1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Is my character gay?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by deadrats, Nov 8, 2016.

    I've been working on this short story that I just can't get happy with. Something about it is too cutesy and maybe generic. I was thinking about my MC's love interest and something just felt off. Then I thought about the story and what the story would be like if my MC was gay. It seemed to change the tone of the piece quite a bit in a really unexpected way. The story feels like there's more too it. I've done several drafts of this story with a straight character. I'm halfway through making him gay. I haven't changed anything much other than the name of a female character. That has me worried a bit. I feel like there must be other changes I need make. Or was my character was always gay? I just didn't know it at first? But it almost feels like this is too easy of a fix. Any thoughts on this? Have you written a gay character before? How much of an effect do you think a change like this can have on a story?
     
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  2. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    Your character's gay if you want him to be. I mean, you're the one driving this bus, not him. I don't really understand why you'd be worried or feel like it's too easy of a fix?

    I don't know, I've written predominantly gay and bi characters for a long time and the only change it's ever really made is that the genders of their love interests are / can be different. Unless the story is turning into something focused on drama regarding the character's orientation (is this what you're implying about it changing the tone?), I don't see there needing to be much of an effect at all.
     
  3. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    In my Doctor Who fanfic, I was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that one of my lead protagonists was asexual/aromantic like me. I later decided that the story worked better if he was actually bi and ended up with a guy he'd met, but it certainly felt like I was finding out that he had retroactively been bi the whole time, rather than feeling like I was deciding to retroactively change him.

    As for changing anything else: would you rather write a story about what it's like being gay in a world where too many people have a problem with it, or would you like to write a story that normalizes it and allows the couple to focus on the truth rather than having them react to the popular lie?

    If you want to write against the popular lie by tackling it head-on, then you're going to need to research LGBT stereotypes so that you can show explicitly how the characters react to people using them; but if you want to write against the lie by normalizing the relationship, then you still need to research LGBT stereotypes, but you don't need to reference them explicitly. You'll want to avoid the stereotypes, but sneaky rather than direct.
     
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  4. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    If you think it's better this way, then keep it. If it doesn't matter too much for the plot who the MC are in love with, then don't make it a big thing. In the end it's all up to you.

    When it comes to changing name, sex and nothing else; well it depends. How was the character as a woman and how do you want him as a man? Just turning a female character into the feminine stereotype of a gay man sounds lazy and thoughtless to me. Writing a gay character who might fit into the same stereotype but who you've put more work in to actually be a person and not just the stereotype, that might be fine.

    Myself? Being a bit bored with reading and seeing too many heterosexual romances while growing up I can admit that I spontaneously rather write non-heterosexual relationships. At the end of the day it's about what benefits the story and please you.
     
  5. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    This isn't the first gay character I've written, but I haven't created them too often. The story is not about these characters being gay, but now they are gay and that is important to these characters. It changes them. They are in love. And I really like how this is coming together. By changing the tone, it's just not as cutesy. That was the main problem with the story. It was too cute. I don't want a cute story. I want stories where the characters feel authentic and what they want is important. And that seems to be happening as I rework this piece. That's what I meant by the tone changing. It's not so much a cute story anymore, though, there is quite a bit of comic relief still throughout the story. In my eyes, the work feels like it has more weight to it. It really did seem to affect the story quite a lot. And I am fining there are a few more things to do with the story than changing a name and pronouns, but there just aren't a lot of changes. It now feels like this story was meant for these characters and these characters being gay.

    These are the only two characters in the story. That's a little out of the ordinary for me. I usually like the work with a large cast of characters in my short stories. But this is a love story. It's just the lovers (I think I might make them a married couple) really feel more developed now. This story isn't about being gay, but about being in love. It's not about sexual orientation other than that these guys are gay. It's not a coming out story nor a story about any struggles gay people still face. It really is just a love story.

    I guess it feels too easy because normally I struggle quite a bit when it comes to revising my work. But I'm not struggling at all with the changes and the story is coming out better. I haven't liked this story in a really long time. It was okay, but there was nothing special about it. Now that my characters are gay, I ended up developing them more. They are more three demential. More alive. I don't think the problem was that they were straight. I think it's more of an issue that they just weren't developed enough as characters. Changing their sexual orientation, made me take a closer look at who they are as people in this story. I guess I wasn't so sure that this would work, but it seems to be.

