1. gabriellockhart
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    gabriellockhart Member

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    Lesbian relationships?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by gabriellockhart, Feb 15, 2010.

    This is for those on the board that read a lot novels.

    How often do you come across lesbian relationships both the primary characters relationship in the story or secondary characters.

    I ask because i'm thinking of adding a lesbian relationship to one of the primary characters in my work, so i was just thinking how many times have youcome across this kind of story line in reading, especially in the fantasy genre.

    This is the first time i have thought about doing this up to this point all the relationships i've wrote for my characters have been regular straight male and female couplings.

    So a little feed back on the idea would also be appreciated.
     
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  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If it fits the story, and you can write it cionvincingly, do it. You don't need to know how often it can be found in current novels. It's enough to know that there are novels out there containing gay and lesbian romances.

    Of course, don't expect to publish it through a Fundamentalist-centered publishing house.
     
  3. gabriellockhart
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    gabriellockhart Member

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    thank's Cogito
     
  4. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    I agree with Cogito entirely.

    Personally however, I tend to think that one of the most depressing things in whichever society you may reside in is when you only do what others before you have. That's the brilliant thing about being a writer: you can be yourself and do as you please. Think of it as being a boss. Sure, you have to make sure others will like your product, but you still don't answer to anyone but yourself.

    Either way, best of luck.
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Gabriellockhart,

    If it is important and/or works with the storyline, there is nothing wrong with the proposed lesbian relationship. While it may limit options with some mainstream publishers and their audiences, it may also open doors to other publishers which focus on publishing novels with themes/content which you're considering.

    Similarly, doors open and close when a writer selects a genre, or mixes genres, or has certain increased levels of violence or harsh language, etc.

    Some folks write the story first and then seek a publisher/audience that will fit the piece. Others write a story with a publisher/audience in mind. Either route works. It just depends on the writer.

    Good luck.

    Terry
     
  6. gabriellockhart
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    gabriellockhart Member

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    Thanks for the comment's guys.

    so with that in mind onwards to new relationships with in my work.;)
     
  7. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm curious. If a writer is not gay, how would he or she do the research to write a realistic and compelling character? I've known gays who surprised me, because they did not flaunt their orientation. On the other hand, I've avoided others who seem like they are on a mission to make their sexual orientation known to the whole world. My point is, there appears to be an enormous difference within the gay community in behavior and attitude. Where would a writer go for appropriate advice, since gays are not a monolithic group of people?
     
  8. gabriellockhart
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    gabriellockhart Member

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    To answer your question NaCl, i know a lesbian couple, so i can speak with them. It's the same with my circle of friends with most of them being female, i am more comfortable writing female characters as lead characters.
     
  9. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Many gay and lesbian people have written heterosexual characters successfully. Many men have written convincing female characters, and vice versa. Why should a heterosexual person writing a gay character be any different?
     
  10. writewizard
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    writewizard Contributing Member

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    I don't think I've ever run across any, but I haven't been reading much recently, either. Everything I've been reading has been focused on school - ugh! That being said, like Cog said, I think you could do it as long as it is done creativly, constructivly, and has a point.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I neither know nor care what sexual orientation Patricia Cornwell is, but there is a prominent character in her Kay Scarpetta novels who is lesbian. She is very convincingly written.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm a constant novel reader and have been, for going on 3/4 of a century...

    i can't recall ever having come across one as a main character... and no secondary ones stand out in my mind, but there probably have been a few...

    as for having the protag be a lesbian, even in today's more 'open' society i doubt publishers of mainstream adult novels would take on such a work, since the majority of book buyers aren't up to identifying with any other than heterosexual heroines... but niche indies that specialize in gay themes would of course be happy to take it on...

    for secondary characters, i don't see a problem, if it's necessary to the plot, since all manner of folks can figure less prominently in a story...
     
  13. jacklondonsghost
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    I've read a few mainstream novels with gay/lesbian main characters. It's getting to be more common in fantasy and sci-fi as well.

    My only qualm with lesbian couples in fiction is, as a lesbian, I see a LOT of them become paper-thin, stereotypical characters that live only to be lesbian or gay. Remember that even if the character is lesbian, they are a person first. If there is one thing that infuriates me it is straight authors attempting a homosexual character who is nothing more than a cliche. The characters should be real people first, and lesbians second. Just like in real life.

    As far as publishers go, I don't know how they view novels with a gay/lesbian protagonist. I write YA and there is a much bigger market there for that, but I'm not sure about mainstream.

    Just please, please, please do not write another stereotype. It does all of us who actually are GLBT a disservice and it's infuriating to read over and over again.
     
  14. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    There was a huge amount of lesbian output in the sixties and seventies, coinciding with the Feminist and Queer movements. If you're looking for precedents in fiction, that might be a good place to start.
     
  15. DvnMrtn
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    DvnMrtn Contributing Member

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    I disagree, but it's merely a matter of opinion.
     
  16. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is how I write any homosexual characters I might have. I don't see them as being gay, but rather see them as just another character. Their relationship is then based around how the two characters personalities interact with eachother.

    Just another character, just another human... well Elf in one story. But yeah.
     
