Another writer was recently asking me about writing ménage as my next story out in a few weeks (Wife for Three) is a ménage a quartre. In this case one heroine with three men who are brothers.
One of the difficult things when writing ménage is to make sure that the personality of each of the heroes is sufficiently different as when I first finished it and read it back to myself I became aware that two of them seemed to merge into each other. Hopefully I have fixed this issue – one is the brooding, silent type, the next is hot headed and cocky, the youngest is the sweetest – a peacemaker, often with a joke (and all of them have different coloured hair!).
Another problem I have come across (and in some ways this harks back to Monday’s post on character names) is when I have read other writers’ stories where at least two of the main characters have similar names – or names starting with the same capital letter and as a reader you can easily get them confused in your mind so my heroes are Adam, Curt and Eric. Hopefully all different enough not to confuse anyone. Similarly, you need to make sure they use different terms of endearment for the heroine. A third issue is if you now have three characters of the same gender like I did you have to read it really carefully (or get a critical reader to do it for you) to make sure that it is clear which ‘he’ you are referring to – or put in the first names of the characters more often.
Something I have often found difficult to accept when reading other ménage stories is why don’t they become jealous, won’t the girl prefer one to another and if the guys are straight, just sharing a woman, how come they don’t find it icky if they inadvertently touch each other? It worked that my heroes are all brothers for the jealousy angle and there is a great scene (even if I say so myself!) where one of the brothers jealously watches (from outside) the other two having sex with the heroine in the lounge. And since this was about brothers I made sure to include a comment here and there about them being concerned about the ‘icky’ factor. Hopefully that makes it feel more real.
Wife for Three is due out around 21 June from www.bookstrand.com/jennifer-denys/ – on pre-orders for about 8-10 days before that date. Watch out for the book cover which I will show you in the next week, hopefully.