1. Penny Dreadful
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    Penny Dreadful Senior Member

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    Writing same-sex relationships (female)

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Penny Dreadful, Feb 7, 2009.

    So I have much too much experience writing homosexual relationships. Female characters in novels frustrate me so, when I'm hankering a romantic read - I tend to lean toward two males together. It doesn't hurt that a cousin of mine always had/has a great deal of this on hand. He and I seem to be on a weird sort of don't ask/don't tell understanding with this. Anyway...

    I have a story I'm working on with a premise I just love. The problem is that the main character is slowly realizing her own sexuality or at the very least, a certain attraction toward a specific female. The romance itself is very unorthodox, but I want it to sort of unfold with the main character being oblivious to this fact. I.E. a typical "coming out" to herself/awkward sorting out of feelings.

    Aside from a very few short and, for the most part, badly written reads I have little experience with this brand of romance. Television programs don't help me and a lot of them are way too "lipstick" and mildly pornographic to be of use anyway. My so-inclined friend(s) are less than romantic, so they're not much help either.

    Any tips? I ask because my boyfriend is getting very worried with my sting of Google searches tonight. :rolleyes:
     
  2. Anđeo.čuvar
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    Anđeo.čuvar Member

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    Honestly, I suggest writing them in a similar way as other relationships. It's the subtleties that will be hard to write in her thoughts. What she notices about the other girl that is different from how she either used to look at her, or how she looks at others if it's an instant attraction type of meeting. If you've got a slow development I'm assuming it is not the latter, but I'm sure that would develop as well. The same way you look at someone you are attracted to of the opposite sex versus someone you are not. More confusion perhaps; considering she may not be comfortable with these feelings within herself. Ugh, I'm rambling. I hope this helps. Good luck.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Homosexual relationships are just like heterosexual relationships. Couples fall in love, break up, get jealous, etc. Try writing it like a heterosexual relationship and see where that takes you.
     
  4. Penny Dreadful
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    Penny Dreadful Senior Member

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    I don't know. There are subtle differences when I'm writing two males and when I'm writing a male and a female. I realize the the mechanics of love are the same; what I'm more concerned about is writing the thought process. Men are certainly worried about different things when they realize they might be gay. Heck, somone I'm very close to still hasn't broken the news to our family. I imagine a female would have different worries.
     
  5. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    Oh! I'm glad to answer this one considering I'm bi and I often write this sort of thing. How old is the main character when you begin? This is a key thing.

    I, personally, had some sexual feelings for other girls around 13, but I convinced myself of straightness until 17, when I came out as lesbian...and now at 19 as a bisexual. These things are very confusing and should be handled with delicacy, so perhaps you should try reading some such things and giving it some thought before you write. I think lesbian relationships (typically) require a lot of subtlety to be pulled off realistically.

    I have one recommendation for a book called Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. It is quality, but be warned it is very British, if you are not.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The Kay Scarpetta novels by Patricia Cornwell have several lesbian characters, notably Kay's niece, Lucy. The characters seem well-rounded to me, and Cornwell neither glamorizes nor demonizes the lifestyle. It's a lot of reading, but I think you'll find plenty of good examples of what you're looking for.
     
  7. Penny Dreadful
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    Penny Dreadful Senior Member

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    I haven't finalized the main character's age yet. It will either fall into the late teens or early twenties, though she will have been very socially isolated and is likely romantically stunted as a result.

    And thank you, Cogito. Unfortuntely, I'm not a big Patricia Cornwell fan. It's not really my genre.
     
  8. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    Oh bummer, romantically stunted AND gay. She'll have it rough for sure.

    What about sci-fi? Cause there is this really well-known sci-fi writer who writes lesbian characters called Nicola Griffith. I've read some of it but I kind of read somewhere something that seemed a little too controversial to me, not to do with the character being gay but just something I wouldn't normally read.
     
  9. Penny Dreadful
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    Penny Dreadful Senior Member

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    Heh, she will indeed. Oddly enough, I think that just gave me a great idea about how to handle her initial feelings.

