Ask Raythe Anything #6: More Writing Questions!

Raythe says …

This is the final entry in this series. You guys asked some many cool and unexpected questions!  This one is more about my writing process.


QUESTION: What was the most enjoyable story to write and why?

ANSWER: Each one has its pleasures. I really only write now-a-days what I WANT to write so they all are fun. I love writing as Alric, my romantic Elven King with angst!  Ciaran lets me feel like a bad-ass hero! Nate makes me feel like a dark god … Every character has let me experience another life and that is just precious to me.

QUESTION: Were there ever any elements or plot points you discarded, and how did you decide that?

ANSWER: Truthfully, its the ones I’ve ADDED that can be the issue.  Ghost: Hong Kong Triad is an example of where the story I intended to write was circumvented by the story that wanted to be told.  I realized that the love triangle wasn’t the actual couple that belonged together and I wished I could have scrapped the whole thing and started over. But I couldn’t because that would have destroyed the whole set up. But I still wonder about it.

QUESTIONS: How do you choose what your next story is going to be about? Are there any story ideas that you’ve never gone forward with?

ANSWER: I oftentimes ask the Members what kind of story they would like but within certain parameters. Like I’ve said before all my stories need to have magic and immortals.  I am really into vampires, elves, shifters, witches, demons, etc. though open to others. And we narrow down from there.

There are a bunch of story ideas that I haven’t gone forward with YET.  There’s a cool rent-boy one in the Ghost universe that is teasing me as we haven’t yet seen what it’s like for someone in the one of the government’s Survivor detainment centers.

There’s one involving an Arabian Nights feel in an alternate world ruled by kings of the desert with slavery and magic.

There’s one involving an assassin that decides not to kill his mark but to protect him.

There’s one involving a hacker who is looking for his brother.

And much, much more.


QUESTION: How were you able to write multiple stories across one universe, like Winter Haven or Abyss, that intertwined or affected one another?

ANSWER: My left brain is responsible!  Basically, in the back of my head things just mix around and suddenly appear before me in bright, neon letters: Alric and Stephanus must be friends!  How would that work? How would the fact that Alric is an Elven King and Stephanus an Alpha Incubus cause problems? And that just sets my imagination afire.


QUESTION: You update either stories or manga daily, which is amazing. With such a strict schedule, how do you deal with things like writers’ block or personal issues that might make you not want to write for a while?

ANSWER: Writing is really my respite.  So when things are difficult writing actually HELPS me.  There have been times, of course, when I’m just scrapped clean and need a little rest, but honestly, I rarely give into that, because Members are looking forward to the chapters.  Maybe a Member has had a bad day and my chapter is what they are looking forward to. I don’t want to let them down.


QUESTION: How did you decide to include taboo topics like incest and rape?

ANSWER: In the beginning, I did so rather naively.  The Fell (or The Erl King that started the site) was/is my obsession. I couldn’t NOT include it, but really it was an insane thing to do and I can’t believe it all worked.  Now, I see it as something that actually can sell the site as a piece of sex positivity.


QUESTION: How much research into lore is included in your writing process?

ANSWER: It depends!  For things like the Yakuza, Triads, etc. I did quite a bit of research. But I try to stick with a lot of what I know so it feels authentic.


QUESTION: I was wondering if you had any advice for aspiring writers.

ANSWER: Now with self-publishing there is no such thing as an “aspiring” writer. You either are or you aren’t.  What does that mean? You are a writer if you actually write and FINISH your story. That first one might (probably will) suck, but that’s fine! Writing is a muscle that gets stronger the more you do.


QUESTION: How do you keep up with stories that you start to lose interest in?

ANSWER: Members.  Simply put, I’ve made a promise to the Members that the story will be finished and will be as good as I can make it.  

Thank you guys for all you incredible questions! Seriously, so fun answering them and if you have any more, please put them in the comments!  Oh, and don’t worry, we’ll do this again!

19 Responses to Ask Raythe Anything #6: More Writing Questions!

  1. arab June 4, 2018 at 7:11 pm #

    Hi Raythe,
    I’ve been a member for over a year and I’m enjoying all the current stories tremendously. I love all the current characters and all the current settings.
    Regarding the proposed stories, you mention a couple. I just wanted to register somewhat my discomfort with the “Arabian Nights” theme. Elves, Werewolves, Vampires, and Demons don’t exist as far as I know, but Arabs do and I happen to be one. Our representation in the media has been utterly obscene and dehumanizing as I’m sure you’re aware. I’m somewhat tired of my identity being associated with camels, deserts, harems, and evil kings with mustaches (let alone ISIS). I would really really prefer it if I didn’t have to deal with that stuff on this website as well. I come here to escape how shitty this world is, a sentiment I’m sure you’re familiar with.

