Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Wednesday Writing

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.

Of course, when writing erotic romance, a major thing you need to check carefully (and particularly if you have more than two people making love) is to make sure all the arms and legs are in the right place, and you have written the right number of limbs! I know articles on sex say that ‘size doesn’t matter it’s what you do with it’ but in ménage stories size (width or length) can make a great difference in distinguishing one character from another!!

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 – 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.



  1. Great book title, Jennifer - congrats on publication!

  2. Great post, Jennifer. I think it makes it more realistic of you deal with the issues a lot of straight men have of other men and sex, and with the jealousy issue. It makes the story and characters more relatable. :)

  3. Perfect timing for this post. I'm in the process of revising my first menage. You have some great tips. My heroes are foster brothers and they're completely different in personality and looks, but you brought up some good points to think about.

  4. Great post. I've mainly avoided most of the issues you've talked about by writing MMF menages, so there's no ick factor for the men. And I read one MFM book where one of the men thinks about their first encounter and having accidently touched his "partner in crime" in a vulnerable place. They've gotten used to those accidental touches and brush it off as a consequence of being with the same woman.

  5. I completely agree with your article! Especially the part about arms and legs. What I think is important to address is WHY are they sharing? We know why a woman would want to do this, but what do the men get out of it? Does it turn them on to give a woman that much pleasure? Does it help to have another man (or two) to share the heavy emotional lifting in a relationship? My current WIP, the men had nightmarish childhoods, and one man is sort of the conduit to the world for the other. Congrats on the new book!

    1. Thanks to Lara (and everyone else who posted).

      Lara is correct when she asks 'what would men (if they are not in an MM relationship) get out of it'.

      This is why I haven't done a menage story before now but with my sci-fi there are few women left on the planet and the only way they are going to get a woman is to share - despite it going against the nature of my brothers in question! Hence jealously, fighting, etc. Now that was a situation where I could see the NEED to share - and enjoyed exploring the emotional fall over over HAVING to share as opposed to wanting to!

      Thanks to for everyone's congrats.


      It would be good if anyone had given us a viewpoint from a MMM menage story so if you know anyone do get them to post.


  6. My first book was a menage, and I really found it fun and interesting to write. I have to agree as both a reader and a writer with all of your advice.

    I'm working on my second book which is a MFMMMM. (Hey! It looked like a fun challenge, and I write in my spare time. LOL) I've been using a cheat sheet to keep everything straight.

  7. Great post and advice!

    Choreography can definitely get a little complicated in a menage :) The most participants I've written so far is four (MMMF in Playing in the Raine). As far as MMM jealousy, my three guys were in an established relationship before seeking out a woman to share, but I think the same rules apply. Very few people would NOT experience at least some jealousy at the beginning. How they handle it helps build the story. I've had one step-brother watch the other have sex with the woman he wants. He's jealous but also very turned on by watching. Men are visual :)

    What do the guys get out of it? With most of my MFM books, the men come to the realization that if they don't find a way to share, at least one of them gets hurt, and probably both. They also focus on what makes the heroine happy. Sure, they're a bit uncomfortable at first. Her line--You're not going to make me choose, are you?

    Wishing you lots of sales, Jennifer!