Long answer? Noooooooooooooooooo.
No and I'll tell you why.
Relationships focus on a dynamic between two characters and their interactions (MCock'n'balls and Tits Mcgee)
Introducing more than two or three people makes the interactions harder to write and long winded as all hell or lack descriptiveness and are boring.
To balance it is a fine act.
So don't, I don't understand why people are obsessed with harems like mate, fuck off with that gay sheit.
(There are exceptions to this rule, my word is not law and I have not read any of the above posts.)
First of all, it has to be realistic and logical. If that factor isn't present in a harem story, it becomes rather disgusting. Your fan service has to be directly tied to the plot and sort of required by it. Otherwise it simply doesn't work and makes people want to look away, which they'll do.
Also, it's important not to force it and not to overuse it. Again, it has to be there because of the circumstances of the plot. Besides, you can use that as a way to refresh the atmosphere during or after an important part of the story.
That's about everything I can think of. Of course, it's easier said than done, but it's also not that hard. I'd love reading harem stories if they were all done that way. If they're not, then it just makes me feel very uncomfortable...
IMO the best harem novel is the Good Intention Series but Elliot Kay.
Not only does the MC have two 'Main' Girlfriends. He also juggles about 3-4 on the side as well as just sleeping with other random women.
The books have a ton of sex, they are just shy of being pornography honestly, but the sex HAS a point. The relationships and all the female characters are all developed. They have problems, they fight, they make up. They all have their own dreams and the books user time to talk about them, all the while when actual plot is going on.
I did try to make a harem novel once. I wanted to it be a silly and over-the-top novel from the start so i thought it was be the easiest to build into a believable harem.... I failed.
I realized after the MC and the first girl got together that I had no real way of working others into the story without taking something away from the book, so I abandoned the rest of the girls and got on with the plot. I know it IS possible, but I can't do it.
also if you wanted a harem story why not just writing a player who fools around but doesn't really commit - those are really rare for some reason every mc i read wants to marry all the girls he gets with -.- whats wrong with casual sex?! and if the female thinks too much into it after he gets with her that's her problem no need to buy her a ring
First, I firmly believe a Harem story can indeed be a good story. A great story even. However, the genre is laden with so many obnoxious, desperate writers that are as every bit as bland and featureless as the MC's they usually include in their stories. These clueless, no-personality-having bastards somehow manage to write the exact same short black haired, glasses-wearing, next-to-the-window-sitting, anxiety disorder having, gynophobic wonderpuss. The girls are usually just as empty as well.
So, what can you do to avoid joining the ranks of these losers and their soulless creations?
I couldn't tell you that. Not really. There's no one answer to that question, but I can share with you some things that I found worked for me and my own harem series.
1. Develop your MC. DEVELOP YOUR MC. He has got to have more personality traits other than "Ick, I don't like cooties!". This is kind of why I prefer writing stories that take place after the characters have graduated high school. One, because I hate school settings, and two, because this is usually the time in people's lives when they really start discovering who they are. It's kind of okay for your MC to be a bit of a clueless idiot at this point, but something has to happen where life pushes him to man up and start making decisions for himself, and sometimes those decisions have to be hard.
2. Apply the first point to the girls, the harem itself. Who are these girls and why have they come to love the MC? What do they define as love? What events in their lives drove them towards the MC? Everyone in this story, MC or girl, needs to feel like a person, to some capacity. It doesn't have to be a rich backstory that would make Satan himself cry, but the reader needs something to latch onto so they don't just think "Oh, here's another googly-eyed, candy-haired slut in yet another vapid harem story about nothing."
3. Avoid school settings unless you're going to do it differently. I find it hard to believe a harem could exist in a school setting without rumors breaking out, the social dynamics between the harem and the rest of the school changing, and the school authorities getting involved. That would be a cool story to see but no is writing it. Avoid a school setting so that this harem can exist in relative isolation, if you don't plan on portraying the whole social consequence of something like that.
4. CONFLICT. What's the conflict here? If the conflict is "Momoka wants MC-kun's pee pee, but Mai-san also wants his pee pee", I think you've failed already. Here's something that's VERY important to keep in mind. The harem is the framework by which the characters are utilized, but it is not an enticing conflict. Ever. Have your characters, have your harem, but what's the conflict?
Using a few my own examples:
Book 1 = Introduction to the series and characters. Osamu Ashikaga (MC) returns to Kyoto after an abrupt, four year absence. His ex-girlfriend Yoko Akiyama kidnaps him on the night of his return and interrogates him in an abandoned bowling alley as to why he left. Other ex-girlfriends converge on the neighborhood, all of them wanting to settle the score between themselves and Osamu. The girls are extremely violent and brash, but really they just want answers. So, some things happen, and everyone ends up living with Yoko at her house.
