New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
While the story I'm writing isn't a complete romance, romance does play a heavy part in it. However, I'm trying something new. I want my three main characters to enter a relationship with one another. Problem is, I just don't know where to begin. Chief amongst a whole slew of questions I have about this, I don't know how they would all agree to enter a polyamorous relationship. If you've ever written one, been in one, or just have an opinion on it, I'd really love to hear what you have to say on how to write these kinds of relationships.
Thank you so much!
If I were you, I'd read a few stories of that type to get a feel for it. Then, after you write it, hopefully you'll be lucky enough to find a beta-reader or two who is familiar with it to help you with any glaring errors. Of course it could go different ways but just saying, readers seem to get especially annoyed when it's a sub-genre they like and what the author writes about it doesn't ring true.
I'm poly. If you have any specific questions, I'm willing to answer.
Originally Posted by Dannykat
I can't recommend anything specific. Just google polyamory and do a lot of reading.
I've written poly before, too. My first concern was whether or my characters would actually want that or agree to it... just like you. it's a good thing to consider.
Maybe you should just talk it out. What kind of relationship are you considering for your characters? Are all three characters in love with each other? Or are two of them "sharing" one partner? There are many shades of grey here.
Last edited by Viridian; 10-30-2015 at 08:28 AM.
practical experience, FTW
There are a lot of different styles of Polyamory so you have a lot of options to work with. If you'd like some good essays about one person's personal way to be polyamorous I'd suggest reading Ferrett Steinmetz's livejournal http://theferrett.livejournal.com/ You'll need to sift through it, he's a fairly prolific blogger and he writes on a wide variety of subjects and has for a long time so it's a lot to sift through. (If you subscribe to fetlife and look him up there I think some of the poly stuff is cross posted but I am not on that site so I can't be certain.)
The key points of polyamory though (at least healthy polyamory) is communication, communication, communication.
New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
Thank you so much for agreeing to answer questions, Viridian! Right now, I'm planning on having it be two friends sharing one partner. I guess my biggest problem is that I just don't know how these types of relationships begin. If you don't mind me asking, how did yours start? Also, if it's possible, where would I be able to find your stories? I've tried finding stories about this subject, but I haven't found any yet.
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Thank you so much for the link, Dmbeucler! This definitely will help me out.
(spoiler) Jim Hines' Libriomancer comes to mind as a book that shows the beginning of a polyamorous relationship between three people who've never been in one before. I thought it was quite well-handled!
New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
Thank you so much, slhuang! I'll be sure to give this a read.
I'm afraid you won't find my poly book out on the market yet. It's on submission right now. Thanks, though.
Originally Posted by Dannykat
I'm not sure how much my personal story will help, but sure, if you'd like.
My partner and I started off as monogamous. We're pervs, and we never really saw anything wrong with sleeping with other people. It was a new concept, though, so we agreed to be careful with it. We agreed we would ask each other permission beforehand and talk about it, and we would stop if it became weird. So at first, we weren't polyamorous (allowed to have relationships with other people) we were in an open relationship (allowed to have sex with other people).
Neither of us were really into casual sex, though, so there wasn't much point in being in an open relationship. After a while, we talked about it again. We both agreed that it was okay to be in relationships with multiple people at once. Eventually, he met his girlfriend. They hit it off immediately, and he asked if it was okay to date her. I said sure, and now they're dating.
Not very dramatic, I know. The gist of it is, we were both fine with polyamory. Neither of us ever actively looked for new partners. He just sort of found one, and we decided to go ahead with it.
To be honest, I don't know her very well. I've only spoken to her a handful of times. She seems nice. Kind of dorky and sweet. Our sexual orientations are compatible, so technically she and I could date, but we have zero interest in each other. What we have (and what your characters have) is called a V relationship. If all three people are dating each other, it's called a triad.
So there are some things you need to figure out.
(1) What do your characters want from each other? Is this just sex, or are they in love?
(2) Is this a long-term arrangement?
(3) The two characters who are friends. Do they want other partners, or are they fine sharing one person?
