A Feast for the Senses: Effective Use of Sensory Description
in BDSM Fiction
The tang of leather or the aroma of hot wax. The sizzle of the violet wand, or the desperate moan of a needy sub. The sting of a flogger, or the tantalizing tension of bondage. The sight of a Dominant wielding a cane, or the edgy panorama of a dungeon scene. The taste of a kiss, or a mouthful of cum. A Master’s satisfaction as his slave kneels before him, or the pride both feel in their roles in a total power exchange.
This is a workshop in two parts.
In Part One: Lise Horton will discuss the many ways to use sensory description; the senses themselves; how written sensory description works, scientifically, upon the reader; how to use it effectively, and how to avoid overuse; and she will discuss the value of a rich sensory “word thesaurus” that can make the job easier and more effective for the author of kinky fiction. Her talk will include discussions of the following:
The five senses: Sight, hearing, touch, taste, and the all-important sense of smell; And the vital sixth sense – the mind. (After all, how many times have you heard that the mind is the sexiest organ in the human body?)
How is sensory detail most effectively imparted?
How is sensory detail in writing received and processed by the reader?
How do you provide the richest description to sweep your readers away, while avoiding the mundane, or far more familiar descriptive sins – “info dump”, and telling instead of showing?
How can writing description within a character’s voice be used to additionally heighten the reader’s understanding of the character himself and seduce those readers into the lives on the page?
How can sensory description aid in crafting a powerful BDSM sex scene, while setting tone, enhancing atmosphere and aiding in pacing?
How can you compile, or add to, your “sensory thesaurus”?
In Part Two: Cris Anson will discuss the elements of BDSM, both physical play and psychology, and illustrate how to use sensory description to bring those elements to life for the reader; to help them understand not only players’ needs and desires, but also help them “see” the scene: Recognize how erotic, seductive and mesmerizing BDSM activities (sexual and otherwise) can be. The perfect use of sensory description in a BDSM story can illuminate these and intoxicate the reader with the power of kink. Cris will build on Lise’s foundation with exercises drawn from her personal BDSM experiences in dungeons and play parties that she uses to infuse her writing. She will provide examples that illustrate the benefit of the enlightened use of description.
How can you use description in your fiction to demystify kink, and to make it identifiable to a reader who’s never experienced it?
Why is it important to convey not just the sex, but the psychology, of BDSM in your erotic fiction and how can sensory description make that happen?
How can you “experience” some elements of BDSM to enhance your own understanding of these desires?
This is a great class for authors and readers interested in the process by which we create sumptuous stories.
A little about our presenters:
LISE HORTON is multi-published in BDSM erotica and erotic romance, and in “vanilla” erotic fiction as well. She is a Past President of the Romance Writers of America’s New York City Chapter, and has presented numerous workshops to the membership and guests, including her general Sensory Description workshop.
In her previous creative incarnation, Lise was an award-winning cabaret singer, and theater performer, and considers that training a solid basis for her literary pursuits, having dubbed herself a “method writer” who delves deep into her own experiences and desires in crafting powerfully emotional and sensual stories of lust, love and all things kinky. She has also worked “behind the scenes” in entertainment, including a lengthy stint at a law firm that specializes in all fields of entertainment, including publishing and intellectual property. She is a parental caretaker and sister to a special needs brother, and lives in her childhood home in suburbia where she gardens, cooks, reads voraciously, and cuddles with her trio of rescued feline boy cats.
As an author of BDSM erotica, she is exceptionally proud of her short story (written as Lydia Hill) “My Master’s Mark” in the 2014 Cleis Press anthology edited by DL King, “Slave Girls: Erotic Stories of Submission”, which was inspired by a personal relationship. Called “surprisingly poignant” by Library Journal, it is a testament to her belief in the power of BDSM. Her ero-rom novel Hold Tight was nominated for the 2016 Golden Flogger Award (BDSM Advanced Category). Visit her website and her erotic fiction blog.
After her first husband died, CRIS ANSON poured all her grief and angst into a journal. One day, to help her cope with the unthinkable, she decided to harness those volatile emotions to create scenarios where a heroine, against all obstacles, finds a happy ending. Joining the Romance Writers of America set her on her path to serious writing, a goal which her second husband wholeheartedly supported. She found her niche in erotic romance and in 2005 Ellora’s Cave published her first book, Dance of the Seven Veils. In 2012 Cris attended the first BDSM Writers Workshop Weekend in New York City. To her surprise, she discovered her writing had a BDSM flavor without her having known about the lifestyle. Now she enjoys lots of hands-on research and her stories shimmer with authenticity. She is active in the BDSM community as the assistant director of her local Power Exchange educational organization. When not reading or writing, Cris enjoys gardening, walking, playing the piano, Scrabble, crossword puzzles, oddball jokes, and dark chocolate. After a lifetime in the business world, she stops and smells the flowers at every opportunity.
To date fifteen of her novels and novellas have been published. Her shorter stories appear in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 BDSM Anthologies released in conjunction with each year’s BDSM Writers Conference. Her blog www.crisansonspassions.blogspot.com often features her personal experiences and that of others in the BDSM world. Cris Anson’s books are all available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, Kobo, and other online booksellers. Visit her website and Facebook page.