BTB: Zoe X. Rider’s Games Boys Play

Some friends of mine run a NaNoWriMo type of thing every spring, with a word count goal of 25k. In late February 2013, I wasn’t doing much of anything (except reading, a lot), so I thought, hey, why not participate this year? It had been ages since I’d written, and I had a story in my head that I’d been putting together since 2008—might as well get it on paper, right?

My God, every word was like pulling teeth. Vampires, bikers, a struggling rock band—you’d think it would be fun. It. Was. Not. I love that story, but it’s been an albatross around my neck.

So one morning, a week or so into that writing challenge, I woke up with an idea for a quick little thing. I was going to toss it aside until I realized it might be just what I needed: toss something off in the space of a day, gain a sense of accomplishment, then get back to the albatross.

85,000 words later….

The idea I woke up with—the thing I thought was going to be 2400-words-and-done—was nothing that hasn’t been done before: character A is doing something embarrassing when character B walks in on him. In this case, character A is Brian March, the bass player for Attack from Space, and the embarrassing thing he’s doing when his best friend and bandmate, Dylan Denault, walks in is engaging in self-bondage. This is a huge trope in self-bondage fiction: the thrill/fear/mortification of someone finding you at your most vulnerable. That’s why I thought it would be an easy one-day project.

In the case of Games Boys Play, what could have been a mere set-up for a bondage scene turned out instead to be the beginning of a physical and emotional journey between two men who (think they) know each other better than they know themselves. (Or, in other words, it was the set-up for MANY HOT BONDAGE SCENES! No wonder it was so much fun to write.)

And it saved my butt during that writing challenge last year. I finished the first draft well over the 25k mark, with days left to spare. (I also finished the first draft of that vampire/bikers/rock band novel last spring too. I’m currently struggling through draft number four. Someday it’ll see the light of day (at which point it will burst into flame, leaving nothing but a pile of ashes and chrome…but at least I’ll have my memories).)

If bondage, roleplay, or friends to lovers stories are your thing, Games Boys Play came out April 15th. (For readers in the U.S., it’s also a delicious way to recover from tax day!)


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