Read Books By AWers!

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

editing for authors ad

A publisher or agency using Google ads to solicit your novel probably isn't anyone you want to write for.


Go Back   Absolute Write Water Cooler > Pop Culture > QUILTBAG
Register FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-11-2013, 05:42 AM   #1
writingguy
American in England
 
writingguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: England
Posts: 101
writingguy is on a distinguished road
Early Signs a MC is Gay

Hi all,

I'm still a relatively new poster on these forums, and I haven't ventured into this particular subforum before (didn't know it existed)!

My question is this: the MC in my YA/possibly MG urban fantasy story is gay. This gets brought up when one character accuses him of having a crush on another, but it's not really mentioned much before that. The reason is mostly because there are bigger fish to fry in his story. He isn't decided on who he is yet, and he's got other things to be thinking about, like whether his life is in danger.

A beta reader told me they felt it sort of came out of nowhere, and that made me stop and wonder whether there was merit to this. I'm resistant to changing how I've approached it because - well, if the shoe was on the other foot and he was accused of liking a girl, I doubt anyone would say "you never told me early on he liked girls".

Any thoughts? I recognize it's hard to say without reading the text but wanted some other opinions.

How early do any of you like to know that a character's gay? Do you think it matters?

Thanks in advance!
writingguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2013, 05:51 AM   #2
Medievalist
Cultus Gopherus MacAllister
SuperModerator
 
Medievalist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: An meodoheall monig dreama full
Posts: 25,536
Medievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
Originally Posted by writingguy View Post
I'm resistant to changing how I've approached it because - well, if the shoe was on the other foot and he was accused of liking a girl, I doubt anyone would say "you never told me early on he liked girls".
That's pretty much my take on it.
__________________

AW Admin
About.Me
AWers On Twitter
Lisa L. Spangenberg
My opinions are my own. | Who else would want them?
Medievalist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2013, 06:00 AM   #3
triceretops
Super Browser
 
triceretops's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: In a van down by the river
Posts: 11,576
triceretops is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentstriceretops is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentstriceretops is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentstriceretops is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentstriceretops is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentstriceretops is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentstriceretops is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentstriceretops is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentstriceretops is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentstriceretops is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentstriceretops is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
I dunno, I pretty much get it out of the way to show its normalcy in my storyline. I have really nothing to hide or spring upon the reader.

She couldn’t quite tell where his hands were unless they were north of the small of her back. He sure was spending a lot of time down there. She could feel him really shoving hard because the hardboard support above her mattress was abrading the bottom or her rib cage.
Are you kneading my fanny again, Ollie?” asked Diane. “Because you’re spending a lot of time down there. I’m having serious doubts about your gayness. You wouldn’t be having any straight thoughts lately, would you?” She giggled.
“Nope. Not going over to the dark side anytime soon.”
triceretops is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2013, 06:18 AM   #4
Bookewyrme
Imagined half of it.
 
Bookewyrme's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Home Sweet Home
Posts: 4,862
Bookewyrme is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBookewyrme is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBookewyrme is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBookewyrme is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBookewyrme is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBookewyrme is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBookewyrme is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBookewyrme is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Personally, I think it depends on how you're telling the story. Is it 1st POV, or 3rd? 3rd Omni or close? How deeply are you in the character's head? How old is the character, and where is he developmentally? If you're in his head, and he's old enough/developed enough, he's going to be having...urges. Desires and looks and lusts and all that stuff that teenagers have going on inside their heads about the gender(s) they're attracted to. So, it would seem pretty odd if you're not occasionally showing that, to help round out the character.

On the other hand, if it's an omni POV and you're not really getting much into the character's thoughts, or he's not yet getting enough into puberty to really think about sex yet, then I would think it wouldn't come up until later.

Final thought: Did you have this response from one beta, or all the betas? If it was one, and all the others (you have several, right?) didn't mention it, then I wouldn't worry too much about it. If all your betas were mentioning that they found that jarring, then maybe you'd better go back and see if you can do something to make it less jarring.

