Yesterday, my latest story, The Bear Claw, was published, and this is the post where I tell you how I failed to write it. It’s there, all 46,763 words of it, but after all the edits were finished and I sat back thinking my work was done, I stumbled across an article – never good.
The article said that for a good story, you need 8 characters, 5 at the bare minimum. To begin with, I disagree. I was gonna claim that a story only needs one person, and part of me believes that – I wrote a flash once with one person being the only survivor on the planet, but I guess you could argue there had been people there forming her and still being present in her mind, so perhaps not only one person. But the article got me thinking…
It claimed the story needed a protagonist, an antagonist, a mentor, a sidekick, and a sceptic – that’s the barebone story. I frowned, read on, pursed my lips, read on, took a sip of coffee, and read on.
I’ve failed to write a proper story.
I have a protagonist – two actually since it’s a romance story. The protagonist is the hero of the story, the one whose point of view we get. They drive the plot forward.
In The Bear Claw, we have Shiro and Pitch. Shiro, I would say, is the more relatable of the two. Every supernatural being is either submissive or dominant, and Shiro is a submissive who wants the same freedom and rights as a dominant have. I think everyone can relate to that.
Then we have Pitch. He’s a strong, dominant, werewolf who thinks he knows what Shiro needs – a privileged bastard. Worry not, he develops in the story.
Then the article talked about how there has to be a sidekick, a loyal companion who shares the path the hero is on. This is Lyra. She’s been with Pitch for twenty years. They travel from city to city, and she follows him on his journey but sees it from another perspective.
Then there has to be a sceptic, and that’s Astra. The sceptic can also be the hero’s friend, and Astra is Shiro’s best friend. The difference between the sidekick and the sceptic is that the sceptic doesn’t support the journey the hero is on. Astra does not like where Shiro and Pitch are heading, and she does her best to prevent them from reaching their goal while still wanting what’s best for Shiro – only what she thinks is best isn’t what Shiro and Pitch think is best.
Then we’ve reached the point where it all falls apart. The antagonist’s job is to prevent the hero from accomplishing his goal, and it’s easy to spot him in this story. Bernard is a dominant who wants to mate with Shiro. He is not 100% evil – a good antagonist never is – but he is the bad guy. He plays a role in Shiro’s life and later on in Pitch’s too, and through his actions, he puts the situation on its edge.
Okay, brace yourselves! This is where it all goes to shit. I have no mentor.
A mentor is a character who guides the protagonist. They’re often an experienced, helpful person, and their job is to help the main character get on the right track.
For a while, I tried to push Lyra into the role. She does try to get Pitch to make the right decisions, but she’s not more knowing than Pitch is – only more well-behaved LOL.
So, you see, I failed to write a simple story.
Pitch watched as Shiro and a short female sub walked out from behind the counter. The female carried coffee and Shiro a plate. Bernard’s eyes lit up when Shiro placed a brownie in front of him.
“What’s this?” It looked like he was about to touch Shiro before he caught himself. Maybe they were close. The only one who touched Pitch other than the subs he fucked was Lyra, and then often to shove him or slap him when he wasn’t listening to her.
“A little pick-me-up.” Shiro stepped away too fast. Pitch’s senses went on alert. There was something in the way he moved that wasn’t quite… right. He narrowed his eyes and reached for the cup of coffee the female had put in front of him.
“You didn’t have to.” Bernard turned to look at Shiro as he edged away.
He nodded. “I did.”
Pitch had the urge to slam his hand on the table and demand Bernard stop looking at Shiro the way he did. It was something… not right.
“Why so grumpy.” Lyra kicked his shoe. She often did—it was annoying. “This might be the best coffee I’ve had in months, maybe the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had.”
Pitch took another sip. It was excellent coffee. He hadn’t tasted it before, had been too busy watching Bernard and Shiro.
“It’s good.” Bernard smiled at Lyra. “Both Shiro and Astra do magic in the kitchen.” Why he chuckled at his own words, Pitch didn’t know, but he eyed the brownie. Maybe he should order something to go with his coffee.
