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.