Anyway. Good luck. ^_^
__________________
Lia Wolff
Writing Blog: Ex Libris Bookewyrme
Social Media: @LiaWolff Tumblr
Bookewyrme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2013, 07:23 AM   #5
absitinvidia
A bit of a wallflower
 
absitinvidia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Earth-that-was
Posts: 996
absitinvidia has earned our admirationabsitinvidia has earned our admirationabsitinvidia has earned our admirationabsitinvidia has earned our admiration
Quote:
Originally Posted by triceretops View Post
"Are you kneading my fanny again, Ollie?” asked Diane.

I have to admit, I did a triple take on this. "fanny" means wildly different things depending on your variety of English.
absitinvidia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2013, 07:53 AM   #6
Medievalist
Cultus Gopherus MacAllister
SuperModerator
 
Medievalist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: An meodoheall monig dreama full
Posts: 25,536
Medievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsMedievalist is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
Originally Posted by absitinvidia View Post
I have to admit, I did a triple take on this. "fanny" means wildly different things depending on your variety of English.
__________________

AW Admin
About.Me
AWers On Twitter
Lisa L. Spangenberg
My opinions are my own. | Who else would want them?
Medievalist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2013, 05:13 PM   #7
writingguy
American in England
 
writingguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: England
Posts: 101
writingguy is on a distinguished road
Yeah, here in merry-old-England there'd be a LOT of doubt as to whether a guy was gay if he was kneading a fanny!

The character in question is 13 and I'm writing from 3rd POV. Personally I think I developed early. I'm sure I could feel "stomach flutters" in third grade but I don't think I knew what having that crush really meant. I know kids were starting to date when I was in middle school so he's right on the cusp of heading into that territory.

So I've kept it minimal for a few reasons. He's just hitting an age where kids are talking about dating; he doesn't have many friends, so it's not like he's seriously thinking about romance much. And if he was, in the midst of that he's questioning who he is. On top of that he's yanked away into the fantasy element which sidetracks his life for a while (the accusation comes near the middle of the book when things are more 'routine').

I've tried to treat it as normally as I can but I do have to admit something that gives me pause is the target age.

Although I've always imagined YA lately I've wondered if someone would try to push it to MG. I know kids read up. What gives me pause is the idea that parents would possibly be turned off of the book by the inclusion of a gay character. I know I can't write just to satisfy others, but I do take it into consideration. Maybe that's kept me from screaming "he's gay" on page 1 as much as the other reasons, but I'm not sure I could dismiss that reason entirely.
writingguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2013, 05:27 PM   #8
Roger J Carlson
Moderation in All Things
AW Moderator
 
Roger J Carlson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: West Michigan
Posts: 12,643
Roger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
Originally Posted by writingguy View Post
A beta reader told me they felt it sort of came out of nowhere, and that made me stop and wonder whether there was merit to this. I'm resistant to changing how I've approached it because - well, if the shoe was on the other foot and he was accused of liking a girl, I doubt anyone would say "you never told me early on he liked girls".
If a beta reader thinks something just came out of nowhere, you should seriously consider the issue. When someone tells you something is wrong, they're usually correct. When they tell you how to fix it, however, they're usually wrong.

It doesn't necessarily mean that you have to introduce a character's orientation (or his confusion about it) earlier, but maybe you need to foreshadow it somehow. Add something earlier which will allow the reader to say, "Oh yeah. That makes sense." when you do introduce the issue.

Remember, "it really happened that way to me" is never an excuse for fiction. Fiction is not real life.
Roger J Carlson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2013, 02:50 AM   #9
Kim Fierce
Attack me with everything you have.
 
