1. huskylover103
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    huskylover103 Member

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    Why would a gay man want to be straight?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by huskylover103, Jun 26, 2012.

    Help! I am writing two stories and I am stuck on the character development for one of my protagonists. I also need help with developing characters in general. I don't seem to do enough detail. I am in a hurry to write, but for what? I have trouble slowing down and getting to know my charachters. Here's a little about it...

    For Ethan Andrews, life was just a confusing ball of questions. He didn't know who he wanted to become, nor who he was. He has struggled with homosexual tendencies for as long as he could remember. But he was scared of being gay and the consequenses it held. Maybe with a fresh start in a small town with his mother who he loved dearly, it can help him find his way. And when he meets Chloe, his new neighbor, he thinks there is finally a girl that he might be able to love. However, when he starts school as a senior in the new town, he begins to like a guy. Now more confused than ever, Ethan must choose or lose them both.

    A little overweight and self consious, Chloe Collins lived a boring in-between life. In between her two friends. Amber was popular, and beautiful, and didn't hang around with Chloe much at school. Leah was pretty but loyal. Chloe considered Leah her best friend. So with everyone comparing her to her friends, will she ever truly feel special? When a boy moves in next door to her, and they develop a friendship, Chloe finally starts to see what it's like to have someone who doesn't compare you to others. Who thinks you are above the others. But there is only one problem. He is mostly gay and likes one of her friends. Will she ever catch her break? ................ I want to change this to GRAB you more. How?

    So this story is about a young man (a senior) who moved from Denver (a lively town that Ive visited and loved) to Gaffney SC (A boring small town where I was raised) because his mother had to move for work. The company is "downsizing" and are getting rid of all "assistant managers" and her only choice was to accept a mangers position, or get a new job altogether. I needed a reason to make her move that was believable, and with drug store managers I know someone that this actually happened to.... so I used it. I believe I will add that she didn't choose to move so far away, but that was the only one that responded back to her. She wanted to stay with that company but why? WHy couldn't she have just gotten a new job? I need answers to questions like this.

    So about the boy. He is one of the two main protagonists. His mother thinks he might be gay because the dad (before leaving them) was mentally and sometimes physically abusive to the mom. He never hit the son. He ignored him. Except for calling him a mommas boy and wuss.. and so on. SO the boy is angry at that. But he doesn't think its why he is gay. He doesnt even want to admit that he is gay. He wants to be straight. He is scared of teasing and being different. He is scared of all the consequences that come along with it. He has never been with either boy or girl because he is simply confused. He knows what he wants, but he doesn't know how to get there. He tries to flirt with girls, and has even kissed them, which he likes that part, and he even thinks women are beautiful. But anything beyond kissing terrifies him. (with both sexes) So what does he do?

    About the other protagonist, the girl. She is ordinary, overweight, and has always been compared to everyone else, so naturally she does the same with herself. Her dad is a little controlling but for her own good, and he also tries to get her to lose weight. Also for her own good. So the only person who uplifts her is her mom. When she meets the boy, he starts to want to be friends with her because he notices she is insecure and alone in this world like him. How do I write out two people becoming close?

    I am lost. I have many ideas and everything is jumbled with this story. SOrry its so long, but I had a lot to explain.

    Help! :)
     
  2. Show
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    Well, a gay man, I am sure, can become close with a female. But if you want reasons why a gay man will become straight, there are a lot. You can go the route everyone goes in that "the evil bigoted homophobic society will never accept him." You can go a much lesser done route and make it that he simply wants to be straight even if he's physically a homosexual. Essentially, he's telling his body "I decide what I am, not you." I've always thought such a story, with a protagonist facing intolerance from both homophobes and gay activists, could have the potential to be really good. You could even go with the route that his he's afraid to be intimate with a guy, he wants to be straight to give his friend a husband to protect her. You got lots of options. What does your story call for, now that is the question.
     
