A picture of a fig

Writing convincing and entertaining sex scenes is not only an art, but takes skill. Join veteran editor Helen Moffett in her writing workshop on 16 March to learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to writing riveting purple prose.

“As an editor and a reader, I often see authors floundering when it comes to sex scenes,” says Helen. “These can come across as awkwardly written, clinical, crude — or far too flowery, sentimental or lofty. And editors are sometimes squeamish about checking these scenes, not wanting to intrude on ticklish territory. One result can be purple passages so cringe-making that even award-winning international authors regularly appear on the Bad Sex Writing award list.”

What we’ll focus on

“In this workshop, we’ll tackle the practicalities — including choreography, what sort of language to use, and how to handle metaphors and comparisons,” she promises.

“We look at when and even if a sex scene is necessary, how explicit (or not) it needs to be, and how to get over being self-conscious or uncomfortable when writing them.”

We’ll also discuss how genre and context affect writing about sex (how does one write about sex in a thriller as opposed to historical romance, for instance? Is there such a thing as ‘literary erotica’?), as well as the ethical issues that crop up when writing sex scenes, including how to write about safer sex practices.

This workshop will not focus on how to write erotica (although there will obviously be some overlap); the idea is to provide support, guidelines and skills for authors who write fiction (novels, short stories and even poetry) and feel they need help with writing sex. We’ll also look at how to handle writing about sex in non-fiction works such as memoirs.

The workshop will involve adult content and robust language, so over-eighteens only. Bring pen, notebook, laptop (if you like), and a sense of humour. A light snack supper will be served, along with wine, which you’ll probably need.

Helen Moffett’s extensive experience in the book industry, especially as an editor, means she’s seen it all. Her first ever published short story was a work of erotica, and so was her first published poem (“Homo Erectus”.) She is one-third of the erotica-writing trio, Helena S. Paige, together with horror writer Sarah Lotz and satirist Paige Nick — the most fun they’ve ever had with their clothes on. Their “choose-your-own-adventure” Girl books were translated into 21 languages.

Learn more about Helen at helenmoffett.com

Workshop date and cost

Date: 16 March, 5.30pm sharp. The workshop will run for approximately three hours, and light refreshments will be provided.

Cost: R900. The once-off “senior special” on our recipes and memories workshops was so successful, that we’re reserving two places on this workshop at the same rate (R500) for local elders — so get in early!

Payment must be made in advance. If after paying, you’re unable to attend because of illness or crisis, we’ll give you a credit towards a future workshop of your choice.

All bookings and payments to be made through Noordhoek Art Point: info@noordhoekartpoint.co.za or call 083 564 2493.

Space is limited, so don’t delay. We reserve the right to cancel the workshop if there aren’t enough warm bodies.

The gallery itself is wheelchair accessible, but you will need assistance to use the bathroom.

Got a question about this event or interested in a particular piece you’ve seen? Get in touch with us at info@noordhoekartpoint.co.za or call 0835642493.