Kim Fierce's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Indiana
Posts: 1,366
Kim Fierce is a splendid one to beholdKim Fierce is a splendid one to beholdKim Fierce is a splendid one to behold
Well for the age group I think it makes sense. I have a 13 year old and 12 year old girl who are both revealed to be lesbians later on. And if your beta means that there was nothing stereotypical in the MCs behavior to clue the reader in that he's gay, then of course I would ignore that.
__________________
Watch No Turning Back book trailer

My Web Site
Novels/Short stories:
No Turning Back
Amelia's Revolution
Two-Spirit's Red Road
My Secret Pain
The Divide, Book 1: Uprising

Nadine's Voyage--2-14!!
The Divide, Book 2: Unity--3-14!!
Strong Arrow's Warpath--4-14!!
Revolt of the Perfectly Free, paperback short story collection--6-14!!
Kim Fierce is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2013, 04:27 PM   #10
writingguy
American in England
 
writingguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: England
Posts: 101
writingguy is on a distinguished road
While I respect that a beta reader highlighting an issue might mean I should look at it, this beta reader in particular also visualized two characters both of whom are black as blond-haired white women. Does that mean I didn't do a good enough job telling the reader those characters were black? Maybe. But it's literally in the prose when you meet them, and my other beta picked that up. I can't, and won't, call them black every time you see them. So which is at fault: sentences that literally say "an older black woman" and "a short black girl" or a beta that decided they were white instead?

I decided to take the beta's views with a grain of salt. The reason I didn't dismiss the note about the MC's attraction is perhaps because of my sensitivity to how him being gay will be received - both as the MC and the MC of a possible MG work.

I'd rather someone raise the point of "I didn't get the feeling he liked this person" than "I didn't get the feeling he liked boys". The first one, I can fix by making sure his emotions around a certain person are being shown just enough for it not to feel like it comes out of nowhere. The second one would mean adding some stereotypes to his character and I won't do that.

Thanks for all the replies so far, everyone - I really appreciate it. Off to do a little rewriting, I think!
writingguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2013, 04:32 PM   #11
KimJo
Outside the box, with the bunnehz
 
KimJo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: somewhere in Massachusetts
Posts: 3,552
KimJo has a golden reputationKimJo has a golden reputationKimJo has a golden reputationKimJo has a golden reputationKimJo has a golden reputationKimJo has a golden reputation
The one time I had a reader complain about a character's sexuality "coming out of nowhere", it turned out what she actually meant was "How dare you put a gay character in a young adult novel? I don't want my children reading about people like that!" She didn't phrase it quite that way, but when I asked for clarification she admitted she wasn't comfortable with GLBT characters in "children's" fiction. (It was a YA novel aimed at ages 15 and up.)

The character's sexuality wasn't mentioned early on; it was foreshadowed, but very subtly ("I wondered why he was so against taking a date to the dance, but it wasn't really any of my business"). It was a secondary character, though, so his sexuality wasn't a plot point in the main storyline.
__________________
as Jo Ramsey:
My YA site
My YA library
COMING SOON:
Covenant (Dark Path 1), Jupiter Gardens, TBD
High Heels and Lipstick Deep Secrets and Hope 3, Harmony Ink, 2/2015

As Karenna Colcroft
My romance site- Over 18 only!
My romance library
COMING SOON:
Knot Intended, Loose Id, TBD


KimJo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2013, 05:42 PM   #12
thothguard51
A Gentleman of a refined age...
 
thothguard51's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Out side the beltway...
Posts: 9,180
thothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Not to sidetrack on someone else's thread and question, but I too have this issue of how soon do I need to show my MMC is gay...

In one of my fantasy stories, I have a young male MMC, 12-13 years old. He and his sister are best friends and he loves his mother who is very protective of him. But he and his father keep bumping heads and neither one knows why.

During a very early draft of this, I had a beta reader ask me if perhaps the MC was gay and that is why he and the father did not get along. Wow, a light bulb moment occurred and I thought, this is perfect. But if I go this route, I don't want to make him a card board cutout of what straights think being gay is all about and I don't want his sexual preferences to be the over riding theme of the story. It is just one part of who the character is.