  3. Estrade
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    It seems psychologically sound already.

    I think you've got two things going on here - the boy's need to tell someone that he's gay - and the girl's need to be wanted by someone - she's going to be wanted by the boy, as a confidante, and she's probably going to want or think for a while or hope at the beginning that he's going to want her romantically. So her feelings for him may have to be shaped to fit circumstance, but his for her start being shaped and end up being set free.
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    The question you've asked in the title of your post isn't the question you're asking in the body of your post.

    Re: The question in the body of your post, you answered it already.
    I think it would really help you to do some character sketch exercises. Not everyone likes these or finds them helpful. But in your case, any writing about your characters will help. Or you could just sit down and write. Write scenes with them. See what happens. You might write 100 pages but only use 10. You have to spend time with your characters to see who they are -- we can't tell you.

    Re: Why would a gay man want to be straight? I don't think most do. They are who they are. What if you had pressure to become gay? There was an amusing video I saw once on you tube where someone interviewed people on the street, asking "when did you realize you were heterosexual?"
    But, if one is raised in a very repressive (usually religiously-based) family and community, the pressure not to be gay would be intense. Probably overwhelming. The desire not to be gay would stem from a desire to conform and be accepted by one's community.
    Sometimes people have within them a very strong sense of wanting to conform to what is considered the accepted standards, and a similar pressure could come from within the person. Maybe they idealize someone powerful in the town -- a Mayor or some political figure who has the stereotypical wife and two kids and dog, and that's what the character wants for himself, even though the image might not match the reality.

    Those are the only things I can think of. You have to be careful if you're writing a gay character and have no understanding of what that's like.
     
  5. huskylover103
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    huskylover103 Member

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    Thank you! Show!This is basically what I wanted him to face in my story! The guy that he starts to like is openly gay. When Ethan becomes friends with him and hangs out with him, people start to notice and they tease Ethan and call him names which is what he was scared of in the first place. SO he is unaccepted by them (the homophobes) BUT when Ethan confides in the gay guy and says he is scared of being gay and wants to be straight, but that he has feelings for him, the guy gets mad and overlooks that Ethan has feelings for him, because he cant understand why he would want to change what he really is. So the openly gay guy is mad at him for some time, he feels unaccepted by him (gay society) So, essentially, the only ones he has left are his mother, and Chloe, the other protag. Then their story deepens. :)
     
  6. huskylover103
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    huskylover103 Member

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    Thank you Estrade! This has helped me alot! Yss, I want her to secretly hope there will be something there before she knows he is gay. But on the other hand, I want her to never imagine in a million years someone like him could be interested in her (she is very insecure). I can't seem to find where these two ideas meet. :/
     
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    Sounds like you know what you want to do. I think I did something somewhat similar (minus the female friend) back a ways, although probably had the protagonist be a bit more militant than scared. But if you know what you want to do, you probably are already closer than you think to what you want.
     
  8. huskylover103
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    huskylover103 Member

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    The question you've asked in the title of your post isn't the question you're asking in the body of your post. Wow, youre right! I really did have an answer to the title question all along! :)

    Re: The question in the body of your post, you answered it already. That I don't do enough detail?
    Help! I am writing two stories and I am stuck on the character development for one of my protagonists. I also need help with developing characters in general. I don't seem to do enough detail. I am in a hurry to write, but for what? I have trouble slowing down and getting to know my charachters.


    I think it would really help you to do some character sketch exercises. So is this like firguring out all the details on a character before you write? I have done that. Are there some examples of a sketch outline you could show me that might help? Not everyone likes these or finds them helpful. But in your case, any writing about your characters will help. Or you could just sit down and write. Write scenes with them. I am really liking this idea... I am going to do this! Maybe some short stories involving them just to play with them! :) THANK YOU for that tip! See what happens. You might write 100 pages but only use 10. You have to spend time with your characters to see who they are -- we can't tell you.

