Update on Swanwick Erotica

Now I have your attention, I am, of course, talking about my How to Write Erotica Course at Swanwick Writers Summer School – as opposed to any actual erotica taking place at Swanwick, which naturally I’m not aware of, and if I was my lips would be sealed!

Everyone thinks writing erotica is quite a serious subject – and indeed I can’t entirely disagree – but learning how to write erotica is about as far away as you can get from serious. I have never seen so many women (and a handful of men) laugh so much in my life. Martin – you were an absolute star. I will never see you in quite the same way again.

My students did actually learn some things too about the art of writing erotica, I hope! Many of them left saying the course was an eye opener. It certainly was for me – I just couldn’t believe what filthy minds you all have. Tush! Whereas my mind, of course, is as pure as a fresh fall of snow 🙂

Anyway, I thought I would share a few of the main points here now.  For anyone who is interested.

The biggest mistake writers new to erotica make is to think the story isn’t important. It is. Obviously there should be sex – this is after all, erotica, but there must be a story too. Lack of a story is one of the main reasons we reject submissions at Xcite Books.

Another common reason for rejection is because it’s obvious that the writer has simply added a sex scene to an otherwise non-sexy story. There must be sexual tension throughout.

Do use inventive settings. Your characters do not always have to be in a bed – or even indoors. A different setting – for a good reason, of course – can mean the difference between a rejection and a sale.

Do use humour, it can work extremely well in erotica, which can sometimes be too intense – or just plain silly without it.

Do build your characters. They are the ones ‘performing’ so to speak. They should be vivid and real.


Don’t generalise or use clichés. Be specific.

Don’t get carried away with adjectives. Clumsy overwritten description doesn’t work in erotica any more than it works in any other writing.

I am running this course again on Saturday 10 November, 2012, in Bournemouth. It runs from 10.00 am till 4.00 pm. And there will be a chance to bring along your own erotic scene for feedback – if you are brave enough. Cost is £35. Please email me if you’d like further details.


This entry was posted in Writing conferences & schools. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Update on Swanwick Erotica

  1. Vikki says:

    Really enjoyed the course Della 🙂

    Going to try to get down to Bournemouth in November!


  2. Pauline Mason says:

    Your course was inspiring as well as hilarious, Della, and I’m beginning to work out various story lines and characters already. I’m back in Virginia now so won’t be able to come to Bournemouth but good luck with that! The weather feels hot and steamy here or perhaps just because of the erotic stories I’m dreaming up!!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.