Oh, the woes of being vanilla.
I write erotic romance, and in the world of erotic romance, menage a trois and menage a more are HOT! Whether it’s M/F/M or M/M/F or Vamp/F/multi-penised alien, they sell and they sell well.
In the tiny little chum bucket the muse keeps for story ideas she’s not allowed to touch while already juggling multiple projects, a story idea was born which essentially was two couples finding love together. All together. In many different combinations. Oh wait…that’s the sex. But they end up bonded in love. It’s a contemporary, and I think I’ve built a believable, realistic situation for the couples.
And that’s where the muse started spinning her wheels. (Hey, I guess my muse is a car today. Lovely.) I can’t buy into the HEA. I’ve tried and tried and tried, and I can’t buy into four adults living happily ever after together. I can’t make it work for me. The entire story is there—deep in the recesses—like a movie playing on the screen behind your car at the drive-in. But the ending keeps skipping and eventually the reel comes to a screeching halt.
If I can’t buy it, how the hell can I sell it?
Should I even try? I believe in writing for your market. If I wanted to write for my own gratification, I’d keep a journal. But the HEA is the most important thing of all (for me, anyway), and I have to believe in it. If I wrote it anyway—to grow the readership and all that jazz—would my lack of conviction be apparent to the reader? I can’t see how it wouldn’t be. And isn’t it better to write an emotionally true book for fewer readers than an emotionally untrue book for more readers, leaving the menage books to the authors who do make them work?
Because I can totally buy into it as a reader. Strange Attractions by Emma Holly. Victorious Star by Morgan Hawke. Both smokin’ hot books that left this HEA junkie satisfied. So I know it can be done and done wicked well. Just not by me, apparently.
Maybe it’s just this story. Maybe my muse is trying to let me know it’s not going to work, so I should save myself some typing. In a couple of other books waiting to be written, I do have menage scenes planned, but they’re secondary characters and/or a voyeuristic thing. I think the setting makes a difference to me. In a fantasy/SF world where I made my own rules, maybe I’d feel differently. And I’m certainly not saying I’ll never write one. Never say never.
But right now I feel like a big old scoop of vanilla plopped into a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey.