My latest WIP isn't overtly queer...

EVanMoore

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 29, 2022
Messages
227
Reaction score
196
Location
British Columbia, Canada
Website
www.emvanmoore.ca
And I find myself less interested in it overall. I still love the project! And I'm going to finish it (eventually) but without a specifically LGBTQIA+ aspect I am not as invested in it as I would be otherwise.

Anyone else have this problem?

All my other projects have been so centered from a queer lens, featuring queer MC's, that now that I'm trying to write a bit more of a "mainstream" story I find myself asking "but how can I possibly make this gay!?"
After I tweeted about this my best writing friend even tried to help me brainstorm ways to switch some of the characters from heteronormative roles to queer ones (make the husband into a woman, have the MC have an affair with a woman instead of a man etc.) but it just doesn't work overall for what I want to write.

I don't want to *only* write LGBTQIA+ stories, but those are the ones that bring me joy. Should I give up trying to fit my writing into a box that feels uncomfortable? OR should I stick with something that makes me happy, but that my friends and family aren't interested in reading? (A lot of pretty closed-minded/conservative folks in my monkey sphere)
 

Ink-Soul

Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 31, 2022
Messages
447
Reaction score
1,061
It's honestly very frustrating that stories without LGBTQ+ characters are still seen as "normal", "mainstream". But I know that's how the world operates, and it won't change from day to night.

To answer your question, yes, I feel the same. One of my favourite fantasy trilogies is the recently-published Threadlight by Zack Argyle. Great world-building, engaging characters, and beautiful locations. But since book one, there was one thing that nagged at me: no LGBTQ+ representation whatsoever. Sure, the book isn't particularly worried about romance or "shipping" one character with the other, and there's nothing stopping fans from saying that X character could be part of the LGBTQ+. But, of course, it's not the same as if it had been written into the story.

I told you this to say that I also tend to enjoy more stories with LGBTQ+ representations. It doesn't need to be romance. It doesn't need to focus on whatever letter the person belongs to (it's preferable that it doesn't, really). But just knowing that diversity exists earns the story a few points with me. Which is why I also write stories with LGBTQ+ characters. I like to write sapphic romance, but I also try to include other letters, and I honestly don't see myself writing a heteronormative story. It just doesn't click with me. I find it boring. Like it's missing a good thing.

I don't know your reasons for wanting to write more mainstream, and I'm obviously not trying to say you shouldn't pursue this goal, but for me, if I don't enjoy the story I'm writing, chances are high that other people won't like it either (that is if I even find the energy to finish the story).
 

ElaineB

Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 4, 2022
Messages
202
Reaction score
382
Location
Three Pines
Website
elaineburnes.com
I don't know what your writing goals are, but I can't see not writing queer themes/people. There's enough straight stuff in the world. We need our stories. Also seems to me that being queer IS the mainstream thing these days. It likely won't last, though, so get it while you can. Why don't you want to write only LGBTQIA+ if that gives you joy?
 

EVanMoore

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 29, 2022
Messages
227
Reaction score
196
Location
British Columbia, Canada
Website
www.emvanmoore.ca
@Ink-Soul
And
@ElaineB
😀
This story has been planned to not be particularly queer because I really want to try writing something my in-laws will read (conservative christians). It's also one of the only stories I've worked on that isn't gory/sexy/fantastical so it's more "mainstream" and "acceptable" for lots of my boomer relatives. I don't care if I ever get published but I really do want my family and friends to enjoy my writing, as a lot of my stories are deeply personal.

Another reason I'm struggling so hard to fit into this box is because I'm in a stereotypical hetero relationship but I'm queer AF, and this novel is very cathartic for me to write about a marriage similar to mine. My MC is going through the same things I am.... and they say "write what you know", eh? Well I definitely do that 😅

But I feel the way @Ink-Soul does. I think most stories would be better with an LGBTQIA+ character or slant. I've reached a point in my life where I'm tired of not seeing representation in projects and I'm mostly only interested in reading/watching content that features queer people.

Crap.

I think I just talked myself into changing my WIP..... GAAAAAAAHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOO SO MUCH EFFORT. MY CARPAL TUNNEL CANT HANDLE IT.

OK nope nevermind.
Gonna start another WIP and focus on some lgbt folks instead. I can do both at once, right?
 
  • Like
Reactions: SWest and Ink-Soul

Ink-Soul

Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 31, 2022
Messages
447
Reaction score
1,061
This story has been planned to not be particularly queer because I really want to try writing something my in-laws will read (conservative christians). It's also one of the only stories I've worked on that isn't gory/sexy/fantastical so it's more "mainstream" and "acceptable" for lots of my boomer relatives. I don't care if I ever get published but I really do want my family and friends to enjoy my writing, as a lot of my stories are deeply personal.

