PDA

View Full Version : Gay MCs for non-gay audiences


Reservoir Angel
04-27-2011, 11:09 PM
By 'gay audiences' I mean, for example, the audiences of gay interest novels, which are clearly labelled as such. So I'm talking about a wider general audience here.

This question is asked half for me, half for my friend (also an aspiring writer and always has been) but I don't actually know what he's writing so I'll use my own example.

Recently I made this thread (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=212193) about my MC for my upcoming WIP and got the advice, as you can see, to make him just an all-round deeper person.

So I figured if I'm writing this character and need to get in his head, I could put a little bit of me into him. Well, more than I have already. And fine-tune it a little.

Basically when it comes down to it, I'm toying around in my mind with potentially making my MC gay. Now I want to be clear, his potential sexuality won't be a big plot point so it's not going to be (and forgive the wording here) shoved down anyone's throats.

It's just that, in my mind right now, I needed a way of explaining the character's awkward, self-conscious and slightly paranoid behavioural tendencies.

And I remember a while back I knew a gay guy who's old-fashioned homophobic parents had messed him up so badly that he really was a socially maladjusted mess around most people he didn't know very well and I figure a character with deep personal demons and deep-seated issues is more interesting than one who's just a social mess for the sake of being a social mess.

The problem I'm thinking about here is...will the general audience (who are obviously predominantly heterosexual) be less willing to read and potentially buy a novel/novella that features a homosexual main character?

I mean, if my personal experience is anything to go by, British 'cozy' mystery investigation is read quite a lot by middle-aged(ish) women...since every one of my mum's vast pool of friends all love mystery fiction be it written or visual. But I do assume there are a large number of younger, male readers of such works and I'm worried about losing a significant portion of my potential audience (provided I ever actually finish and publish the thing) because of a simple bit of characterisation.

Does anyone have any knowledge of the general straight consensus about reading non-gay-interest books that have gay MCs. I'm not exactly an expert on straight people's mindsets...I still can't even figure out why they're so fascinated with boobs. :Shrug:

Oh, and another thing. Is there any significant change in opinion about homosexual MCs when the character in question is a lesbian, as opposed to a gay man?

ChaosTitan
04-27-2011, 11:13 PM
Does anyone have any knowledge of the general straight consensus about reading non-gay-interest books that have gay MCs.

There is no consensus, because there is no general reading audience. Everyone's tastes are pretty different. Some people will skip a book with a gay protag. Some people will buy it because there is a gay protag. Some people will read it because the story sounds good, gay protag or not.

Write the story you want to write, and write the character who's in your head.

Jonathan Dalar
04-27-2011, 11:14 PM
Well, speaking from a straight man's perspective, I could read a book with that kind of character, as long as it wasn't overdone. Knowing he's gay to explain some behavior and history we see in the book is fine. I don't want to think about anything more than that personally, and if you don't make me, then we're fine.

It seems to be similar to what we see reflected in society. Knowing someone is gay isn't a big deal anymore. Showing us that he is, well, you're going to lose some audience there.

maestrowork
04-27-2011, 11:22 PM
Focus on writing a damn good story with universal themes (meaning, it's not focused on niche issues such as gay right, etc.) with good characters. You'd be surprised how much of a non-issue it is for the general readership. Most people know gay people, have gay friends or families, or are gay themselves. And those who have trouble with gay characters? They're not your target audience anyway.

You can't write to please everyone. It's impossible.

If you write with the internal stigma that "gay" = bad/unpublishable/unmarketable, then you need to adjust your own attitude first.

zegota
04-27-2011, 11:26 PM
I've had this dilemma too, but at some point, you just have to say screw it. I have a secondary POV character whose homosexual relationships are very important to his character, and he couldn't really be written any other way, in my opinion. If you're randomly throwing in homosexuality to be a "quirk," then yeah, maybe I'd advise against it. If it's an important part of your character, however, keep it.

Does anyone have any knowledge of the general straight consensus about reading non-gay-interest books that have gay MCs. I'm not exactly an expert on straight people's mindsets...I still can't even figure out why they're so fascinated with boobs.

There's no consensus among straight folks any more than there is a consensus among gay folks on any given topic. I would have absolutely no problem with a gay character. Some would. Hell, some people refuse to read a protagonist that's not the same gender as them. You can't really write to please those people.

Oh, and another thing. Is there any significant change in opinion about homosexual MCs when the character in question is a lesbian, as opposed to a gay man?

Unfortunately, probably yes, at least for male readers. For those who just lean homophobic, male-male relationships are icky and gross, while female-female relationships are HOT HOT HOT!

seun
04-27-2011, 11:29 PM
Count me in the group of straight men who couldn't care less if a MC is gay or what he gets up to (or who he gets up for that matter). Just ensure it serves the story as well as obviously having a story worth reading.

veinglory
04-27-2011, 11:31 PM
There are plenty of books with gay MCs that are not consigned to gay-special-interest in the fantasy and literary areas. Fantasy especially with MZB, Huff, Lackey, Flewelling etc. And of course M/M romance.

Kitty Pryde
04-27-2011, 11:33 PM
Don't shy away from writing a gay MC if that's who you want to write about. I guarantee that there will always be homophobic douches in the world who think that love is yucky and who won't read your book because it has a gay protagonist. That won't stop your book from sold/read/enjoyed/awesome. Is it a harder sell? Probably--so is any book about minority characters. Further, I would suggest that the people too frightened to read such a book be invited to suck it.

whacko
04-27-2011, 11:35 PM
Hey RA,

It comes down to your style of writing.

Basically, does the sexuality matter?

He/she could be a Liverpool or Man U supporter. Even a Celtic or a Rangers fan.

So why not just hint, the show and tell thing... unless you want to make a definitive statement.

It's your world remember.

Regards

Whacko

Reservoir Angel
04-27-2011, 11:37 PM
Basically, does the sexuality matter?
As I see the novella working out right now, only minorly.

Basically, the issue of the MC being gay and screwed up by his parents' and other people's oppressive views on it will help him connect with one character. Other than that I don't see it as being made a big deal of.

veinglory
04-27-2011, 11:41 PM
Oh, and gay or bi MC detective/mystery--lots of that too.

Reservoir Angel
04-27-2011, 11:45 PM
Oh, and gay or bi MC detective/mystery--lots of that too.
Weirdly that's actually what I'm writing. haha

Which is what led to this question. In all the mysteries I've seen/read I've never seen homosexuality as a characterisation point for any of the detectives/investigators, it's always been a part of the motive for either the crime or other nefarious acts.

So that got me thinking about this whole business.

whacko
04-27-2011, 11:54 PM
As I see the novella working out right now, only minorly.

Basically, the issue of the MC being gay and screwed up by his parents' and other people's oppressive views on it will help him connect with one character. Other than that I don't see it as being made a big deal of.

That's even better. It conjures up ambiguity of sorts.

Is your MC gay?

Or is he reacting to the conventions that his parents put upon him?

And can you decide on his sexuality?:tongue

veinglory
04-27-2011, 11:58 PM
For detective fiction you should look at these authors, in roughly chronological order: Joseph Hansen, Dan Kavanagh (bi), Nathan Aldyne, Michael Nava, Mark Richard Zubro, Michael Craft and Josh Lanyon (amongst many others).

The degree to which the character is sexually active or gay issues are central to the plot varies widely. But most of these are in the general readership area. I bought my copies mostly off the shelf in chain stores in the general mystery/fiction areas with the exception of Lanyon who was in 'gay interest'.

Jamesaritchie
04-28-2011, 12:01 AM
I'm not sure how to phrase this so it makes sense, but if the sexuality mattered, I wouldn't read the book. I guess what I really mean is that a gay protagonist wouldn't bother me, but I have absolutely no desire to read about gay sex or gay romance.

defyalllogic
04-28-2011, 12:07 AM
I agree with JAR.

I love Logo. and Ru Paul's Drag Race is my favorite show on TV. I even lip synced for my life with a friend at my wedding. I love the documentaries too. A touch of pink is on of my fav movies. but yeah, If the MC is gay and thats a part of who they are, that's fine. I'm here for the story and it's just a different culture.

but romance and erotica outside of my tastes, aren't for me. just like I wouldn't want a BDSM novel. but if the MC happens the be into that and it's not a focus of the story, I don't mind.

ETA: my mom, who isn't into "the whole gay thing" (mums are adorable) finds RPDR hilarious and awesome and loved the episode where they "read" each other. She generally, like in real life, doesn't see it as more different than a show about Black people or Asians or Psychics...

Reservoir Angel
04-28-2011, 12:09 AM
Is your MC gay?

Or is he reacting to the conventions that his parents put upon him?
This is actually what I was leaning towards. I never pictured him as "his parents found out he was gay, or suspected he was gay, and abused him for it".

I had it more as "his parents were just naturally, openly and unapologetically homophobic in every-day life and he possibly compensated his inability to physically rebel by subconciously adopting the mindset of thinking he was gay as a kind of internal spite"

I'm not sure how to phrase this so it makes sense, but if the sexuality mattered, I wouldn't read the book. I guess what I really mean is that a gay protagonist wouldn't bother me, but I have absolutely no desire to read about gay sex or gay romance.
No I can make sense of that. A protagonist who happens to be gay is fine but if the books starts showing or being about distinctly gay romance or gay sex, then you'd be turned off of it.

Makes perfect sense.

maestrowork
04-28-2011, 12:10 AM
I agree with JAR.

but romance and erotica outside of my tastes, aren't for me. just like I wouldn't want a BDSM novel. but if the MC happens the be into that and it's not a focus of the story, I don't mind.

But that has nothing to do with gay or straight. I don't read romance or erotica either, gay or straight.

However, if I read about a character who is straight or gay, I assume he or she has a sex life. And if that's described, I wouldn't mind too much, as long it's relevant and not gratuitous. If there's a sex scene, it depends on how it's done. Again, gay or straight, it doesn't make a difference. It's just not something I seek out to read, but if it's integral to the story, no big deal. If it's poorly done, then it's bad whether it's gay or straight.

Now, if a reader doesn't mind the mention of heterosexual relationships/sex but is turned off by gay relationships and sex, then it's their prerogative. Like I said before, you can't write to please everyone. Such people (JAR, for example) simply isn't your target audience. I don't read epic fantasies or erotica either, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't write it.

Kitty Pryde
04-28-2011, 12:15 AM
This is actually what I was leaning towards. I never pictured him as "his parents found out he was gay, or suspected he was gay, and abused him for it".

I had it more as "his parents were just naturally, openly and unapologetically homophobic in every-day life and he possibly compensated his inability to physically rebel by subconciously adopting the mindset of thinking he was gay as a kind of internal spite"



Meh. Why would an adult secretly think he's gay in order to upset his parents? This makes no sense to me. Even as dumb teenage rebellion, this doesn't really make sense--it's hard enough being actually gay in oppressive circumstances, why would he fake it for funsies?

movieman
04-28-2011, 12:15 AM
I can't help but feel that having the character be gay but not in a manner that's important to the story is only likely to hurt sales. I would expect that to turn off a subset of potential readers without offering enough to bring in people who'd want to read about a gay guy whose sexuality is important to the story.

IceCreamEmpress
04-28-2011, 12:16 AM
In addition to veinglory's excellent list, let me add Lev Raphael, whose gay sleuth is an introspective New York professor.

And there are kajillions of lesbian and bi female sleuths in strong-selling series out there.

I once heard a paper at an academic conference that took the position that gay, lesbian, bi, queer, and trans sleuths were particularly satisfying characters to most readers, as it seems logical that some of the same skills many LGBTQ folks use to stay safe in a homophobic/transphobic society--observation of surroundings, close reading of strangers' attitudes and moods, time spent "acting" a role while closeted, etc.--are key skills for a good detective. It made sense to me.

