'm enjoying reading all about the conference.

Dolores