1. LeBratPrince
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    LeBratPrince New Member

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    Unorthodox Romantic sub-plot?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by LeBratPrince, Mar 2, 2011.

    I'm writing a story that is not a romance story, but does have a romantic subplot. I'm not a huge fan of romantic subplots, actually, because I feel that they can be too sloppily done or become corny WAY too easily. I do want to incorporate one into my story, though, because the way I want to do it would be interesting, I think. So, my question is: would it be too unconventional to have my two main characters, who are both male, fall in love? I don't even know if I want them to carry out a relationship of any kind, at all, even if there is some kind of physical attraction. I just want them to fall in love purely out of love for each other. But, I don't want to narrow my reader demographic (hypothetically, because I don't have readers,) either. I don't want to write LGBT fiction specifically- I would want it to be a story anyone could easily get into. It's not supposed to be a story of the romance genre, so a romantic side-story wouldn't really be the point of focus, I would hope. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ha ha ha, I ALMOST just asked almost the same question except I was worrying that since the guys didn't get together it would just look like pandering and being too shy of the subject. Which, if people read the other stuff I write, would know it wasn't true. :p

    In any case, I am 100% pro gay characters in the story, but be careful - The Gay is a prickly issue, so unless the characters know they're gay from the outset, live in a community where everyone is completely accepting of The Gay, and their parents are fine with it, none of their friends are homophobic, they don't have aaaany other problems...

    Trouble is, when you get together a man and a lady with that logic, no one bats an eye - they wanna make babies and that's all people care about. But being gay and in love is a minefield and even if it's jsut a subplot, it will snarl everything up around it because there are going to be huge issues that need to be addressed. I mean, you COULD get the two dudes together without a hitch, but in a way that annoys people more. I wrote a novel where my two gay guys got together after much romantic entanglement and problems, but I never really focussed to hard on a coming out story, and neither of them suffered just for being gay, and one of my gay friends reading it said that it just didn't feel right because it was too idealistic to write them like they were as normal as a straight coupling.

    However, if making it too easy pisses off the gay community, then maybe making it easy IS the way to just make them token gay without getting yourself labelled LGBT literature :p
     
  3. WastelandSurvivor
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    WastelandSurvivor Member

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    Mercedes Lackey explores homosexual romance (the most recent work of hers that I've read including it was the Herald Mage trilogy) and she does just fine, so I suspect you will be, too. I am a straight male and support GLBT rights, and I was in no way thrown off by the homosexual romance because the feelings described are exactly the same as they would be for a heterosexual relationship, meaning people can still relate no matter what their sexual orientation. You will most certainly lose some potential readers, but that will happen with just about any plot feature you incorporate into your story.
     
  4. LeBratPrince
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    LeBratPrince New Member

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    Thanks- that helps a lot!

    I did consider the other side of the situation too (how it may seem too idealistic to write their relationship taking off without a hitch,) and I wouldn't people to think that it was ridiculously utopic. I also don't want to perpetuate the "tortured closet gay" story any more than I have to, either; I would rather it come off as unrealistic than stereotypical.
     
  5. Silver_Dragon
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    Silver_Dragon Senior Member

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    I don't think there's anything wrong with doing something unconventional. You might be narrowing your demographic if you were writing romance, since I think that most romance readers are interested in books that deal with their own sexual orientation, but I don't think that will be the case if this is a sub-plot in a book with a different overall focus. As Melzaar pointed out, there will be lots of issues that come with such a relationship, of course.
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know tell you later lol I have two gay relationships in my first book - one of the couples form the main characters in the next two. For me it was important to have gaycharacters that were normal going about their business. Aside from in the first book where it needed to be a slight issue to keep one character alive - I have made it a non issue in my stories.

    If it is unconventional it shouldn't be so I am keeping them.
     
  7. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    Have you tried writing it where their level of relationship is not very clear to the reader? I haven't gone looking into Lord of the Rings fandom, but I have a feeling that there are a lot of stories where people completely miss the point of the love between Frodo and Samwise.

    If you're brave enough for TV tropes, look up Ho-Yay.
     
  8. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writing a gay romance, is not making anything unorthodox, it just writing a gay romance, as long as it follows the same tiresome patterns as 90% of all fictional romances follows

    Edit: Or falls into the troops gay romances tend to fall into.
     
