March 26, 2017, 02:25:58 AM

Author Topic: LGBT Fantasy?  (Read 25022 times)

Offline Francis Knight

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #30 on: July 22, 2011, 02:49:28 PM »
Oh I get that - I hate it too, when I don't get what I was expecting.

Sometimes the lines are blurred though - one of my books can't be classed as romance due to a couple of factors (same factors that could make the first Weeks Night Angel book a romance) but it's aimed at people who like romance. I think the fact it's out with a division of Harlequin would give that away though :D But there's plenty of fantasy not marketed (and you probably wouldn't read as) as romance that actually fulfils the requirements. Like that first Night Angel book.

Back on topic (I really must learn to stay on topic!)

I'm wondering whether the relative death of LGBT characters is due to a reticence on the part of the authors (in which case, the more LGBT writers are out there writing the better). Not that non gay writers don't want to write LGBT characters, but are afraid of getting it wrong and then getting jumped on. There are so many ways to give unintentional offence...I know I've got a book that I'm working on, on and off, with a bisexual guy in it, and every time I write his POV, I find myself second guessing myself. I'm pretty sure he'd do X in situation Y, for example, but...is it cliche? Reinforcing negative stereotypes? Will I get battered over the head with the book by angry bisexuals wanting my blood? (Lol, probably not, but still. I'd rather not offend anyone inadvertently. If I'm going to offend anyone, I'd rather I knew what I was doing!) I mean, we already had #racefail.
My tongue has been in my cheek for so long, I've eroded a new mouth.


Duellists Trilogy (as Julia Knight) coming soon from Orbit!

http://www.juliaknight.co.uk/

Offline missoularedhead

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #31 on: July 22, 2011, 08:00:12 PM »
And maybe, on the other end, there aren't enough editors who can speak to the experience of LGBT folks, either, thus they can't say if X or Y is who these people are?  It's an interesting thought, to be sure. 

And meh on staying on topic.  I like when threads go off track sometimes, because interesting things are said!  I don't know about the whole romance/fantasy thing. I do know that I stay away from books with impossibly twisted, leather clad women with tramp stamps on the cover, though. 
"Well behaved women rarely make history" ~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Cheerwell

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Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #32 on: July 22, 2011, 09:18:00 PM »
And meh on staying on topic.  I like when threads go off track sometimes, because interesting things are said!  I don't know about the whole romance/fantasy thing. I do know that I stay away from books with impossibly twisted, leather clad women with tramp stamps on the cover, though. 
I stare for a moment, go "Yum" (As long as there's no tramp stamp) and then carry on browsing military sci-fi. Give me a woman in space armour any day. Rawr.

Offline Francis Knight

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #33 on: July 22, 2011, 10:02:16 PM »
I do know that I stay away from books with impossibly twisted, leather clad women with tramp stamps on the cover, though. 

So do I for the most part - UF/PR ain't my thing usually, though I've read a few good'uns.
My tongue has been in my cheek for so long, I've eroded a new mouth.


Duellists Trilogy (as Julia Knight) coming soon from Orbit!

http://www.juliaknight.co.uk/

Offline Mr Soul

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #34 on: July 23, 2011, 05:29:42 AM »
Well to continue the OT meander a bit I guess I'm a little puzzled by the difficulty in writing for a LGBT character. It's your character right? You give them life so to speak. There's no wrong way for them to act in a given situation.  Not being a writer I assume I'm missing something. Might even warrant it's own thread.

On the subject of ink -- love it. And don't understand the hate for ass-antlers.

Now back to the path. Other than the examples previously mentioned I can't think of anything to add on the fantasy side. On the SF side Samuel R Delany's Dhalgren comes to mind. Recently I discovered Joel Shepherd's Cassandra Kreshov series and one of the major characters is bi.

Offline missoularedhead

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #35 on: July 23, 2011, 11:39:22 AM »
Oh, I don't hate ink...I have plenty. And I have friends with tramp stamps that I think are cool.  But it's the whole Kelly Armstrong et al., taking over the SFF shelves that's annoying, and they all seem to have *that* cover...
"Well behaved women rarely make history" ~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Offline Francis Knight

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #36 on: July 23, 2011, 12:21:37 PM »
Well to continue the OT meander a bit I guess I'm a little puzzled by the difficulty in writing for a LGBT character. It's your character right? You give them life so to speak. There's no wrong way for them to act in a given situation.  Not being a writer I assume I'm missing something. Might even warrant it's own thread.


