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Author Topic: Market for Gay Hero  (Read 3531 times)

Offline DavidTheGreat

Market for Gay Hero
« on: May 08, 2013, 08:12:28 PM »
Hi All,

I am thrashing out my characters for my book and would like to write my hero as a gay male. As a gay male myself this would be exciting as I havent read any books with this trait for a hero.

My question is do you think this would appeal to anyone. I appreciate that I probably already answered that with the LGBT fantasy readers, I just dont want to alienate the remaining readers.

Thanks

David
David

If fantasy is to think imaginatively, then I must live in fantasy all the time!

Offline Jeni

Re: Market for Gay Hero
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2013, 08:23:41 PM »
Personally, the sexual orientation of the characters in a book makes no difference to me when deciding what to read. It's the story that grabs my attention initially. As long as the characters are well developed and relevent to the story, I'll enjoy it.

Offline Arry

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Re: Market for Gay Hero
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2013, 08:25:44 PM »
I would write what you want to write, if the character is well done and happens to be gay, I personally don't see why it should be an issue. I wouldnt judge a book (or decide if I want to read it or not) based on the sexual orientation of the protagonist. I would hope that most people would be the same. (there are bound to be jerks that will judge a book one way or another based on their own prejudices, but I wouldnt worry about them, their loss if they want to exclude books for irrational reasons)
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Offline xiagan

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Re: Market for Gay Hero
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2013, 08:39:04 PM »
I don't have a problem with it. Why haven't you read books with gay MCs yet? It's not as if there aren't any. :)
Try Mark Charan Newton or Anne Lyle [not the MC, but a MC) for example.
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline DavidTheGreat

Re: Market for Gay Hero
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2013, 08:42:54 PM »
Thanks I will do just that and pick up a novel of theirs to read.
David

If fantasy is to think imaginatively, then I must live in fantasy all the time!

Offline Wizard Police

Re: Market for Gay Hero
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2013, 08:47:21 PM »
Only the immature should have any qualms with it, but make sure not to focus so much on the character being gay. I haven't read it but the novel Black Blade Blues employs a main character who is gay, and the biggest drawback to it is how she is always in a state of self loathing. Gay people are like everyone else, just different, like everyone else, so in a book they should be treated the same.

Offline DjangoWexler

Re: Market for Gay Hero
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2013, 10:39:40 PM »
Only the immature should have any qualms with it, but make sure not to focus so much on the character being gay. I haven't read it but the novel Black Blade Blues employs a main character who is gay, and the biggest drawback to it is how she is always in a state of self loathing. Gay people are like everyone else, just different, like everyone else, so in a book they should be treated the same.

I very much agree with this.  "Gay" is *a* character trait, like "tall" or "likes baseball", not the single thing that defines everything else about a character.  At worst, if you hit it too hard you risk sounding like you're delivering An Important Message, which will turn off even the readers who agree with you.

To add to the "gay main character" book list, try Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint or Richard Morgan's The Steel Remains
The Thousand Names -- released July 2!
http://djangowexler.com/book-info/

Offline jefGoelz

Re: Market for Gay Hero
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2013, 04:55:51 AM »
Only the immature should have any qualms with it, but make sure not to focus so much on the character being gay. I haven't read it but the novel Black Blade Blues employs a main character who is gay, and the biggest drawback to it is how she is always in a state of self loathing. Gay people are like everyone else, just different, like everyone else, so in a book they should be treated the same.

I very much agree with this.  "Gay" is *a* character trait, like "tall" or "likes baseball", not the single thing that defines everything else about a character.  At worst, if you hit it too hard you risk sounding like you're delivering An Important Message, which will turn off even the readers who agree with you.


Yeah, but on the other hand, if there are no consequences for the character's sexual orientation you're just sweeping things under the rug.  If society in the book is equally-tolerant of all sexual orientations, then there needs to be something about that society that makes it that way - - the author doesn't necessarily need to share that backstory with us, but he should know.

Offline Jaedia

Re: Market for Gay Hero
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2013, 12:30:20 PM »
If it fits and isn't just put there for the sake of it (obviously, at least), then do it. Do you really want people who'd be put off by a gay protagonist reading your books anyway? Or perhaps you could strive to open a few minds. :)

Offline Nyki Blatchley

Re: Market for Gay Hero
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2013, 02:39:08 PM »
Do you really want people who'd be put off by a gay protagonist reading your books anyway?

Exactly.  You might as well say don't write fantasy because there are people who'll refuse to read it.  The MC of my novel At An Uncertain Hour is bi - a few people might not like that, but tough.