And not every book has to be for everyone. People who wouldn't read your book because of homophobia would probably find something else to object to in it anyway.

maestrowork
04-28-2011, 12:19 AM
Mainstream/literary fiction with main or major gay characters (and yes, some of them even have sex):

- The World According to Garp
- The Wonder Boys
- The Hours
- Harry Potter (although the character's sexuality isn't specified)
- The Color Purple
- Three Junes

Zelenka
04-28-2011, 12:21 AM
Weirdly that's actually what I'm writing. haha

Which is what led to this question. In all the mysteries I've seen/read I've never seen homosexuality as a characterisation point for any of the detectives/investigators, it's always been a part of the motive for either the crime or other nefarious acts.

So that got me thinking about this whole business.

My MC is the detective in my story and is gay, and has only recently figured this out. In mine it just came out through the development of one of the plot lines and since it fits the character and I don't feel it's overdone (hopefully), I'm keeping it.

Medievalist
04-28-2011, 12:30 AM
I'm not sure how to phrase this so it makes sense, but if the sexuality mattered, I wouldn't read the book. I guess what I really mean is that a gay protagonist wouldn't bother me, but I have absolutely no desire to read about gay sex or gay romance.

You know I am constantly bemused by the way many peoples' minds immediately go to sex if there's any reference at all, however slight, to a character not being heteronormative.

As in this case (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=208451&highlight=verday), with YA authors Jessica Verday and Seannan McGuire (http://www.leewind.org/2011/04/wicked-pretty-things-ya-anthology-that.html).

Kitty27
04-28-2011, 12:31 AM
I would read it. If it was a romance and/or erotica,it wouldn't bother me at all as long as the novel was written well. It doesn't matter to me about the sexuality of the character. How is it that sex is the FIRST thing to come to mind with a gay protagonist? I was thinking of a detective, doctor,every day guy,etc.

I cannot stand the Sad Gay trope in writing. I expect a character to go through it,but I don't want sadness,tears,and Gawd forbid, wanting to off himself because of his sexuality. A lil drama is fine,though! Plus,some angst with a hot boyfriend. Lots of it. I just LOVE angsty relationships.

Just write the story and character as you like.

Reservoir Angel
04-28-2011, 12:38 AM
I cannot stand the Sad Gay trope in writing. I expect a character to go through it,but I don't want sadness,tears,and Gawd forbid, wanting to off himself because of his sexuality.
God that's so not what I'm doing. I hate that trope shit as much as you do. It just presents such a fucking negative view of gay people. "Oh, they're not normal. They must be so depressed." Makes me want to slap whoever throws it into their story for no reason. If a gay character is sad because of something in the story that makes sense to be upset over for them, I can buy it. But if they're just sad BECAUSE they're gay, they need to man the fuck up and deal with that shit.

Plus,some angst with a hot boyfriend. Lots of it. I just LOVE angsty relationships.
Hmm...maybe in sequels. :tongue

Kitty27
04-28-2011, 12:42 AM
God that's so not what I'm doing. I hate that trope shit as much as you do. It just presents such a fucking negative view of gay people. "Oh, they're not normal. They must be so depressed." Makes me want to slap whoever throws it into their story for no reason. If a gay character is sad because of something in the story that makes sense to be upset over for them, I can buy it. But if they're just sad BECAUSE they're gay, they need to man the fuck up and deal with that shit.




Hmm...maybe in sequels. :tongue

AMEN!

Excellent. A guy deserves a kind,loving,and able to cook very well and overall good guy with abs of steel in his life.

Xaenyth
04-28-2011, 12:44 AM
Write the character that's in your head. If he's gay, make him gay.

Personally, when I read a story, I don't care if the MC is gay. Some people might not like it, but everyone has an opinion. I really think you should write the best character you can and if that means you're writing him gay, do it.

What I don't want to read is a boring, flat, or cliché character.

Good luck!

Reservoir Angel
04-28-2011, 12:45 AM
Excellent. A guy deserves a kind,loving,and able to cook hottie with abs of steel in his life.
First time I've ever even gotten an idea for a future sequel before even starting to write the 1st damn idea.

But if I do future ones, which I fully intend to if this one turns out well, I already have an idea for story-advancing hot-guy relationship angst that also furthers the mystery of my MC's sexuality.

Xaenyth
04-28-2011, 12:48 AM
AMEN!

Excellent. A guy deserves a kind,loving,and able to cook hottie with abs of steel in his life.

I read this really, REALLY wrong the first time.

*blinks*

Kitty27
04-28-2011, 12:51 AM
I read this really, REALLY wrong the first time.

*blinks*


OH,NO!

My horror side is coming out in the wrong forum!

*goes to edit*

Kitty27
04-28-2011, 12:53 AM
First time I've ever even gotten an idea for a future sequel before even starting to write the 1st damn idea.

But if I do future ones, which I fully intend to if this one turns out well, I already have an idea for story-advancing hot-guy relationship angst that also furthers the mystery of my MC's sexuality.


Bravo!


Good luck with the novel and the sequels:)

veinglory
04-28-2011, 12:55 AM
I suspect that the audience share that avoids gay characters and the audience share that seeks them out is roughly similar in size. And the share that seeks them out is not generally doing so just to read about sex acts. I don't think any of the gay/bi detective writers I listed included as much as a single explicit sex scene.

Medievalist
04-28-2011, 12:58 AM
I suspect that the audience share that avoids gay characters and the audience share that seeks them out is roughly similar in size. And the share that seeks them out is not generally doing so just to read about sex acts. I don't think any of the gay/bi detective writers I listed included as much as a single explicit sex scene.

Exactly.

Libbie
04-28-2011, 01:03 AM
Well, I certainly would have no problem reading a novel about a gay MC. Other people would have a problem with it. But you can't make everybody happy, you know? I doubt it would hinder you from getting published, any more than any other factor might.

movieman
04-28-2011, 01:27 AM
You know I am constantly bemused by the way many peoples' minds immediately go to sex if there's any reference at all, however slight, to a character not being heteronormative.

I'm bemused that someone would make sexuality a distinguishing feature of a character and then be surprised that it would make readers think about sex.

Every choice an author makes about their characters is going to impact the way the reader thinks about those characters; if you made your character a war hero I'm sure you wouldn't be bemused to find that the readers immediately started thinking about battles and medals.

maestrowork
04-28-2011, 01:32 AM
I'm bemused that someone would make sexuality a distinguishing feature of a character and then be surprised that it would make readers think about sex.

Really? So by default since the characters are straight, we'd also think about sex, too? So in order for the readers to not think about sex we shouldn't mention if the guy has a girlfriend or boyfriend, or a wife, or think so and so is attractive, at all? Since, you know, he has a wife, that means he must be fucking her every day and let's think about how he does that...

It would mean 99.9999% of novels out there must make us think about sex.

Kitty Pryde
04-28-2011, 01:34 AM
I'm bemused that someone would make sexuality a distinguishing feature of a character and then be surprised that it would make readers think about sex.


And yet, if you talk about making a character straight, nobody leaps immediately to worrying about whether their sex scenes will be too yucky. If you talk about making a character straight, no one has concerns that their heterosexuality will be shoved in the readers face. I mean, it's one thing to say your character is straight, but it's unpleasant to show that to us!

Kitty Pryde
04-28-2011, 01:36 AM
Really? So by default since the characters are straight, we'd also think about sex, too? So in order for the readers to not think about sex we shouldn't mention if the guy has a girlfriend or boyfriend, or a wife, or think so and so is attractive, at all? Since, you know, he has a wife, that means he must be fucking her every day and let's think about how he does that...

It would mean 99.9999% of novels out there must make us think about sex.

Ray! If you keep being so up-front and in-our-faces about all this rampant heterosexuality, people are going to be put off! :tongue

zegota
04-28-2011, 01:37 AM
HeternormaliPWNED!

maestrowork
04-28-2011, 01:38 AM
Gay people don't know anything about love anyway.

Reservoir Angel
04-28-2011, 01:39 AM
Gay people don't know anything about love anyway.
I do so hope you aren't serious about that assertion or I might just have to strike you.

Kitty27
04-28-2011, 01:39 AM
I'm bemused that someone would make sexuality a distinguishing feature of a character and then be surprised that it would make readers think about sex.

Every choice an author makes about their characters is going to impact the way the reader thinks about those characters; if you made your character a war hero I'm sure you wouldn't be bemused to find that the readers immediately started thinking about battles and medals.

HUH?

I didn't think about sex at all. I thought about the character being a detective,doctor,etc. I thought about him as a person first. Not if he was going to get some and in what position was he going to get said some.

Medievalist
04-28-2011, 01:41 AM
I'm bemused that someone would make sexuality a distinguishing feature of a character and then be surprised that it would make readers think about sex.

Dude, think for a minute.

Heterosexual folk have sex lives. Really!

But the minute someone talks about a queer character, in a thread, people start think about teh sex.

This is not the case with heterosexual characters. There's a set of assumptions being made--right in this thread--about what it means for a character to be queer.

Every choice an author makes about their characters is going to impact the way the reader thinks about those characters; if you made your character a war hero I'm sure you wouldn't be bemused to find that the readers immediately started thinking about battles and medals.

So you start thinking about sex the minute someone posits a straight character?

zegota
04-28-2011, 01:42 AM
So you start thinking about sex the minute someone posits a straight character?

Well, I do, but we all have issues :-/

Medievalist
04-28-2011, 01:43 AM
Gay people don't know anything about love anyway.
:sarcasm


Yeah, it's all about the boinking.

(You forgot the Sarcasm Alert dude! But I fixed it for ya

Which is why we're still fighting DOMA. And getting married in the eight states where we can get married.

maestrowork
04-28-2011, 01:44 AM
"Mary and her boyfriend went to get some ice cream..."

What smut!!! I don't read erotica! Stop feeding me images of them having sex!!!!

Medievalist
04-28-2011, 01:44 AM
Well, I do, but we all have issues :-/

:tmi

Medievalist
04-28-2011, 01:45 AM
"Mary and her boyfriend went to get some ice cream..."

What smut!!! I don't read erotica!

I hear you.

I'm not interested in books about Walloons, people who have chihuahuas, or viola players.

They can live their lives however they want, but I don't have to read about it.

Kitty Pryde
04-28-2011, 01:46 AM
"Mary and her boyfriend went to get some ice cream..."

What smut!!! I don't read erotica! Stop feeding me images of them having sex!!!!


Sssstop forcing your heterosexual agenda on us plz!

maestrowork
04-28-2011, 01:46 AM
I hear you.

I'm not interested in books about Walloons, people who have chihuahuas, or viola players.

Haggis is gonna hate you for that.

Kitty27
04-28-2011, 01:49 AM
Yeah, it's all about the boinking.

(You forgot the Sarcasm Alert dude! But I fixed it for ya

Which is why we're still fighting DOMA. And getting married in the eight states where we can get married.



This is ridiculous. Gay=THE SEX,OMG! Chiiiiiiile,with extra I's.

I saw gay character and thought of Milo from JK's books or maybe Mitchell from James Earl Hardy's books. You know,a detective or a writer.

I fully admit that hard abs crossed my mind afterward. But then I am a flaming hussy who likes to look at men's abs, whether he's gay or straight doesn't matter.

maestrowork
04-28-2011, 01:53 AM
Readers look at my author's picture and think of hard abs. There's nothing I can do about it. Except doing more sit-ups.

The steam-jet and stove top hat don't help either.

Reservoir Angel
04-28-2011, 02:00 AM
Yeah, it's all about the boinking.

(You forgot the Sarcasm Alert dude! But I fixed it for ya

Which is why we're still fighting DOMA. And getting married in the eight states where we can get married.
At least you have 8 places gays can get married. In the UK it's one blanket rule: "no gay marriage, only civil unions."

Somehow filling out forms in a government office isn't as romantic...

zegota
04-28-2011, 02:04 AM
At least you have 8 places gays can get married. In the UK it's one blanket rule: "no gay marriage, only civil unions."