In one very early scene I have him practicing archery with a female warrior. She ask him if he and his father had another argument that morning because he is not concentrating. He implies his father never listens to him as he is heir to a throne but he does not want to be heir to the throne. She tells him there are advantages to being heir, like better food, clothing, and his pick of the best girls in the kingdom.

The MC tells her, this is not an advantage. What does he care for girls as they are silly creatures who don't know how to hunt, or fish, and he would rather be with his male friends. It does not dawn on him that the woman he is talking to is female as he thinks of her as a warrior.

OK, that does not hint that the MC is gay because at 12-13, boys are generally just starting to notice girls, but they generally want to be around their guy friends doing guy things...

Then when he is 15, the father and mother are discussing the fact that the father just found out his daughter is not a virgin. She is 15 as well, and the father is distraught. He tells the mother that he expects this type of trouble from his son, but not his daughter. The mother tells him he is wrong, that the son is still the virgin.

OK, this too does not say the character is gay, but I am leading up to the MC's discovery that he prefers men over women and for me, its the little things the readers discover along the way that point to the possibility so when he has his first encounter, the readers are not like, wait..what do you mean he is gay. Where did that come from.

So, does this work, or do I have to show even more when he is younger?
__________________
Knowledge is learned while wisdom is earned.

Currently working on...

From, The Tales of Netherron,
Book 1, A Game of Pawns
Book 2, Pawn takes Queen,
Book 3, Pawn's Gambit,

In the pipeline,
Children of Netherron, follow up trilogy
Guardians of Netherron, prequel trilogy

http://nickanthony51.wordpress.com (on hiatus)

Nick Anthony
thothguard51 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2013, 07:21 PM   #13
writingguy
American in England
 
writingguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: England
Posts: 101
writingguy is on a distinguished road
Hey thothguard - I sidetrack on others' threads all the time (and I have LOADS less posts than you so proportionately I must do it more frequently)!

My opinion is that there's no set "rule" of when you have to show someone discovering these things about themselves. People of all different orientations develop at different times. It's an individual thing. So I think that's my answer to your question of whether you have to show anything younger: no.

On a side note, though, something that stands out to me is I don't entirely understand why your MC/father keep bumping heads before the MC's realization that he prefers men. It sounds like you decided the reason for this was because the MC was gay after your beta suggested this, but I wonder what the reason was in your head before? What about the MC causes his father to feel frustrated? What about the father causes the MC to feel aggravated?

Is it because the boy doesn't embody the father's expectations of masculinity (if so, his father must be uber-masculine if the bow&arrow hunting isn't good enough for him)? Is it because the father's pressuring him to go out and date girls and the boy doesn't entirely feel comfortable? Is it because the father thinks his son isn't being completely honest about something?

I ask because as I read it the boy doesn't seem to question whether he likes boys or girls much, if at all, before he's 15 year old. So what about him causes the father to pick up on the fact he's gay? If his father hasn't picked up on it, then why is it a source of conflict for them? If he has picked up on it, then why aren't those signs being shown to the reader?

Sorry if I'm misunderstanding how you have their relationship imagined. I've had to edit this twice to try and phrase my questions in the most concise and clear way!

Last edited by writingguy; 02-12-2013 at 07:32 PM. Reason: Edited for clarification.
writingguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2013, 08:52 PM   #14
Wicked
Outcast Rogue
 
Wicked's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Lost
Posts: 5,885
Wicked is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWicked is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWicked is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWicked is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWicked is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWicked is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWicked is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWicked is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWicked is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWicked is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWicked is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
I don't mean to intrude, (or add into a derail) , but this really caught my attention.

I also have an MC whose orientation needs some gentle foreshadowing. I'm very interested in the outcome of this thread.


Thoth's examples read like any other boy that age, too me. In the first paragraph, the character does the old, "oh, I forgot you were a girl" bit. The next one insinuates that hanging out with her still suggests he's not "one of the guys"?


