Well, I was going to go a different direction for today's blog, but #Sandy took the wind out of my sails. I don't feel quite right being flippant and saucy when worried about my friends and readers in harm's way.
So to start out with, if you're in the NE, hunker down (something I know a lot about from being in Florida, believe me!) and stay safe and follow emergency management instructions.
I've received questions before from newbie writers about how to write menage so that all the characters have equal time, so to speak. That no one gets lost in the shuffle.
I can't speak for other writers, but here's how I do it. And keep in mind that I haven't (as of yet, at least) written the extreme menages with more than three heroes. I've had mfmm (brothers, the Triple Trouble series, where the men do not have sexual relations) and mmmf (such as my Deep Space Mission Corps series, where the men are involved with each other sexually). Those are in addition to my mmf and mfm books.
What I do is I leave the sex for last. Literally. I insert a place holder in my manuscript that looks like this:
[[INSERT SEX SCENE HERE
Then I use the Find function to look for the [[ and go right to it. (I use that little place holder for lots of things, like if I need to double-check something from a different book for continuity, I flag it then go back later instead of wasting my time on it during the writing, and spoiling the flow.)
This way, I'm writing the characters, the story, the meat of the book. Um, no pun intended. I have my basic word count this way and know that a goodly chunk of my book is focused on the story and characters and not just the sex. Romance, sure, that's part of the story. The relationship issues, and fallout, and conflict, and all that is dealt with. The dynamics between the characters.
But the sex scenes, unless something dramatic happens during the scene that's pivotal for the plot, I write last usually. (Unless I'm in the *ahem* mood to write them sooner. LOL)
I know one writer who color-codes based on characters to keep track, so when they look at the manuscript zoomed out, they can see if anything's out of balance.
I use Mindola's Supernotecard software for my initial drafts, and while I could use something similar to my writer friend's technique in my manuscripts, I don't. I'm a pantster and I've never needed that type of tracking while writing.
So whatever works for YOU is what you should do.
If it's a triad menage, one of the characters needs to be a "pivot." And the pivot can shift from one character to another. If it's mmf or mfm, it's natural to make the heroine the pivot. For example, in "Love Slave for Two: Family Matters," the pivot is pretty much Nevvie throughout the whole story. She has a relationship with each man, and they with each other. Then there is the dynamic of the three of them as a family. It's easy to balance.
A quad menage is harder to balance. And sometimes, one character gets a little shorted on "stage time," so to speak. But what I like to do then, especially if it's a series, is make that character the star of a different book. It works better that way for me.
In my Triple Trouble series, the "star" shifts from Ain, to Brodey, to Cail in different stories, and even within the same story. There isn't a romantic relationship between the brothers, so I don't have to worry about that. But they are three Alphas sharing a mate, and yes, sometimes they butt heads.
You need to know your characters. You don't need a 20-page detailed character sheet on them, but in YOUR mind, they need to be different. When you write them, those differences need to come through somehow.
And this is why I like to leave the sex until last, so I can focus on plot and characters and leave the steamy stuff as the icing on the cake. :)
So what do you like to see in menage books? (Besides the sex. LOL) What do you love in the relationship dynamics? What do you hate? Sound off about your praises and pet peeves in the comments.
And book 4, Out of Bight, Out of Mind, is coming Nov. 30th. :)
(mmmf with mf and mm, sci-fi/futuristic, anal sex/play, and a killer Halloween prank)
When the Tamora Bight is diverted from a scheduled mission to conduct a rescue operation and tow a disabled Kal’moran vessel, the crew’s also ordered to refer to Emi as the ship’s captain. Aaron, Caph, and Ford aren’t delighted to learn Kal’moran is a luxury resort planet for women, run by women. They’re even less pleased when they’re diplomatically obligated to visit the Kal’moran capital with Emi.
Emi tries to maintain objectivity, but finds it hard to remain agreeable while being shown around a planet that treats males as little more than pack animals. Unfortunately, a jealous, scheming Kal’moran sets her sights on obtaining Aaron, Caph, and Ford by any means necessary when Emi refuses to share.
Now Emi must fight to save her men from a Kal’moran warrior who’ll stop at nothing to win. And on a planet that houses deadly arachnid-like creatures, Emi’s going to show them she can be even more formidable than any Spider Bight.
Tymber Dalton is a Siren-exclusive author.
The correct reading order is:
1) Love at First Bight
3) Spider Bight
4) Out of Bight, Out of Mind (coming Nov. 2012)
You can find all my Siren releases as Tymber Dalton, Lesli Richardson, Macy Largo, and Tessa Monroe on my Siren page at:
(Tymber Dalton is the pen name for author Lesli Richardson. Her website is http://tymberdalton.com and her latest releases are Spider Bight (DSMC3), Bleacke's Geek (Bleacke Shifters 1) writing as Lesli Richardson, and Accidentally on Porpoise (Placida Pod 1).)