April 29, 2017, 02:25:32 PM

Author Topic: Same-sex relationships in my books. Am I overthinking this?  (Read 278 times)

Online Eli_Freysson

Same-sex relationships in my books. Am I overthinking this?
« on: April 21, 2017, 12:01:48 AM »
I have very little faith in my ability to portray romance, but the first of my space opera books did feature a princess (soon queen) hooking up with one of her handmaidens. It just felt logical. Their social life is very limited due to circumstances, and there's really no-one else around for the princess to grow close to. So it was the only way for me to squeeze a royal spouse into the story.
I also quite liked working with the superior/servant part of the relationship.

Now I'm starting work on the third book, about their daughter some decades later. She grows quite close to her female bodyguard for various story reasons, and I'm wondering whether to develop it into romance. This isn't something I planned when I created either character, but the idea occurs that they would make a good couple, IF I can pull it all off.

The idea also occurs that people might think I'm doing the "girl on girl is hawt!" thing, what with doing another lesbian relationship, and I have no desire to be disrespectful. Then yet another idea occurs, namely that I am making the mistake of treating gay characters in any way differently from the rest of us, when I absolutely believe in complete equality.

On a different note, there is also the storytelling issue of repeating the "royal heir falls in love with subordinate" thing.

Thoughts?
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Same-sex relationships in my books. Am I overthinking this?
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2017, 10:05:19 AM »
As you know, that was the chapter that you gave me to read, and I thought it was very well written, and not falling into disrespect or anything else.

The only problem I see with that development is repeating the "royal heir falls in love with subordinate" thing, but you could give it a twist and make the character actually admit that, make it visible and recognisable, but going ahead with it anyway.
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Re: Same-sex relationships in my books. Am I overthinking this?
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2017, 03:19:53 PM »
As you know, that was the chapter that you gave me to read, and I thought it was very well written, and not falling into disrespect or anything else.

The only problem I see with that development is repeating the "royal heir falls in love with subordinate" thing, but you could give it a twist and make the character actually admit that, make it visible and recognisable, but going ahead with it anyway.

That's called lampshading, and usually works fairly well if the trope is not too bad. If the biggest criticism is the status of the lovers, you win.
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Online Eli_Freysson

Re: Same-sex relationships in my books. Am I overthinking this?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2017, 03:39:35 PM »
As you know, that was the chapter that you gave me to read, and I thought it was very well written, and not falling into disrespect or anything else.

The only problem I see with that development is repeating the "royal heir falls in love with subordinate" thing, but you could give it a twist and make the character actually admit that, make it visible and recognisable, but going ahead with it anyway.

That's called lampshading, and usually works fairly well if the trope is not too bad.

Yeah, I figure I would HAVE to have the character reflect on how she's basically repeating history, and do some self-mockery about it.

Quote
If the biggest criticism is the status of the lovers, you win.

Could you clarify what you mean by that?
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Online The Gem Cutter

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Re: Same-sex relationships in my books. Am I overthinking this?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2017, 03:58:55 PM »
I just meant if you have a romance, of any flavor, and the biggest issue is that one is a subordinate to the other, that's a win for you. It's been a factor in human relationships since we first started elevating people, so it's completely realistic. People can (and do) invest a huge amount of time moralizing on a variety of issues, but in the case of the rich/poor, upper/lower class, boss/employee thing, it's not a huge deal imho.
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Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Same-sex relationships in my books. Am I overthinking this?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2017, 09:26:36 PM »
Do you have any male/male relationships?
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Online Eli_Freysson

Re: Same-sex relationships in my books. Am I overthinking this?
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2017, 09:56:45 PM »
Do you have any male/male relationships?

I don't have much in the way of relationships in my writings in general. (see: my feelings on romance). But a male character in the first novel, who is very important both in-universe and to the plot, does have a dead husband. At the time it was just something I threw in for character depth.
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Offline Nora

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Re: Same-sex relationships in my books. Am I overthinking this?
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2017, 12:14:16 AM »
well, why not have some romance and some short term romance? A nasty breakup in the middle of plot turmoil?
Or people growing estranged, or cheating?
I personally wouldn't worry about the sex of the partner for realism, but if the only romance you depict is of the happy-forever kind, it would come across as less realistic to me. Simple unfulfilled sexual tension is fine too.

Can't really tell without reading it, but go ahead! Haters gonna hate. Try your best. If you end up having an editor, it'll be their job to help you with how the romance comes across as, same with beta readers I guess.

I feel you, romance is tough to make well.
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Online Eli_Freysson

Re: Same-sex relationships in my books. Am I overthinking this?
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2017, 12:33:41 AM »
well, why not have some romance and some short term romance? A nasty breakup in the middle of plot turmoil?
Or people growing estranged, or cheating?

Because I just loathe that kind of melodrama, especially when it distracts from a far more interesting main plot.
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Offline Nora

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Re: Same-sex relationships in my books. Am I overthinking this?
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2017, 01:00:11 AM »
It's not melodrama, it's real life! It has to be meaningful, of course, and fit the plot, but come on, even cheesy romance books have their torridly-fit-for-each-other-by-fate cardboard cut-out characters fall out of sorts and mend up.
How many couples do you know, who are still together for over x+years and have gone through stuff as rough as your plot line? (well, there, obviously none, but you get my drift).
I've often been impressed by relationships that flirted with the line of romance or sexual attraction and either didn't cross it fully or backtracked, or broke it up.
Sunshine has a moment of strong sexual attraction that isn't resolved or much acted on, Kraken [mild spoiler]
Spoiler for Hiden:
has the MC have sex with a guy, not very romantically, more like 'adults' as Mieville says, and the guys disappears and was a traitor
A book, whose title escape me, which starred a LGBT couple getting in a tri-partite relationship, had the MC lost for years, adopted by a distant, different tribe, and marry in it, and then decide to break off and pursue rumors that his lost lovers are looking for him. It was heartbreaking, because it was such a tough choice...
Bennet Jackson has great tensions in city of stairs, where the MC meets an old lover who is actually rather more into men and felt great deal of shame/pressure, etc.
There are plenty of books that sprinkle romance/attraction without making it simple and new or straight forward.
My point was that these books struck me more because the relations were gritty, realistic. With disappointment and treasons, and fall out and good reasons not to have sex any more and etc.
You can just make things hard–or not, but it's only my personal opinion that easy romances are less realistic, regardless of the gender.
If it makes sense for them, then why not? I don't think you should worry about their gender, but more on depicting the relation (which is freakish hard, I know, I'm not good either).
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Offline CryptofCthulhu

Re: Same-sex relationships in my books. Am I overthinking this?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2017, 08:55:40 AM »
Yes you are overthinking this.  ;)
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Offline AnnaStephens

Re: Same-sex relationships in my books. Am I overthinking this?
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2017, 08:08:35 AM »

On a different note, there is also the storytelling issue of repeating the "royal heir falls in love with subordinate" thing.

Thoughts?

Why don't you have the bodyguard in love with the princess, not the princess in love with the bodyguard? It's not a simple reversal because you have the guard's struggles with superiority/class, whether it will impact her ability to do her job, will the princess like her back etc etc.

Then as you write, it can grow organically and if they end up together, so be it. Or they try it and it doesn't work, or the princess breaks her heart...
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