Finessing Sex – Eroticon 2013

♦ In my last post, I wrote about the Eroticon 2013 poetry workshop run by Ashley Lister and showed you the poems I wrote in a panic during the session. Now there’s more where that came from, but from a different, equally fabulous session: KD Grace‘s Finessing Sex creative writing workshop.

Creative writing 5: Finessing Sex : KD Grace

It was described thusly…

“KD Grace will take writers beyond the slang of the old ‘in and out’ and beyond the biology of coitus to the other levels where sex takes place and will show how well-written sex shapes the story and the characters. The session will involve some writing and some brainstorming and hopefully a whole lot of finessing what we all want to write right. Though the session is designed to help newbies break through to a deeper level of writing sex, it will also help anyone writing sex in fiction do the same.”

KD Grace, a wonderful speaker, furnished us all with a handout and began her presentation on how to make our writing zing, along with some incredibly helpful advice, before getting to the part that made me gulp nervously: actually writing.

Five Minutes: Invent your characters

Using the tips she’d given us, we were to spend five minutes thinking of some characters to work with. I struggled here, indecisively bouncing back and forth between ideas.

At first I considered “cheating” and using the often-helpful method of basing characters off real people. I considered fictionalising my current girl-crush Red. Then I wrote, a step further away from that, of “the girl in the coffee shop with the not-quite-covered-up tatts and the pierced nose” and “the shy student with a thesis to finish and a need to blow off steam”.

Then, a love triangle of characters I’d written for multi-author fantasy story back in my teens popped unbidden into my head. Fuck, where on Earth had they come from? That was never designed to have erotic content, although I’m fairly sure that sex was going to come up as a plot point. But they suddenly SO wanted to be written. I’m now seriously wondering if there’s something I can do with them in future.

By this point, my five minutes was nearly up and I’d decided that those characters needed far too much housekeeping and gentle treatment in my head. So I brushed them aside and hurriedly decided to hang everything on a story hook I’d thought of a few months earlier: a girl who fetishes ancient/old objects. A kink for the past. Rushing like mad before the timer, I invented a quick secondary character: her shy boyfriend, not understanding her kink but eager to please and deeply in love.

Ten Minutes: Write your sex scene

Then, characters still jostling for space in my head and still battling indecision, a longer, harder challenge. Start writing a sex scene in medias res and don’t stop until ten minutes are up. Don’t be too picky, don’t self-edit, just write like the wind.

This is what I came up with…

The door creaked far more than I’d have liked as it closed; the little draft-excluding brush on the bottom – the kind you only get in public buildings like this one – kicked up fine dust from the marble floor. We waited, fixed on these little details while the danger of being discovered passed.

But no-one came.

Hurriedly, he took my hand and led me over to the main exhibit of this room: a fossilised tree trunk calcified millions of years ago. I reached out to touch it reverently, almost feeling an aura around it as I drew near. It was cool to the touch and smooth like onyx.

“Come on,” he hissed. “We don’t have long.”

I turned and hopped up backwards onto the trunk’s broad top, feeling the millennia-old relic on my bare thighs.

I wasn’t wearing panties. And he knew it.

Gingerly he placed a hand on either of my knees and splayed them outwards. I wriggled and eased my skirt up as he did so. The glacier mint sharpness of the trunk made my…

And that’s as far as I got. I noticed that even though I thought I’d started in the middle of the action, I was nowhere near. Very little sex happened in my sex scene, which quite surprised me.

On the whole I can’t say that I’m pleased with it, but I’m pleased with the idea of it. I certainly don’t hate it. I’d never publish it, of course, but there’s some promise, I think. And that’s the idea. KD told us that the important thing is to write, that you’ve got to have something on the page to work with before you can edit anything, improve anything, play with anything.

Write shit down, sort it out later.

It was very refreshing, because I’m perhaps guilty of being a little too precious about the words I actually put down on “paper”. It’s got to be as close to right as I can get it first time. But it can’t be and it never will be and being forced to deal with that was a wonderful exercise.

Will you be seeing this story again? Yes, I hope so. It needs a lot of thought put into the characters and the plot, but the hook is there and there are some bare bones to work with. And, if nothing else, I’ve proved I can do something with it.

Now all I need to do is to find more instances where I have a pen, paper, five minutes and enough brain energy to think with and I’m sorted.

Don’t forget, you can share the results of your ten minute writing exercise over on Irregular Voice with Mia More. ♦

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