When I was 12, one of my buddies, a bit older than me, brought a centerfold magazine to school. The guys were all crowded around in the hallway, and my friend called me over. "You've got to see this."

At that time people in their underwear weren't exactly exciting. I looked. Said, "Yeah, so. What about it?"

"What do you mean so? This is (insert 80's hottie here)."

"So?"

He paused. "Oh, yeah. I forgot. You're a girl."

Ouch.

My buddies were stereotype straight Alpha males. They all grew up to be that kind of Alpha male. When we hung out together, we did "guy" things. Hanging out with me didn't mean they weren't attracted to girls in a romantic way.
It's probably its own stereotype.

Maybe it's the fact that I was someone viewed as "not a girl", that makes me think the scene doesn't work as foreshadow.

The default setting in so many people's heads is straight. Most of my LGBT characters get read right over without notice, even when I think I'm being blatant about their relationships.


Quote:
Originally Posted by thothguard51 View Post
The MC tells her, this is not an advantage. What does he care for girls as they are silly creatures who don't know how to hunt, or fish, and he would rather be with his male friends. It does not dawn on him that the woman he is talking to is female as he thinks of her as a warrior.

OK, that does not hint that the MC is gay because at 12-13, boys are generally just starting to notice girls, but they generally want to be around their guy friends doing guy things...
__________________
I do horrible things to punctuation.
If I wanted a label I'd tattoo a barcode on my ass.
You know it's all fun and games until one of those petal-winged harbingers of death sticks its proboscis in your eye and sucks your gray-matter out through your retina.

Wicked is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2013, 10:26 PM   #15
Rhoda Nightingale
Vampire Junkie
 
Rhoda Nightingale's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 4,000
Rhoda Nightingale is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRhoda Nightingale is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRhoda Nightingale is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRhoda Nightingale is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRhoda Nightingale is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRhoda Nightingale is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRhoda Nightingale is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRhoda Nightingale is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRhoda Nightingale is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRhoda Nightingale is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
@OP: I agree with most of what's been said so far, but I have a question: Does your character have a crush for reals? If not, why does the other character make that accusation? If that's not coming across in your story, then you have a problem, and the question of whether the character actually has feelings for the guy hasn't been properly foreshadowed. That would be the same even if the crush was directed at a girl.
__________________
WIP: Cave Draconem (YA dark fantasy), 78k, revising
Short: 100% Organic (horror), 2000, subbing (Rs--2)

Blog: http://glitter-n-gore.livejournal.com/
Rhoda Nightingale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2013, 10:35 PM   #16
writingguy
American in England
 
writingguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: England
Posts: 101
writingguy is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wicked View Post
I don't mean to intrude, (or add into a derail) , but this really caught my attention.

I also have an MC whose orientation needs some gentle foreshadowing. I'm very interested in the outcome of this thread.
I don't know if you're looking for ways to foreshadow early or simply mentioning that you're doing it. If these tips are unnecessary, forgive me!

I'm not claiming to be an expert on how to do it - I'm not published and I've had feedback limited in scope on the situation. But some things I'm paying attention to/doing to try and foreshadow include:

1) I'm writing from my MC's POV (3rd), so all the characters we meet are described as he sees them. He gets introduced to a group of kids in the story. There are a few girls and one boy, and the boy is the only one who gets described as "good-looking". Just to reinforce that he's seeing the boy in terms of attraction, but not so much the girls.

2) In a situation where the other boy, who is my MC's roommate, is changing his shirt my MC feels embarrassed and looks away.

3) My MC sees the other boy leave the room to walk/talk privately with one of their friends, Girl A. He feels something in his stomach (I'm not describing this as nicely as I could, I know). Then he sees that another friend, Girl B, is watching him watch and becomes embarrassed by this.

