by Heather Avalon
As a writer writing fiction, one of my primary tasks is to stay solidly in the point of view of a specific character. As a writer writing about a polyamorous relationship between four people, I have the daunting task of writing from each person’s point of view.
As I work on the sequel to “Her Secret Incantations,” I find it is easiest to stay in one character’s head for a chapter, or at least a long section, before switching to the next character.
This can be a lot of fun, because it allows each character to have a voice, and is helpful in exploring the complex relationship between the four.
The difficult part is writing about the actual ménage experience. When all four people are experiencing the same thing at the same time, it is hard to know whose voice to use.
I’m thinking that the thing that makes writing about a ménage difficult is the very thing that can make an actual ménage difficult.
A relationship between two people is hard enough. Each has his or her own perspective, his or her own needs and their own fears. Bring more people into the relationship and you add to the confusion. How can you may sure everyone’s voice is heard?
Some polyamorous people seem to stay in pairings – they openly date more than one person, but generally spend time with each person in turn. Some prefer the group experience, and want to enjoy more than one person at the same time.
It’s hard to say what defines polyamory, or what the typical polyamorous relationship might look like. I know triples and quads that live together, but I have no idea what the inner workings of their households really are.
I have friends who live as a triple – one female, two males. When meeting other people who identify as poly, the female will ask them this; “Do you all sleep in the same bed?” If the answer is no, she will say, “Then you are swingers, not polyamorous.” For her, being poly means that each person has equal standing with each other person in the relationship.
I have to say I don’t agree with that. In the book I am now working on, the characters, who became involved with each other at a Pagan festival in the first book, are now living together. There are two distinct couples, and each couple has their own bedroom. From time to time, they also enjoy being together as a group, or as different couple match-ups. Because they live together and love each other, I define them as polyamorous, rather than swingers.
My favorite part of writing this sequel so far is seeing how they handle the intricate workings of their relationship together.
I’ll be the first to say that my four characters are an ideal. I’m writing fiction, not reality. But from what I’ve seen and experienced in my life, I know that for some people, polyamory isn’t ever too much of a good thing – in fact, it’s just enough.
What is true in writing the fiction is also true in real life. It’s difficult, but it’s doable. The trick is in giving each person a voice in the relationship.