    Re: Why would a gay man want to be straight? I don't think most do. This is the problem I ran across. Why WOULD he want to be straight? They are who they are. What if you had pressure to become gay? There was an amusing video I saw once on you tube where someone interviewed people on the street, asking "when did you realize you were heterosexual?"
    But, if one is raised in a very repressive (usually religiously-based) family and community, the pressure not to be gay would be intense. Probably overwhelming. The desire not to be gay would stem from a desire to conform and be accepted by one's community.
    Sometimes people have within them a very strong sense of wanting to conform to what is considered the accepted standards, this is what I want his conflict to be :) but do i need to elaborate it? I dont want my readers thinking it is a weak motive for wanting to be straight. and a similar pressure could come from within the person. Maybe they idealize someone powerful in the town -- a Mayor or some political figure who has the stereotypical wife and two kids and dog, and that's what the character wants for himself, even though the image might not match the reality.

    Those are the only things I can think of. You have to be careful if you're writing a gay character and have no understanding of what that's like. I have somewhat of an understanding. I've really struggled with homosexual tendencies myself. I wouldn't call it struggled, since I always gave in to my desires, but I was raised in a Southern Baptist home. Religion and homosexualaity do not mix where I was raised! Also, this story is based on some truth about a guy in my high school whom I was close with and eventually as we became friends, I started to really like him. Can you see the inspriation of my story? :) He is completely gay now but when we were friends, he expressed that he wished he was "normal" and if he was ever to be with a woman it would be me. But that never happened. So this is my... "what if" story in a sense. :)
     
  9. huskylover103
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    huskylover103 Member

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    Youre right, and this thread has helped me realize it. I'm so grateful! Thanks!
     
  10. louis1
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    why would a gay man become straight? homosexuals are just like heterosexuals. I'm straight, i'd never go gay, not even try. it disgusts me (i have nothing against gay, i would do it that's all, just like it disgust me to think about my mother in a perverted way).
    So unless there's a death threat, or the secret to immortality, I would do something gay. I don't think a gay man would become straight unless he's under threat for his life.
     
  11. chicagoliz
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    No -- that you are in a hurry to write and have trouble slowing down and getting to know your characters. You have to spend a lot of time with them. I agree that things that people (even I) have suggested, such as character sheets -- answering "what car do they drive" and their "favorite color" are of limited usefulness. However, I like that they do get you to think about your character and they can be fun. Also, you answer to the car they drive can be fun. But some questions you could ask might tell them a lot about the characters, like: your character has just arrived home from work. What does he do next? Is he glad to be home? What kind of mood is he in? If he got home around dinner time, what is he doing about dinner? Does he have to make it himself? Someone else making it for him? Does he like what he's eating? Does he want to just reheat something? Order take out? Have a frozen dinner? Doing these sorts of things can fill in some details about the character. And of course giving him or her problems to solve gives you more information. And how he interacts with other characters, even more. Your doing short stories with them should work really well.

    Re: his conflict -- well, yes you have to elaborate on his feelings, but you can do that gradually and bring it out through his actions, internal thoughts, dialogues, etc. You wouldn't just say "Yes, within myself is a strong sense to conform and I therefore want to be heterosexual." You'd show his internal conflict by his wanting to do one thing, but ending up doing another. Have scenes where his thoughts are conflicting with his actions, where he's torn about how to act or what to do, etc.

    It sounds like you have a good understanding of the situation you want to write about and that should serve you well. Start writing some scenes!
     
  12. huskylover103
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    huskylover103 Member

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    Well this is sort of about a coming of age thing where he doesn't quite know who he wants to be yet. Pressure from peers and internal conflict are causing him to want to just go with the flow and be "normal". He doesn't realize that being gay is completely normal because he is in high school and most of those kids are merciless to the gays. Thanks to the others I am so happy I know how to sort my character out! :)
     
  13. huskylover103
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    huskylover103 Member

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    Yay! I love the bit of conflict advice, I was worrying how to make him seem torn so that the reader will empathize. Now I can!
     