Somehow filling out forms in a government office isn't as romantic...

While I completely support gay marriage, to be fair, you have to do a lot of government-office-form-filling regardless of your sexual preference. I have nightmares about standing in the line to get a marriage license application.

maestrowork
04-28-2011, 02:06 AM
Or divorce papers.

Shoot I just thought of sex again.

vrabinec
04-28-2011, 02:06 AM
If there is no reference to the MC's love interests, if there is no pursuit of anyone, or flirting, etc..I'd never know the difference, even if I knew from word one that the MC was gay. That said, if there IS any part of the novel during which sexuality is discussed, and I don't know the statistics, but I'd guess about 80% of all books have some of that aspect in them, then it would take something away from the reading experience because I like to sympathize with the MC and in that moment when the narrative or dialogue turns sexual or flirtatious, it would drop me out of the fictive dream. I would no longer be living that person's life, I'd be reading about someone's life. So, if it really is minor, then I wouldn't mind, but if there are four or five instances, I'd probably put the book down.

It's odd. I could read a book with a murderer as the POV character, but I'd put a book down with a gay person as the POV character. I have nothing against gays, I have a gay frat buddy, I'm all for gay marriage, but I can't drop into the head of someone gay, because I can't imagine ever wanting that. With murder, I can imagine circumstances in which I'd kill someone. Now, I may not smpathize with a murderer as a POV character, because he didn't meet my threshold of what it would take to push me over that edge, but I can take my mind to that place and live with it more easily in something I'm reading than I can to take my mind to that point with a gay POV MC.

Some of my crit partners write m/m erotica, and I can get through the early chapters before it gets hot and heavy, but I stop when it does. Just not something I want to read about. I think a lot of people would be the same way. If you're showing two guys in love like the guys in Four Weddings and a Funeral, everything's fine. Love those two guys. Love the interaction. Make it anything heavier, and I'm betting you'll lose readers.

Kitty27
04-28-2011, 02:08 AM
Readers look at my author's picture and think of hard abs. There's nothing I can do about it. Except doing more sit-ups.

The steam-jet and stove top hat don't help either.


Tis okay. Steampunk conjures up dirty thoughts for some.


Talking about marriage makes me see redrum:rant::Soapbox:.


But I support gay marriage all the way. Love be love and they have the right to ye olde ball and chain from hell, excuse me- a husband or a wife.

maestrowork
04-28-2011, 02:16 AM
If there is no reference to the MC's love interests, if there is no pursuit of anyone, or flirting, etc..I'd never know the difference, even if I knew from word one that the MC was gay. That said, if there IS any part of the novel during which sexuality is discussed, and I don't know the statistics, but I'd guess about 80% of all books have some of that aspect in them, then it would take something away from the reading experience because I like to sympathize with the MC and in that moment when the narrative or dialogue turns sexual or flirtatious, it would drop me out of the fictive dream. I would no longer be living that person's life, I'd be reading about someone's life. So, if it really is minor, then I wouldn't mind, but if there are four or five instances, I'd probably put the book down.

I understand this, actually. But I have a problem understanding the difference between reading about a flirtatious gay person vs. a killer. Does that mean you can imagine being a killer and sympathize with that character, but since could never imagine yourself being gay, that you can't sympathize? That seems a bit odd to me.

What if you're reading a story told from the point of view of a woman? Does that also take you out of your fictive dream, since you probably can't imagine being a woman, who may also be having sex with a man? What if that character is being raped by a man? That would explain why some men have trouble reading stories told from a female's point of view.

I'm not disputing this or arguing against it. It's all reasonable. We all have our preferences in what we read, etc. However, it simply means you won't be the target audience of such stories.

None of this is a reason for a writer NOT to write anything.

ChaosTitan
04-28-2011, 02:16 AM
Um, guys? This is getting a tad off-topic for both thread and forum....

Kitty27
04-28-2011, 02:17 AM
If there is no reference to the MC's love interests, if there is no pursuit of anyone, or flirting, etc..I'd never know the difference, even if I knew from word one that the MC was gay. That said, if there IS any part of the novel during which sexuality is discussed, and I don't know the statistics, but I'd guess about 80% of all books have some of that aspect in them, then it would take something away from the reading experience because I like to sympathize with the MC and in that moment when the narrative or dialogue turns sexual or flirtatious, it would drop me out of the fictive dream. I would no longer be living that person's life, I'd be reading about someone's life. So, if it really is minor, then I wouldn't mind, but if there are four or five instances, I'd probably put the book down.

It's odd. I could read a book with a murderer as the POV character, but I'd put a book down with a gay person as the POV character. I have nothing against gays, I have a gay frat buddy, I'm all for gay marriage, but I can't drop into the head of someone gay, because I can't imagine ever wanting that. With murder, I can imagine circumstances in which I'd kill someone. Now, I may not smpathize with a murderer as a POV character, because he didn't meet my threshold of what it would take to push me over that edge, but I can take my mind to that place and live with it more easily in something I'm reading than I can to take my mind to that point with a gay POV MC.

Some of my crit partners write m/m erotica, and I can get through the early chapters before it gets hot and heavy, but I stop when it does. Just not something I want to read about. I think a lot of people would be the same way. If you're showing two guys in love like the guys in Four Weddings and a Funeral, everything's fine. Love those two guys. Love the interaction. Make it anything heavier, and I'm betting you'll lose readers.


I'm not like that at all. Gay people have the same wants, needs,and desires as the rest of us. That includes shagging. I wouldn't have a problem reading about two guys or two ladies getting their freak on. It isn't the character's sexuality that defines him or her. It's a part of who they are,but it isn't everything. For me,I look at their personality. I adore Milo from the JK books. I can relate to his struggles easily. I like Mitchell from the James Earl Hardy books and the first one was full of sex scenes,which were quite hot. But it was Mitchell's personality that drew me first. If a writer creates a gay character,I fully expect to see all facets of his or her life. That includes romance,dating,relationships,etc.

The readers that will be lost aren't ones that a writer wants anyway. Those that have an issue with explicit gay scenes and not hetero ones,well,I won't say anything further. I'm sure that gay fans read hetero sex ALL the time in their favorite books and they don't run shrieking in horror because the straights are bumping manly and lady bits together.

Reservoir Angel
04-28-2011, 02:24 AM
Um, guys? This is getting a tad off-topic for both thread and forum....
Sowwy :(

:e2zipped:

Mara
04-28-2011, 02:24 AM
Really, I doubt the minority who would have a problem with it would really make much difference overall, especially because you might get people who find it more interesting and recommend it to friends.

vrabinec
04-28-2011, 02:28 AM
I understand this, actually. But I have a problem understanding the difference between reading about a flirtatious gay person vs. a killer. Does that mean you can imagine being a killer and sympathize with that character, but since could never imagine yourself being gay, that you can't sympathize? That seems a bit odd to me.

What if you're reading a story told from the point of view of a woman? Does that also take you out of your fictive dream, since you probably can't imagine being a woman, who may also be having sex with a man? What if that character is being raped by a man? That would explain why some men have trouble reading stories told from a female's point of view.

I'm not disputing this or arguing against it. It's all reasonable. We all have our preferences in what we read, etc. However, it simply means you won't be the target audience of such stories.

None of this is a reason for a writer NOT to write anything.

Yeah, it's an odd dynamic. Novels written with a female protag I can read and not lose the fictive dream unless the POV character starts getting explicit about the male features. I was fine with Dagny Taggart being "taken" by Hank Rearden and John Galt, but that was because the scenes were described in non specific terms. Kind of the "his hands were all over me", which is cool, but if Rand had dropped something like "and then Dagny rubbed his crotch and felt his erection, and it flet big and warm in her hand", that wouldv'e dropped me out of it, because I don't want to feel a guy's hardon in my hand, the instinct is to pull it away. I don't know why I can handle a murder with the murderer as the POV character. Maybe I'm capable of it muahaha. Of course, I hunt and gut deer, so killing a person isn't that big of a leap. I'm not sure what the psychological dynamics at play are.

Selah March
04-28-2011, 02:28 AM
...Now, I may not smpathize with a murderer as a POV character, because he didn't meet my threshold of what it would take to push me over that edge, but I can take my mind to that place and live with it more easily in something I'm reading than I can to take my mind to that point with a gay POV MC.


This is going to sound snarky, and I really don't mean to, because I appreciate your honesty and forthrightness, but I have to ask...how many people would a fictional character have to murder before you'd feel like you had less in common with him than with the average gay man?

ETA: We cross-posted. Your second post clarifies things for me. Thank you.

zegota
04-28-2011, 02:37 AM
This is going to sound snarky, and I really don't mean to, because I appreciate your honesty and forthrightness, but I have to ask...how many people would a fictional character have to murder before you'd feel like you had less in common with him than with the average gay man?

ETA: We cross-posted. Your second post clarifies things for me. Thank you.

It doesn't really to me, and it weirds me out that someone could identify with a man, woman, murderer, boy wizard, what have you -- but a homosexual is off limits. But we're each entitled to our own personal feelings, so that's all I'll say on the matter. It seems the OP's question has been sufficiently answered -- write it!

Reservoir Angel
04-28-2011, 03:01 AM
Meh. Why would an adult secretly think he's gay in order to upset his parents? This makes no sense to me. Even as dumb teenage rebellion, this doesn't really make sense--it's hard enough being actually gay in oppressive circumstances, why would he fake it for funsies?
It's not like he just did it for shits and giggles. Human psychology is a massive collection of "why the fuck?" essentially.

There's every possibility it could transpire that someone is so sick of their parents and their torment that they subconsciously think of themselves as something their parents despise.

Same as gay people who end up thinking they're straight because of external and psychological factors but in reverse.

I dunno, it was just a possibility is all since to get the level of psychological torment into someone of mid-University age you'd have to start early and very few parents can tell from an early age if their young child is a homo.

zegota
04-28-2011, 03:13 AM
I dunno, it was just a possibility is all since to get the level of psychological torment into someone of mid-University age you'd have to start early and very few parents can tell from an early age if their young child is a homo.

Really? I've heard that this is very often the opposite of the case. Many parents (not all, certainly) of gay children have said "I knew very early on..." and some of those follow up with, ".. but I just didn't want to admit it."

Reservoir Angel
04-28-2011, 03:19 AM
Really? I've heard that this is very often the opposite of the case. Many parents (not all, certainly) of gay children have said "I knew very early on..." and some of those follow up with, ".. but I just didn't want to admit it."
Really? I know many gay people and their families and I've only heard about 2 cases of this, and even then it was "I suspected" early on.

...And suspecting is just the sort of thing a batshit insane, overbearing, old-fashioned delusional homophobic mother would get set off by and prompt her to flip out and treat the kid like shit and totally oppress him for most of his life to "keep him safe" from the "evil of homosexuality", making him naturally distrustful of people and fearful that everybody secretly hates him for what he is, because she repeatedly told him everyone hates gays...

...the horror of which forced him to retreat into himself as well as trying to escape through fiction, hence the large library and massive DVD collections that he engrosses himself in, particularly detective/murdery mystery fiction as it allows him a way of seeing how people could potentially kill him, feeding his paranoia...

...hey, I have a potential back-story. Sweet.

movieman
04-28-2011, 03:47 AM
But the minute someone talks about a queer character, in a thread, people start think about teh sex.

When someone talks about a war hero character, do you not start thinking of battles and medals? That doesn't mean that you need those scenes in your novel, but that is what ultimately distinguishes them from the other characters in the novel (and real life), because that is the distinguishing characteristic that the author chose to give them.

When you deliberately choose a characteristic to differentiate your character from Mr or Ms Average, you should not be surprised that your readers think about that difference.

Reservoir Angel
04-28-2011, 03:52 AM
When you deliberately choose a characteristic to differentiate your character from Mr or Ms Average, you should not be surprised that your readers think about that difference.
I'd be surprised if they thought of it immediately since I don't plan to even reveal his sexuality, just hint at it and make it seem like even the character himself is still unsure.

