The Joy of Writing Sex: A Guide for Fiction Writers

The Joy of Writing Sex: A Guide for Fiction Writers

by Elizabeth Benedict


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Twelve years after it was first published, The Joy of Writing Sex remains the classic writer's resource on creating compelling sex scenes. Elizabeth Benedict covers all the issues, from the first time, to married sex and adultery, to sex in the age of AIDS.

Her instruction, supported with examples from the works of today's most respected writers—among them, Dorothy Allison, Russell Banks, Alan Hollinghurst, Joyce Carol Oates, Carol Shields, and John Updike—focuses on crafting believable sex scenes that hinge on freshness of character, dialogue, mood, and plot.

In this revised edition, Benedict addresses the latest sexual revolution, intimacy on the Internet; adds new interviews with Edmund White, Darren Strauss, Stephen McCauley, and other writers; and updates her selections to include examples from the best fiction of the past few years.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780805069938
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/01/2002
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 581,592
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.57(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Benedict is the author of five novels, including Slow Dancing, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and the national bestseller, Almost. She writes nonfiction for many publications, including The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Allure, Tin House, and Daedalus. She has taught writing at Princeton University, the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop, Barnard, and MIT, and lives in New York City.

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Joy of Writing Sex: A Guide for Fiction Writers 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
devilwrites on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book back in Barnes & Noble during the summer of 2005. I was thrilled to find it, because everyone and anyone has a theory of how sex should be handled in fiction, when in truth, the subject is far more complex than most people give it credit for, especially for fiction. And since I knew my own work would feature some kind of sexual overtones, if not the dirty deed itself, I figured I needed all the help I could get. :)No need to get into a long-winded review: I think this is an excellent resource for writers of all genres, though I don¿t know if romance writers will find it enlightening or old hat. But the book focuses on a variety of sexual relationships and the uniqueness of each. The book also stresses that sex should be more than gratuitous or entertainment (it¿s heavy in the literary way of looking at this), it should serve to do something aside from hooking two characters up. There¿s a lot of focus on character motivation and desires and how that should define sex scenes in novels, and there¿s plenty of examples from various works of fiction.I think it¿s fortunate that we live in a society where sex is prominent in fiction, film, and television. We¿re not so gun-shy anymore about talking about it or reading about it, so chances are, you¿ve been exposed to a variety of sex scenes while reading without really being ¿aware¿ of it. I think that¿s the author¿s point: sex should be so integrated to the characters and story as a whole that it¿s a natural thing to come out of the book. There¿s also a focus on intimacy between people, which is equally important. I can easily recommend this book to any writer faced with the possibility of writing a sex scene. It might give you ideas, or at the very a least, a new way to look at a familiar subject.
siliconrose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While this book offers useful hints and some good ideas, it is much too caught up in reprinting excerpts from writers that the author admires.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
a_spirit More than 1 year ago
A good reference for fiction writers who are considering showing sex in their work. The examples from published stories help illustrate Benedict's excellent points as well as help the reader determine what (s)he is comfortable with. Benedict's light touch diffuses some of the awkwardness of jumping into the middle of sex scenes. This was updated in 2002 (see ISBN 9780805069938) to include Internet sex, so if that's important, you may want the revised edition instead.
SimoneMJ More than 1 year ago
I obtained some helpful writing tips from this book. Very informative.