His musings were interrupted by a group of dominants pouring in through the door.
Bernard stiffened, which had Pitch do the same. It was unusual for dominants to socialize without any subs, but Pitch could tell at least a couple of them were mated. He and Lyra hung out without subs or being mated, so if it hadn’t been for Bernard’s reaction, he wouldn’t have focused on them.
Bernard shook his head. “It’s not unusual. Shiro and Astra have gotten good reviews lately, and many new find their way here.” He took a bite of the brownie while watching the group steer toward a table. He rolled his shoulders and some of the tiredness left him. “Though it’s not as packed as it used to be back when…”
“Shiro and Astra?”
Bernard nodded toward the counter where Shiro and the female stood. They were both tense and spoke in voices too low for Pitch to be able to hear.
“They’re mated?” They couldn’t be, Pitch would’ve known. Lyra gave him raised eyebrows.
“What? No. But they work together. Shiro owns the bakery and Astra works for him. They live together.”
A low growl escaped Pitch before he sensed it was coming, and Lyra kicked his shoe again.
Bernard took another bite of the brownie and got to his feet. “I’ll be right back.”
Pitch watched him walk up to the counter.
“What’s wrong with you?” Lyra studied his face.
“The man, Shiro, there is something strange with him.”
A smile crept onto her lips. “I see.”
Pitch rubbed his neck where his skin felt too tight. He was about to speak when the push of power reached him. He snarled and flew to his feet. Bernard snarled too and was by the table of dominants in a heartbeat. Pitch followed. Why he cared if someone tried to control someone he didn’t know.
“This is human soil, and if you can’t act according to the law, I’ll have to ask you to leave.” Bernard’s voice was growly enough for it to be hard to make out the words, but the message was clear.
One of the dominants huffed, and Pitch snarled. It was a man a few years older than him, some sort of cat shifter—not lion. They locked eyes and Pitch allowed his wolf to peek out through his eyes.
Bernard frowned at him but didn’t say anything. After several seconds of silence, Pitch walked back to the table where Lyra hid a grin behind her coffee cup.
“What?” Pitch sat and reached for his coffee.
But it was something. Pitch was off, unbalanced. He reached over and stole the corner of Bernard’s brownie. The moment the taste of chocolate spread in his mouth; joy spread in his chest. It was… wrong, and yet so right. He glanced toward the counter, but Shiro was nowhere to be seen, then he looked at Lyra.
“What?” She laughed.
“Bernard called him a fortune cookie. I thought it was a slur, but he meant the baked goods he’s serving.” He gestured at the brownie.
Her laugh grew louder and tears gathered in her eyes.
“What?” Pitch rubbed his neck and grabbed for his cup, swallowing the last of the delicious coffee.
Lyra wiped away the tears before they spilled over. “Oh, this has been the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had.”
“Yeah, you said.” It was most likely the best cup of coffee he’d had too, but he’d been too busy watching Shiro and Bernard to pay attention, and now he’d finished it.
In a world where all supernatural beings are either dominant or submissive, Shiro Amano doesn’t have many choices. As a submissive, any dominant walking into his bakery can order him around. He hates it. All he wants is to live his life in peace and bake pastries he can spike with emotions far away from obnoxious alphas.
Pitch Rhys wants a mate, but he won’t settle for anything but a true mate. As a powerful wolf shifter, he has subs flocking around him, but his true mate is hiding in the kitchen of a bakery and refuses to see him. He can order him to, of course, but since he threatened Pitch with a knife when he allowed his power to leak, he doesn’t think it’s the way to go. Instead, he’s settling to see how many pastries and cups of coffee he can consume in a day.
Two years ago, Shiro escaped an abusive relationship, and he’s not looking for a new one, but when word gets out Shiro is an unmated sub, dominants are invading the bakery. Pitch does his best to scare them off so he can woo Shiro at his own pace, but things escalate too fast. Will Pitch be able to get Shiro to trust him before it’s too late? Can he convince him he wants nothing more than to make him happy and keep him safe?
Gay Paranormal Romance: 46,763 words
According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.
Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.
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