And if people are so hung up on a borderline-irrelevant aspect of a character (he never gets any action anyway) rather than the story he's taking part in, something's wrong with how I'm telling that story. So it's the narrative focus that needs to be altered, not the character.

cwfgal
04-28-2011, 04:38 AM
My current series features a pretty prominent secondary character who is gay, a public official, and in a stable relationship. He's not the MC but he is the MC's best friend, landlord, and boss. Gay issues are mentioned in all the books. There's no explicit sex but there's plenty of innuendo, both straight and gay.

Beth

Matthew Colville
04-28-2011, 04:57 AM
Does anyone have any knowledge of the general straight consensus about reading non-gay-interest books that have gay MCs. I'm not exactly an expert on straight people's mindsets...I still can't even figure out why they're so fascinated with boobs. :Shrug:

Oh, and another thing. Is there any significant change in opinion about homosexual MCs when the character in question is a lesbian, as opposed to a gay man?

Wow, three pages already!

I think it depends on your genre, which is not--I realize--a terribly insightful comment.

I have a gay character in a couple of scenes in my first novel, fantasy. He ranked #1 on the list of characters Beta Readers wanted to see more of. But more than one reader ASSURED me that most fantasy readers would freak out and not want to read anymore and I should plan on an agent or editor asking me to cut him.

No idea if they're right, but it wasn't a lone voice in the wilderness saying this. Probably there's nothing to it.

zegota
04-28-2011, 04:57 AM
When someone talks about a war hero character, do you not start thinking of battles and medals? That doesn't mean that you need those scenes in your novel, but that is what ultimately distinguishes them from the other characters in the novel (and real life), because that is the distinguishing characteristic that the author chose to give them.

When you deliberately choose a characteristic to differentiate your character from Mr or Ms Average, you should not be surprised that your readers think about that difference.

Maybe I think of battles and medals, but I don't think of the main character ripping out a Vietnamese mother's throat out with his bare hands. That's basically the equivalent of jumping from "MC loves men" to "OMG you put images of nasty gay sex in my head!!!!" It's the exact same argument people use to say that gay men holding hands in public somehow forces them to talk to their 5-year-old kids about sex.

Medievalist
04-28-2011, 05:08 AM
When you deliberately choose a characteristic to differentiate your character from Mr or Ms Average, you should not be surprised that your readers think about that difference.

Thank you for making my point so very beautifully.

BenPanced
04-28-2011, 05:21 AM
I'm bemused that someone would make sexuality a distinguishing feature of a character and then be surprised that it would make readers think about sex.

Every choice an author makes about their characters is going to impact the way the reader thinks about those characters; if you made your character a war hero I'm sure you wouldn't be bemused to find that the readers immediately started thinking about battles and medals.
Every time I pick up a book with heterosexual characters, I never assume there's automatically going to be buckets of teh str8 secks. Why should I, and why should people automatically assume it's going to be wall-to-wall sexual description in GLBT fiction?

maestrowork
04-28-2011, 06:42 AM
When someone talks about a war hero character, do you not start thinking of battles and medals? That doesn't mean that you need those scenes in your novel, but that is what ultimately distinguishes them from the other characters in the novel (and real life), because that is the distinguishing characteristic that the author chose to give them.

When you deliberately choose a characteristic to differentiate your character from Mr or Ms Average, you should not be surprised that your readers think about that difference.

Being gay is no more distinguishing than being straight. I mean, seriously? If I say Mary the straight girl you won't be thinking about sex, but if I say John the gay guy you immediately think of sex? And being gay is not average? I happen to know quite a few gay people who are rather average. In fact, I wouldn't know they were gay if they hadn't told me, and after they told me, my reaction was: So? I didn't suddenly think "Oh, what do they do in their bedroom?"

You need to get out more.

Sirion
04-28-2011, 08:14 AM
Most straight men are unlikely to want to read a story with a gay (male) main character. Females are much more likely to be open to it, but still, I'd say it's a small target to hit.

A.V. Hollingshead
04-28-2011, 08:17 AM
I don't care much at all about the sexuality of characters, and my only gripe about reading LGBT protagonists is that the fact that they are gay becomes a plot point in half of the things I've read it in. Some homophobe is a prominent character, or else we have a "is he or isn't he?" subplot if romance becomes involved. I wouldn't mind a story with a couple of gay guys and that's just the end of it. They might have romance, sex, whatever, but the fact that they are gay isn't really brought up.

Anyway, I write non-LGBT fiction with a gay protagonist. I mostly made him gay because I needed for him to be in a romantic relationship with another character, and neither of them really worked well as females. Some people are going to be turned off by it, some people aren't. It doesn't matter much to me. The sort of people who would want to read my novel are likely not going to be homophobes...

BenPanced
04-28-2011, 10:02 AM
Most straight men are unlikely to want to read a story with a gay (male) main character. Females are much more likely to be open to it, but still, I'd say it's a small target to hit.
Cite, please.

Mom'sWrite
04-28-2011, 10:49 AM
Or divorce papers.

Shoot I just thought of sex again.

BINGO!

Jettica
04-28-2011, 03:43 PM
I have a story in the heavily-planned, barely-written stage. It just sort of happened that my protagonist is a gay male and finds comfort from everything he is going through (not sexuality related) a relationship with his psychologist.

Their sexuality and relationship has exactly the same effect on the story than if one of them (or both of them) were female. The only thing is that neither of them work as girls. Not sure why.

The plot is all about memory loss, time-travel and murder. The MC clearly needs the comfort of a hot, ginger doctor.

(I am thinking about sex now...)

The way I look at it is the gender and sexuality of a MC is irrelevant. If I like the plot then I will read a book. However, if there is a gay male MC, then bonus! In fact I know I prefer male MCs all round.

In the same way I know I like zombies, sci-fi, space ships and feathers in the books I read.

If you don't want to read a gay MC, no worries. The next person might not want to read a female MC.

/waffle

brainstorm77
04-28-2011, 04:47 PM
Cite, please.

I don't know if anyone can cite anything proving if it's true for all. However, I will go with my own experience with straight men and most of them(that I know) would not read a book with a gay MC. Again, I am basing this on straight men that I know, and not the world population.

zegota
04-28-2011, 05:09 PM
Well, I'll say that most straight men I know (including myself) would have no problem with it. So once anecdote blasted with another.

It also looks like you write Romance (or Erotica, I can't quite tell), brainstorm, and that's a case where I'd agree with you. Romance is supposed to evoke a very specific type of feeling in the reader. I wouldn't likely want to read a Gay romance any more than I'd want to read a pure-romance with a female main character (though Erotica with a female protag would probably be okay -- Tab-A Slot-B works regardless of gender, after all). But I see no reason why any open-minded straight male would refuse to read a gay protagonist in a setting where his sexuality isn't being constantly ... erm ... examined.

brainstorm77
04-28-2011, 05:44 PM
Well, I'll say that most straight men I know (including myself) would have no problem with it. So once anecdote blasted with another.

It also looks like you write Romance (or Erotica, I can't quite tell), brainstorm, and that's a case where I'd agree with you. Romance is supposed to evoke a very specific type of feeling in the reader. I wouldn't likely want to read a Gay romance any more than I'd want to read a pure-romance with a female main character (though Erotica with a female protag would probably be okay -- Tab-A Slot-B works regardless of gender, after all). But I see no reason why any open-minded straight male would refuse to read a gay protagonist in a setting where his sexuality isn't being constantly ... erm ... examined.

Actually you just backed up my point, so thanks :)

We can only speak about what we experience and not the straight male population as a whole. I suspect most of us will have had different experiences with this.

Yes, that's what I write. But when I made that comment I wasn't speaking about the romance or erotica genre since that doesn't seem to be what this thread is about.

Some straight men are going to be more open than others. It takes all types to make a world.

ETA: Most of my readers are in fact, female.

Reservoir Angel
04-28-2011, 06:04 PM
We can only speak about what we experience and not the straight male population as a whole. I suspect most of us will have had different experiences with this.
This is what confused me about this issue.

I know guys on all 3 variants of attitudes:

1) Guys who don't care
2) Guys who are okay with knowing someone's gay but don't want to see that shit
3) Guys who don't want anything to do with gays at all

Since I know a lot of people from all 3 groups (I know there's more subtle shades in there, I'm just keeping it simple) I was just sort of...unsure...about this whole "gay character that doesn't build himself around being gay" thing.

veinglory
04-28-2011, 07:35 PM
I once hung around Mercedes lackey fan site and plenty of straight men there had read the Herald-Mage trilogy without experiencing gay panic.

The mere existence of books that are selling well with gay MCs seems to me to answer the question.

maestrowork
04-28-2011, 09:19 PM
Most straight men are unlikely to want to read a story with a gay (male) main character. Females are much more likely to be open to it, but still, I'd say it's a small target to hit.

"Most"?

Be careful when you use that word. I'll grant you that many won't read it. But many will. C'mon, give the straight guys some credit.

maestrowork
04-28-2011, 09:22 PM
1) Guys who don't care
2) Guys who are okay with knowing someone's gay but don't want to see that shit
3) Guys who don't want anything to do with gays at all


I know

1) Guys who don't care one way or another about romance
2) Guy who are okay with romance but don't want to read it
3) Guys who don't want anything to do with romance at all


I also know

1) Guys who don't care one way or another about Walloons
2) Guy who are okay with Walloons but don't want to read it
3) Guys who don't want anything to do with Walloons at all
I mean, really, who cares? Are you writing to please everyone? No? Then why even ask that question?

Jonathan Dalar
04-28-2011, 10:18 PM
Every time I pick up a book with heterosexual characters, I never assume there's automatically going to be buckets of teh str8 secks. Why should I, and why should people automatically assume it's going to be wall-to-wall sexual description in GLBT fiction?

The difference is that in "straight" novels, they're just that. They're novels about crime and mystery and things that crawl out of the sewers and the list goes on and on. The story is about those things, not the sexual inclinations of the major character.

I don't care if the author of a book is gay. I don't care that his main character is gay. It's inconsequential and only relevant if it directly impacts the plot. If the book is about a futuristic crime stopper who gets caught up in a bad deal gone worse, I might read it. Because it's about that story, not the character's inclination for or against the ladies.

In GLBT fiction, the underlying theme is just that. It's stated in the genre. So yea, if the genre in question is romance or erotica, then you'd probably be on target expecting buckets of teh str8 secks. If it's GLBT, I'd expect to possibly read about teh not-so str8 secks. And if it's labeled GLBT and not specifically written about that lifestyle or relationships, then it's just fiction masquerading as political posturing.

Jonathan Dalar
04-28-2011, 10:25 PM
I'd be surprised if they thought of it immediately since I don't plan to even reveal his sexuality, just hint at it and make it seem like even the character himself is still unsure.

And if people are so hung up on a borderline-irrelevant aspect of a character (he never gets any action anyway) rather than the story he's taking part in, something's wrong with how I'm telling that story. So it's the narrative focus that needs to be altered, not the character.

That's probably a good course of action no matter what the subject material. The more you can force the reader's mind to figure out on its own, the better.

The same principles at work here are the ones at work with describing your character's physical appearance and filling in back story. Less is more, and if you wordsmith it just enough to give your readers an understanding, but not enough to go over every little detail they should be filling in themselves, well then I think you have a winner.

Kitty Pryde
04-28-2011, 10:26 PM
Gay is not synonymous with sex. Seriously. Gay "lifestyle" is not synonymous with gay sex. A book about gays is not synonymous with a book about gay sex. A book that appeals to the gay community is not synonymous with a book about gay sex. GAY PEOPLE DO MORE THAN HAVE SEX, AND THERE ARE BOOKS WRITTEN ABOUT THESE MYSTERIOUS GAY NON-SEX ACTIVITIES!

