Saturday, June 7, 2014

Con Report: ConCarolinas 2014 Panel: “The Art of the Sex Scene”

Ah, the infamous Saturday night “sex panel” at ConCarolinas. What a rollicking good time! I don’t think there’s a huge privacy concern here, but I’m going to use first name, last initial for the panelists.

Perhaps wisely, the con staff decided to make this a 21+ panel, checking IDs at the door. I don’t know who had to check James T’s ID, but I might have been quaking in my boots. If I didn’t think he was a teddy bear in disguise ;)

Emily L, the capable moderator, first asked about use of pen names: if so, why? She edited erotica under a man’s name, because men don’t argue with men the way they do with women. Tamsin S offered a funny story about choosing to use a pen name to protect her family from any embarrassment, and her father promptly encouraging his Bible study group to buy her first book. A couple of panelists were concerned about their job security if they were known as erotica authors. And Tyffani K said she was worried about what her more conservative friends would think, until she reached a point where “I forgot why I cared” (to which the whole room applauded).

Audience question about copyright under two different names. Copyright registration is $35 per piece, but copyright is self-defined as inherent in the “final product” of any piece of art/writing.

One advantage of working with a publisher is they will probably go to bat for you to help protect copyright.

Discussion about how to publish: Agent? Traditional publisher? E-pub?
Ellora’s Cave doesn’t require an agent – direct submission

James’ refrain for the panel was “The more dicks the merrier!”

Why are straight women reading the preponderance of M/M (male/male) on the market?

Erotic manga, “Yaoi” (“yow-ee”), very rich tradition, very popular in Japan, boy/boy

Women’s role in erotica has traditionally been more empowering that in romance

There is a certain fascination and appeal to the idea of having someone (a man) take care of *everything* - Women are *tired*!

Sex can be realistic or over-the-top porny sex – sex is supposed to be fun!

We don’t read eroticism for realism!

Use poseable art dolls to check body alignment, fit

Thomas Roche is a great male, erotic writer

Ellora’s Cave has a line, EC for Men

The most difficult aspect of writing a sex scene is keeping it fresh and feeling original after lots of scene

You don’t have to one-up yourself in writing

Don’t have to give all the detail; every time
Fade to black is okay in erotica (sometimes)
Sweet/loving is okay
You need an emotional arc to engage your reader with the characters
At what point does one or the other character freak out that sex is becoming love?
Humor is a great aspect of sex

Great discussion of identity exploration, transgender, asexual – these are voices often not represented
Ze/Xe/They are sometime preferred pronouns
“gender fluid”

Erotica is a safe space to explore possibilities

Ursula LeGuin, Left Hand of Darkness

So the kicker of the panel was a raffle for two large “goodie” baskets. Yes, I won one. Lots of books, lots of goodies – most of them not even sexual, actually. And yes, there were a few “toys” – one of which none of the panelists knew what to do with and asked me to report in later. Let’s just say we called it the “pastry brush”. ;)

Guitar Adagios

Time writing
~40 minutes

June word count

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