Another reason I'm struggling so hard to fit into this box is because I'm in a stereotypical hetero relationship but I'm queer AF, and this novel is very cathartic for me to write about a marriage similar to mine. My MC is going through the same things I am.... and they say "write what you know", eh? Well I definitely do that 😅

I'm lucky to have a family of open-minded people (and those who aren't, I don't really care, they wouldn't even my stories anyway), but I can understand your desire to share your stories with the people you love. Could you perhaps add LGBTQ+ characters that aren't "obvious" LGBTQ+? Or comments that might get over the head of most straight people? That may be a way to help you connect more with the story. If not, then you must at least find something that gives you pleasure about writing that. Since you said this story connects with you personally, then maybe you could draw strength from that. And maybe write a novella instead of a novel? At least you'd spend less time with it xD

But I feel the way @Ink-Soul does. I think most stories would be better with an LGBTQIA+ character or slant. I've reached a point in my life where I'm tired of not seeing representation in projects and I'm mostly only interested in reading/watching content that features queer people.

Yeah, it's just so much more fun when you have more colours haha My series is a perfect example of that. I started writing it 10+ years ago, when I didn't even know I was queer, so pretty much everyone and everything was blue or pink. One of the many things I changed during this time was to make the world a lot more queer, and I love it! haha

And aye, writing another parallel story with LGBTQ+ folks might help :)
 

Jazz Club

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Dec 18, 2021
Messages
2,106
Reaction score
2,505
Location
Northern Ireland
This story has been planned to not be particularly queer because I really want to try writing something my in-laws will read (conservative christians). It's also one of the only stories I've worked on that isn't gory/sexy/fantastical so it's more "mainstream" and "acceptable" for lots of my boomer relatives. I don't care if I ever get published but I really do want my family and friends to enjoy my writing, as a lot of my stories are deeply personal.
It's obviously up to you, but if you spend a lot of time and effort writing something that you're not passionate about and then find out that your relatives don't want to read it after all, would you be disappointed? I mean, some people aren't readers and won't read a novel even by a member of their own family. If you're totally sure they'll finish it, I guess that's different. But to me, writing a whole novel is an awful lot of work. I'm not sure I could do it just to give some people something to read that they'd 'agree with'. YMMV of course. It's a personal decision.
 

Unimportant

I'm Da Birdie! (she/her)
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
12,098
Reaction score
10,506
Location
Aotearoa
This story has been planned to not be particularly queer because I really want to try writing something my in-laws will read (conservative christians). It's also one of the only stories I've worked on that isn't gory/sexy/fantastical so it's more "mainstream" and "acceptable" for lots of my boomer relatives. I don't care if I ever get published but I really do want my family and friends to enjoy my writing, as a lot of my stories are deeply personal.
I suspect, based on what little I know about you, that even if you wrote a story featuring all white, straight, Christian characters, those characters would still, consciously or subconsciously, display a world view that would clash with your in-laws'. Your characters aren't going to bemoan the "browning" of America, or go all judgey-mcjudgeface on the neighbour whose girlfriend spends the night at his house, or let a little old lady with a zimmer frame stand on the overly-full train rather than offering her their seat, or sneer at the person at the grocery store who's buying a birthday cake for their kid using food stamps, or.....

If you want to write a story to please your conservative christian in-laws, you'll probably need to write a story about asshats being Karens and bashing the less fortunate. Which admittedly could be considered a challenge, but not sure how entertaining it would be for you.
 

CWNitz

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 22, 2021
Messages
1,114
Reaction score
1,730
Location
France
Website
cnitzbooks.com
But they could read your stories if they wanted to.

I mean, my mum won't read my stories. But that's because she doesn't understand English. It's a practical, identifiable issue; she can't read them.

Your conservative in-laws, however, could read your novels. They just decide not to because they don't like what you have to say.

Going from there, is it still your story if you change it so it fits their worldview?

And also, would they do the same for you, and write LGBT stories if you refused to read their straight ones?
 

Nether

may be visiting an abandoned theme park
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
3,553
Reaction score
4,942
Location
New England
Anyone else have this problem?

Not quite, but maybe-kinda a little similar? My issue is I can't become invested in a story unless it has a compelling romantic subplot that's teased out the whole way. It's also what helps me decide whether I get interested in stuff I watch/read at times as well.