I get that a lot of straight guys are frightened by teh gay sex and like murder better than man-love, because, well, at least reading about murder doesn't turn you into a murderer, UNLIKE READING ABOUT TEH MAN LOVE WHICH TURNS YOU GAY AS A TREE FULL OF PINK TAP-DANCING MONKEYS! Seriously, though, my friends: anti-gay bigotry is unattractive.

Kitty Pryde
04-28-2011, 10:37 PM
It's not bigoted to not wish to read various sex scenes. That's personal preference. I totally agree.

It's bigoted to not want to read about two dudes who like each other, not want to read about a dude who is gay lest he have frightening gay thoughts, to think that any book about a gay person is chock full of gay sex, to think that gay means gay sex, and to fear gay people, real or fictional.

brainstorm77
04-28-2011, 10:38 PM
Gay is not synonymous with sex. Seriously. Gay "lifestyle" is not synonymous with gay sex. A book about gays is not synonymous with a book about gay sex. A book that appeals to the gay community is not synonymous with a book about gay sex. GAY PEOPLE DO MORE THAN HAVE SEX, AND THERE ARE BOOKS WRITTEN ABOUT THESE MYSTERIOUS GAY NON-SEX ACTIVITIES!

I get that a lot of straight guys are frightened by teh gay sex and like murder better than man-love, because, well, at least reading about murder doesn't turn you into a murderer, UNLIKE READING ABOUT TEH MAN LOVE WHICH TURNS YOU GAY AS A TREE FULL OF PINK TAP-DANCING MONKEYS! Seriously, though, my friends: anti-gay bigotry is unattractive.

I agree. People toss gay and sex together all too often.

brainstorm77
04-28-2011, 10:39 PM
It's not bigoted to not wish to read various sex scenes. That's personal preference. I totally agree.

It's bigoted to not want to read about two dudes who like each other, not want to read about a dude who is gay lest he have frightening gay thoughts, to think that any book about a gay person is chock full of gay sex, to think that gay means gay sex, and to fear gay people, real or fictional.

Yeah, I re-read your post because I missread it to start. Sorry about that. I deleted my post because it made no sense to what I was responding too.

I agree with what you're saying.

lenore_x
04-28-2011, 11:11 PM
Some people here seem to be operating under the assumption that being straight is the default mode for humans and gay is just a deviation. This is kind of like assuming that having brown eyes is the default mode for humans, and green eyes are just a deviation. (If I recall correctly green eyes and gayness occur at roughly equal proportions throughout the population.)

It's not a deviation; it's just a different trait. Gay people spend a lot of time not having gay sex. Green-eyed people spend a lot of time not pondering their green eyes. Gayness happens to be a bigger deal because our society is like ZOMG THE GAYZ, but I assure you it's actually a pretty unremarkable quality.

perspicacious
04-28-2011, 11:13 PM
I am a straight person and all I do is have sex all the time and think about sex I do nothing else but sex sex sex sex

HOW DOES THAT FIT INTO YOUR PARADIGM

edit: sex

lenore_x
04-28-2011, 11:15 PM
STOP IT, perspicacious, you're going to trigger maestrowork and Kitty to think about heterosexuality again!!! :/

Reservoir Angel
04-28-2011, 11:16 PM
I am a straight person and all I do is have sex all the time and think about sex I do nothing else but sex sex sex sex

HOW DOES THAT FIT INTO YOUR PARADIGM

edit: sex
Oh, won't somebody PLEASE think of the children!?

brainstorm77
04-28-2011, 11:19 PM
Oh, won't somebody PLEASE think of the children!?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh2sWSVRrmo They have! :D

maestrowork
04-28-2011, 11:21 PM
Children? Where do children come from? Of course, sex.

Sex, sex, sex.

I guess I can't write about children either. I don't want to offend my gay readers.

brainstorm77
04-28-2011, 11:22 PM
Children? Where do children come from? Of course, sex.

Sex, sex, sex.

Really? According to the parent(s) bashing Judy Mays, they got them under tree stumps in the forest left by fairies.

Reservoir Angel
04-28-2011, 11:23 PM
Children? Where do children come from? Of course, sex.

Sex, sex, sex.
Argh, stop it! The mental images of vaginas and straight intercourse are damaging my fragile homosexual mind!

Kitty Pryde
04-28-2011, 11:24 PM
Children? Where do children come from? Of course, sex.

Sex, sex, sex.

I guess I can't write about children either. I don't want to offend my gay readers.

Nooooo babies come from turkey basters and I won't hear otherwise!!!! Stop spreading your heterosexual agenda all over the intertubes!

brainstorm77
04-28-2011, 11:25 PM
Argh, stop it! The mental images of vaginas and straight intercourse are damaging my fragile homosexual mind!

Then stop picturing your parents doing it! :ROFL:

lenore_x
04-28-2011, 11:28 PM
Look how quickly this thread has descended into debauchery because of straight people mucking it up with their sex obsession.

maestrowork
04-28-2011, 11:29 PM
Like Stephen King says, everything in literature is about sex on some level, whether you recognize it or not. It's an integral part of humanity. And sex titillates, excites, intrigues, frightens, offends, etc. And that's what makes stories so interesting, to reflect the human condition.

And the fact is, the readers' reaction ("ew, two guys are kissing. Ew!") reveals more about the readers than the writers/writing. Sometimes people are just grossed out by sex, anyway, regardless of sexual preferences.

Sometimes it's good to stop and reflect on why we have such visceral reaction to certain things, and more often than not it has more to do with our upbringing and innate prejudice than anything else. What we're used to, instead of what is inherently right or wrong. That's why you have someone who is fine with reading about murderers, but gay love... terrible! To me, who effing care if it's two guys, two girls or a straight couple? They are all interesting. ;)

However, if you write about people eating eggplants and raisins, I may have to puke.

brainstorm77
04-28-2011, 11:30 PM
I have to admit, I write sex scenes a lot. But as a reader I usually skim through them. :Shrug:

Medievalist
04-28-2011, 11:31 PM
However, if you write about people eating eggplants and raisins, I may have to puke.

I'm reporting your post.

Disgusting!

Reservoir Angel
04-28-2011, 11:34 PM
However, if you write about people eating eggplants and raisins, I may have to puke.
That's discrimination and you know it. :tongue

maestrowork
04-28-2011, 11:35 PM
Now think about people having sex with eggplants and raisins.

zegota
04-28-2011, 11:44 PM
Now think about people having sex with eggplants and raisins.

Better that than eating them.

Anne Lyle
04-29-2011, 01:19 AM
Most straight men are unlikely to want to read a story with a gay (male) main character.

In some genres, maybe. But in mine (fantasy), non-straight characters have been commonplace for years. I can understand that maybe straight guys don't want to read gay romance or erotica, but most SF&F books aren't about teh sxxx anyway, so unless you're homophobic, the characters' orientation really shouldn't be an issue.


Females are much more likely to be open to it, but still, I'd say it's a small target to hit.

Yeah, right. That's why gay romance is flourishing in the small presses and starting to spread into the big publishers. We girls hate to see hot guys getting it on together, just like you guys hate to see lipstick lesbians doing the smoochies ;)

I have some (soft focus) gay sex in my book, and a bisexual male MC, yet my entirely straight (AFAIK) male editors are loving it. Admitted this is for a publishing company that revels in the offbeat, but a non-straight MC is really not a show-stopper in most genres.

Reservoir Angel
04-29-2011, 01:27 AM
so unless you're homophobic, the characters' orientation really shouldn't be an issue.
I hope to have more interesting stuff going on than just "this character is a man. he loves men. isn't that unusual in fiction?" focusing.

If I can't create something significantly interesting enough to draw focus away from a minor aspect of the MC like his sexuality, I shouldn't even be writing this thing to begin with.

latourdumoine
04-29-2011, 01:43 AM
I thought it was the stork that brought the babies? Damn, another childhood myth busted right there.

Seriously though, like some posters said, you really can't please anyone, and if it's not a gay character they have issues with, it's bound to be something else. But the key is, can the reader connect? For me personally, what makes a character likable is that small quirk or thing that I can relate to, regardless of whether the MC is gay / straight, another gender, from a different culture (one I might not be able to relate to on the surface, at least not immediately), a mythical being.

The way I tried to relate to your question was through names. To me they are very important. Some names I just can't take to (the way some straight people just can't take to gay sex). But one of my favorite shows has an MC with a name I absolutely cannot stand, and I love that character.


Another example that just sprang to mind in terms of that little extra something that helps relate to a character is Dracula. I refused to watch those movies because a) they scared me senseless and b) I just didn't see the point in any of them. To me they were just blood and gore. I made myself read Bram Stoker's Dracula, and it did nothing for me. But when I happened to see Francis Ford Coppola's version, what really got me was the reincarnation angle, and how he would risk everything, even eternal damnation for the love of his life (of course admiring Gary Oldman as an actor also helped;)). Likewise, Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian is one of my favorite books. I didn't realize what it was when I picked it up at the airport and by the time it was clear, I was so scared out of my wits, I couldn't leave the apartment at night, but completely hooked.

Point being, just write it. And as long as you believe in your character and don't make him clichéd, you'll be fine.

Reservoir Angel
04-29-2011, 02:03 AM
The way I tried to relate to your question was through names. To me they are very important. Some names I just can't take to (the way some straight people just can't take to gay sex).
That just makes me more worried about people not getting into the character (if you'll excuse such wording in a thread where homosexuality has been mentioned) and I've been batting his name around for as long as I've had the character in my head. I can never settle on a proper name.

Most recently I had him set as "Adrian" and I'm liking that, but in the sleepless night before that it went through multiple variants, from the common like "Frank" to the ludicrous-in-modern times like "Nicodemus".

But stupidly-obsessive naming issues aside, I see what you're trying to say, and thanks for the input :D

And just so it doesn't seem like I'm showing favouritism because you've read "Dracula"...

...thanks for the input so far everybody. It's been insightful, helpful and downright amusing. :D

whimsical rabbit
04-29-2011, 02:14 AM
I'd gladly read about gay, straight, black, white, short, tall, fat and thin people, as well as all sorts of animals, aliens and fairies. As long as they're realistic, compelling, full-dimensional characters in interesting plots, you've captured me as a reader.

And precisely because I'd gladly read all of the above, I'm arrogant confident enough to say I'd competently write them too. My passion is character. The reason I write is mainly character. My talent, skill and main strength lie in character. Even my thesis focuses on character.

Don't sweat too much about it. There will always be homophobes that will refuse to read about gay characters. Racists that will refuse to read about blacks. Religious fundies that will refuse to read about atheists, and hardcore atheists that will sneer at religious protagonists. There will be X nationals that will refuse to read about Y nationals, and Republicans that will refuse to read about Democrats, and vice versa. You will never be able to please absolutely everybody.

But if you write consistent, realistic, unique characters, you're likely to win the majority of readers.

Good luck to you. :)

Reservoir Angel
04-29-2011, 02:17 AM
I'd gladly read about gay, straight, black, white, short, tall, fat and thin people, as well as all sorts of animals, aliens and fairies. As long as they're realistic, compelling, full-dimensional characters in interesting plots, you've captured me as a reader.

And precisely because I'd gladly read all of the above, I'm arrogant confident enough to say I'd competently write them too. My passion is character. The reason I write is mainly character. My talent, skill and main strength lies in character. Even my thesis focuses on character.

Don't sweat too much about it. There will always be homophobes that will refuse to read about gay characters. Racists that will refuse to read about blacks. Religious fundies that will refuse to read about atheists, and hardcore atheists that will sneer at religious protagonists. There will be X nationals that will refuse to read about Y nationals, and Republicans that will refuse to read about Democrats, and vice versa. You will never be able to please absolutely everybody.

But if you write consistent, realistic, unique characters, you're likely to win the majority of readers.

