I've been working on a short story where the two of the three main characters work in a warehouse store. These aren't crazy/sexy jobs, just useful, necessary, and many of us have done something similar. I need the store as a setting -- it's almost a character in its own right, but I'm going to have to find the dramatic tension in something besides what they do for a living.
Some professions just lend themselves to drama. Medicine is easy -- life, death, health. Doctors and EMTs, who plunge their hands into the blood as needed, have more inherent excitement, but there are other health care professionals who have stories to tell. Lawyers come with conflicts built in. Cops and firemen, where harm is part of the job description, have plenty to make their lives interesting. I admit to setting an entire mountain on fire just to keep a couple of forest rangers too busy to think about sex for a while.
Construction trades lend themselves to gay romance -- it's hard not to smile at the thought of a hunky guy wearing nothing but trickles of sweat between the hard hat and the tool belt. What these guys do is sexy -- build something or tear it down, repair it. Creating usefulness with a heap of materials and some tools is an automatic rawr, even before getting a look at the abs. Guys who work with their hands have the edge of knowing how to do something most of us don't. Knowledge is sexy -- it doesn't have to be rocket science. Add in a glimpse of butt crack when he's bent into the hood of a car or sticking out from under the sink, and I'm there. Thanks, Eden Winters, for giving me Joey Nichols and an old pickup truck to dream about.
Dancers and athletes are more aware of their bodies than most people -- their conditioning and health is their livelihood. Even if you don't follow the sport, the conflicts that arise from the characters' winning, losing, or even being able to play, can make the story memorable.
But not everyone is a doctor or a carpenter, a dancer or a sports star, closeted or not. The guy behind the video counter has a story, as Marie Sexton reminds us, with more going on inside his head than one night's rental or two. It's a different kind of story when the characters have low profile professions -- an accountant will be a different flavor of appealing than a baseball player, a truck driver will have another sort of story to tell than a rock star, but it's worth the read, as AKM Miles showed.
I've written stories about the pirate captain and also about the man who built the boilers for the steamship. I've written about the ski patrol and the man who runs the lift. And I'll read about everything from pilots to playwrights, from hookers to handymen. Give me something just a bit offbeat in a profession much beloved in our genre, because cops and cowboys can have fresh and interesting stories.
What kinds of jobs have you never seen in an m/m romance but would like to? Is there a profession that sets your pulse racing just by reading the blurb? Have you ever read a story featuring a character in a job that you didn't think you'd like, but did?
PD Singer lives in Colorado with her slightly bemused husband, two rowdy teenage boys, and thirty pounds of cats, all of whom approach carefully when she's in a writing frenzy. She's a big believer in research, first-hand if possible, so the reader can be quite certain PD has gone face first down a ski slope, been stepped on by rodeo horses, acquired a potato burn or two, and will never, ever, write a novel that includes sky-diving.
Her novels Fire on the Mountain, Snow on the Mountain, Fall Down the Mountain, related Mountain short stories and other shorts can be found at Torquere Press. Look for Prep Work, coming from Dreamspinner in late summer, and Maroon: Donal agus Jimmy from Torquere in the fall.
Follow the adventures at http://pdsinger.wordpress.com.