When I was little, the olive green blender didn’t come out very often. It had a rubber top with a clear plastic handle I particularly liked. It had buttons with awesome words like “puree” and “liquefy”. It was used to make milkshakes on special occasions. I squeezed the Hershey’s until my fingers cramped. The whir of the blades splashed up a mess in the jug, whining higher and higher as I systematically moved my way up the row. It was special.
As an author, I’ve just spent the past year playing with a mental blender. I decided to write a choose your own adventure-style romance. This kind of book calls upon the reader to direct the heroine at a decision point, creating a unique ending. In the case of my paranormal title, Charlotte, Prowling for Enchantment, there are 11 endings. Some of the choices lead to sex and/or romance, and some really really don’t.
What this meant as a master chef, was that I got to PLAY. Yes, that deserves caps. When I sit down to plot an interactive story (I’ve written 3, including a contemp western and a scifi with paranormal elements) I develop a bell curve of endings. One fairy tale ending, a few happy, a few mediocre, and a few dire. I had a lot of people question the dire endings in something I’m selling to the romance world. But the purist in me insisted there must be risk. Plus, killing the heroine is fun.
Actually all of it is fun. It's so much fun I want other people to do this too! C'mon! Here's how.
You’re going to create 11 linked mini-stories. You have a heroine who’s going to discover her magic, and you need some choice heroes. Who are you going to pick? Duh! Her initial choice is between a werewolf and a vampire. Not that she knows that. Not that you as a potential reader know which guy is which.
Next, brainstorm a bunch of tropes para readers would expect, or understand. Shifter dominance? Vampire rules about blood? Keep going. Toss them all in there. Then take a few and turn them on their head to hopefully have a few surprises.
You can build a world with any magical creature you want. Have fun with folklore, and drop some crazy shit in as a backdrop to a fantastical ball.
But wait. In the equivalent of “More Hershey’s! Keep squeezing!” you know what you expect of sex in this world. You expect the guys to be in charge. You expect erotic biting. You expect marathon sessions. So throw some of that in, but give some twists too. It becomes almost an ode to the genre, with true fans noticing little winks of insider fun.
And that’s what it is like. Hit “blend” and hope your ingredients are quality enough that the mixture tastes fantastical. Who wants a serving?
Mima hopes many other authors will join her in writing interactive romance. Check out her blog http://mimawithin.blogspot.com for information on what the Take Control journey was like. Visit her website http://www.mimawithin.com for reviews and
tastings excerpts. Mima has written over 15 erotic romances, including the Bonded fantasies. She lives near the Erie Canal in a tiny rural village in western NY.