Good luck to you. :)
Thanks :)

Btw, I read your entire post imagining a rabbit talking to me in the voice of Jeremy Irons. So thank you for that inadvertent awesomeness.

zegota
04-29-2011, 02:36 AM
I'd gladly read about gay, straight, black, white, short, tall, fat and thin people, as well as all sorts of animals, aliens and fairies. As long as they're realistic, compelling, full-dimensional characters in interesting plots, you've captured me as a reader.

And precisely because I'd gladly read all of the above, I'm arrogant confident enough to say I'd competently write them too. My passion is character. The reason I write is mainly character. My talent, skill and main strength lies in character. Even my thesis focuses on character.

Don't sweat too much about it. There will always be homophobes that will refuse to read about gay characters. Racists that will refuse to read about blacks. Religious fundies that will refuse to read about atheists, and hardcore atheists that will sneer at religious protagonists. There will be X nationals that will refuse to read about Y nationals, and Republicans that will refuse to read about Democrats, and vice versa. You will never be able to please absolutely everybody.

But if you write consistent, realistic, unique characters, you're likely to win the majority of readers.

Good luck to you. :)

Well damn. My protagonist is a gay biracial atheist North Korean Republican :-/

Kitty27
04-29-2011, 02:38 AM
I'd gladly read about gay, straight, black, white, short, tall, fat and thin people, as well as all sorts of animals, aliens and fairies. As long as they're realistic, compelling, full-dimensional characters in interesting plots, you've captured me as a reader.

And precisely because I'd gladly read all of the above, I'm arrogant confident enough to say I'd competently write them too. My passion is character. The reason I write is mainly character. My talent, skill and main strength lies in character. Even my thesis focuses on character.

Don't sweat too much about it. There will always be homophobes that will refuse to read about gay characters. Racists that will refuse to read about blacks. Religious fundies that will refuse to read about atheists, and hardcore atheists that will sneer at religious protagonists. There will be X nationals that will refuse to read about Y nationals, and Republicans that will refuse to read about Democrats, and vice versa. You will never be able to please absolutely everybody.

But if you write consistent, realistic, unique characters, you're likely to win the majority of readers.

Good luck to you. :)

Despite that frightful and evil looking rabbit avi,I completely agree.

ETA:Please don't forget descriptions of rock hard abs. I have a one track mind about them. Show me the pretty,please!

latourdumoine
04-29-2011, 02:43 AM
That just makes me more worried about people not getting into the character (if you'll excuse such wording in a thread where homosexuality has been mentioned) and I've been batting his name around for as long as I've had the character in my head. I can never settle on a proper name.

Most recently I had him set as "Adrian" and I'm liking that, but in the sleepless night before that it went through multiple variants, from the common like "Frank" to the ludicrous-in-modern times like "Nicodemus".


Okay, I really did not mean to do that. :D But just to add to the paranoia angle (if it's any comfort, I've had my fair share of paranoia when it comes to writing, right now it's how much of this (real life situation) can I use before I alienate the person who provided the inspiration in the first place). If I was nitpicking, I would have jumped on "batting" more than "getting into". And if you were to pass this around in a pub, I'm sure people would pick out different words entirely, depending on levels of drunkenness.

Think of it as answering a question in class, back in middle school or even high school. Some of the kids will sneer, some will look bored, some won't even have heard anything, and some will use that to add something else, building on what you just said.

I'd just write it for now. You'll have plenty of time and opportunity to pick it apart later. Once you start thinking about who will take issue with what and where, it tends to build up like a domino effect, and in the end you focus on that instead of the writing itself. I do get where you're coming from though, see my comment in parentheses above. So I'll heed my own advice as well and get back to it. :)

And damn, I knew Dracula would come in handy at some point in my life. ;)

whimsical rabbit
04-29-2011, 02:52 AM
Thanks :)

Btw, I read your entire post imagining a rabbit talking to me in the voice of Jeremy Irons. So thank you for that inadvertent awesomeness.

Thanks. I'm a girl but I do happen to think that Jeremy Irons has the sexiest voice ever given to a male human being, so I'll take that as a compliment. :D

Well damn. My protagonist is a gay biracial atheist North Korean Republican :-/

Bring it on any time. pal. :D

Despite that frightful and evil looking rabbit avi,I completely agree.

Remember what they say: Forget appearances, it's all about what's inside. :D


ETA:Please don't forget descriptions of rock hard abs. I have a one track mind about them. Show me the pretty,please!

*makes a note to include more abs for Kitty's sake.*

Reservoir Angel
04-29-2011, 02:55 AM
Thanks. I'm a girl but I do happen to think that Jeremy Irons has the sexiest voice ever given to a male human being, so I'll take that as a compliment. :D
I'm a guy and I almost share your view. There's one actor I think has a sexier voice, but I'm pretty much in love with said actor to the point I pretty much visualise him as every main male character I write (I might be obsessed...) so I'm very biased towards him.

Still there is no denying Jeremy Irons voice is pretty much an aphrodisiac ;)

Anne Lyle
04-29-2011, 03:04 AM
I see your Jeremy Irons and raise you an Alan Rickman :)

Jettica
04-29-2011, 03:33 AM
I have some (soft focus) gay sex in my book, and a bisexual male MC, yet my entirely straight (AFAIK) male editors are loving it. Admitted this is for a publishing company that revels in the offbeat, but a non-straight MC is really not a show-stopper in most genres.

I wanted to read your book anyway. But now even more!

Anyway, what about all those gay readers who don't want to read a straight MC...

Also, I wouldn't read a book that contained celery in large doses.

maestrowork
04-29-2011, 04:02 AM
Also, I wouldn't read a book that contained celery in large doses.

Now you really made me think of sex.

Kitty27
04-29-2011, 04:10 AM
Thanks. I'm a girl but I do happen to think that Jeremy Irons has the sexiest voice ever given to a male human being, so I'll take that as a compliment. :D




Bring it on any time. pal. :D



Remember what they say: Forget appearances, it's all about what's inside. :D



*makes a note to include more abs for Kitty's sake.*


GAWD,yes. JI could recite the phonebook dressed in an Easter Bunny costume and I'd be all over it.

I shall overcome my irrational rabbit prejudice one day.It is an ongoing process.

Yes,ma'am. Purty,glistening,and HARD abs all day. I am shallow. I can't help it. Gay guys +their abs are from the heavens above! Straight men come in a close second. Be LURID with the descriptions,please. AbHolic is a hard affliction to overcome. Don't judge me,please.
Character development, plot, romance and such should also follow.

Write anything you like,folks! There is an audience for everything. If the character comes to you as GLBT,go for it. Write them with respect and realness. I will surely read it.

BenPanced
04-29-2011, 05:21 AM
In GLBT fiction, the underlying theme is just that. It's stated in the genre. So yea, if the genre in question is romance or erotica, then you'd probably be on target expecting buckets of teh str8 secks. If it's GLBT, I'd expect to possibly read about teh not-so str8 secks. And if it's labeled GLBT and not specifically written about that lifestyle or relationships, then it's just fiction masquerading as political posturing.
:Huh: So if a mystery has a detective who's gay and goes home to his boyfriend at the end of the book, with the issue of his sexual preferences pretty much treated as parenthesis and the main focus of the story being the dead librarian, even though nobody really says anything about the detective's relationship with his boyfriend except in the first and last chapters, how the hell is that "political posturing"? Does it have to be mentioned on every frigging page of the book? Does the first sentence of the first chapter have to be "Shane Michaels was a gay detective who was gay"? Please. Enlighten me.

BenPanced
04-29-2011, 05:24 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ImRyPymRAM

maestrowork
04-29-2011, 05:39 AM
This thread tells me that "being gay" is still a stigma, still being treated as "something different and not normal." That if you make a point of saying someone is gay (as opposed to if someone has freckles or one arm or is a nun), you're politically posturing, shoving that gay agenda down our throats.

When in reality, I go to dinner with my gay friends and never did we even make a big fuzz over that. I see the gay actor Neil Patrick Harris and I enjoy him playing a womanizer on How I Met Your Mother, just as I saw the straight actor Tom Hanks and I enjoyed him playing gay in Philadelphia. I must be sheltered since I live in an environment with a circle of friends where our respective sexualities are a non-issue, like my skin color or their professions, or whether they like whole milk and I like soy. I talk about my dates and they talk about their husbands. To me it is: Gay, straight, what is the big effing deal?

I treat my reading like I treat real life. I read about interesting characters. I wouldn't give a flying eff whether they're straight or gay or green, as long as they interest me. So write me a damn good story with damn good characters. Everything else is just details. The human condition doesn't change.

BenPanced
04-29-2011, 05:50 AM
:deadhorse:pinata

And as mentioned before about forty-kabillion times, separating genres out into a GLBT section is more of a marketing construct.

*self-banninates self from thread and goes off to do gay things*

maestrowork
04-29-2011, 05:53 AM
And as mentioned before about forty-kabillion times, separating genres out into a GLBT section is more of a marketing construct.

Which I think can be rather silly and counterproductive, on the part of the publishers or booksellers. Just because a main character is gay doesn't mean it's now a GLBT book. It really depends on the themes and what the story is about. I mean, by that token, is there a "straight fiction" section at Barnes & Noble?

veinglory
04-29-2011, 05:55 AM
Not everything with a gay MC ends up in that section either. It's all rather arbitrary.

Anne Lyle
04-29-2011, 11:16 AM
To me, a book only belongs in the LGBTQ "genre" if the story's main focus is on the MC dealing with issues arising from that, e.g. coming-out stories, or is non-straight romance/erotica.

A crime novel in which the detective happens to be gay and sometimes has to deal with the consequences of that is no different, IMHO, than one with, say, a single-parent detective who has to juggle family responsibilities. If it's just characterisation and not axe-grinding, then it shouldn't make a difference to the reading experience.

Phaeal
04-29-2011, 06:18 PM
I see your Jeremy Irons and raise you an Alan Rickman :)

Alan Rickman is responsible for the avalanche of pornographic Snape fan-fiction, gay and straight and mixed grill. He has a LOT to answer for.

Reservoir Angel
04-29-2011, 06:22 PM
Alan Rickman is responsible for the avalanche of pornographic Snape fan-fiction, gay and straight and mixed grill. He has a LOT to answer for.
Some people like older guys with sexy purring accents.

Personally I prefer the Draco Malfoy slash fiction...

Phaeal
04-29-2011, 06:26 PM
And I must record my indignation about the blatant animal-centric views that have been expressed in this thread. Eggplants and raisins and celery are just like everybody else -- they have hopes and dreams and seeds to worry about. And so what if the three of them want to get together in a killer curry or moussaka?

I hope the mods will be more sensitive to anti-vegetable remarks in the future.

Phaeal
04-29-2011, 06:27 PM
Some people like older guys with sexy purring accents.

Personally I prefer the Draco Malfoy slash fiction...

Snape/Draco.

Reservoir Angel
04-29-2011, 06:30 PM
Snape/Draco.
Oh lord no. I find Snape's voice sexy but imaging him doing...ew, just no.

Draco/Harry is the best there is. Luckily it's also one of the most widely-written. But tbh, Draco/any male character is pretty much good, with obvious exceptions (Lucius, Voldemort and pretty much any older character).

I remember seeing a Fred/Draco/George one once that was very enjoyable.

zegota
04-29-2011, 06:50 PM
Draco/Harry is the best there is.

How about Ginny/Hermione? Let's be equal opportunity here.

crunchyblanket
04-29-2011, 07:50 PM
I hope the mods will be more sensitive to anti-vegetable remarks in the future.

A cabbage killed my cat, ran off with my husband and took my job. Bloody vegetables.