    If you decide to go ahead with that story at some point, I hope you can keep the above point in mind and see if there’s a sensitive way to treat that theme.

    Thanks again for everything you do. I hope it’s clear this message is written out of love and how much I treasure your work.

    • admin June 4, 2018 at 7:33 pm #

      You know you’re absolutely right and that was one of the reasons I was hesitating over it. While it wouldn’t have been about our world at all it still could land in that bad rep area that while I wouldn’t intend it I could step right into it. Thanks for letting me know your thoughts.

  2. A_h_ June 4, 2018 at 10:41 pm #

    Raythe, I have a big question that was brought on by what I read in your post…how did you have the courage to post your stories that have “taboo” content, like the erl-king? Did you have to deal with lashback? Fundamentalist hate comments? How did you protect yourself emotionally, and even your professional rep outside of writing? <:( I for one was ecstatic when I found your site and it’s contents. It is just exactly what my own fantasies have always been made of. I thought I was just a freak until I found this site. But I am sure you’ve had to deal with hateful people some way or another. Does the web mod keep a handle on them?

    • admin June 4, 2018 at 11:01 pm #

      Honestly, I really didn’t consider outside backlash even though I should have. But I had this naive, childlike belief in the site and just did it!

      My family knows what I write. My friends know. And they are good with it, so I figured that’s all that mattered. And even if they weren’t … well, that’s their problem. It probably won’t surprise you (but some people it does) simply writing GAY ROMANCE forget any kink means evil porn dirty disgusting weirdo. You don’t have to write something on the edge like The Fell (even though I think its so art). It certainly meant I needed an adult merchant account and an adult hosting service, etc.

      Even people at work know I do this. They raise some eyebrows b/c you know it’s “weird” but don’t say anything to me. They’re more surprised that there’s anyone out there that would read it! But I point to Flowers in the Attic, GRRM, etc. to prove to them that there are plenty of people who like that incest kink whether they admit it or not.

      Truthfully, romance overall is so looked down upon. It’s absurd, I know. But it is. Add Gay and you’re beyond the pale. Adding incest and, honestly, people are still boggling about the other two if they are going to mind the third.

      I have had some readers tell me that they don’t appreciate nor want to support incest and I tell them, I get it that its not everyone’s cup of tea, but then I point out stuff like the same arguments they’re making to me about incest, other people would make to the about simply liking gay romance. Everybody has an “ick” reaction to something that another person thinks is the bees knees. Once you realize we all live in glass houses, harder to throw stones.

      • A_h_ June 4, 2018 at 11:47 pm #

        Thank you so much for your thorough answer. I so want to share my interest with other people, but at the same time I am terrified of being targeted by hate, or being “outed” somehow and losing my job. I’m going to a convention critique group in a month with some of my writing which has a gay male protagonist and I keep thinking…what am I doing—they’ll tear me to shreds, if not for my writing itself, then for the content. But you gave me a reason to sit down and write what I actually wanted to write, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing anything at all and the stories would just be keeping me awake at night like they’ve done my whole life.

        • A_h_ June 4, 2018 at 11:53 pm #

          Oh and also—about GoT and Flowers, and so much more—you’re so right. Also, the fantasy market is saturated with rape and sexual violence against women, which is part of why I lost my taste for reading fantasy, for awhile. It’s hypocritical in the extreme to be OK with that and not with writing from a gay POV, etc, but that’s human logic for you. I’m just thankful I can even access the kind of content that resonates with me.

        • admin June 5, 2018 at 1:00 am #

          What you’re thinking isn’t crazy in any way. It takes courage to tell people I like X when X may generate that “ick” and worse reaction. I find what works is to act nonchalant about it like they shouldn’t have a bad reaction at all. Then they blink and its over. Whatever they think privately or say behind my back would probably be hurtful to my feelings, but I find people try to understand and accept you.

          But, in the end, you have to be true to your artistic vision. Not to say writing for money is wrong at all, but an artist has to do at least ONE thing just for them. And if you try and stifle that thing it doesn’t work. It spoils the other things you want to write.

          • A_h_ June 6, 2018 at 4:20 am #

            I’ll lead with nonchalance next time and see if that works! I turned one of my arts into a business and the result unfortunately has been utter burnout. I don’t want that to happen with my writing—this is where I come to be safe— but I do have a need inside me to share it one day. Cuz like me, someone out there is dying to hear this story.

