By Adriana Kraft (Guest Blogger)
Last summer when Lisabet Sarai invited me and my husband to blog about our shared writing process, we’d just signed a contract for a new project, so I began keeping a sporadic journal of our progress. That project, “Three: A Love Story,” has just been released as part of the Special Edition Boxed Set All You Need is Love, so here is the “story” of our story.
June 6: Nicole Morgan, whose promotional ventures we’ve occasionally joined in the past, posted an opportunity to be part of a boxed set focused on GLBT stories scheduled for release in February, 2018. Stories needed to be erotic romance featuring GLBT characters with a minimum of 20,000 words. We both felt it was aimed at the readers we want to reach, and we really liked the title: All You Need is Love, so we signed on.
We immediately knew we wanted a story with a bisexual heroine and a happy ending. That’s sort of our specialty—sometimes there’s not a lot of respect for the “B” in GLBT.
June 7-10: we exchanged some more emails with Nicole, talked over plot ideas, and began to flesh out a few details. This is typical of our writing process. We spend a lot of time up front thinking through together what we want our story to focus on, who the characters could be, what they struggle with, and what would be a satisfying resolution of those struggles.
We’ve published two erotic romance series with bisexual heroines, but for this venture we decided we wanted new characters, with new histories and some different issues. We developed a working title, Three: A Love Story, which continues to grow on us and may end up being the final story title.
June 11: We sent Nicole our signed contract.
June 12-14: After several brief sessions, sometimes planned, sometimes just over a meal or when we’re sitting out on the patio after dark, Mr. Kraft set down some notes. He is the person in our duo who puts the first words on the blank screen. He has a movie camera vision and a steel trap mind for details, so our conversations take flesh and morph together into something new as he starts to put our ideas down on the computer.
He read those notes out loud as we played with them and added to them. We don’t want to give away too many plot details at this juncture (and they may change as we get the story on the page), but the story will focus on how a somewhat committed open twosome (two bisexual women) expands to become a three-way with a man. Each of our three characters is both drawn to and frightened of making this change, and we will explore what’s at stake from each perspective.
This process is where it’s especially helpful that both a man and a woman are crafting the story. Here’s a sampler of some of the issues we wanted to focus on: Do all men fantasize about being with two women? Do they just envision steamy sex with them, or does the fantasy include love? Is the fantasy just about how the two women want him and dote on him? What if the two women love each other? Do men really want the fantasy to become reality? Is there anything about making it real that scares the daylights out of them? (We think there might be).
And what about the women? There are two of them, both bisexual, and in love with each other. What have been their hopes about how that relationship moves forward? What does it mean that they’ve both continued to date men occasionally? What has each of them fantasized, and how might those fantasies change as they cope with new realities?
August 25, 2017
From June until now, we’ve had other deadlines to meet, but have connected about this project from time to time. We still don’t have any actual “story” on the page, though there are snippets of dialogue and inner thoughts in some of our notes. We’ve been focusing on who these three people are, what their relationship history is, what they want, and what they fear. We always end up with pages of backstory notes, much of which never makes it into the story explicitly, but almost all of which ends up informing who our characters are and shaping how they’re going to react.
Occupations: We struggled some with what careers to give our three characters. They’re all college educated, and we decided to focus on the helping professions: an RN studying to be a physician’s assistant (Jamie), a college professor (Susan), and a physical therapist (Mason).
Setting: We didn’t stop to think where to set the story until fairly late in the planning process. Most of our recent stories have been either in the Midwest (where we lived for many years) or in New York City, where our son used to live and we visited often. But we haven’t written the southwest since we moved here five years ago, so we settled on one of our favorite haunts: Tucson. These are active, outdoor characters (like us), and Tuscon gives us hiking, biking, amazing vistas, spectacular deserts and stunning sunsets. Not to mention mild winters.
Over the next ten weeks, the story began to materialize on the page in short segments. I’ve used passive voice on purpose. In our writing process, after we have the basics of plot and character worked out in enough detail to feel grounded, Mr. Kraft begins to write. A typical writing stint for him is anywhere between 500 and 2000 words, depending on the day, the type of scene, his energy level, and whatever else is happening in our lives.
At some point after he’s completed each scene (or a segment), he reads it out loud to me. This both forms the first editing round and lays the groundwork for figuring out next steps. We discuss whether the scene works, how to fix any problems, where it might lead, whose point of view is needed for the next scene, how to fit in any crucial information, whether the story is still going where we thought it would, what adjustments we need to make. We don’t move on until these basics are settled.
It may be two or three days (or more) before he turns to another writing stint, or it might be the next day. In the meantime, we’re both working on the story – ideas, discussions over meals, even dreams. The breaks between writing stints aren’t really downtime – they’re what some authors call “noodling,” letting the story gel and find its own direction.