Jonathan Dalar
04-29-2011, 08:19 PM
:Huh: So if a mystery has a detective who's gay and goes home to his boyfriend at the end of the book, with the issue of his sexual preferences pretty much treated as parenthesis and the main focus of the story being the dead librarian, even though nobody really says anything about the detective's relationship with his boyfriend except in the first and last chapters, how the hell is that "political posturing"? Does it have to be mentioned on every frigging page of the book? Does the first sentence of the first chapter have to be "Shane Michaels was a gay detective who was gay"? Please. Enlighten me.

No. If it was treated that way, I'd call it mystery. The fact that he's gay in this instance is little different than if he was left handed, because it's a character detail that has little to nothing to do with plot.

If it was GBLT fiction, the theme would certainly play a larger part, I'd think. And that's really all I was trying to say.

The way the op described how the character was going to be handled suggested to me that it isn't even close to GBLT fiction. The question might as well have been "what do you guys think of a character that's a redhead?"

Phaeal
04-29-2011, 10:14 PM
Oh lord no. I find Snape's voice sexy but imaging him doing...ew, just no.

Draco/Harry is the best there is. Luckily it's also one of the most widely-written. But tbh, Draco/any male character is pretty much good, with obvious exceptions (Lucius, Voldemort and pretty much any older character).

I remember seeing a Fred/Draco/George one once that was very enjoyable.

My claim to fame was in the Remus/Sirius line, although my personal fav was a particularly filthy Tom Riddle/Slughorn. :D

Phaeal
04-29-2011, 10:16 PM
A cabbage killed my cat, ran off with my husband and took my job. Bloody vegetables.

Okay, yeah, cabbages are like that. But leave eggplants out of it.

maestrowork
04-30-2011, 12:21 AM
Eggplants and raisins. There's just something wrong with that pair.

whimsical rabbit
04-30-2011, 12:39 AM
I see your Jeremy Irons and raise you an Alan Rickman :)

Alan Rickman is responsible for the avalanche of pornographic Snape fan-fiction, gay and straight and mixed grill. He has a LOT to answer for.

And I must record my indignation about the blatant animal-centric views that have been expressed in this thread. Eggplants and raisins and celery are just like everybody else -- they have hopes and dreams and seeds to worry about. And so what if the three of them want to get together in a killer curry or moussaka?

I hope the mods will be more sensitive to anti-vegetable remarks in the future.

A cabbage killed my cat, ran off with my husband and took my job. Bloody vegetables.

Okay, yeah, cabbages are like that. But leave eggplants out of it.

Eggplants and raisins. There's just something wrong with that pair.

For a minute I was scared this thread was going to end up in pain and tears. Glad to see it's taken a completely different direction altogether. :D

Phaeal
04-30-2011, 01:36 AM
Eggplants and raisins. There's just something wrong with that pair.

I happen to know that in Tolkien's original version, Sam wants to put eggplants and raisins in the famous rabbit stew, not silly old taters. But short-sighted editorial naysayers made him change the recipe.

Um, about the rabbit stew, no offense meant, whimsical.

zegota
04-30-2011, 01:49 AM
I happen to know that in Tolkien's original version, Sam wants to put eggplants and raisins in the famous rabbit stew, not silly old taters. But short-sighted editorial naysayers made him change the recipe.

Um, about the rabbit stew, no offense meant, whimsical.

What's eggplants, eh?

IceCreamEmpress
04-30-2011, 11:53 AM
Well damn. My protagonist is a gay biracial atheist North Korean Republican :-/

Oh, no!!!!1!!! Not you, too!!!! Please tell me yours isn't a stamp-collecting professional bagpipe player who saves the lives of the Queen's corgis, because otherwise I've wasted the last two years of my life.

;(

bearilou
05-01-2011, 08:54 PM
I see your Jeremy Irons and raise you an Alan Rickman :)

Gideon Emery gets my vote!

Also, possibly only tangentially apropos to the thread, I've just picked up a huge pile of recommended books and authors now. Thanks, everyone... :flag: It's not like I don't have a HUGE TBR pile already.

And I like whole milk.

maestrowork
05-01-2011, 08:59 PM
And I like whole milk.

That does it! I've leaving.

crunchyblanket
05-02-2011, 02:00 AM
Gideon Emery gets my vote!



Gideon Emery is audio sex. Particularly as Balthier in FF12

bearilou
05-02-2011, 02:38 AM
Gideon Emery is audio sex. Particularly as Balthier in FF12

*searches for the Like button*

WriteMinded
05-02-2011, 03:46 AM
Well, you certainly got yourself a big response.

And The Maestro is getting all huffy.

Just want to put in my two bits: Yes. Your post made me think of sex. Why is that surprising? The words, bisexual, homosexual, heterosexual all make me think of sex. Same with straight, gay, and bi. They are references to sexuality.

Guess I'm just twisted. What should it make me think about? No. Don't answer that.

whimsical rabbit
05-02-2011, 05:06 AM
Um, about the rabbit stew, no offense meant, whimsical.

:e2faint:

Meh- none taken. I know you wouldn't eat harmless little bunnies, Phaeal.

Oh, no!!!!1!!! Not you, too!!!! Please tell me yours isn't a stamp-collecting professional bagpipe player who saves the lives of the Queen's corgis, because otherwise I've wasted the last two years of my life.

;(

Say, did you just mention stamp-collectors?

Stamp collectors???

You know, as I said I can read pretty much about anyone. Except maybe from stamp collectors, and even worse, non-stamp collectors. These two fall outside the impenetrable walls of my tolerance!

Jamesaritchie
05-02-2011, 05:18 AM
Well, let's get real for a minute. Should or shouldn't has nothing to do with it. Right or wrong, a gay main character DOES make the book a homosexual novel for millions of people out there. Publishers know this. I'd guess it would also bother reader who like to identify with the protagonist, or to go a step further, want to be the protagonist for the duration of the story, and simply can't do this with a homosexual protagonist.

My guess is this probably wouldn't be a factor for many publishers, until and unless market share said otherwise. Or unless their previous research says market share would fall too far.

brainstorm77
05-02-2011, 05:23 AM
Homosexual novel? I didn't know novels could be gay or straight.:ROFL:

With all jokes aside, my best advice is to write the book you want with the characters you want.

Medievalist
05-02-2011, 05:46 AM
Well, let's get real for a minute. Should or shouldn't has nothing to do with it. Right or wrong, a gay main character DOES make the book a homosexual novel for millions of people out there. Publishers know this. I'd guess it would also bother reader who like to identify with the protagonist, or to go a step further, want to be the protagonist for the duration of the story, and simply can't do this with a homosexual protagonist.

James, once again, you prove that you don't know what you're talking about.

Publishing has changed since 1997.

Have you, you know, actually been reading books?

Let's look at:

Robert B. Parker. Looking for Rachel Wallace (http://www.amazon.com/Looking-Rachel-Wallace-Robert-Parker/dp/0440153166/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1304294404&sr=1-1). 1980.

This is frequently cited as Parker's best novel; nor is it the only one with queer characters.

Laurie R. King. A Grave Talent (http://www.amazon.com/Grave-Talent-Laurie-R-King/dp/0553573993/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1304294525&sr=1-1). 1993. The first in a series, and King's debut novel, it features San Francisco lesbian homicide inspector Kate Martinelli. This particular book won both the Edgar Award for Best First Novel and the John Creasy award in the UK (awarded to the best crime novel by a debuting author).

Elizabeth Bear. Hammered, Scardown, and World Wire (http://www.amazon.com/Hammered-Elizabeth-Bear/dp/0553587501/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1304294679&sr=1-11). 2005 Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Bear often has realistic, believable queer leading characters, without a lot of hand-waving.

Ellen Kushner. Swordspoint (http://www.amazon.com/Swordspoint-Ellen-Kushner/dp/0553585495/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1304295117&sr=1-1). 2003. Queer hero and main characters; started the Mannerpunk genre. Followed by two other books in the same setting/alternate history, including The Privilege of the Sword (http://www.amazon.com/Privilege-Sword-Ellen-Kushner/dp/0553586963/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_3). 2007. Won numerous awards, including New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age, was a finalist for the Nebula and Tiptree Awards, and won the Locus Award.

These are mainstream mass-market novels from big six publishers in the genres I know best (mystery, SF and Fantasy)--but I'm sure others can suggest more books that are mainstream genre fiction. Queer fic is all over the market for lit fic; it's old news.

You need to read more Mr. Ritchie; the world is changing.

maestrowork
05-02-2011, 05:50 AM
Right or wrong, a gay main character DOES make the book a homosexual novel for millions of people out there.


That's unfortunate. That goes with any minorities: Asian-American protagonists, African-Americans, people with disabilities, women, etc. So in order for a book to be mainstream it has to be about white, straight, Christian males then?

Publishers know this. I'd guess it would also bother reader who like to identify with the protagonist, or to go a step further, want to be the protagonist for the duration of the story, and simply can't do this with a homosexual protagonist.

You have a very narrow view, and are wrong. The fact that many "general" and "mainstream" (not to mention genres) novels feature gay characters, sometimes main characters, means: no, it doesn't automatically become a homosexual/GLBT novel.

And what about female protagonists? By your assertion, that means a man would never want to read female protagonists, or a woman would not want to read males, because "shoot, I can't identify with them." And the homophobic aspect of the last sentence is simply mind-boggling. Really? You may think that way, and you may have problems reading about homosexual characters, but I don't think you can speak for all the straight men or women in the world, JAR. Some of us are very open-minded, you know...

Alan Yee
05-02-2011, 06:03 AM
Ellen Kushner. Swordspoint (http://www.amazon.com/Swordspoint-Ellen-Kushner/dp/0553585495/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1304295117&sr=1-1). 2003. Queer hero and main characters; started the Mannerpunk genre. Followed by two other books in the same setting/alternate history, including The Privilege of the Sword (http://www.amazon.com/Privilege-Sword-Ellen-Kushner/dp/0553586963/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_3). 2007. Won numerous awards, including New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age, was a finalist for the Nebula and Tiptree Awards, and won the Locus Award.


Actually, Swordspoint was originally published in 1987. It was just reprinted in mass market paperback by Spectra in 2003, along with three of the short stories that feature Richard and/or Alec.

Medievalist
05-02-2011, 09:13 AM
You know, as I said I can read pretty much about anyone. Except maybe from stamp collectors, and even worse, non-stamp collectors. These two fall outside the impenetrable walls of my tolerance!

Not a philately fan?

NCHammerhead
05-02-2011, 10:04 AM
I don't normally jump into arguments like this, but I feel compelled to speak up on this one..

Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6097081#post6097081)
Right or wrong, a gay main character DOES make the book a homosexual novel for millions of people out there.
Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6097081#post6097081)
Right or wrong, a gay main character DOES make the book a homosexual novel for millions of people out there.

I agree with what jamesaritchie says. Right or wrong (and in my opinion: wrong), there are millions of small-minded, homophobic people who would refuse to read a book if they know the MC is gay. These are probably the same people who got all huffy at the thought that Dumbledore was gay. These are probably the same millions who don't believe gays should be allowed basic civil rights, like protection from hate crimes. And certainly millions don't believe in extending equal rights -- I can name approximately 50 of them who currently have jobs in the US Senate. In their small-minded opinions, its okay for a drunk man to marry a hooker on a spur of the moment ceremony in Vegas, but two men in a committed monogamous relationship threatens the sanctity of marriage. It makes no sense to me, but they somehow are able to rationalize it.

I don't think jamesaritchie is saying all (or even a majority of) heterosexuals are like this, but that fact that there are millions is an undisputable fact. Having a gay MC can instantly mean a loss of possible readers. Does this mean that you should avoid making your MC gay? Absolutely not. Write the character that you want to write. If the publisher think it could hurt sales, they may ask you to change it. And if its done right, maybe you can make a small difference in a few closed-minded people.

I now stand down from my soapbox.

HelloKiddo
05-02-2011, 10:30 AM
Not a philately fan?

I'm not but I am a fan of Lady Chatterley.

Having a gay MC can instantly mean a loss of possible readers.

