Okay, so we could talk about how I posted a year ago all like, “hey, my personal shitstorm is over, on with the book stuff!” But let’s not. Let’s just acknowledge that sometimes I’m super wrong about things and move on.
Anyway. I have a super secret project I’ve been working on. It has a working title, but let’s not mention it anyway just in case someone decides to release a book by that name a month before I’m ready to release or something. Super Secret Project is a long time in the making; I’ve known the characters for somewhere around a decade now, but I always said that one was only for me (mostly because it was before dark romance/dark erotica was a thing, and I was pretty sure nobody would like it). Well, not anymore. I did crop out and reign in the story and the characters quite a bit in consideration of the readers, but there are some elements I just can’t do away with without sacrificing the meat of the characters (and frankly, the plot of the story).
And that got me thinking. Why do I have to? (I mean, because I would like to actually sell some books, I guess, but…) Why is it that authors who write gruesome murder mysteries or fantasies wherein they slaughter ALL OF THE PEOPLE (you know who you are…) are cool, but you tack “romance” onto ugly things, and suddenly you’re a sadistic, twisted hater of all things sane.
It’s all fiction.
I’ve seen readers leave comments on a dark romance author’s Facebook page saying that they hoped someone kidnapped her from her home and raped her so that she could see how much fun it was–just because she wrote a captive romance. Suddenly writing a piece of fiction means you advocate everything between the pages.
Anyway, amid the murder and mayhem in Super Secret WIP, I’m writing the unthinkable: a love triangle. I know, I know. Originally when I was working out the plot, I decided to try to filter it out, rewrite the story in a different way and dilute the love triangle until Dude #2 (boy, would he loathe being called that) only toy-flirted in a couple of scenes but was largely harmless.
But you know what? It didn’t work. It didn’t work because it wasn’t true to the character, it wasn’t true to the story, and I just couldn’t do it. So I put it all back, listened to my characters, let them scorch and salt the earth beneath their feet. And now it works.
I’ve still been angsting, as these scenes pour out of my fingertips, how am I going to get people interested in this book? How will I market it? I’ve anticipated the apology/PSA I’ll have to write like I did with Irreparable Damage, I’ve wondered, could I somehow downplay this part enough that people won’t turn into the before-person in the Snickers commercial?
I realized the answer was no. I realized instead of trying to “I’m sorry don’t hate me I’m sorry you know what maybe don’t even read the book you’ll definitely hate it” the people who aren’t going to like my book, no matter how much I dress it up, because it just isn’t their kind of book, I’m going to embrace the love triangle. Target it to people who may like it. What a concept, right?
What about you? Are love triangles an automatic no for you? What are your hard limits on a book?