Because, as a straight writing LGBT, the potential for unwittingly reinforcing negative stereotypes/outright offending people is pretty high. Because I knwo several LGBT readers who have become exasperated by their portrayal in books/films/TV. It's like a couple of male writers I won't read because their portrayals of women make me want to cross my eyes/scream/throw up/spork said eyes out. Or writers who portray all black people as criminals etc.

With a little thought, you can avoid a lot of this. But it's pretty easy, no matter how careful you are, to really piss people off. And frankly, I like too many LGBT people I know to want to do that to them. Which is why I'm always seeking out cliches that offend them (the gay partner who must die as punishment for being gay for instance, one I'd never have noticed if it hadn't been pointed out to me) and why etc.


If I know how my character would act, that's one thing. What if every LGBT character I write has the same characteristics? I, personally, like to be on my guard to make sure I'm not making every woman X, or every black person Y or every gay person Z. See what I mean? I think I'll probably be okay, and I'm going to put on my big girl panties and try anyway, and get some LGBT beta readers - but I know several writers that, after #racefail, are leery of writing about people that aren't like them. Which is a real shame, because it means there may end up being less ethnic minorities, less LGBT characters being written about in a refreshing way.
ETA: I'm not sure I've explained this coherently, but I had to be up at stupid-o-clock-in the morning for work, and I think it's starting to tell!
My tongue has been in my cheek for so long, I've eroded a new mouth.


Duellists Trilogy (as Julia Knight) coming soon from Orbit!

http://www.juliaknight.co.uk/

Offline Dornish First Sword

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #37 on: July 23, 2011, 08:30:44 PM »
I do know that I stay away from books with impossibly twisted, leather clad women with tramp stamps on the cover, though. 

So do I for the most part - UF/PR ain't my thing usually, though I've read a few good'uns.

I avoid those books as much as i can in order to make up for my in ability to stay away from leather clad tramp stamped women in real life, i figure it evens out.
"Still, it may have been a blessing. He would have grown up to be a Frey" - Wyman Manderly

Offline betsdavies

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #38 on: July 24, 2011, 06:26:07 PM »
Okay--slight diversion first.  Romance and/or sex in a fantasy novel belongs there and must be done well as much as any other character arc.  People's sexuality and love lives are often big parts of their identity, and we should respect them as such.  They should be done well, but not trashed any more than any other thing people do poorly.  Yes, romances are hard in any literature.  Love and sex are among the hardest things to write well, so please give props up to the people who try.

Now, the main thread.  I've actually seen fantasy praised for the wide spectrum of sexuality used.  I've read articles respecting fantasy for being able to push the boundaries here because we are not in the "normal" world and we are already pushing reality.  So I would say fantasy makes an effort when you compare it to many genres.  That said, of course it doesn't make enough of an effort.  Considering that approximately one in ten people are LGBT, if you have more than ten people in your novel, you really ought to man up.  We create societies that concern all sorts of cultural aspects, yet how LGBT are treated I find rarely mentioned. 

I'm straight and all five of my books at least make a reference to LGBT characters or issues.  In two, the concepts are absolutely key to the story.  i would never think of not writing LGBT characters, even though I'm straight.  My aunt is lesbian.  My pastor was gay.  My friends are gay, lesbian, bi, and transexual.  It just wouldn't make any sense to me not to include their cultures and loves and etc. in my worlds.  It wouldn't occur to me.  Being straight is not a reason not to write about LGBT issues.  We write about sword fights and magic.  We constantly stretch ourselves.  LGBT people are just people.  Treat them so.  Maybe in your culture they are treated different, specific ways, but that is great that you are grappling with the issues.  Man up and stop whining.  It sounds a little phobic, to me, if you will forgive me.

And thanks for bringing up the issue.  It is important.

Offline Francis Knight

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #39 on: July 25, 2011, 12:12:25 AM »
Being straight is not a reason not to write about LGBT issues.  We write about sword fights and magic.  We constantly stretch ourselves.  LGBT people are just people.  Treat them so.  Maybe in your culture they are treated different, specific ways, but that is great that you are grappling with the issues.  Man up and stop whining.  It sounds a little phobic, to me, if you will forgive me.

