By Elizabeth Benedict

The writer has explored sensuality in her personal novels with nice good fortune. So, within the pleasure of Writing intercourse, she deftly covers all of the concerns head-on--from facing "internal consorts" to writing approximately intercourse within the age of AIDS. Accompanying her guideline are lively evaluations via John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Carol Shields, Russell Banks, and lots of different prestigious writers.

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Extra resources for The Joy of Writing Sex: A Guide for Fiction Writers

Sample text

I crouch down to taste the salt, to r u n my fingers a r o u n d the r i m . She opens a n d shuts like a sea anemone. She's refilled each day with fresh tides of longing. In a very different example, the language is so stark a n d stripped down it comes close to dispensing with the illusion that we are reading an account. In this scene f r o m " H o m e , " an early short story byjayne A n n e Phillips, I feel so close to the narrator a n d the dream she relates that I flinch every time I read it.

Y o u need not be explicit but you must be specific. 5. Surprise me. 33 THE JOY OF WRITING SEX 1. S e x is n o t a n A T M w i t h d r a w a l . N a r r a t e f r o m i n s i d e y o u r c h a r acters' bodies a n d minds, n o t f r o m a c a m e r a set up t o r e c o r d t h e t r a n s a c t i o n . If you are writing about a Peeping T o m , his experience of sex-from-a-distance is exactly what you should be describing. But if your character is p l u n g i n g headlong into bed with another character or two, put us right there with at least one of them.

For their lives a n d they get m u r d e r e d anyway, the way Achilles kills Hector. Y o u get it f r o m m o m e n t to moment. We can be very graphic about violence but to be graphic about sex is a more complicated thing apparently. Society has more trouble taking it. Actually, b e i n g that graphic about violence made the violence transcendent, it made you think about it, made y o u suddenly feel. W h e n we see films o f people getting shot we d o n ' t get a chance to feel what it is to be a person i n the few seconds before death, totally at the mercy o f the other person, someone who has totally lost his or her own will, totally enslaved at that m o m e n t before death.

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