Monday, June 23, 2008

Three is just right!

It seems that I get to carry the ball onto the field. Monday, a new week, a new subject. This week the subject is menage in romance. I didn't bother to specify erotic romance because mostly if it's a menage, then by definition, it's in an erotic romance. There's been a lot of speculation about the reason that menage is so popular at the moment. I think it's pretty simple. The two males, one female romances allow for the fantasy of two men pampering and making love to one lucky woman. Notice that I said it's a fantasy.

Yep, I know there are people out there involved in polyamorous groups, but the truth is that there aren't a lot of them in long-term relationships and that is what most romances are about. Most romances after all, are going for the happy ever after ending. So in that sense yeah, they're mostly fantasy. It is difficult enough sharing your inner self with one person. Sharing that way between three people is even more difficult.

There are some menage stories where the actual events are short term--sort of an experiment and not meant to be long term. I have trouble justifying those kinds of stories for myself as I'm pretty much an all or nothing kind of woman. I know that there are many readers and writers that have no problem with short-term sexual relationships. They are just no part of my lifestyle. And because of that, I have difficulty in setting up a situation for my characters where that would be part of the story.

So, how do I write a menage? In every single one I've written, there is a permanent relationship between the three characters from the very beginning. Since I write fantasy genre, it's relatively simple to set up the story so that there is a permanent marriage or relationship that is legal. Then the trick is to develop three characters who fall in love, yet are different and independent. The sex is the easiest part.

I have talked to other writers who have difficulty writing menage scenes and I think...I think it has more to do with whether the characters are truly loving toward each other--or not. If they don't love each other, then there is no love scene. I once wrote a scene and sent it off to a critique partner. She wrote back... "If you're trying to convince me that they love her...well, I don't believe you." I took a long hard look at the scene and she was right. It was simply insert tab "A" into slot "B", etc.

Whether writing two or more in a romance, the key point is the feelings between them. If those don't ring true, then the rest of the story won't either. After all, the emotions are the key to any story--even a menage. That's what makes the fantasy "real".


  1. For me, it's all about the romance and the loving feelings between the partners. The way you do it in a fantasy works very well because it seems very natural in the context of your stories. There must, in my view, be a reason for them to be together. Don't get off on the experimentation thing all that much...want there to be real feelings and caring. It's tough to do.

  2. Ah yes. Excellent jumping-off point for the week. Thanks, Anny.

  3. You have this way of making things seem completely normal no matter the subject material.

    Great start on this week. Should be an interesting few days.

  4. I tend to write the "trial" menage stories. But I do agree with you, it doesn't work if the love is not there. That is why in almost all of my menage-for-a-day :) stories, it is always a committed couple who introduces a close friend (sometimes friends) into the mix. Since I write almost exclusively vampire stories, these friends have been there with/for the couple for centuries. So they really do love and respect each other.

    I don't know that I could ever have a couple pick up a stranger and take them home. I don't think I could convincingly write that scene.

    Dakota Rebel

  5. I agree that there has to be an affection that extends between all partners, not merely a sexual attraction. In the menages I've written there is a long standing relationship between the men and the woman is introduced to the mix. They were not necessarily meant to be permanent, but the affection and caring between the three was.

  6. Yes! My favorite fantasy--there's nothing like having two men pampering and showering all that masculine attention on one woman. In all my menage stories so far, my three characters are already in a permanent relationship, meaning they're all friends who've known each other for years.

    But now, I'm writing one wherein the woman is a new addition to the male couple, and it's exciting to explore and write about their feelings as they grope their way to a new relationship. So yes, writing a menage, same as with a couple relationship, is all about the feelings, the affection and the caring the characters have toward each other, or their non-feelings and how they come to have feelings for one another. But then, I do have a tendency to write romance stories with happy-ever-after's mind. So, my characters are more or less assured of a permanent relationship, unless I happen to surprise myself one of these days.

  7. excellent points, Anny and a great way to kick off the week. :D

  8. Indeed , sharing one's life & feeling with one is difficult enough...

    I know how difficult it is to write a love scene with deliberation!

    While some just get written in one gush of a spontaneous overflow.

    You are right... It has to do with the true feelings.


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