Menages. I love them. I’ve written six of them and I love the depth of emotion created by a threesome (I haven’t done four or more, too unwieldy for my tastes although I don’t mind reading them!). For me, when I write, there are several keys I try to always keep in mind:
1. Believability – as in give the reader a reason to believe this would work. I’ve read a lot of menages and thought, “why? I’m supposed to just accept a threesome with these two alpha males and one woman would work without any jealousy, negotiation, hurt feelings, anger or emotion?” If it’s just for fucking, write a menage scene in the book but keep the story line focused on a couple as the romance. If you expect me as a reader to believe a menage, give me a reason to. (It can be a whole host of things. In Tri Mates, it’s metaphysical for instance. In Battlefront, the partial I just finished, it’s due to the circumstances of the three people and the intensity of attraction between them all)
2. Each character needs to be individual and strong in their own right. A lot of menages tend to make one male really strong and the other is just a cock in waiting, or worse, carbon copies of each other. It’s hard enough in a book with a couple to write strong, memorable characters but in a menage, you’ve got to create two heroes who are compelling for different reasons.
3. Don’t forget the story. As in, unless it’s straight erotica or porn, it has to be more than just sex scenes. A menage book still needs actual plot.
Anyway, these are my guideposts – I’m sure every author and every reader has their own preferences.
Which leads me to another thing – boytouching! – I’ve just finished a partial for Battlefront – this is an MFM menage but the men in the story are also together. Together together. Heh. When I write menages, I generally have contact between the men. Sometimes it’s more of a, “hmm, what is this like?” such as I wrote in Tri Mates and it grows into a natural progression of the relationship. Other times, I write it as independent attraction like in Battlefront when the two men have a deep friendship (and occasional sex) before she enters the picture. Generally, when I write MM, I do it through a woman’s eyes. I like that, it’s why I write it that way. There are some scenes she doesn’t see in Battlefront in the beginning of the story, but after that, she’s part of every one. I like the woman as the bridge between the two men. There are times when it just doesn’t work out, like in something my agent is reading now – a menage of two straight, non-bi curious men and one woman. I just write each story as it comes to me and try and stay true to who my characters are.
Anyway, I try to approach each story differently. There are many stories and many characters in them and they all need to be told differently. I don’t use a formula (three DP scenes, two oral, etc), I just write what makes sense to me. Sometimes the book will have a lot of individual scenes between two of the three characters with just a few threesome scenes, other times, the balance goes the other way.
So, I’m asking you all – what are the things you like in menages? Don’t like? Do you likey the boykissing or no?
BTW, speaking of menages – my dear friend and wonderful author, Anya Bast has one out today from Ellora’s Cave! Whisper of the Blade and it’s really wonderful (and also has some connection to my Torrid Tarot story, Sword and Crown). Oh and it has really yummy boytouching too!