    I'm more of a fantasy and horror girl, myself. I'll definitely check out Griffith though. The Google search looked promising. :D What kind of controversial are we talking though? I can take most controversial subjects, but when I read something that makes me uncomfortable (and it takes a lot) I just can't look at that author's books anymore. I never throw books away, but I do hide them. I actually have, at least, three books that disturbed me hidden around the house. To date, I've only ever "found" and re-hidden them twice... And, yes, I realize fully how strange that is. :rolleyes:
     
  10. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    I can't say exactly what because I didn't read a long way into it. From what I read, nothing at all offensive came up. I read something in a review that made it seem like it had some kind of robot-sex thing going on, which really doesn't seem that unusual in sci-fi but I personally shy away from things that are a little "weird" when combined with sex. Actually, I'm sure if I gave the book a chance I would get over it, but alas I am too scared about the robot sex o_O.
     
  11. Anđeo.čuvar
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    Anđeo.čuvar Member

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    Would you mind if I used that last sentence as a quote in my signature...? It is truly hilarious.
     
  12. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    Not at all, go ahead :cool:. I'd be honored, I don't think I've ever been sig'ed before!
     
  13. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    You already kind of dismissed the idea, but I would repeat the advice to write it as an individual relationship, like any other relationship, only this one happens to be F/F instead of M/F or M/M.

    When I first became curious about writing gay characters, I remember I went to a gay forum and started asking questions, like how gay people do this, how they do that, how they have relationships, how they decide who's the dominant one on the relationship, etc. etc. And all I got was a bunch of exasperated answers telling me there WAS no "gay" way of doing things, because they were individuals just like I am. I left the forum, frustrated and not understanding, until I finally started writing gay characters. And then I understood. I didn't write them having relationships in a "gay" way because there's no such thing. They just had their own individual relationships, same as straight people.

    You say this:

    There are subtle differences when I'm writing two males and when I'm writing a male and a female. I realize the the mechanics of love are the same; what I'm more concerned about is writing the thought process. Men are certainly worried about different things when they realize they might be gay. Heck, somone I'm very close to still hasn't broken the news to our family. I imagine a female would have different worries.

    ...but the truth is, EVERY person, whether male, female, gay or straight, will have different thoughts and worries. Yes, gay people might have some worries that straight people won't, but you really can't say because everyone is unique. Your character really might end up worrying about the same things a gay male or even a straight female would worry about. Just write your characters as unique individuals doing their individual things and everything should be fine.

    I write slews of M/M relationships which people have told me are quite realistic and believable. Guess what? I'm a straight female who's never been in a relationship of any kind. But I'm good at getting into the heads of my individual characters and that's what counts.
     
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  14. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Another book you can look at is Gravity by Leanne Lieberman. That one is about a girl discovering her sexuality, not just a story about lesbian and some of the issues that a teenage girl faces when realizing that she is a lesbian. Also a great intro to Orthodox Jewish culture. I've been to two of the synagogues mentioned in the story.
     
  15. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Melissa Scott is another author to try in the realm of science fiction who writes predominantly LGBT protagonists. Great stuff. Her book Dreamships features pretty much every orientation I can think of and is a great piece of science fiction to boot without ever resorting to being sci-porn.

    BTW, thanks for wanting to include us in your writing! :D

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  16. Penny Dreadful
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    Penny Dreadful Senior Member

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    Thanks for the advice, but that answer's still a little too broad and politically correct for me. Sure characters are all their own special snowflake, but I do write M/M romances a little differently than I would write M/F. Is one better? Nope. They're just different. Aside from thought processes, there's also the physical; not just sex - but affection is generally shown a little differently between sexes... or at least it is when I write it/has been from my observations. I can't speak for how everyone writes it of course, but... that's just how I roll. ;)

    I think the main issue here is that I've written so much M/M compared to M/F that F/F is, somewhat, new ground for me. I probably just need some reading material to familiarize myself with it, which is what people here seem to be doing... and which I much appreciate, btw... :D
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    In the end, though, it's not how well characters fit a demographic that makes them memorable or realistic. It's how well their individuality shines through.
     

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