Between the Sheets: Writing and Selling Erotica with Rachel Kramer Bussel

Between the Sheets: Writing and Selling Erotica with Rachek Kramer Bussel

Writing about sex is so much bigger than one little Grey trilogy. Learn to write about sex with skill and grace, and then how to sell it, in this four-week workshop.

Your Instructor: Editor and author Rachel Kramer Bussel

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: October 16, 2014 – November 13, 2014

Enrollment: 16 students

Price: $325

Class Description

Let’s talk about sex.
Specifically, writing about it.

First, it ain’t easy to write. Sex itself can be awkward enough, but describing it? Without sounding like a goofball? That can be tough.

Second, there’s this whole big genre totally devoted to sex called erotica, which has turned into a dirty word among writers—especially those who think Fifty Shades of Grey is all it has to offer.

But you can write sex with a deft hand, with skill and grace, in a way that reveals character and emotion. And you’ll learn to do that in Between the Sheets with Rachel Kramer Bussel.

Rachel has been writing erotica for over 15 years, and has edited over 50 anthologies, including Hungry for More, The Big Book of Orgasms, Fast Girls, and Cheeky Spanking Stories, and is Best Bondage Erotica series editor. Her short stories have been published in over 100 anthologies, including the Best American Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica, Best Gay Erotica and Best Lesbian Erotica series. For five years she ran the In The Flesh Erotic Reading Series, and has conducted readings and taught erotic writing workshops across the country.

As part of the class, you’ll receive a bibliography and market listing, and you’ll be pointed to current markets that are looking for new writing.

What This Class Covers


Week One: Erotica is Everywhere
We will define erotica and its purpose, including examples from literary fiction and erotic novels, including varying types of language and the mechanics of writing about sex, including research (no, you absolutely don’t have to have done the things you’re writing about). We’ll discuss language, voice, pace, and how to find the erotic potential in everyday situations, as well as how to overcome internal hurdles to writing erotica and answer your friends’ and families’ nosy questions.

Assignment: Students will be asked to write a prompt-driven erotic scene with particular attention to fresh imagery and avoidance of cliche.

Week Two: From Humor to Heartache: Setting the Mood
Erotica is not necessarily about shiny happy people having the best orgasms of their lives on every page (though you will find plenty of happy people enjoying their sexuality). Erotica may or may not have a traditional happy ending (pun intended). We’ll examine why humor and heartache work in erotica and how they can be used to your best advantage to add to the tension and draw of a story.

Assignment: Students will respond to story prompts incorporating humor and heartache respectively using the same set of characters.

Week Three: Motivation
Why is erotica about more than just a sex scene? How can you enhance the sex scenes in your stories by adding conflict, backstory and motivation? How does writing about characters fundamentally different from you push you to explore the genre, and what does it teach you about sexuality? We’ll explore different motivations within erotica and how they fuel the story.

Assignment: Students will explore point of view and voice in erotica by telling the same story from multiple viewpoints, and examining which voice speaks the most strongly.

Week Four: The Business of Erotica and Submitting Your Work
What are editors looking for in today’s erotica marketplace, and how can you stand out? Should you use a pseudonym? How can you make you extend your work beyond a single story? How much money can you expect to make from writing erotica?

Assignment: Complete a short story and submit it to a current market.

Goals Of This Class

  • Learn what erotica is (and isn’t)—and about the marketplace for erotica and erotic fiction
  • Write from various points of view, sexualities, and character types
  • Incorporate elements of pop culture, news, and everyday life into your erotica
  • Craft a complete erotic short story and submit it

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