  14. marktx
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    Speaking as a gay man --

    I would suggest that your character start with some type of internalized scripting--messages that he has received all his life (and has largely internalized) that tell him that being gay is the most horrible thing in the world. This might be an ultra-macho belief system that was drilled into him by his family, an extremely negative view reinforced by specific religious systems, or the belief that being gay somehow makes him "broken" in some way.

    You may wish to consider reading older books about people struggling to "come out." One of the best out there is "The Best Little Boy in the World" by Andrew Tobias, but there are plenty of others.

    Although alot of attitudes have changed over the past several years, it's important to remember that attitudes don't change at the same speed, so there is plenty of room for variation in terms of the world your character finds himself in.
     
  15. huskylover103
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    huskylover103 Member

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    Thanks! I am very glad to have an actual gay man put his input! That book, I might definately read that just for personal interest!!!! :) :) :) Thanks!
     
  16. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    Generally speaking, a gay guy would want to be straight for the same reasons that straight guys need not come out about his sexual orientations whereas gay guys have to come out even in this day and age. So, you are straight and sexually attracted to females, but what if everybody were to expect you to be attracted to guys because of a hypothetical norms of the society? That will put you in the shoes of the gay guys then and I bet you won't want to be straight then. I hope this will make you see that being sexually confuse (which is usually what happens when a gay guy is growing up) can be such a strong conflict for fictional stories. To a school going boy being different from his peers in his sexual orientation is as conflicting as life or dead matters.

    To the OP, I think, as stated above, you have enough layers of conflicts for the gay guy, but I am worried about the girl. Being overweight and plain looking doesn't make a girl attracted to/compromise with a gay guy, in fact, all these insecurities make them daydream about being thin and beautiful, and dancing in the arms of a knight in shining armor :) You might notice that plain looking girls scream the most when they see a Hollywood guy celebrity. Apart from these superficial attractions, these girls will be attracted to a guy (doesn't matter the guy is hot or not, girlish in nature or not....) who can constantly remind them that they are just as beautiful as any other girl to him. And I don't think your sexually confuse gay guy can do that. he himself is burdened by his conflicts, will he be able to help ease her insecurity burdens? The only ways i see her attracted to him are: 1) The guy is extremely attractive showing no or very little signs of being gay, some sort of a "trophy boyfriend" which she would be proud to show off to others. The catch in this is that the girl will appear to the readers as shallow. 2) He is helpful by nature and helped her on some occasions which she interpreted as attraction. 3) He pitied her, but again she misinterpreted his actions. 4) a little of all the above.

    Okay, I will post again if anything else comes to mind.
     
  17. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think this is necessarily true. As far as making a girl feel beautiful, sometimes gay guys are much better at this than straight men. (Often straight men, especially young or immature ones, don't know how to do this beyond saying something like, "wow, that chick is smokin' hot! I'd like to get me some of that.")
     
  18. huskylover103
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    I really enjoyed your advice!!!! :) Thanks!

    I forgot to elaborate on this, Im glad you isolated it. :)

    He does indeed make her feel beautiful. He thinks she is physically beautiful/cute and will tell her so. She is only twenty or thirty pounds overweight, and he can't understand why her dad would pressure her about it. He is unbiased by her looks and thinks she is really sweet and wants to befriend her so that he can help her out of her low self esteem.

    I forgot to add... she doesn't know he is gay until he confides in her enough to tell her... by then he has noticed she is wonderful and he knows that she is falling for him... so that is why he tells her. He doesn't want to hurt her. But because she is mortified and avoids him for some time, he realizes he really doesn't like being away from her... and he is confused at this as well. Havent worked out the details of this either. *sigh* so much work to do
     
  19. Birmingham
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    I once listened to Larry O'Connor speak about that on the Stage Right podcast. What he said is interesting. It's not politically correct, but it's interesting.

    Larry talked about two men he knows, two men who turned from gay to straight, with help of these different centers that offer such help. The premise was that Larry was angry at liberals who want to stifle those centers and speak against them, as if gay people have no right to choose whether they want to be gay or not.