And thanks for bringing up the issue.  It is important.

Not sure if you were responding to me...

I'm not whining. I am saying I think I need to work at it harder(in the same way I do when I'm writing a male POV, cos, like, I'm not a guy. But then, I've lived with plenty of straight guys, so I know what affects them/how they think to an extent. While I do know plenty of LGBT, you don't know anyone/what they have to deal with daily until you live with them), and I can see why some writers shy away from the whole area because they just don't want the flack, you know? I very nearly subbed something that would have been fairly offensive to a US reader (or some at least). Because I used a couple of terms that for them have HUGE connotations, but absolutely none for me. I would like to avoid that on this issue, or any issue. Well, okay, at least unintentionally. If I'm going to offend someone, I want it to be on purpose!

What can I say? I just want to do it right. I am writing my guy just as the person he is inside. But it's too simple to say 'Just write/know your character'.   Plenty of male writers do that with their women, and as I said upthread, make such a hash of it I'll never read anything they write again. EVER. Just thinking about some of them brings me out in an indignant rash<-- one of these is mentioned quite a lot on these boards as a favourite writer. ><  Many of my LGBT friends have writers they won't read because of the way LGBT are portrayed. Heck, I've sworn off a couple of writers for that too. I would rather not have that happen to me/my books :D

Does that sound phobic? Or should I just say 'screw it' and write something that may inadvertently really piss off people I happen to like? I never say 'just screw it' with my writing - the one thing in my life I take seriously is my writing.

In summary:

Yes, I always write my characters just as they are
I work very hard on my characters as people first gender/race/sexual orientation/religion/whatever second, the same way I am with people IRL - they are people first.
That doesn't mean I won't unwittingly cock it up.
also, I know that there are things that LGBT find offensive that I am not aware of
I should incorporate this into my writing,and will
I could still get shit for it a la #racefail (because I could still cock it up - I can ask lots of my LGBT friends to beta, but frankly, they don;t find much offensive. Other LGBT do) in a way that I probably won't if I screw up a straight male POV for instance
Because the issues are very much in peoples' minds these days
Because there are people I value and care about I don't want to upset
All of which makes me just that tad more careful (same as I was careful with my research into Vikings for my next release).
And which makes some other writers not put LGBT/ethnic minorities in their works
Which is a shame.
And more LGBT characters will probably come forth as more LGBT writers come forth. Which is a good thing.




« Last Edit: July 25, 2011, 12:16:13 AM by Julia Knight »
My tongue has been in my cheek for so long, I've eroded a new mouth.


Duellists Trilogy (as Julia Knight) coming soon from Orbit!

http://www.juliaknight.co.uk/

Offline missoularedhead

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #40 on: July 25, 2011, 07:31:12 AM »
Julia, have you thought about asking your LGBT friends to read a draft and tell you if it pisses them off? That might be a way around the fear?
"Well behaved women rarely make history" ~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #41 on: July 25, 2011, 08:15:56 AM »
LGBT people are people like the rest of us.the gay commander in Nights of Jamurville is the most manly man in the book, and the straight womaniser is incredibly vain and obsessed with fashion. 
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Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #42 on: July 25, 2011, 08:45:51 AM »
LGBT people are people like the rest of us.the gay commander in Nights of Jamurville is the most manly man in the book, and the straight womaniser is incredibly vain and obsessed with fashion. 
Congratulations! You've been nominated for Most Ignorant Post of the Day!

Brynd is gay and a commander. He's not a gay commander. In Nights of Viljamur, he is just one of a group of enhanced soldiers, and I fail to see what him being "manly" has to do with anything. The "womaniser" you refer to is vain, yes, and he does like to look good, but again, I have no idea what you're getting at. If you look at the fashion world for us, there are a lot of straight men in that field - One's sexuality, nor gender, does not define your skills, your tastes nor your interests.

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #43 on: July 25, 2011, 08:52:21 AM »
And congratulations for proving why straight writers are so scared of writing LGBT characters because of fear of people reacting like you do. What the hell was wrong with what I wrote? I merely pointed out that Newton goes against the stereotypes, and creates two very real characters cos often these stereotypes are untrue.   
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Offline Nighteyes

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Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #44 on: July 25, 2011, 09:14:53 AM »
Crazy idea, but lets read posts before we reply to them, and then we can have intelligent debates rather than making fools of ourselves.
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