It’s kind of fun coming…

It's kind of fun coming up with these course descriptions. The erotica one is for a 8-class sequence, about 24 hours total, I think. The sf ones are for short workshops, 1-2 hrs each (though I think the second one would work better as a 3 hour workshop). I'd like to do more of these. I think I'm going to add these descriptions to my top web page somewhere -- maybe other people will ask me to teach this kind of thing. :-) Any comments on these would be welcome.


Sexual and Erotic Writing

In this course, we will explore various aspects of sexual, sensual and erotic writing. We will experiment with poetry, fiction and non-fiction, exploring the powerful and often difficult elements of sex-related literature. We will examine such aspects as:

  • the language of sexuality (clinical vs. crude vs. what?)
  • the technical differences between erotic fiction and soft/hard porn
  • the power of reclaiming one's own sexual experience through memoir
  • the ethics of sexual writing (especially within an Asian and/or female experience)
Students will be encouraged to push their own boundaries, to take risks with their writing, in a safe and nurturing workshop environment.

This will be a writing-intensive class, with an emphasis on group participation and critique. Each student will finish the workshop with at least one complete piece in the genre of their choice, suitable for submission; we will also review markets for erotica and sexual writing. There will be brief assigned readings, primarily excerpts from such authors as Anais Nin, Nicholson Baker, Ginu Kamani, Chitra Divakaruni, Maxine Hong Kingston, etc.

Short Speculative Fiction -- a Review of the Field

In this class, we'll review the current state of the short speculative fiction field, considering the recent explosion of zines, chapbooks, and online publications, along with more traditional magazines and anthologies. We'll discuss what editors are looking for these days, and review the meaning of such new terms as 'slipstream' and 'interstitial' fiction. We'll also briefly review submission protocols for online and print publications, including appropriate cover letters for short fiction, and the advisability of simultaneous submissions. Finally, workshop participants will be provided with a set of helpful materials, including a list of useful market guideline and other informative sites.

Writing Short Science Fiction and Fantasy -- a Workshop

In this workshop, we'll draft brief scenes and discuss/critique them, focusing our discussion on elements specific to genre writing, such as "how to handle technical information, aka avoiding info-dump", "evoking a sense of wonder", and "creating believable fantastic/fabulist worlds and characters." Many of these skills might also apply to realistic fiction, of course, and particularly to slipstream, magical realist, or interstitial work.

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