I know readers probably get annoyed when authors blame some outside source (my muse! my characters!) for the whack things that happen in their books. To an extent, I understand that frustration. It certainly sounds like the author is passing off responsibility, but I'm here to tell you. It really happens. Stories can really take shape beyond your intention or your control.
For instance, right now, three of my works in progress are coming up with accidental babies. Believe me, I'm not happy about this! I know babies don't have a place in BDSM fiction for a lot of readers. One of the books is a mainstream, vanilla romance, but even in a mainstream happily-ever-after, babies can seem too retro a plot device in this day and time.
So where are all these dang babies coming from all of a sudden?
Accidental babies aren't unheard of in my backlist. Lucy and Matthew had one hell of an "accident" in Mercy (one that enraged nearly as many readers as it titillated). Wednesday and Daniel have an accidental pregnancy in Owning Wednesday, and Dave and Sophie have one in Deep in the Woods.
In those stories, the babies were part of the couple's stories. They had to be there, and the fact that they're accidental adds more drama. (Newsflash: I love drama. No one is surprised.) For balance, I also try to create stories with couples who aren't thinking about babies for the time being, and even stories with characters like Constance in Odalisque and Molly in Club Mephisto, who are quite sure they don't want children.
Still, I'm back to babies again. Of course, all the stories and circumstances are different, and the genres are different, but there they all are. Part of me is afraid of getting slapped with some baby-agenda label. Every Annabel Joseph book ends with a baby! Blech! But part of me wants to be true to the story that's unfolding in my head between my characters. I would have preferred not to have three babies in succession, sure, but maybe they just belong there. Or maybe some of them will end up getting edited out. (ohh, poor babies!)
I don't know. I suppose I'm torn between trying to be "commercial" and please my audience, and trying to just write what's in my heart. In the end, I guess it's a balancing act.
How do you feel about babies as part of a couple's happily ever after? Yes? No? Depends on the book?