Brainstorming comes from all nooks and crannies of life. I still don't believe I will write a shapeshifter story, but I can see myself creating a hero with a strong totem association like the otter. And making him a cunning, devil may care trickster. A super intelligent, manipulative, wise ass, fun loving, sharp toothed, good hearted man. Who is misunderstood by a heroine (or another hero) as he gets himself into trouble.
How I can fit this character into a BDSM story I'm not completely sure. He will have to be a submissive, don't you think? Perhaps I'll make him an ultra spiritual man, embracing his submission as part of his connection to the great spirit of the world. I've always considered BDSM as holding a tremendous potential for spiritual connection, but none of my previous characters have spent much time speaking about this explicitly in their stories. But this otter/trickster/submissive hero may have to walk this path. Time for research.
And I did all this brainstorming while walking among the noisy, inquisitive families at the zoo today. The idea blossomed between the pony rides, the big cat house, the primates, and the gift shop. Now I need a story for my otter man. And one or two partners. Maybe I'll visit the science museum next for my plot.