  3. Jediguy June 5, 2018 at 4:41 am #

    I like Arabian Nights theme. Why not mix it with space theme? It could be evolved through historical moments to strip itself from ancient elements to modern elements. For example, sheriks, camels, female-only harems, slavery, and other things to spectrum of harems, rights granted to women, absolute gender equality, cool and unique vehicles, restoring deserts back to greens, power in space business, and other more things that you could imagine.

    I think that’s very interesting of a story in Arabian night theme.

    • admin June 5, 2018 at 4:40 pm #

      I see what you’re saying, but that’s not the fantasy of Arabian nights. That’s a very different fantasy. Nothing wrong about it, but its just simply not at all the same thing. But a cool futurism idea.

  4. Smint45 June 5, 2018 at 8:08 pm #

    I really like the idea of the assassin falling in love with his victim. The victim would be somehow magical and the assassin thinks he is human but he is not!!! And it would be really fun if the assassin was the submissive partner:) oh I can so picture this!!!! I really hope you will write that story someday!!! Great ama see you tomorrow!!!

    • admin June 6, 2018 at 5:38 pm #

      Like I said, I’ve tossed these for right now, but I could go back to them. But I always let my left brain and you guys lead me about what’s next!

  5. BabyB June 8, 2018 at 6:53 pm #

    You said you needed an adult hosting service, how did you go by finding one that was reputable? I want to post some art that goes right into taboo territory and a lot of places don’t allow it :/

    • admin June 9, 2018 at 6:50 pm #

      Hostgator is the one we use. They are totally legit.

      • BabyB June 10, 2018 at 1:54 pm #

        Thank you! That is good to know, I will look into them.

  6. Keira June 11, 2018 at 2:50 pm #

    You talk about your taboo content so I was hoping you are willing to talk on another sensitive issue. Did anyone ever asked you to make a trans man? I have seen some people authors of M/M being asked or even caled transphobic because they don’t make trans man and was wondering if you have dealed with it or how would you deal with it?

    • admin June 11, 2018 at 3:16 pm #

      Here’s the thing … being trans is NOT taboo. It is NOT a kink. So I find it odd you’d ask under the taboo issue. Treating it as a kink is actually problematic in my mind and would be transphobic. Treating trans people as people is the correct way to handle them because they are NORMAL people. So would I ever have a trans man in my books? Sure! But treating the fact that they are trans as a kink? Absolutely not.

      • Keira June 11, 2018 at 10:25 pm #

        I meant as a sensitive theme not kink, since taboo are also sensitive themes, but it seem I was misunderstood. I was aking because this is rarely talked about and some authors and readers prefer their man as cis, while others think genitals shouldn’t matter in the M/M romance. And I had wondered if a reader had asked something like this or if this is a subject that simple didn’t come up.

        • admin June 11, 2018 at 11:49 pm #

          Sorry that I misunderstood and my response, re-reading it, seems harsh, because your comment had a few things in it that were strange dichotomies to me that threw me off.

          Honestly, before your comments I hadn’t heard of this as an issue and it makes me a little sad, because we should be open to what turns people on and not tell them they are being wrong or bad or phobic because something doesn’t. But this is a really complex issue. Here are some of my surface thoughts, not everything I think, but just some points:

          Overall, how we treat people determines whether we are phobic, not what romances we read or write that turn us on. Let me explain …

          First, I would say that not writing about a trans character does not make one transphobic. That would be like saying writing m/f and not m/m romance makes you biased against gay people. It doesn’t. It’s what interests you, its what turns you on and, as a gay person myself, I am not one to say what turns you on is a choice. It certainly isn’t for me.

          Second, wanting your characters to be cis males in the romance you read or write also does not make one transphobic. Again, if you don’t like to read m/m romance, you’re not against gay people, are you? Perhaps some are, but those two things are not always connected (in fact, many homophobic people are homophobic because they find it attractive and that scares them). But for many, it’s simply that the thought of two cis men together sexually and emotionally does not turn them on. Again, they are not homophobic because of it.

          Third, I think that it would be good to see more trans characters in media in a light that doesn’t focus on their sexuality, because often they are portrayed as sexually deviant simply for existing. But there should be romance stories, too, that don’t relegate them to a kink. But not writing them doesn’t make a writer transphobic. There are many types of people that I don’t write about and never will, but that doesn’t mean I don’t treat them with respect in real life.

          Fourth, as you said, for some people the genitals are really important in a romance whether its m/f or m/m, but that doesn’t make them transphobic either as treating someone with respect and kindness is not determined by whether one’s sexually attracted to them. Or it shouldn’t be and if it is is then such a person has other issues. And not caring about genitals doesn’t make one superior to someone who does. It’s just part of a person’s sexual makeup that is what it is.

          Those are my initial thoughts on this anyways.

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