The Importance—Nay!—the Necessity of Writing Buddies
I don’t know about y’all, but when I first made the decision to write ménage, my first question was, “What the hell am I doing?”
I’d been a mainstream romance reader for years but had only recently gotten into erotica and even more recently into ménage romance. Oh la la! Suddenly, there were all these naughty, explicit words swimming through my head, all these riotous feelings happening inside me, and—holy crap—all these dudes. I experienced about three months of whirlwind, eye-opening reading. Seriously, I was a ménage glutton.
However, I soon discovered that writing ménage is quite a different experience than reading ménage. There are so many body parts that have to be accounted for. There are supposed to be delicate and intricate emotional dynamics going on between each of the heroes and their heroine. And don't forget the villains, too, trying to get up in there and mess things up. Sometimes I want to clutch my characters around the throat and say, “Get your crap together!”
But I don’t.
I usually end up sitting and staring at my computer screen for minutes on end, pondering the quagmire that I have created for myself. And that’s where my writing buddy, Helena Ray, comes in.
When I get to that point where nothing is making sense—my plot points are stupid, my characters have gone stubbornly silent (’cause heck, they don’t like where this story is going just as much as I don’t like where this story is going), and I’m contemplating the best , most efficient way to kill everyone off—that’s when I log in to Gmail chat and say, “Helena, help me!”
Having a trustworthy writing buddy has gotten me through many a dark moment. Like the “Am I going mad?” phase, the “I’m the most awful writer on this planet!” phase, and most especially the “F*** it!” phase. If you’re writing, in any and all genres—ménage, manlove, young adult, sci-fi/fantasy, non-fiction…whatever it may be—and you find yourself lost at sea, flailing with only a couple fingers above the water, I would highly recommend rounding up a trusted friend or critique partner to take a look-see at your work. Sometimes you only need to hear someone say, “Hey, relax. You’re doing fine here.” And sometimes you need someone to tell you, straight up, “You’re right. This is crap. Bury it in a deep, dark hole and never look at it again.”
Whichever the case may be, a writing buddy can get you past those slumps, can help to re-energize that creative spark, and after days of hair-pulling, can make you feel sane again. They don’t even have to be writers themselves. The only requirement is that they read your work or listen to your ideas and then give you an honest opinion.
So here’s a digital high-five to my writing buddy, Helena Ray, and to all the writing buddies out there. Y’all are the best!