(4) Did they start off wanting to be poly, or is this a special circumstance?
There's a lot of possibilities, here.
Last edited by Viridian; 10-30-2015 at 07:44 PM.
Viridian is wise...
I'm also polyamorous, though my situation's a bit different. *I* am polyamorous and have other relationship partners. My husband, however, is monoamorous and prefers to be involved only with me. (For that matter, each of the two boyfriends I've had since this started have also been monoamorous, which in one case is why he isn't my boyfriend anymore...) As Dmbeucler said, polyamory takes many forms... But the key components are communication, honesty, and trust.
I had a poly romance published in 2011, a woman who was involved with two men. It's out of print now, but I'd be happy to send you a PDF of it if you want to PM me your email. Like Viridian, I'm also happy to answer any questions you might have.
I write triad, although it started through poly. There's sound advice up top, so I'm just going to add how mine came about.
It's complex, and covers four novels. The general gist is one MC is vanilla, one a switch, one a Dom who works for MI5. The dynamics between those three (and a psych thriller plot) help drive and pull back the romantic element, but it's done over four novels to avoid that dreaded insta love, 'no way in hell could that happen so quickly' feel. My vanilla isn't introduced until chapter 6 in the 1st novel, my Dom until halfway. So time is spent seeing the switch and gaining an understanding of just how dark his kink levels get, how serious he takes 'play', and then how the vanilla then becomes caught up in them, and how the Dom ultimately handles the added complication and fallout.
I agree with Fruitbat that it has to have a natural feel. Two of my triad didn't even remotely fit together until the end of the second novel (hence the poly element first), and that was only through what the plot had put them through. But even with that, it was only the vanilla who's shown to care for the Dom; the Dom was left not feeling really sure of the dynamics. The fourth novel brings that new triad shift into focus as the psych plot through all four novels is brought to a head.
I guess I'm saying it was done gradually, with a lot of taking into account how a triad is formed, how it could work, but where it also falls apart.
Last edited by Fallen; 10-31-2015 at 05:30 AM.
That's more or less what happened in my poly book.
The first book had a classic love triangle in it. I never really intended to write poly in the first place... one guy was supposed to get killed off. But gradually the two characters who were competing with each other started to develop feelings for each other instead.
It took a while. In book one (the book in my signature), they're at each other's throats. They literally try to kill each other.
In book two (the book on submission), they spend the whole book learning to trust each other and work together. And only then... reluctantly... at the end... against all common sense... they start to become friends and fall for each other.
My gosh. Me too.
Originally Posted by Fallen
Triads are goddamned complicated. Normally a romance novel is about one relationship (A x B). Triad romance novels are about three relationships (A x B, A x C, B x C) plus larger relationship as a whole (A x B x C).
Last edited by Viridian; 10-31-2015 at 06:47 AM.
Oh God yes!!
Originally Posted by Viridian
I am poly, and I'm always happy to talk about it. My primary partner is a woman who lives with me, but we each have a separate boyfriend. It's an arrangement that takes A LOT of communication, but it works for us!
I have a three-way relationship in one of my books, but the genre is horror, not romance. Both men had dated (and fought over) the same woman in the past. They ended up getting over it and the three of them became good friends. At some point they just acknowledged that they all were attracted to each other and should just be together.
Every poly relationship is different.
One non-fiction source of info is The Ethical Slut - while I don't agree with all of her reasons and methods, it's a very good starting point for understanding how polyamory (vs. swinging) can work, and the mechanics of it.
The questions that come up for me are:
Is this something your character(s) would do? And for what reasons?
What problems might those reasons cause? And how can they be addressed? And how much of it do you need to see in the story?
There are many varieties of poly... some are more "open" relationships where everyone dates others (usually within a limited pool, but not always). Some are faithful triads where the three partners don't have any other partners - and those may be a V-type arrangement (where partner A engages with partners B and C, but partners B and C do not engage with each other), or an arrangement where all three engage with each other. Some are... you get the idea.
And I agree - slowly.