Menage Monday Writing from the Middle Xakara
Posted January 9, 2012on:
Welcome to another Menage Monday post from my good friend, fellow author Xakara. Lets see what’s she’s talking about this week!
Writing From the Middle: Stretching as a Ménage Writer
I hope that your holidays went well and that 2012 is treating you phenomenally! It’s been an interesting ride for me so far, one that’s brought several deadlines this year that I can’t wait to meet.
My first “straight menage” or partially platonic polyamory story ITS SWEETESTFORM, will be released in the coming weeks as part of the Valentine’s Day anthology LOVE NOTES by Muse Publishing. It was quite the experience, let me tell you. It turns out that I don’t have the natural heteronormative default of others. Writing characters that are attracted to a single gender is incredibly difficult for me, and in fact, I have yet to do it.
My main characters of Eaton and Brahm love each other, but they aren’t sexually involved in any way. All of their sexual attention and devotion is directed towards Tessa and remains such within the text of book one. There are hints of confusion and innuendo, but that relationship is left for another day. A day that can’t come soon enough. Trust me, there were times when I didn’t think I’d make it through, knowing they couldn’t even kiss. So why did I do it?
Two things, the first of which is simple. I was asked to. The anthology is part of the het-romance line and I was invited to participate in. I’d just said to someone else that I didn’t think I could write het, and here I was given the opportunity to try. I didn’t succeed, but I proved that I could write a story where the men kept their hands off of each other, and that’s a major accomplishment. So yay on that!
The second reason I took the challenge was to honor the unfolding relationship between my male characters. Personally, I love writing friends-turned-lovers and hope to keep that element in all of my work to one degree or another. However, even friends have a first time, and I haven’t had the chance to explore that with my male characters specifically. So far, we’ve come into their stories after they’re married or otherwise deeply involved, and where that gives me a wonderful playground to explore, I thought it was time to see the relationship unfold in a sequel to something new, rather than entertain a prequel to something already out.
I found the balance between intimate bromance and budding lovers to be a challenge. There’s an intensity and physicality that can be played with in male relationships that blur the line thoroughly. There’s a reason that so many “slash fans” exist and it has nothing to do with a generation of women more perverted than those before us. We seldom get to see men interact with emotional intimacy and physical closeness, so when it’s displayed on screen and page, the mind wants to take it to its natural conclusion. We can look at a scene and know that if one of them was female, we’d be at the love interest key moment, so we take it there ourselves.
With ITS SWEETESTFORM, I was able to be author and fan, looking at the relationship and naturally taking it there in my head, with the bonus of *actually* getting to take it there on paper as well. What a treat! And like a triple chocolate sundae with brownie and chocolate chips, it’s a treat that will last me for quite a while. I need everyone in the sexual intimacy pool in the first story. It’s just less stressful that way.
And not just on me. I only got the characters through it by promising them a sequel. Otherwise they would have driven me right off the rails. I know the signs, I’ve been down that road and it leads to a bad neighborhood. Trust me. *grin*
There you are, Kittens, a bit about my upcoming work and the stretch I have to take every now again on the path of writing from the middle.