  9. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's how I'm writing my current novel - the main character and his best friend seem to have almost every conversation lying in bed cuddling, and they're all over each other, but when asked why the main character just burts out laughing. His romantic subplot is also with a lady character, but she was the one asking, mostly because I wanted to imply she thought there was serious competition there. :p

    I just like writing huggy, effeminate guys who have no problem kissing their best friend or snuggling him in public. :p

    (They are elves, and elves based off a sort of Greek model to boot, so what's more surprising is that they aren't just raping each other every few scenes... :p)
     
  10. LeBratPrince
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    LeBratPrince New Member

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    Brave enough for TV Tropes? Moi? :D Believe me- my life has already been ruined by hours of wiki-walking and excessive trope editing.

    This comment was a really helpful reminder- thanks! That's kind of what I was trying to describe- I want their relationship to be obviously homoerotic, but the exact nature of the relationship would not be mentioned, or would be kept simple and leave room for the imagination.
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    _The Sibyl In Her Grave_, a murder mystery by Sarah Caudwell, has what certainly appears to be a homosexual romance as a thread that seems to go through all of the plots and subplots of the book. I don't remember if she explicitly states the obvious or just allows it to be obvious, but I don't see that it limits the appeal of the book at all.

    Of course, a lot of her characters are quietly pursuing their romantic and sexual goals, so there's something for everyone to identify with. (The fact that she never, in four books, reveals whether her main character is male or female, is also interesting.)

    ChickenFreak
     
  12. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    As others have said, creating a real gay relationship might be a bit of a minefield.

    Have you considered a deep and intimate friendship? Men have those, and they are a little different from the girl kind, and may indeed incorporate a certain element of "love for each other" even though there is no physical attraction or romantic feeling at all, rather a feeling of comradeship and togetherness.

    It might work better in your story, if you don't want to get too deep into a real "relationship". You could also hint at the fact that one or the other or both might feel even more than just friendship, and leave the rest to the reader's imagination.
     
  13. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't chicken out. If you want to write a gay romance, do it.

    Just hinting at it and leaving up up to readers imagination is just another way to make homosexual invisible, and make the whole issue more taboo. Just imagine the outrage if people would have been saying the same things that have been said in the thread about mixed race relationships.

    "Well, it sensitive, some people might take offence. Just hinting that a white and a black person might like each other is enough."

    Don't be a part of the problem. If you can't treat gay romances in a fair manner, the same way you would have treated any other subject, then stay out of it. Sure any relationship is going to face issues, no matter if it ordinary teenage romance you writing about, a romance where there are normal family conflicts, a mixed race romance in the 19th century, or a homosexual relationship in a society where it is taboo. We writer write about about, loss, violence, pain, murder, betrayal, oppression, and all sort of thing without shying away from it.

    But chickening out on a narrative level in a manner that we all would agree would be pure racism if it were a matter about race, is just low.
     
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  14. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    If that's a reply to my post, I think you misunderstood me. It would work well for a heterosexual relationship as well, if you don't want to go into it too deeply in the story, and that was the OP's whole point. The OP said explicitly that she did not want to write a romance story.
     
  15. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would add to w176's reputation for that but says I have given her too much recently.

    EDIT: I think just write it as befits the story. You can have romance in a book without it being part of the romance genre. I enjoy having love stories in my books but they are fantasy, spy, time travel with relationships in them. They can't be classified as romance as I don't write the right type of hero or heroine and don't have happily ever after endings.
     
  16. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It was not a reply to anyone specifically, but to an attitude hinted in a bunch of the posts.

    Edit: The same way you can have a black and a white character in a aromatic relationship said explicitly without it being the focus of the plot, you can have an open stated gay romance without it being the center of the plot.

    Edit2: For example.: If you write a zombie story,and have a gay romance as a part of it the plot, the focus of the story will still be about being chased by zombies and BRAAAAINS no matter what sort of problem gay couples face in society.

    Btw: Thanks Elgaisma
     
  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree - I had one reader come back to me with but you didn't say he was gay. Well no I figured the fact he was checking out the handsome man in his bedroom said all that was needed. The later discussion about him perhaps moving on from the previous male partner who had died said everything I needed to say on the matter.

    The story itself is about rips in time and space, and a terrible price paid to save the universe.
     
  18. Paris_Love
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    Paris_Love Member

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    Sure, why not? I have a crime-caper story I started that has a lesbian sex scene in it, even though that isn't the focus of the story, merely a way to demonstrate character personality. I actually have an easier time writing same-sex scenes than I do with hetero scenes for some reason. Maybe it's because I'm straight and don't find hetero sex all that interesting. :D
     
  19. LeBratPrince
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    LeBratPrince New Member

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    Haha! :D It's true!
     

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