Like I said, by no means am I suggesting what I've done is perfect. What anyone does is going to depend a lot on the specifics of the story. I'm mostly trying to give my MC some behaviors that suggest a little attraction/interest/curiosity around guys and contrast that with him not having those same feelings around any of the girls.
writingguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2013, 10:43 PM   #17
writingguy
American in England
 
writingguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: England
Posts: 101
writingguy is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhoda Nightingale View Post
@OP: I agree with most of what's been said so far, but I have a question: Does your character have a crush for reals? If not, why does the other character make that accusation? If that's not coming across in your story, then you have a problem, and the question of whether the character actually has feelings for the guy hasn't been properly foreshadowed. That would be the same even if the crush was directed at a girl.
Yeah, I agree absolutely that any crush would need to be foreshadowed regardless of gender.

I'd hesitate to call it a crush, myself. More... "attention." He's going through a period of realizing that he pays that kind of attention to a guy. The accusation is made by another character in the middle of an argument. There's a kernel of truth in it (he does like guys after all) but there's also an element of spite in elevating it to that level.

When I was in school it didn't take much for someone to be labelled as "liking" someone else; it wasn't always true. In this case it's not entirely true, either, and the hurtfulness intended by the accuser is not that he actually has a crush on the other boy but that he's gay.

Does that make sense? It feels like it does in reading the story but I'm hoping as I revise I'll be able to even it out.
writingguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2013, 02:14 AM   #18
Captcha
Hmmm... I think I disagree.
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,989
Captcha is better than ice cream with hot fudgeCaptcha is better than ice cream with hot fudgeCaptcha is better than ice cream with hot fudgeCaptcha is better than ice cream with hot fudgeCaptcha is better than ice cream with hot fudgeCaptcha is better than ice cream with hot fudgeCaptcha is better than ice cream with hot fudge
Quote:
Originally Posted by thothguard51 View Post

The MC tells her, this is not an advantage. What does he care for girls as they are silly creatures who don't know how to hunt, or fish, and he would rather be with his male friends. It does not dawn on him that the woman he is talking to is female as he thinks of her as a warrior.

...

Then when he is 15, the father and mother are discussing the fact that the father just found out his daughter is not a virgin. She is 15 as well, and the father is distraught. He tells the mother that he expects this type of trouble from his son, but not his daughter. The mother tells him he is wrong, that the son is still the virgin.

...

So, does this work, or do I have to show even more when he is younger?
I don't think that either youthful misogyny or virginity are very good foreshadowing of someone being gay. I think good foreshadowing of someone being gay is probably going to involve hints of attraction to someone of the same sex, or at least discomfort or uncertainty about being attracted to people.

All the peripheral stuff seems destined to play on the stereotypes you say you're trying to avoid. Pretty much the only thing that all gay people have in common is same-sex attraction; anything else is at best an over-generalization, at worst a hurtful stereotype.

That doesn't mean you have to be obvious about the attraction/uncertainty itself. I liked writingguy's list of hints - they're not super-obvious, but they're centred around the central idea of same-sex attraction.
Captcha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2013, 02:33 AM   #19
Gale Haut
waxing digital artistic
 
Gale Haut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: The Swamplands
Posts: 2,913
Gale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
I'm not calling you out Roger, it's just that your post hits on a perspective that I keep seeing that's been bothering me. It's a total nitpick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger J Carlson View Post
If a beta reader thinks something just came out of nowhere, you should seriously consider the issue. When someone tells you something is wrong, they're usually correct. When they tell you how to fix it, however, they're usually wrong.
In most cases I might agree with this rule of thumb. In this case, I do not. Since the OP's question is in regards to a normal aspect of the human condition that is still treated as abnormal by society, I think a realistic depiction of it's "normalcy" may not be palatable to your random beta reader. The OP should consider the source very carefully.