Re: Market for Gay Hero
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2013, 07:41:47 PM »
I'm an openly acknowledged perma-twit, so feel free to ignore everything I say if you don't like it and, of course, you're welcome to lampoon - I always like bringing joy to people, regardless of how it's achieved!  :)

Anyways, the way I see it there are three potential groups involved:

Group 1 - Totally anti-gay types, for whatever reason (upbringing, religion etc.). No matter how good, I can't see that you'll get any traction here even if you wanted to and regardless of your story quality. Ignore 'em.

Group 2 - LGBT and/or totally open-minded people. So long as the story is good, you'll have these people, because they couldn't care less about the MC's gaiety (sorry... couldn't resist  ::) ). But I'm pretty sure you knew that already. It's the next group you're interested in.

Group 3 - Non-LGBT, mostly open-minded folks, also known as "the middle ground".

While I'm strongly in agreement with the above posters that you write what you want and sods to the naysayers, I'm also aware that to gain traction in group 3, your story is going to have to be written well (or they won't be interested) and it's going to have to be written...hmm... tactfully?

For reference purposes, I'm a hetero-male. My best friend is gay. One of my all-time favourite characters (Mercedes Lackey's Vanyel Ashkevron) is gay. I'm more than mildly prejudiced against prejudice (and yes... I'm totally aware of the irony).

However, and this is the big one, avoid sex. Have characters go to bed together? Fine. Have them get busy? Fine. Describe the events in detail over ten pages aaaaaand I've got other stuff to do. Maybe it's just me and my stupid Roman Catholic upbringing, but the majority of even "normal" (if there really is such a thing) sex scenes leave me feeling just a touch squicky unless they're perfectly handled. I can count on my fingers alone how many times I've encountered those, with the vast majority simply feeling gratuitous - included solely for the easy pull.

So yeah... as most have said before. Write what you want. Focus on the character. If he's gay, it's fine so long as it's a character trait, rather than a tolerance is good "Message". Focus on the emotion of love and on the relationship between the characters involved. That emotion, that relationship is where the non-LGBT types are going to be able to connect, so that's the best place to draw 'em in to your story, to give your characters pull. Oh, and have a good story. That's important too, but I figured you knew that!  ;D
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 07:43:48 PM by Michael C Dominy »

Offline Jaedia

Re: Market for Gay Hero
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2013, 07:58:22 PM »
Well if we're talking sex I like what Francis said on the 'violence in fantasy' thread which basically accounted to: less is more. :D

Offline blendyface

Re: Market for Gay Hero
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2013, 11:32:27 PM »
Man, I read anything that interests me - although I also feel the need to add, I don't avoid books if they seem "too" gay, or if they are marketed specifically in a "LGBT" genre (which I would understand in targeting in audience).
I'd probably take more interest in a book that's non-heterocentric because I tend to find stuff outside of the straight white norm to be waaay less personally grating (still
providing the story has something that piques my interest). Which leads to my next point re:sex scenes, I typically avoid them in fantasy (and especially written by dudes - sorry y'all) because they've been kind of ridiculous/wandering way too close to misogyny and cuts too close to the bone for my liking. In my limited experience. Or too much like old guys fetishing youth and ~the mystery of women (every old guy film director anywhere).

So in that regard, I would have zero problemo with a sex scene between two guys. Plus, as a straight woman, obvs. I can share certain...appreciations with gay male characters.  8)

Offline AnneLyle

Re: Market for Gay Hero
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2013, 12:26:10 PM »
Hi All,

I am thrashing out my characters for my book and would like to write my hero as a gay male. As a gay male myself this would be exciting as I havent read any books with this trait for a hero.

There are a fair few around:

* Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
* The Steel Remains and The Cold Commands, by Richard Morgan
* Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series (features a gay couple, one member of whom is bi)
* The Last Herald Mage trilogy by Mercedes Lackey

just off the top of my head.

My own trilogy (see signature) features a protagonist who is what I would call functionally bisexual (he thinks of himself as straight but, like many Elizabethan men, also sleeps with other guys on occasion) and two of the main side-characters are gay (one of them PoV).

So I wouldn't worry, seriously. You'll get a few heated reviews complaining that "OMG THIS BOOK NEEDS A WARNING STICKER FOR TEH GAYZ" but I see them as a positive advertisement :)

http://www.amazon.com/The-Alchemist-Souls-Nights-Masque/product-reviews/0857662147/ref=cm_cr_pr_hist_1?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 12:31:54 PM by AnneLyle »
Elizabethan fantasy trilogy The Alchemist of SoulsThe Merchant of Dreams and The Prince of Lies out now from Angry Robot Books!