A Very Tired Fangirl :) (jij) wrote in superhero_muses,
A Very Tired Fangirl :)

Workshop: On Writing Threesomes, by Merfilly and Ilyena_Sylph

On The Topic Of Threesomes…

By ilyena_sylph and merfilly

Thanks again to jen_in_japan for providing this community and the moderation.


merfilly: Writing threesomes in fanfic are…well, it's just like writing any other smut, except…not!

ilyena_sylph: So very not, sometimes.

merfilly: You throw three bodies into a bed (or on a couch, in a shower, or in the gym…) and things get a little hairy. Not just because some men need all over waxes either.

Smut depends on atmosphere and believability in a lot of cases. Most readers are intimately familiar with twosome sex, so believability and atmosphere should not be too hard to set there.

But that third body? Throws both things off if you aren't careful. It's a little left of conventional, and that makes the reader think more on "Is that possible?" as well as more mundane issues of who is where in relation to whom.


ilyena_sylph:...I can't really think of a time in fanfic smut when making it work doesn't depend on atmosphere and believability, and yeah, that third body can make the atmosphere really, really... odd... for readers.

Of course, sometimes it makes it odd for the characters involved too, which can be part of the fun of the fic, or a real pain.

The Couples Approach

merfilly: One take on writing threesomes is to break it out into 'couples'. For instance, in Happy 'Verse, we might look at the bedroom as being Bruce and Dinah having sex, with Ollie on the side, or Ollie and Bruce with Dinah on the side, or Dinah and Ollie with Bruce on the side. Letting one partner take a less active role often works well…and the smut can happen in stages, with one partner resting as the watcher rather than the participant.

If you choose to go this route…don't forget where your watcher is. Keep him/her in the front of your reader's mind often enough that his/her inclusion is not going to disrupt the flow when he/she gets tired of watching or it is his/her turn. Let the watcher speak here and there, helping keep the mood, or show the view from the watcher's perspective. A simple caress or assist in shifting a partner is often a good way to keep the person there.

ilyena_sylph: Couples Approach is a fun and often interesting way to do things, especially when you've got characters with the kind of voyeurism/exhibitionism kinks that the elder trio brings to the bedroom (or wherever else...).

But what Filly said, if you've got one of them off to the side watching, you've got to make sure that their inclusion when it comes around doesn't come off as jarring [except in those cases where that's exactly the intent...]

Another option with the couples approach that my control-freak muses just kicked me about, is where you've got two people involved, but the third isn't watching so much as... directing. Which can be a very interesting thing to write.

Everyone Together Now

merfilly: The other take is the one that gets a little complicated. This is the one that makes me wish I were writing a fight scene, in fact. If Tim and Kon and Mia are all involved in the fun and games fully…that bed is crowded and I need a play list for whose hand is where.

ilyena_sylph: Amen to That! It's easier sometimes to write a fight than it is to keep track of who's doing what to who and who's in what position!

merfilly: My approach is to decide who is middle…because the middle is the one who more or less dictates what acts are being done. I haven't written three males in so long, I've likely forgotten how. Both partners affect the middle more directly, and it is a good idea to think from the middle for deciding how to handle what kind of smut you wish to show.

ilyena_sylph: *snort* I remember the last time we wrote three men together, it was for coldfiredragon's birthday, and a definite exercise in frustration. Thank you for reminding me of something to run on about.

merfilly: This does not mean the 'outers' are any less affected by each other…just not as physically immediate. Remember to keep them involved with each other as much as with the middle, through touches and kisses, words, and the like.

ilyena_sylph: I wouldn't have phrased that thing about the middle as "dictates what's being done", although I will definitely admit to that if it's a male or female in the middle does make some significant differences in what can be done.

...and then there's the issue of keeping. it. in. character.

ilyena_sylph: Which is, always and ever, the biggest problem/concern for writing any smut, and it's also the hugest source of Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV) and the place where people are most likely to disagree with some of the things I'm going to say, because they're my take on the characters, that influence how I (and Filly) write them.

For example:

Bruce: getting my Bruce (Happy 'Verse) to take a receptive role is almost impossible. He's too much a top, too much a control freak, and too... aggressive/possessive about his lovers to take that role except in the strangest circumstances (like, oh, Dinah being quasi-possessed.). It's almost startling to him to have people that he can actually be completely himself with, but Ollie and Dinah have known him since they were all young, which helps a lot.

