How does an author decide what happens in a book?
All books are plotted whether the creator/author plans most of it before writing (a “plotter”) or makes it up as s/he writes (a “pantser”). I tend to be a pantser, but what I’ve found is that with some books, the story quickly cements in my mind so that there appears to be only “one” way to write it, while other stories allow more options. Some choices feel “hard-plotted” as if they are clearly left-brained decisions, but others feel organic, natural.
My Rod and Cane Society domestic discipline series leans toward being clearly defined with one or two specific ways a story can go. My new Breeder science fiction romance (with domestic discipline) series is one that offers many natural choices, all of which work, but that will take the story in completely opposite directions. So I have to choose carefully.
The Breeder series reminds me of a highway roundabout circle – each exit may only be a few feet from the next, but the roads quickly veer far away from each other. I enter the circle as the driver, but I have a car full of passenger readers.
So which exit out of the circle do I take? Where do I want to go? Where do I want to take my readers?
Besides writing what I want to write, I take into account what I think my readers want, what I think will sell, and what will fly with my intended publisher.
In the five years that I’ve been writing erotic romance, I’ve developed a reputation and following for spanking romance and domestic discipline. I write for a niche audience.
However, Breeder has presented an opportunity to expand beyond that niche and attract new readers.
I’ve said before that I took some risks with the first Breeder book. I’m still taking risks. I had a number of decisions to make about Breeder 2: Terran. The series offers so many different organic options. Each one works and flows naturally out of the story, but each choice also creates the story:
Decisions, decisions, decisions
- Spanking. Did I want Terran to contain spanking? With or without it, the story works. The spanking, while not gratuitous, is not integral to the plot, either. I gave serious consideration to omitting it from Terran to attract more nonspanking fiction readers, but in the end, I chose to give my primary fan base what they wanted. The spanking in Terran is much more typical of spanking romance than what was in Breeder. I think spanking fiction readers will be pleased.
- M/M sexual contact/romance. This was another natural potential since the series is set on a male-focused, male-dominated alien planet. I had a small M/M scene in Breeder, and I heard from fans of M/M that they would like to see more of that. But I know that M/M can be a turn-off for mainstream readers (I heard from those readers too). In Terran, I chose to not include M/M scenes.
- Ménage. When I initially conceived the idea for the series, I had intended to have a ménage occur between the alpha, female and beta. Both M/M/F and M/F/M would have worked. But as Breeder and Terran developed, I realized that I wanted to focus on an intimate couple relationship. To bring in a third person would change the nature of the relationship between the hero and heroine. So no ménage.
- Anal sex. Some readers like it; others don’t. In Breeder, there is a brief M/M anal sex scene. I could have written Terran without anal, and seriously considered omitting it, but I did include some M/F anal sex because it seemed like something the characters would do.
- The story tone. Breeder is a dark, dystopian tale that ends on positive, optimistic note. To my surprise (remember, I’m a pantser), although the stakes are much higher in Terran, this story turned out to be much lighter in tone and begins on a humorous note. Again, a big risk. Humor is hardest write and backfires the most, so we’ll see if it flies. To be clear, Terran is not a funny book, but it has humorous moments.
So what did Terran end up being? An erotic M/F science fi spanking romance with a touch of humor set in an M/M world.
Unofficial Terran blurb
As vigilante killings in protest of the heterodox Enclave and its deviant male-female couplings increase across Parseon, Commander Marlix seeks protective uniforms for his inner guard. The special composite fabric is only available from the Terrans, with whom his planet has an alliance. He expects to be repulsed by the vendoress of an alien race he loathes, but instead he is amused and attracted by the female’s bold appearance and brash behavior. When she is injured in an attack, he whisks her away to his underground bunker abode to recover. His intent is to help her, so he can’t understand. Why does she fight him so?
After fleeing loneliness and heartache on Terra, Tara Diehl has adjusted to male-dominated Parseon better than most vendors until she is kidnapped by an Alpha, one of the five rulers of the planet. At first she’s terrified of her tall, muscled abductor, especially when he doesn’t hesitate to quell her struggles for freedom with some force of his own. After all her methods and ploys to escape fail, she decides to seduce her way to freedom.
But out of seduction and subterfuge grow a true intimacy that cause both Marlix and Tara to take action that drives Parseon to the brink of civil war, and threaten not only their relationship but their lives.
Terran, the second book in the Breeder sci-fi series, is a “capture” romance involving a domineering but hunky alien, a female with a bad dye job and an even worse attitude, graphic sex, a little anal and spanking.