The first rule of omegaverse is there aren’t any rules. An omegaverse needs omegas. That’s about it. Building your own world is part of the fun of writing omegaverse, and exploring new worlds is part of the fun of reading it.
An omegaverse might take place in this world… but it might not
A fairly typical omegaverse will be set in our world except with shifters—sometimes hidden from the humans, sometimes right out in the open. But omegaverses might take place in dystopian futures, Middle Earth fantasy lands, or even on alien planets.
In Slow Heat by Leta Blake, we’re in a world where all the women died out in a long-ago catastrophe and male omegas have been engineered to propagate the species. Even though this isn’t our timeline, the characters are humanoid and the environment feels familiar. Contrarily, Changed by Robin Moray takes place on an alien planet somewhere in our distant future. One of the main characters is human. The other is an alien from a species that includes omegas.
The main characters might be fated mates… but they might not
The fated mates trope can be so satisfying. Imagine that in all the world there’s one person specifically designed for you, and that nothing can come between you and them. One of my favorite fated mates stories is Omega to the Alpha by Stephen Hoppa. Alex is a street-toughened human who doesn’t believe in love, never mind in fated mates. Silas is a biologically smitten werewolf wondering why fate has insisted on pairing him with such an impossible man. No matter how hard Alex fights his bond to Silas, Silas never stops hopelessly adoring him.
But in plenty of other omegaverses, the characters have to fumble their way into a relationship, just like you and I do. Though once established, a bond may be sealed by a claiming bite which ties the partners irrevocably together—like a marriage, except a lot less easy to dissolve. Nerds Who Knot by Amy Bellows is a series of three omegaverse novellas that explore bonding bites from all different angles.
They might be wolf shifters… but they might not
Shifters—basically werewolves who can control their shift and retain human understanding in animal form—are the standard omegaverse inhabitants. They come in multiple forms. From the classic wolf to mythical creatures like dragons and gryphons, to other apex predators like lions and jaguars, to the mundane like house cats and bunnies, to the outright odd like herons and crocodiles.
Then there are weres—a sort of in-between state that’s neither human nor animal. In Stray by Crystel Greene, Alpha Aryn and Omega Trae don’t shift back and forth between human and animal states. They’re always weres—creatures with stronger, sharper senses than human who are more attuned to their animal nature.
Omegas might go into heat… but they might not
Heat and knots and slick… oh my. These are a few of my favorite tropes. Which is why I love Omega by DJ Heart, the book through which I was first introduced to the concept of heat. Heat is an irresistible state of sexual need, and an omega in heat will often trigger an alpha to go into rut. It’s all tied up with scent and pheromones, creating an animalistic need to have raw, toppy sex RIGHT NOW.
An omega in heat will often produce slick. Slick is the omegaverse answer to “where’s the lube?” In some omegaverses, slick only happens when the omega is in heat. In others, it happens whenever the omega is aroused. And some omegaverses don’t have slick at all. Sometimes even shifters have to go in search of the lube.
DJ Heart’s Omega also includes knotting. A knot is an extra bump at the base of an alpha’s cock similar to what real life dogs have. The alpha’s knot prevents withdrawal after ejaculation, forcing a period of togetherness. I’m not going to pretend to know how dogs feel about knotting, but in omegaverse knots are pleasurable for both the alpha and the omega. In fact, omegas commonly (especially in my books, lol) beg for a knot. And what could be better than mandatory cuddle time after?
Heat might mean male omegas can get pregnant… but it might not
In M/M circles, omegaverse has almost come to be synonymous with MPREG, but not all omegaverses include the ability for male omegas to become pregnant, and male pregnancy can occur without omegas. Trans men can become pregnant, for example. And though heat and knots are tied to fertility in real life, they happily exist in non-MPREG omegaverses too.
One of my favorite omegaverses addresses the subject of MPREG in a particularly interesting way. The title for Human Omega Discovered on the Slave Planet by Eileen Glass implies you’re in for some trope-laden erotica, but the book is actually an original and intricate SciFi M/M/M romance featuring a human cis-male space soldier who gets captured by the enemy and ends up sharing a cage with two friendly aliens who think he’s a child-bearing omega.
Carter knows he can’t get pregnant, no matter how much his mates are convinced otherwise, but over the course of what is currently a three-book series, he begins to wish he could. He continues to identify as a man. He just wants to be a man who can bear children, and he applies his scientific and technical knowledge to figuring out how to make that happen. Carter isn’t actually an omega, but that’s okay because…
There might be omegas… and there might not[record scratch]
Yeah, I said the only rule of omegaverse is that you need omegas, but given how thoroughly blurred the lines are between omegaverse universes, paranormal universes that include shapeshifters, and SciFi universes that include MPREG, some of my favorite omegaverses don’t actually have any omegas.
Lyra Evans’s Three Courts series, for example, is a paranormal universe with fae, mages, and shapeshifting wolves. Some of her wolves are alphas, but none of them are omegas. Which means you get all the hot alpha vibes without having to worry about omegas being an oppressed stand-in for women.
One of my favorite ever books, The Werewolf & the Merman by June Hessian, includes knotting, fated mates, a claiming bite, and shapeshifters of both the mermaid and wolf variety, but no alpha/beta/omega typing at all. This surprisingly sweet love story doesn’t revolve around a power imbalance.
Omegas are continually being reimagined
There are more variations on omegaverse than I can possibly describe, which is why I had to ask myself which tropes I was going to use in building my own world. Naturally, I picked my favorites.
So if you’re looking for some good heat-driven knotting in a non-MPREG omegaverse, check out the three novellas included in Omega Reimagined. And remember: omegaverse means never saying never. Whatever you like or don’t like, you’re sure to find something that hits all the right buttons.