Thankfully, both of his lovers know and understand that he has control issues, and are accepting of it. It means one or the other of them almost winds up middle... but neither of them really complains about that fact. (I checked. Bruce's taken middle all of once, and he was still topping from the bottom even then).

His issues with abandonment keep cropping up, making him cling tighter to the two of them, because he's done the pushing-away thing and seen how much that winds up hurting the rest of his family. He is capable of growing, much as the comics tend to deny that, and he did quite a bit of it over that year away (about the only thing of 52 we took from canon).

merfilly: Ollie: in our canon, has been Bruce's friend since they were younger, before Dinah was in Ollie's life. The affair they had was intense enough that Ollie missed it sharply, even with Dinah in his life, the very reason Bruce ended it. He was already comfortable with Bruce's ways from then, and desperate to have his Pretty Bird back in any way he could...even if it meant sharing. And said sharing has worked out pretty damn well so far.

Dinah: This was our biggest stumbling block to making Happy 'Verse work for the elders. Everyone who knows Dinah from years back knows about the monogamy issues. I mean, it was darn central to JLA: Year One, when she found out about her mom's affair, and Grell dished it up in spades with Ollie's wandering ways.

So how to make her work in a setting that some would see as permanent infidelity? I could say hand waving nonsense…but I do feel we presented the argument logically, after all they had lost or nearly lost in Infinite Crisis. Once we had her open to the idea, the very fact she's as sensual and sexual in her history as Dick Grayson just lets her roll with the new experiences.

ilyena_sylph: So, that's the elder trio.

Then there's the younger one.

Tim, Kon, and Mia -- and we swear to GODS we never intended it to happen at all! We didn't originally mean for Kon to ever come back, and Tim and Mia were only ever supposed to be very good friends. Mia was somewhere safe for him, because of all of her issues, and he was so hurt that she wanted to comfort him.

You would think that they would be easier to deal with just because they're younger and don't have all the baggage... but none of those kids are normal, and they have tons of baggage. *sigh*

The way Tim and Mia's friendship developed from the "Okay, at least I know her/him from Titans and s/he's close to my age and NOT off having sex!" of the early parts of Thanksgiving had people wanting us to hook them up, but that wasn't how the muses were telling us it was going to go. They were going to be best friends, and platonic, and if necessary, Mia was going to play girlfriend so that people would leave Tim alone.

...Obviously, that's not quite how it worked out. None of them is really sure how exactly that happened, either.

Tim: Tim was an utter basket case in early Happy 'Verse, shattered by losing Kon and Jack and Steph... and here was Mia, who was fairly safe for him to pay attention to.

Then Kon came back, and he had to start figuring out how to balance things between the friendship he'd built with Mia and being so completely insane about Kon. Winding up curled up in bed with both of them didn't help, either, because it made bits of him start thinking about things he shouldn't. He tried really hard to ignore it for the longest time, because of his issues with fidelity and Mia's disease and just it not being smart to think about that... but Kon eventually forced the issue, after we used some things from Birds canon to heal Mia. Supers are good for making people look at the truth, sometimes.

The interesting thing about that Tim is that he's new enough to sex not to have pre-set opinions and triggers, which makes it easy for Kon and Mia to convince him into whatever they think sounds good. I pity them all when he seriously starts experimenting (and worse, doing research), though.

Kon: My Kon and the bit of canon that say he was a virgin until Cassie completely ignores each other. I'm sorry, but you can't give me a setup like he had in Hawai'i and then in Young Justice and get me to believe that the boy hadn't gotten laid a few times. Being that public a hero, and that public a star... hello, fan club? And then there was Tana, the older, glamorous, first love of his life. My canon's a little shaky, there, but from some of the ways I've seen them drawn, yeah.