November 3, 2017
By early November, we were at about 21,000 words, and it was time to decide about a black moment. Although black moments are expected in the romance genre, we only write one if it’s organic to our characters and their story. In this case, we had one planned – and we were wrong. We thought Jamie, whose original fantasy this was, would bolt when she finally realized her three-way dream was possible and discovered how much that terrified her. Not to be.
We don’t want to give too much away, but we can talk a bit about the craft behind the moment. Three-way balance is a delicate thing, and at any given moment, any of these three characters could (and did) feel threatened by the intensity of feelings shared by the other two. Somehow we knew the moment would be bigger than merely that. What evolved has to do with each character’s bottom line – what does each of them want, how bad do they want it, and what must they give up in order to have it?
I might add that we try never to write a black moment that could be resolved if only the characters could talk about it. In this case, each person had a wrenching decision to make, and they could not move forward until all three were on board. That’s not a smooth process, in real life or in fiction. As often happens, one character reached this point ahead of the other two, leaving them to react and work it through.
November 27, 2017
Mr. Kraft finished the last scene, read it to me, and sent the entire draft to my inbox, giving me about a month to polish it and meet the submission deadline. Lest it sound like Mr. Kraft does all our “writing,” it is this phase where I make my largest contribution. Naturally I’m catching typos, grammar, house style and formatting issues, but also I’m helping transform the “don’t look down” draft into smooth, polished prose, removing redundancies, filling in details, shaping and condensing until we’re both satisfied. We met our deadline, and the boxed set is now available at the following outlets:
Blurb - All You Need is Love
A Limited Edition Romance Collection
With stories by Tamsin Baker, Jess Buffett, Kristine Cayne, Adriana Kraft, Cate Farren, Valerie Ullmer, Kai Tyler, Lexi Thorne, Izzy Szyn, Aeryn Jaden, Dana Kenzi, Celia Fay, and Dani Gray.
Romance Collections is proud to present these thirteen stories of love that knows no boundaries. Like rivers flowing through the canvas of earth, these stories will run deep, touch softly and leave you breathless.
No matter who it is with, passion is magnificent, desires are bold, and love is beautiful.
Blurb - Three: A Love Story by Adriana Kraft
As erotic romance authors, my husband and I love writing ménage and polyamory stories because they offer so many options for sizzling sex scenes. We craft sexual encounters on the page that appeal to both of us in hopes they’ll appeal to the fantasies of other men and women, as well.
But what happens when these hot erotic fantasies run headlong into real-life obstacles? What does polyamory look like when it happens to ordinary people? That’s the challenge we set ourselves in “Three: A Love Story,” our contribution to the Boxed Set All You Need is Love.
Three lives—but how many loves? Two bisexual women deeply in love with each other also enjoy dating men and even arranging an occasional three-way. What if one of these women starts to fall in love with a man?
Jamie tilted her head to the side as Susan curled back in next to her. “So what do you think of Mason?”
“Ah, Mason. He’s the source of your stewing. Is he starting to wear on you? How long has it been—three months? Four months?”
“He’s not wearing on me. And it’s nearly five months.” Jamie paused to wet her lips. “You didn’t answer my question. What do you think of him? What do you really think of him?”
Susan flinched. “Well, I haven’t thought a lot about him, though I must say he has stayed around longer than any guy in recent memory.” Susan sighed. “Okay, to be honest. I think he seems like a very nice guy. When he’s over here, it’s because he’s come to see you, so I don’t really spend a lot of time with him. I’ve cooked a few dinners for you guys, but most of time he comes, you go out, you come back, and you fuck like two wildcats. I’m surprised the neighbors haven’t complained. And he’s usually gone before I’m up in the morning. And lately you’ve been spending much more time at his house than at our apartment…for your love nest activities, that is. I must say that’s easier on me. I get more sleep, and I don’t have to imagine what you and he are doing to each other.”
“What else do you want me to say? I’m an English professor, not a social worker. He doesn’t seem abusive. He’s easy to look at. He doesn’t…” Susan paused. “Uh oh. If he’s not wearing on you and yet you’re stewing about him...” She arched an eyebrow. “Jams, maybe you’d better tell me what’s really on your mind.”
Jamie didn’t miss the sudden flash of anxiety that crossed Susan’s face.
About Adriana Kraft
Winner of the 2014 Bisexual Book Award for erotic fiction, author Adriana Kraft is a married couple writing Sizzling Romantic Suspense and Erotic Romance for Two, Three, or More. Whether readers open our romantic suspense or our erotic romance, they can expect characters they care about, hot sex scenes, and a compelling story. Our suspense stories deliver one man, one woman, danger and intrigue. Our erotic romance is edgier and nearly always includes ménage or polyamory, sometimes with two women and a man, sometimes with two (or more) couples.
Together we have published more than forty romance novels and novellas to outstanding reviews. We love hearing from readers at firstname.lastname@example.org, and here is our website: When It’s Time to Heat Things Up http://adrianakraft.com
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