Also, in almost the exact same vein as Roger's comment, it's common for beta readers to recognize that something's wrong but completely misdiagnose what it actually is. If something feels abrupt, it isn't necessarily the scene being described that is abrupt; it could be the mechanics of how the scene is written, which a beta reader is less likely to pick up on. That's just a random example, though.
__________________
Gale Haut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2013, 06:17 AM   #20
thothguard51
A Gentleman of a refined age...
 
thothguard51's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Out side the beltway...
Posts: 9,180
thothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
Originally Posted by writingguy View Post

On a side note, though, something that stands out to me is I don't entirely understand why your MC/father keep bumping heads before the MC's realization that he prefers men. It sounds like you decided the reason for this was because the MC was gay after your beta suggested this, but I wonder what the reason was in your head before? What about the MC causes his father to feel frustrated? What about the father causes the MC to feel aggravated?
In all honesty, the story is complex, but aren't they all.

I knew there would be tension between the father and son as the son grows older, but I had not come up with the defining reasons at that point when a beta reader made the suggestion and it was more to do with how the boy thought of his father than what the father thought of the boy. Hope that makes sense...

Quote:
Is it because the boy doesn't embody the father's expectations of masculinity (if so, his father must be uber-masculine if the bow&arrow hunting isn't good enough for him)? Is it because the father's pressuring him to go out and date girls and the boy doesn't entirely feel comfortable? Is it because the father thinks his son isn't being completely honest about something?
I posted a rough character study in SYW which might show more than I can tell. Its one of the earliest chapters where the children and father are interacting

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=194287

Quote:
Sorry if I'm misunderstanding how you have their relationship imagined. I've had to edit this twice to try and phrase my questions in the most concise and clear way!
No problems its why I asked the question as I am obviously stuck on how to handle showing hints long before any events happen...
__________________
Knowledge is learned while wisdom is earned.

Currently working on...

From, The Tales of Netherron,
Book 1, A Game of Pawns
Book 2, Pawn takes Queen,
Book 3, Pawn's Gambit,

In the pipeline,
Children of Netherron, follow up trilogy
Guardians of Netherron, prequel trilogy

http://nickanthony51.wordpress.com (on hiatus)

Nick Anthony
thothguard51 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2013, 03:39 PM   #21
writingguy
American in England
 
writingguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: England
Posts: 101
writingguy is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by thothguard51 View Post
I knew there would be tension between the father and son as the son grows older, but I had not come up with the defining reasons at that point when a beta reader made the suggestion and it was more to do with how the boy thought of his father than what the father thought of the boy. ... I posted a rough character study in SYW which might show more than I can tell. Its one of the earliest chapters where the children and father are interacting.
Okay, I went and read your sample/character study. And reading it, the reason I came away with for tension in their relationship is Naron doesn't necessarily want to be the King one day. I assume the father is aware of this, and is perhaps less loving towards his son as a result of anger or disappointment.

But that has nothing to do with sexuality. A boy who wasn't gay might not want to be King either. I didn't read this as a hint towards the boy's preference, especially because (as other posters have also stated) plenty of guys aged 12 will still prefer hanging out with guy friends.

Looking at only the details/excerpt you've provided so far, I have to say I don't personally pick up much hinting at the boy being gay. Which is fine, if these hints are only going to come out later, and a realization is a ways off. But if those hints aren't there for the boy/the father/the reader to see, then I'm not sure I buy the source of the conflict being the boy's sexuality. Rejecting the crown, sure, but not liking boys.

I'd guess the reason those hints aren't strong is because you wrote this without intending the boy to be gay. But if you want to go down the road of him being gay and that causing problems in his relationship with his father, I would suggest rewriting while consciously taking that reasoning into account.
writingguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2013, 05:22 PM   #22
thothguard51
A Gentleman of a refined age...
 
thothguard51's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Out side the beltway...
Posts: 9,180
thothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsthothguard51 is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
WG, thanks for reading and the advice. I know that I have a lot to still think on and experiment with. This story is harder than I thought it would be because I want to get the emotions right, the setting right, and the characters right. I'll get there though...

I do realize that at 12, the boy seems like every other boy that is 12. That is what I wanted; to start somewhere and build toward him discovering his sexual preference with additional hints and incidents.