I don't think anyone is disagreeing with this NC. I think they're saying that shouldn't stop you from writing the book.

maestrowork
05-02-2011, 10:35 AM
I don't think jamesaritchie is saying all (or even a majority of) heterosexuals are like this, but that fact that there are millions is an undisputable fact. Having a gay MC can instantly mean a loss of possible readers. Does this mean that you should avoid making your MC gay? Absolutely not. Write the character that you want to write. If the publisher think it could hurt sales, they may ask you to change it. And if its done right, maybe you can make a small difference in a few closed-minded people.

Like I said before, you can't write to please EVERYONE. If you write fantasy, millions of people won't read it. If you write romance, you might just have lost 1/2 of the adult reading population. If you write sci-fi horror romance with sparkling zombies, you may have an even smaller audience (but I'm so tons of people on AW would rush out to read it! :) ) So I am not sure how one can argue about this, or why it should be a concern, unless you plan to conquer the world with your book.

Definitely there will be people who wouldn't be caught dead reading a book with gay characters in it. And certainly there will be people who wouldn't be caught dead reading a book with sparkling vampires. So there's really no point of arguing about that, right or wrong, should or shouldn't. But that's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't write it, and the notion that a publisher will not publish it because of gay characters is bogus: so many books like that have been published, some of them even best-sellers. So obviously there are enough people (and yes, straight men and women, too) who will read them.

Again, write a good book with great characters. You'll be fine.

Anne Lyle
05-02-2011, 01:39 PM
Definitely there will be people who wouldn't be caught dead reading a book with gay characters in it...But that's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't write it, and the notion that a publisher will not publish it because of gay characters is bogus: so many books like that have been published, some of them even best-sellers. So obviously there are enough people (and yes, straight men and women, too) who will read them.

Again, write a good book with great characters. You'll be fine.

QFT.

Plus, the last thing any artist should be doing is pandering to an audience they despise. And when I say "artist", you don't have to be writing Great Literature to espouse a world view you believe in. I write escapist fluff - it just happens to be intelligent escapist fluff :)

bearilou
05-02-2011, 05:11 PM
there are millions of small-minded, homophobic people who would refuse to read a book if they know the MC is gay.

While I can appreciate what you and James are trying to say, and I wouldn't disagree on a whole, I can't help but wonder one thing.

All these 'millions of readers' that would be turned off by a gay MC...how many readers would be gained by having a gay MC? How many LGBT readers out there wouldn't jump at the chance to say 'ZOMG look! A MC that I can identify with. An MC where I can want to be the protagonist for the duration of the story!'

I can imagine there are a great number of readers out there who are tired of reading the same kind of MC (straight white male) in all the books and would welcome something different. So...all those readers you lose by writing a gay MC, how many will you gain in this day and age? Will this 'loss' be felt so poignantly?

The world is changing.

...even if some of you out there like soy milk...

veinglory
05-02-2011, 07:44 PM
No need to theorize, look up the sales figures for recent detective novels with gay MCs.

crunchyblanket
05-02-2011, 09:12 PM
Agree with everyone else who has pointed out the folly of writing to appease an audience whose opinions you fundamentally disagree with...if a person is actively going to be put off reading what you've written because the sexuality of your MC (or any character) makes them feel inherently uncomfortable...well, it's no big loss to you as a writer. Write what feels true to your world, to your characters.

Medievalist
05-02-2011, 09:58 PM
I don't think jamesaritchie is saying all (or even a majority of) heterosexuals are like this, but that fact that there are millions is an undisputable fact.

As someone who is exceedingly familiar with Mr. Ritchie's post history--yes, that's exactly what he's asserting.

Again.

Having a gay MC can instantly mean a loss of possible readers. Does this mean that you should avoid making your MC gay? Absolutely not. Write the character that you want to write. If the publisher think it could hurt sales, they may ask you to change it.

These days, a publisher who does that faces a fair amount of negative publicity. See what happens when a heteronormative editor makes a stupid decision and an author withdraws the submission (http://jessicaverday.blogspot.com/2011/03/being-gay-is-okay.html).

One of the many problems with Mr. Ritchie's assertion is that millions of readers refuse/decline/simply don't buy any book.

Moreover, the kind of people who tend to panic at teh gay, generally aren't buying lots of books. Mr. Ritchie of course is an exception.

Phaeal
05-02-2011, 10:21 PM
The world is changing.

...even if some of you out there like soy milk...

I keep hearing Cate Blanchett:

The world is changed.
I feel it in the water.
I feel it in the earth.
I smell it in the air.

And I'm totally bi, because I not only like both cow milk and soymilk, I will even MIX THEM TOGETHER.

Fear me.

maestrowork
05-02-2011, 11:49 PM
I hate eggplants. I won't read anything that has eggplants and raisins in it, especially in the same scene.

ChaosTitan
05-02-2011, 11:52 PM
I hate eggplants. I won't read anything that has eggplants and raisins in it, especially in the same scene.

Why is it that I see this and think of it as a challenge? :e2writer:

Anne Lyle
05-03-2011, 12:11 AM
I hate eggplants. I won't read anything that has eggplants and raisins in it, especially in the same scene.

What about snails and oysters? ;)

maestrowork
05-03-2011, 12:14 AM
What about snails and oysters? ;)

I happen to like both.

Whut? Are we still talking about food?

;)

maestrowork
05-03-2011, 12:15 AM
Why is it that I see this and think of it as a challenge? :e2writer:

We should have an "eggplant and raisin" writing contest.

Winner gets a bowl of boiled eggplants mashed with raisins.

Reservoir Angel
05-03-2011, 12:15 AM
I happen to like both.

Whut? Are we still talking about food?

;)
We were talking about food? I assumed this was all sexual metaphors, which makes my next comment very suspect:

Snake meat is delicious ;) :D

ChaosTitan
05-03-2011, 12:17 AM
We should have an "eggplant and raisin" writing contest.

Winner gets a bowl of boiled eggplants mashed with raisins.

:scared: <--we need a nauseated smilie

maestrowork
05-03-2011, 12:18 AM
We were talking about food? I assumed this was all sexual metaphors, which makes my next comment very suspect:

Snake meat is delicious ;) :D

It really depends on if you're French, Spanish or Chinese.

But everything tastes good with butter. Lots of butter.

Reservoir Angel
05-03-2011, 12:19 AM
It really depends on if you're French, Spanish or Chinese.

But everything tastes good with butter. Lots of butter.
Indeed. Hot, dripping, melt-in-your-mouth butter.

Are we still talking in metaphors here? *shifty eyes*

maestrowork
05-03-2011, 12:24 AM
Julia Child would be rolling in her grave....

crunchyblanket
05-03-2011, 02:02 AM
Eggplant is a weird name. I prefer Aubergine. It sounds less awful.

I love aubergines. And I love raisins. But which is better? There's only one way to find out.....


FIIIIIIGHT

Reservoir Angel
05-03-2011, 02:08 AM
Eggplant is a weird name. I prefer Aubergine. It sounds less awful.

I love aubergines. And I love raisins. But which is better? There's only one way to find out.....


FIIIIIIGHT
Kudos on the Harry Hill reference my good man. :)

whimsical rabbit
05-03-2011, 02:08 AM
Indeed. Hot, dripping, melt-in-your-mouth butter.

Are we still talking in metaphors here? *shifty eyes*

Julia Child would be rolling in her grave....

Knock it off. Both of you. Now. I just came back from my Easter break in Greece and I'm struggling to lose all the extra weight I put by eating chocolate, cakes and other fattening food for ten days in a row... :cry:

crunchyblanket
05-03-2011, 02:16 AM
Kudos on the Harry Hill reference my good man. :)

Lady ;)

Someone had to do it!

Reservoir Angel
05-03-2011, 02:20 AM
Knock it off. Both of you. Now. I just came back from my Easter break in Greece and I'm struggling to lose all the extra weight I put by eating chocolate, cakes and other fattening food for ten days in a row... :cry:
Sorry bunny :(

I'll just leave now. Besides my deep-pan double-cheese, ham and pepperoni pizza is almost ready anyway, then I might go out and get some ice cream from the shops.

:D

Lady ;)
My apologies m'lady *tips tophat*

maestrowork
05-03-2011, 02:31 AM
Try the eggplant and raisin pizza.

whimsical rabbit
05-03-2011, 02:39 AM
Sorry bunny :(

I'll just leave now. Besides my deep-pan double-cheese, ham and pepperoni pizza is almost ready anyway, then I might go out and get some ice cream from the shops.

:D:rant:


Try the eggplant and raisin pizza.

Thank you for making me appreciate my boiled potatoes and salad, Ray.

By the way, reading all that yummy stuff Greg was eating in 'The Pacific Between' made me live on Chinese food for three consecutive days. So you're clearly the one to blame for my excessive indulgences (and not my unlimited greed.)

Kitty27
05-03-2011, 02:59 AM
All I require is gratuitous descriptions of abs. LURID abs,please. It doesn't have to be about your main character. Just a supporting character who wanders around shirtless. A lot.

Thanks.

As for people not liking a gay character,think of all the people who would be happy to see someone like them represented and written about in a positive and respectful manner. Think of all the people like me who have zero problems with reading about a LGBT character.I say it all the time about multicultural fiction. There is an enormous audience that is begging for it and there are straight folks like me who don't just say GAY,OMG,the horror, and run away.

The argument that people won't identify with a LGBT character is the bastard cousin of the idea that says people won't identify with a character of color and those books won't sell,either. Sure,there are people like that and they continue to breed more,unfortunately. But there are also people who don't give a what about that sort of thing.

There is the issue of being human and we all have traits that can easily be identified with by another person,if we take the time to know someone and not focus on just a part of the person and ignore everything else about them.

maestrowork
05-03-2011, 03:14 AM
:
By the way, reading all that yummy stuff Greg was eating in 'The Pacific Between' made me live on Chinese food for three consecutive days. So you're clearly the one to blame for my excessive indulgences (and not my unlimited greed.)

Greg also ran a lot... did you? Ah, so don't blame ME!!!!

WriteMinded
05-03-2011, 07:24 PM
I like carrots. I'm not enamored of eggplants but that wouldn't stop me reading a novel with an eggplant for an MC.

maestrowork
05-03-2011, 07:42 PM
I like carrots. I'm not enamored of eggplants but that wouldn't stop me reading a novel with an eggplant for an MC.

What if the eggplant is doing it with the cauliflower?

xcomplex
05-03-2011, 07:49 PM
We've all got great points here. It really depends on the reader. I myself have nothing against, but was never keen on reading anything with a gay protag. I actually never even picked up a book which has a gay protag from like Chapters, so....Cheers!

Medievalist
05-03-2011, 08:40 PM
baigan bharta (http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/2009/10/09/baingan-bharta-eggplant/), or Szechuan style (http://chinese.food.com/recipe/szechuan-style-eggplant-aubergine-82889)

All the cool kids are doing it.

maestrowork
05-03-2011, 09:34 PM
baigan bharta (http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/2009/10/09/baingan-bharta-eggplant/), or Szechuan style (http://chinese.food.com/recipe/szechuan-style-eggplant-aubergine-82889)

All the cool kids are doing it.

I'm reporting your post. No eggplant p0rn allowed here.

crunchyblanket
05-04-2011, 12:11 AM
What if the eggplant is doing it with the cauliflower?

how did you discover my secret kink?

maestrowork
05-04-2011, 12:16 AM
Don't forget to use lots of butter. Just saying

Reservoir Angel
05-04-2011, 02:47 AM
Don't forget to use lots of butter. Just saying
Don't worry, I always do ;)

Phaeal
05-04-2011, 02:54 AM
Can we move this discussion over to the Culinary Erotica forum?

zegota
05-04-2011, 03:04 AM
Can we move this discussion over to the Culinary Erotica forum?

I think they deleted that board after the takoyaki thread got out of hand.