Guest Author Today: Erastes
Erastes is the pen name of a bisexual female who lives in Norfolk,
England on the Norfolk Broads. She started writing in 2003 after
discovering fanfiction but despite writing fanfic and finding it
invaluable as a "nursery slope" she wanted to publish her work and
make money--if possible. Her first novel--Standish, sold in 2004 and
she hasn't looked back. She specialises in gay historical fiction
although mutters darkly on a regular basis that if she invented worlds
of the future she wouldn't have to do all this pesky research. She's a
Lambda award finalist and she's been published by Running Press and
Carina. Her latest novel is "Junction X" published by Cheyenne Press
in 2011 and you can find all about the novels, novellas and short
stories inbetween at her website. www.erastes.com Find her also on
Twitter and just about everywhere else.
Can a woman write m/m?
Well of course they can! What they have to consider though, is that they can’t write gay literature, nor can they write gay fiction. Or gay porn. Without the necessary *ahem* fruit of the loom as it were, it’s impossible to visualise or empathise with another gender. I mean, if we could do that then there’s no end of the stuff we gals would end up writing. Heavens above. We could be writing all kinds of nonsense, like dragons and aliens and cops and who knows where it would end.
But m/m? Certainly! Here’s my top tips on how to get to the top.
1. Never forget who you are writing FOR. This is so vital I can’t stress it enough. You are writing for straight women, married and single who think of romance constantly and crave it as much as I crave cheese on toast. Why must you remember this? Because they want to read about two men having sex (of course, two cocks are much sexier than one, right?) but they don’t want all the mess associated with it. No hairy backs sacks and cracks, (in fact see point six for this). No bodily odours except lovely feminine ones like lavender or better still, chocolate and strawberries. No *ahem * soiling of cocks and fingers. No no no. No silent grunting screwed up eye sex. These ladies want ROMANCE and it has to be pretty, smelling nice, in nice places and clean. Imagine that they want your protagonists to perform on a lilac scented bed in their living room for their titillation and they don’t want to have to mop up after them.
2. Your readers will expect it, so always, always have two diametrically different protagonists. If one of them is tall and dark, the other must be short, much shorter, in order to rest his head on the taller one’s chest when weeping (see weeping, point 4). As to colouration, the shorter one must be unique in some way. His hair can be dark, although it’s much better to go lighter, but if it’s dark it has to be the black of a raven’s wing, or black as obsidian in tight curls—ringlets are much better, everyone loves ringlets. Chestnut, auburn, pillar-box red, purple, blond (with coloured tips) all these are perfectly acceptable colours, as long as the hair is long, shoulder length at least and waist length for preference.
3. Their characters must also be opposite. If one is bold, brash and reckless, the other must be timid (to the point of catatonia). If one never shows his feelings, this will trample on the feelings of the weaker male which of course adds that delicious aspect conflict—lots of weeping! The readers love weeping!
4. And on to weeping. There can never be enough. You can have your protagonists crying because they’ve been abandoned by a lost love (and the new love comes along to console him); or when he’s been cruelly used by his new love (up to and including dub-con**); he can weep buckets when he’s hurt (leading nicely to hurt-comfort sex), and of course there’s happiness when he’s been given a home, a gift, a stepson, a marriage proposal. Include bodily contact with the happy tears, nothing so wonderfully sentimental and likely to get your reader’s pulse racing when your omega gets his alpha’s shirt all damp.
5. Talking. This is absolutely vital, and many readers will expect just as much dialogue as sex, in fact they’ll expect dialogue in the sex because no one likes a silent sex scene.
Your characters must communicate on just about every level. Every single thing that upsets them or makes them happy must be shared—unless (see point 2) you are wanting to add in “boding silence” as conflict which of course works perfectly. There’s nothing that your readers will like more than a heart-to-heart (preferably in front of the fire, braiding each other’s hair) just before the final sex scene of the book, or better still, during it.
6. Sex must be frequent but note this well: it must ONLY be between your main protagonists. There’s no room in m/m for hook-ups, internet casual sex, or any promiscuity at all (unless your omega is a prostitute saved from himself by the alpha). You can delay the first sex scene for a chapter or two after they meet but any longer than that and you’ll start getting TL:DR reviews on Amazon (which of COURSE you must check daily, if not more frequently for reviews, also Goodreads.) Once the sex begins of course there is much to remember:
a. It must always be the Best Sex That Either Of Them Has Ever Had. No argument here. If your alpha (specially if he’s been a randy boy before meeting that sweet thing of his dreams) has been tom-catting it about before the book starts then he’s never, ever going to stray once he starts having butt-sex with your omega because it’s got to be That Good.
b. One sex scene a chapter – at least. You don’t have to make them relevant, just hot as hell. If you can include food in some way, that’s a huge bonus. I’m not talking steak and chips here, obviously, but whipped cream, melted chocolate, maple syrup-ymmv. If they go to sleep after sex, then write about the sex in the morning—of course it has to be just as good – and whatever you do don’t go mentioning any REAL morning fragrances. Your readers get enough of THAT in real life.
c. As with no fragrances, there must be no hair. Hair belongs on HEADS. And PERHAPS a small sprinkling under the armpits (which of course differentiates them from women—except European women, because... yanno...) and the armpit must is sexy, musky, manly, full of character like a fine wine. It doesn’t reek of sweat. Ever. No man in m/m has a hairy chest—they are allowed one or two hairs which will be a subject of much teasing and dialogue (see above) especially when in bed—but no more than that. A “treasure trail is also allowed, (in fact mandatory because otherwise one would think the characters were underage) and some (and i mean some e.g. light) stubble is allowed by only for morning sex.
i. No hair shall be mentioned in any of the following places:
1. The back
2. The legs
3. The balls
4. The ears
5. The nose
6. The arms
7. The toes (what are they, Hobbits?)
8. The arse crack – i mean yeuch!
d. End the book with a sex scene. That’s vital.
7. Don’t hurt your darlings too much. There’s only too much conflict your reader is going to stand, and that’s not much, to be honest. Conflict such as a nice war—as long as it’s going on around them and they aren’t in actual danger, ditto for a natural disaster such as a volcano or an avalanche. Being swept away by said avalanche and breaking both legs: not sexy. Getting stranded with the sexiest man alive until you are dug out (and you both have lots of food, specially the aforementioned chocolate and squirty cream) is sexy.
8. Another note on dub-con, no matter how your omega complains and says he doesn’t want it, eventually it WILL lead to love. This is natural progression and cannot be changed.
Well, that’s about it. Stick to those rules and you’ll find that yes! You, as a women CAN write m/m and your readers will thank you for it.
**Note always use the term dub-con, readers don’t like rape but they’ll suck up dub-con with a straw and beg for more.