Kon's thoroughly physical, and pretty much anything with sex is fine with him. He likes it all, enjoys it all, and it's all about making sure everyone feels so damn good while they're at it. And when Mia got to be such a close friend, was already so close to Tim... he didn't see any reason not to do what all of them wanted, no matter what certain people were going to think. There's an icon running around that has Robin, Impulse, and Superboy, with captions "the smart one", "the sweet one", "and the ho", and while it's a little offensive, it's also very Kon. At least mine.

merfilly: Mia: Oh boy was this fun. Mia in my head had plenty of reason to NOT EVER WANT SEX AGAIN. Did I make that quite clear? I walked away from her fixation on being Speedy with a firm impression of a girl-woman who wanted to turn off the part of her life that had been horrible, and the disease Winick had decided she had from that time was a convenient excuse for her to keep people AWAY.

Then comes Tim, and in true DC manner, the Robin and the Speedy forged a friendship that defied anyone to shake it. A friendship that evidently made Mia reevaluate the hands off approach even before a bit of Birds of Prey canon gave us our "Happy" solution for what ailed her.

Writing them all together, with one boy so willing to try anything, a girl who had been there, done that through professional sex, and a boy who can be very thorough…it makes for a dynamic in the bedroom easily as complicated as the seniors with their subscriptions of issues.

ilyena_sylph: So yeah. Two very loving, very solid, stable trios. Pretty much anything can work with them, as long as we keep something of a finger on what makes our particular them them.

Then there's the other threesome I can think of that we wrote.

Slade, Dick, and Roy, from a possible future for our A Darker Path universe. So I should really say Slade, Renegade, and Roy. And yes, you should feel sorry for the archer. We did.

In that one, love did have a lot to do with it... but it was far, far more about possession and control and a very, very interesting head game.

The dynamics of that universe are... odd, to say the least. There's the relationship between Slade and Dick (Renegade), which is in a nutshell, Owner and owned. Then there's the relationship between Dick and Roy, which is equally Owner and owned, except it's Dick in the dominant role.

The fic in question is dark, edged, dangerous, and has some truly interesting consent issues attached to it. Actually, you know, I think that fic would be better served by being used as an example in something about BDSM. Which no, I am not volunteering for.

Suffice it to say, then, that it was very definitely the Couples Approach for Dick and Roy, with Slade completely and totally running the show whenever he chose to (and keeping Roy in a state of scared unease practically the entire fic. I like to flatter myself that it stayed in character for him, but it was... probably the most difficult smut I had ever written or helped to write.) .

Anyway. I had a point somewhere in there... oh, yes. I think it was something like a point I made in one of the earlier discussions on superhero_muses, even.

"Writing sex is as much about getting into your person's head as possible, and staying there as much as possible. I mean, no matter what you're doing when you're writing sex, you're calling upon personal experience at least a little, right?"

For me, at least, that goes triple when you're dealing with three bodies, three personalities, three sets of wants and needs and desires...

The Big Picture

merfilly: So, we showed you a run down on how three of our threesomes worked in character for us. We can't stress enough that just like any other piece of fanfic, the reader will follow anything just about, if the characters are recognizably the ones they are in love with.

Keep the atmosphere, keep the setting, and most of all keep the voice.

Then relax and have some fun!

Tags: ilyena_sylph, merfilly, threesomes, workshop

  • Talk Dirty to Me

    I’m going to start off by warning all of you that I am very crude in my language and this isn’t PC in any way at all. I’m not a PC sorta guy~ I write…

  • The World's Finest (Introduction To Superman/Batman)

    THE WORLD’S FINEST (INTRODUCTION TO SUPERMAN/BATMAN) By BradyGirl_12 Superman/Batman (Clark/Bruce) is arguably the most popular m/m slash…

  • Workshop: Paul Cornell's Luthor...And Yours

    Lex Luthor's character has taken radically different forms across history and across media: the nearly-tragic take you can find in Smallville, the…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic
    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.

  • Talk Dirty to Me

    I’m going to start off by warning all of you that I am very crude in my language and this isn’t PC in any way at all. I’m not a PC sorta guy~ I write…

  • The World's Finest (Introduction To Superman/Batman)

    THE WORLD’S FINEST (INTRODUCTION TO SUPERMAN/BATMAN) By BradyGirl_12 Superman/Batman (Clark/Bruce) is arguably the most popular m/m slash…

  • Workshop: Paul Cornell's Luthor...And Yours

    Lex Luthor's character has taken radically different forms across history and across media: the nearly-tragic take you can find in Smallville, the…