So, what's the conflict?
Aika, one of the exes, got the worst of it when Osamu suddenly left Kyoto. It's revealed that Osamu came back to Kyoto because he heard that Aika's mother succumbed to illness while he was away. He had been able to ignore the people he left behind up until that point, when he felt extremely guilty over not being there for someone he once loved in her greatest time of need. Aika and Osamu reconnect after his return, but he soon learns that Aika is only living with Yoko so she can fill out the items in her bucket list. She intends to commit suicide one this list is finished, but she wants Osamu to commit suicide with her.
Osamu is not that kind of person anymore. Before he fled Kyoto, he attempted suicide at a shrine dedicated to Izanami, only to be saved by the goddess herself (Izanami is an actual character in this story as well). She's the one who encouraged him to leave Kyoto, to go out into the world and find a new set of reasons to live. Aika feels even more distanced from Osamu after learning this, even though he couldn't be any physically closer to her. The two shared so much in common, including their mutual despair, before Osamu left. She longed for four years to have him back, but now that he's returned and she bares her heart to him, she learns that she really couldn't be any further away from him. He healed. He matured. She didn't. She doesn't know whether to blame herself for wallowing in that sadness, or to blame Osamu for his heartless abandonment of his loved ones.
By the end of it, Osamu has to confront all of this and make a hard decision. The result of the conflict is bittersweet, but because of it, Osamu and the girls grow into better, kinder people, and they grow closer to one another. In this scenario, the harem is the framework for all of the characters to be living together, and that's what gives way to the story unfolding and Aika's personal predicament becoming the conflict. That leads me to my next tidbit.
5. The girls can't just love the MC while existing in opposition to each other. At least, not all the time. My story starts that way for sure, but a few chapters in, everyone starts living together. They get into some yandere fights over the MC, but they also do very kind things for each other. Izanami and Osamu went to the mall to shop for Aika's birthday party, which Yoko planned out. Two girls helped another despite being in direct competition with her. After learning of Aika's desire to commit suicide, Yoko allowed her to stay at her house to live with the others, hoping that she'd just be able to have a good time and forget about the death of her mother. Yoko kept Aika's predicament a secret out of respect and empathy (though she didn't know the suicide was actually meant to be a double suicide). You may feel differently, but I really like it when the girls are just as loving and kind to each other as they are the MC. Their relationship to each other should blossom just as much as their relationship to the MC.
6. Please no more "I-it's not like I l-l-love you or anyt-thing, baka!". I don't like the Tsundere archetype very much. It can and has been done write for sure, but it's just utilized wrong in most cases. But if you really feel like you can take a common trope and actually use it well, then by all means, go for it.
7. The MC should have sex with the girls. Okay, hear me out for a second. A harem should never devolve into the MC having to choose one girl and swipe away the others. A harem should be an actual harem where the MC chooses all of the girls and the girls, in turn, choose him as well as each other. And well, assuming the MC actually is a young, heterosexual male surrounded by gorgeous women who all totally want him, why would he not take advantage of that? Why would anyone not take advantage of that? I don't think you should write explicit sex scenes, just kind of implied. This "ewww girls" attitude most harem MC's have has got to stop.
8. This is going to sound weird coming from me, who is very clearly working from an anime/manga-style standpoint, but DO NOT TAKE INFLUENCE FROM ANIME/MANGA. At least not solely. Hayao Miyazaki was right, hilariously mistranslated quote of "Anime was a mistake" aside. I think what he was trying to say was that a good writer takes influence from the actual world around him and interprets what he saw or how he felt into his craft. It's a disservice to look another work and interpret that into your craft, because then you're just bound to repeat the same plot points, make the same mistakes, and ultimately create a derivative work that only exists for the sole purpose of existing alongside the work it was inspired by. A totally valid point. I take some influence.
I always depict changing seasons in my stories, as a way of showing the passage of time more effectively. It makes even a short story feel like it was a long ride. I learned that from a relatively short manga called Ane Doki. I also like writing in an abandoned building of some sort, be it a bowling alley or a church, that is filled to the brim with stained/colored glass. I like using this place as a getaway for the characters, somewhere where they can talk in private about something. The depiction of colored glass and the rainbow of colored light it produces when sunlight strikes through it evoke a feeling of otherworldliness and holiness to me, as if this is a sacred place for the characters, separated from the rest of the world. I learned that from Sankarea.
When it came to characters and conflicts, I found myself drawing from examples from my own life, or sometimes going off of Shinto/Buddhist mythology, sometimes off of history. And so, I find there's a common thread in my works, where almost all of the characters have suffered some sort of tragedy and were left hopeless. That's when they met good old Osamu, whose carefree personality and genuine concern for other people drew them to him. There are actual reasons why they'd be so drawn to him and vice versa.