  17. gabriellockhart
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    gabriellockhart Member

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    lots of interesting views?

    As for publishing i don't really think the fundamentalist views apply in my native country of britain...the amount of homosexual folk and celebrities in the mass media, i would think we're pretty open minded in the UK.

    Cheers all for helping me actually decide to do a lesbian protagonist, now all i've got to do is come up with many convincing reasons and methods, as it all depends on that, rather then just ramming it into a book.
     
  18. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    (As a member of the GLBT community,) I get this, but I disagree to a certain extent. Yes, reducing a character to nothing more than a cliche of their sexuality is bad, but ignoring their sexuality is just as intolerable. Gay people aren't straight people who like the same sex, there are significant differences in how they think and feel (again, in general). I don't really like the common and kinda naive attitude that personality and sexuality are unrelated...one shapes the other, whether gay, straight or whatever, so I don't believe that the best way to portray them is "as a person first", because that implies that their sexuality is not one of the aspects of that person, a statement that is obviously misguided.
     
  19. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Adding a lesbian romance to your story comes with another kind of prejudice from readers aside from that of conservative minds objecting against portrayal of homosexuality in literature (which should never stop anyone from adding one - au contraire).

    I'm talking about the (somewhat justified) prejudice towards the quality of the story and writing. Sadly, lesbian romance has been greatly abused to add a bit of kick and kink to totally unimaginative adventure shtiks, Japanese anime, and b-movies financed by Playboy Magazine, to the point of it becoming the obvious top trend of kinks to add as audience-service, because, well, what guy can't appreciate watching two girls make out. Thus, lesbian romance has been one of the top cards to draw by hack writers who felt insecure about their product.

    It's a shame, but it's a fact that it has been abused as a cheap trick by so many. I'd personally be cautious about adding one to my own writing, because I'm not confident that I could pull it off well enough to avoid doubt by readers that it was added to make up for a lack in other parts of the writing. But if you're confident that your writing is good and the romance will add genuine depth to the story without stereotyping lesbians, then I'd say go for it - show the hacks how it's done.
     
  20. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    But we do have fundamentalist publishing houses. That's not likely to be an issue, though, as you were unlikely to be targetting them. More of an issue is likely to be mainstream publishers who simply think that a lesbian protagonist won't sell. Most publishers tend to tend towards conservativism, so even if the public would accept it, publishers might not. And don't forget how a high-circulation newspaper (The Daily Mail) in this "pretty open minded" country treated the death of Stephen Gately.
     
  21. moldypeaches
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    moldypeaches New Member

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    I understand what you are saying here, that being gay is an aspect of a person's personality. But at the same time, I think that what the poster above you was saying is that so many people make lesbians sound dry, and fake. The gay community is very often portrayed cutout in comparison to straight couples. Which, unfortunately is because many do research on couples, and just assume things that are very stereotypical. Like that they are butch, femme, or lipstick lesbians, usually work in very "masculine" jobs, etc. Which most of us are just normal everyday people, and our jobs/physical appearance do not define our sexual orientation. I've read a lot of bad portrayals too, and it is very irritating to me.

    However, I think that if you were a good writer, and if you had the talent, you are able, much like an actor to identify with anyone, no matter their sexuality. :)
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There's a difference between sticking in token <insert trendy minority here> characters into fiction for the sake of appearances, and integrating characters who just happen to be members of that group into the story.

    I may not be seeing a representative cross-section of British television in what I see on BBCAmerica, and I can't say much about current UK fiction. But most of what I have seen on BBCA looks a lot like what American TV did in the late 1960s and into the 1970s with blacks: gay characters paraded before the viewer as if to say, "Look how progressive we are!"

    I'm neither black nor gay, but my circle of friends includes enough of both that shows and stories of this type just don't ring true to me.

    And yet I do see well-crafted characters in mainstream novels who are believably gay. They shine first as characters, and you like or dislike them because of the kind of people they are, not because they are gay.
     
  23. jacklondonsghost
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    I didn't say that sexuality is completely unrelated to personality. That's not what I said at all. It's certainly a facet of a person, straight or not. But it is only a part of a person. For example, I have two characters who are gay in my WIP. A lot of the book deals with their relationship, and with how they deal with their sexuality. But they are also round, realistic people. Yes, their sexuality affects them and their personality. But that's not all that they are. And unfortunately a lot of the time, that is what homosexuals are reduced to in fiction/television/movies. That's one of the reasons Brokeback Mountain was so powerful to me. There were real characters there, with lives and concerns besides just being gay.

    That's all I was saying. I'm sick of seeing token gay characters, or characters who are gay but that's all that is ever explored about their personality.

    In any case, as long as you take care to make them realistic people, it shouldn't be a problem :)
     
  24. gabriellockhart
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    gabriellockhart Member

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    So make them real people first followed by their sexuality?
     
  25. jacklondonsghost
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    jacklondonsghost Contributing Member

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    Well I mean that their personality should be a melding of their sexuality and a whole lot of other facets. Just remember that they have other things going on in their lives than just being gay and thinking about being gay and dealing with being gay.
     

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