Leather/Kink/BDSM with Sassafras Lowrey

This is about more than sex. It's about power exchange. It's about the different forms of desire. It's about community. In this three week workshop, learn what it means to share your story.

Your Instructor: Sassafras Lowrey

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: June 5, 2018 - June 26, 2018

Enrollment: 16 students

Price: $250

Class Description

Leather/Kink/BDSM Writing gives new and experienced writers an opportunity to explore what it means to tell our stories.

This workshop is not specifically about writing erotica—though, of course, sexually explicit themes are welcome. Rather, it is focused on telling the stories of power exchange, stories about desire that aren't necessarily about sex, and, most of all, stories about communities.

In this class students will explore the diversity of this genre, taking ownership on the page of why we and/or our characters find solace, fantasy fulfillment, and pleasure in BDSM. Students will also be given the opportunity to explore the ethics involved in researching and crafting a realistic kinky story, and writers will discover traditional and independent publication opportunities for BDSM writers. 

This is a sex-positive class open to both fiction and nonfiction writers.

Your guide on this journey will be Sassafras Lowrey, a teenage runaway who grew up to become the 2013 winner of the Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award. Hir books have been honored by organizations ranging from the National Leather Association to the American Library Association. Ze has toured widely, giving readings, workshops, and keynotes at colleges, conferences, bookstores, festivals, and squats ranging from Atlanta to Berlin to Oakland to Amsterdam. Ze has also contributed to numerous anthologies and publications.

What This Class Covers

Week 1

This week you'll explore the tradition of leather writing from nonfiction to fiction. You'll delve into the difference and crossover between erotica and leather/BDSM/kink writing, consider when you do and don’t want to include sexually explicit writing in your stories. Through writing, students will gain insight into their own desires to write kinky stories. From memoir, essays and creative nonfiction, to short stories, novels, and erotica collections, you will explore the different ways that leather/BDSM/kink stories find homes on the page. You will begin discussing craft components unique to this style of writing: how to build character and setting to enhance your leather/BDSM/kink writing. 

Assignment: Students will write micro-story starts in response to writing prompts to explore different character points of view, setting, and genre.

Week 2

In this week’s class you'll explore the benefits and challenges of writing about leather/BDSM/kink from personal experience and/or from fantasies. You'll explore how your own sexual/kink orientations, genders etc. influence the way you write essays, and stories. You'll work to understand the challenges and opportunities for exploration and research (yes research!) that can arise from writing stories outside of your own identities and experiences, and how to do so ethically. You will also work to hone your craft by further developing and understanding your voice and goals with this writing.

Assignment: Building off of writing done in week one, students will begin to develop a full-length fiction or nonfiction story.

Week 3

In this last week you'll explore the responses to leather/BDSM/kink stories in the world: how you can use your writing to foster and preserve community, and build coalitions within leather/BDSM/kink and beyond. There will be discussion of risks that writers should consider before publishing, the pros and cons of writing with a pen name. You will also explore publication opportunities and where to find them. Students will consider what it looks like to write leather/BDSM/kink stories in a world where one of the best selling books of all time is a (poorly-researched) depiction of BDSM available for purchase in every airport and bookstore, and what opportunities this creates for those of us passionate about writing kinky stories.

Assignment: Students will complete leather/BDSM/kink short story (fiction or nonfiction) ready to submit for publication, and a brainstormed list of viable publication outlets for this story.

Goals Of This Class

  • Explore what leather/kink/BDSM writing is and isn’t - hint: it’s not always erotica!
  • Understanding ethics, boundaries, safewords, and politics in our kink/leather/BDSM writing
  • Receive and give feedback on new writing
  • Develop at least one fiction or nonfiction leather/kink/BDSM story ready to submit for publication
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