I think a lot of people have one element that keeps them going, which is going to vary depending on the person.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EVanMoore

Norsebard

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 19, 2021
Messages
881
Reaction score
722
Location
Denmark
EVanMoore said:
(...) but without a specifically LGBTQIA+ aspect I am not as invested in it as I would be otherwise.

Anyone else have this problem?

I'm with you 100% - every single time I sit down to write something that has a narrow hetero focus, my eyes glaze over and my mind wanders. I've only written a couple of those over the years, but while I still do my utmost to get a solid product out of it, my heart's just not in it.


OR should I stick with something that makes me happy, but that my friends and family aren't interested in reading?

Well, your friends and family may not like 'those kinds' of stories, but I'll bet that plenty of others will - in other words, keep writing 'em as long as they keep making you smile :)


Norsebard
 
  • Like
Reactions: EVanMoore

SWoodham

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 25, 2022
Messages
68
Reaction score
46
And I find myself less interested in it overall. I still love the project! And I'm going to finish it (eventually) but without a specifically LGBTQIA+ aspect I am not as invested in it as I would be otherwise.

Anyone else have this problem?

All my other projects have been so centered from a queer lens, featuring queer MC's, that now that I'm trying to write a bit more of a "mainstream" story I find myself asking "but how can I possibly make this gay!?"
After I tweeted about this my best writing friend even tried to help me brainstorm ways to switch some of the characters from heteronormative roles to queer ones (make the husband into a woman, have the MC have an affair with a woman instead of a man etc.) but it just doesn't work overall for what I want to write.

I don't want to *only* write LGBTQIA+ stories, but those are the ones that bring me joy. Should I give up trying to fit my writing into a box that feels uncomfortable? OR should I stick with something that makes me happy, but that my friends and family aren't interested in reading? (A lot of pretty closed-minded/conservative folks in my monkey sphere)

I'm bisexual. I feel like all my stories are written from a queer lens. Even if I write straight couples, are they really straight if as a bi woman I'm the one providing the commentary about the actions of the man?

Recently I wrote a really genre about a hetero couple. The first scene they enter a shop, and the shop keeper sees a couple come in. Well, shouldn't assume heteronormivity that "couple" necessarily means man and woman, so the first thing I do is specify WHAT kind of couple that is, because couple could me any variety of gender combinations. Then the man is this over the top Romanian man who focuses on sex way too much. But I write about that. And the woman is kind of over it and just immune to his comments after ten years. A critiquer was disappointed that my writing is usually so strong in its feminist message, but I said maybe in this story that means this commentary about this kind of behaviour from the guy, not only writing stories that erase men behaving like this because it's a utopian world where that doesn't happen?

I think your queer lens can still be applied in your writing, even if you don't have overtly queer characters.
Cheers,
SW
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fi Webster

Fi Webster

Dec 6- 8 full moon 🌕
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
1,594
Reaction score
2,339
Age
67
Location
Texas originally, now living in Maryland (DC area)
Website
www.ipernity.com
Crap.

I think I just talked myself into changing my WIP..... GAAAAAAAHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOO SO MUCH EFFORT. MY CARPAL TUNNEL CANT HANDLE IT.

OK nope nevermind.
Gonna start another WIP and focus on some lgbt folks instead. I can do both at once, right?

You don't need to do both at once. Just move on to those lgbt folks. My advice is to set this problematic WIP completely aside and work on something else. You sound like you're having an acute emotional reaction at the thought of writing heteronormative for the sake of those other (potential) readers. Before you decide what to do with this book, you need to let your emotions recover. You need to wait to make any decisions about it until you've chilled.

Later on, when you don't feel so frustrated/angry/boxed in/whatever, you'll be in a better frame of mind for figuring out what to do with this book.

All is not lost. You've written lots of great material you can either tweak or use as is. But not now. Later.

Good luck! And above all, remember to write for yourself first, not for anyone else.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EVanMoore

ElaineB

Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 4, 2022
Messages
202
Reaction score
382
Location
Three Pines
Website
elaineburnes.com
Kelley Eskridge wrote a story, Dangerous Space, where the gender of the narrator is never mentioned. So depending on how you interpret it, the story is either queer as fuck or straight as hell. I hadn't even noticed the gimmick until she mentioned it in an essay and how she finds it hilarious that readers are completely convinced Mars is a man or a woman. So I think you could write a story about queer people that your family might not read as queer. But I'm still not sure what you'd gain. If you only want them to think, wow, you're really a good writer and you need that validation, then give it a try. If they just go their merry homophobic way, not even realizing what you've done, then... The point? I can see wanting to step outside your box and try something different. Perfectly valid. But if it's not working for you, I don't see how you can force it. But I wish you luck and peace with whatever you decide.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EVanMoore