    One of Larry's friends became a priest, or a pastor, and went on to lead a happy life (yeah, yeah, some of you wanna insert some child molestation joke. I'll wait.)

    The other one just wanted to lead a humble life, with a wife and children, and did that. He didn't want to continue being gay, due to the gay lifestyle. Now, some of you might say "but hey, gay people can have monogamy and raise children together." It's true, but I'm just answering our beloved husky on the state of mind of that person, because she asked.

    That person was afraid that if he'll continue to remain gay, he'll just fall into that lifestyle of one night stands, and no monogamy. I guess he just feared that because men (gay or straight) are designed to want a variety of partners, that lifestyle is more likely among guys attracted to guys, than with guys who are attracted to girls.
    So the guy was "cured", found a wife, had children, and like the pastor, he's just living his life.

    Anyway, I fully support the existence of these centers, because nobody is forced to be straight or gay. Gay people can choose to have a relationship with a man, or not. They can choose to try to become straight, or not. It's up to them. And nobody, no conservative, no liberal, has the right to walk up to a gay man who dreams of having a wife and kids, and tell them "screw you, I will not allow you! I will tell you how to live your life!" Nobody.

    Of course, there is the question of whether those centers work. Naturally there are anecdotes on both sides, and each side of the aisle picks the anecdotes that prove their point.

    I hope this helped.
     
  20. huskylover103
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    Yeah, Birmingham I agree. :) I do support letting people choose what is best for them. (Besides most abortions... but that is a whole different story so I wont go there.)

    Thanks for that piece of info!
     
  21. mbinks89
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    Speaking from experience as a gay guy, the main reason gays want to be straight is because we're raised in a heterosexual society. When you see romance on a TV show, 9 times out of 10, it's heterosexual romance. Everyone just assumes you're straight. You're supposed to grow up, get a girl, and have kids. And then, when you look at how gays are portrayed in the media, much of the time they are effeminate sissies. Many gay men aren't like that. By admitting you're gay, you acknowledge that tons of people will act with prejudice towards you, think you're some sort of half-man half-woman confused hybrid, and you will be treated differently. Many gay men just don't identify that. At first they may feel emasculated and deal with issues of self-hatred, try and change their sexuality, and then, hopefully, they realize enough is enough and come out of the closet and realize that, for the most part, it's not as bad as they made it out to be. I live in Canada, which is really gay tolerant, but just imagine if you lived in some fucked up country like Uganda where homosexuality is illegal and the punishment for it is severe. Not only do you have the fears of: social rejection, mockery, pariah status, destroyed friendships, but then there's also the fear of imprisonment or death. There are many reasons a gay man would want to be straight, but hopefully if they grow in a healthy way, after a while, they won't care, and they'll even embrace it.
     
  22. mbinks89
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    Marktx has some good points too
     
  23. live2write
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    I asked this question to my friends. 99% of them are gay and I have known them for 5+ years, most 20+ years.

    There is a point in time where they do question their sexuality and orientation. Some come to terms that this is who they are and they learn to accept it because it is whom they are and they are happy for who they are. Some of them though are still confused and have doubts if this is who they really are. This happened with a transgendered friend of mine when going from F-M, happened to be in a relationship with a gay man. They do have some doubts questioning if they needed to go through the transition however, what happens happens.

    It can also be a issue with denial. Pressures from the outside world conflicting with their emotional wellbeing. In truth they believe that everybody should live freely, but society considers them a stranger until they conform. Another one of my gay friends became bisexual because there was still an attraction to the opposite sex.

    With countries that forbid homosexual engagements, it is about moral and traditional values that in religion only states a man and woman. However in the Greek and Roman period love between two men was more of brotherly love than eroticism.
     
  24. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Why would a left-handed person want to be right-handed in a society that favors right-handedness?

    And yet, when well-meaning teachers "encouraged" left-handed student to learn to write right-handed, a large proportion of those students developed a persistent stutter.
     
  25. live2write
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    Good point. I went through that as a kid. Lefty pride!!!
     

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