    I've sent the old version of this story out to a dozen or so magazines and journals. I've never felt very confident in this piece. But now I do. It's a different kind of story now even though the general plot stayed exactly the same. I'm going to go over it a few more times before I submit this story anywhere else. I am wondering if I should pull the old versions from the places it's still on submission or just let them ride and see what happens.

    When you write gay characters, do you always set out to write them or have you ever gone back to make them gay?
     
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  6. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Suddenly I wonder if Emily is gay. I have occasionally wondered why Henry and Emily are very good almost-life-partner friends, and Henry is definitely heterosexual, and they're not siblings or first cousins, but there's zero sexual or romantic chemistry on either side.

    Hmm.
     
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  7. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    In general, I'm not a fan of the idea a straight/bi man and a straight/bi woman can't "just" be friends, and it's very important to me that the straight male protagonist and one of the two straight female protagonists in my UrFan series love each other more strongly platonically than either one of them have ever loved anybody romantically.

    But in your specific case, sorry, Emily's gay :D I don't know anything about your story except what you just posted right here and now - Henry is straight, and his best friend Emily might or might not be gay - but Emily does not make any sense to me as being straight in any way, shape, or from.

    And I've been looking for excuses to make characters who are ace like me (ever since that first guy in my Doctor Who story was supposed to be ace, but eventually insisted on being bi), but Emily does not feel ace to me either.

    Unless you decide she's ace, in which case I'm just wrong again the way I was about my guy (just in the opposite direction :rolleyes:)
     
  8. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Does it bother you if they are playing for the home team? Is it an important part of the story?

    I think Corlixia is bi-curio despite being hetero, but she is just a curious creature by nature so
    it would not be a shock for her to munch on the old rug. Though I don't think that is something
    that will happen, she clearly finds the female features attractive. Thank you for putting the mental
    image of a four leg alien licking the crotch of a four armed alien that is just about 3ft taller. I hope
    that haunts you as well. :p
     
  9. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Does it bother you if they are playing for the home team? Is it an important part of the story?

    I think Corlixia is bi-curio despite being hetero, but she is just a curious creature by nature so
    it would not be a shock for her to munch on the old rug. Though I don't think that is something
    that will happen, she clearly finds the female features attractive. Thank you for putting the mental
    image of a four leg alien licking the crotch of a four armed alien that is just about 3ft taller. I hope
    that haunts you as well. :p
     
  10. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I'm not sure what the lie or truth is that you are talking about. You lost me a little there. I'm not writing a story about someone being gay. I already wrote the story. I am just changing my MC's sexual preference. Both personally and professionally I respect all people and stand up for their rights. I'm really not worried about my characters falling into a stereotype. Very little of the story changed from when it was about a man and a women to becoming a story about two men.
     
  11. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Lazy and thoughtless. Those are some fighting words. But I'm going to assume you're not trying to start something. Personally, I wouldn't tell another writer they were being lazy or thoughtless, especially not knowing anything about them or their writing.
     
  12. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Are Emily and Henry your characters? I know characters are only gay if we make them gay. I don't even know why I thought what if they were gay. It just kind of clicked in my brain and then made sense on the page.
     
  13. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Why would it bother me? I'm the one who wrote the story and decided on gay characters. Is it an important part of the story? That I don't know. The story is exactly the same as when it had straight characters. But I do feel it is a much better story now. Good luck with your lesbian aliens. :)
     
  14. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    @deadrats I sure hope not, cause that would be weird. As long as your happy with your own works that is all that matters. :)
     
  15. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    The lie that those relationships are not normal.

    Good to know :)
     
  16. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    I think you're trying really hard to misunderstand me. I didn't call the lazy. I said that it would be lazy to just change the gender and not think about how that would affect the character. Maybe it wouldn't, but then they had that thought process and decided what to do. Is it lazy not to think changes through? YES. Is it rude to use the word lazy to describe that? NO. Thus, not calling them lazy, but saying that it would be lazy. There is a difference in there if you check!
     
  17. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    Wait, you're the actual OP? Then - thick skin is important working with anything that has to do with critics. Not trying to read in bad things in every little thing someone said is another good quality. Sorry if I hurt your feelings, but I really do hope you get my point now.

    On that last note. Since you've missunderstod me once: I am not trying to start a fight. I was supprised and appaled that someone would misunderstand me like that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2016

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