The conflict between the boy and the father is not about his sexual preference at this time, but I did want to show there is a bit of tension between the two. As the book progresses, the tension grows from a lot of different things happening, but mostly because its the boy who is confused and hiding his preferences.

The father will be out of the story midway through the book, so there will be a lot of guilt on both sides that come into play later. You know, the something left unspoken and unfinished type of guilt...

Hope some of this makes sense as the story is still a work in progress and will be subject to changes as it progresses.
__________________
Knowledge is learned while wisdom is earned.

Currently working on...

From, The Tales of Netherron,
Book 1, A Game of Pawns
Book 2, Pawn takes Queen,
Book 3, Pawn's Gambit,

In the pipeline,
Children of Netherron, follow up trilogy
Guardians of Netherron, prequel trilogy

http://nickanthony51.wordpress.com (on hiatus)

Nick Anthony
thothguard51 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2013, 09:15 PM   #23
Roger J Carlson
Moderation in All Things
AW Moderator
 
Roger J Carlson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: West Michigan
Posts: 12,643
Roger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsRoger J Carlson is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gale Haut View Post
I'm not calling you out Roger, it's just that your post hits on a perspective that I keep seeing that's been bothering me. It's a total nitpick
Not a problem. Neither am I arguing with you.

Quote:
In most cases I might agree with this rule of thumb. In this case, I do not. Since the OP's question is in regards to a normal aspect of the human condition that is still treated as abnormal by society, I think a realistic depiction of it's "normalcy" may not be palatable to your random beta reader. The OP should consider the source very carefully.
Absolutely. You (universal "you") always need to consider the source of any critique carefully. There will be people to whom any gay character will be a problem. You can't do much about them.

However, there will be those who are not antagonistic to gays -- perhaps even supportive-- who are nonetheless subconsciously hetero-normative. As writers, we CAN do something for these people.
Roger J Carlson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2013, 11:43 PM   #24
Gale Haut
waxing digital artistic
 
Gale Haut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: The Swamplands
Posts: 2,913
Gale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsGale Haut is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger J Carlson View Post
However, there will be those who are not antagonistic to gays -- perhaps even supportive-- who are nonetheless subconsciously hetero-normative. As writers, we CAN do something for these people.
QFT. This is exactly what I was trying to say, Roger.
__________________
Gale Haut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2013, 07:25 AM   #25
AKyber36
practical experience, FTW
 
AKyber36's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 226
AKyber36 is on a distinguished road
Hi! First time posting in the QUILTBAG forum! =) This thread has my interest, since several of my characters (even those not fully developed) are either bisexual or gay.

I started to realize my current MMC in my short story was most likely a closet bisexual when I began doing the whole "author-character" chit-chat. Prior to the story's beginning, he underwent a significant change after a close male friend of his died. His friend's death was the catalyst for his current occupation, outlook on life, even goal before that was interrupted by the story's inciting incident. So I began to ask him why the change and what was his relationship to his friend?

My character stayed silent. He wouldn't spill to me at all. I've never had that happen to me before. No character has ever so thoroughly resisted me in that kind of organic development.

I kept asking. He still kept mum. So I began to think, "Is there something you're not telling me?" As the writer, going off gut instinct, I began to realize that perhaps my MMC loved this friend. Perhaps very much, and he never told his friend that. So when his friend died, a part of him was lost as well. He shut off any further possible romantic relationships with men thereafter due to the pain. He is attracted to women as well, which is why I believe him bisexual.

He has not refuted my thinking. And while he's not the only protagonist who has such a reveal - I have a gay character as well who came out earlier in another story - it's his reticence that's telling. Perfectly fits the character.

He intrigues me very much.
__________________
Current WIP: Untitled short story - 5,663 words
Four Stars, No Stripes (working title) - 31,175 words (On hiatus)
AKyber36 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Custom Search

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.

Buy Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)


All times are GMT +4.5. The time now is 12:18 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.