neyronrose (neyronrose) wrote,

welcome to my world

Volunteering at the LGBT office at the local university...

A. (male student): "That's gay."
"What's gay?" a couple of people in the office asked.
J. (another male student): "Every man in this room." (probably about a half-dozen at the time.)

Will have to remember when critiquing male/male romances -- some men do spend a fair amount of time analyzing the relationships of their peers.  If they know the guys fairly well and have a sense of the relationship dynamics involved.  There's still quite a difference between those discussions and the kind of discussions a group with only women in it will have about relationships.  That's where some women authors really fall down, in my opinion.  They may be able to write sex scenes just fine -- or they might get girlishly coy there too.  But for a male/male romance to work for me, the dialogue has to have the characters speaking in authentically gay male voices.  I'm not talking about vocal quality here.  I'm talking about whether I could see a gay man saying something that way.  Saying homophobic things, yes -- either teasingly and/or self-referentially, or to deny being part of that group.  Male authors seem to be more comfortable with this.  Of course you get a wild variation of worldviews and a wide range of vocabulary size for various characters. But -- most guys are not going to get weepy at the drop of a hat.  Most guys are not going to be more thrilled about washing each other's hair than having sex.  Most guys will not otherwise be straight except to fall into monogamous love with the only one special man they'd flip for.  Sexuality is a complicated thing.  Even the characters themselves will likely not understand exactly why they have the needs they do.  But especially for a romance, you have to work within some genre conventions.  Just remember that sex and romance dynamics for gay men are extremely different from the conventions of straight romance.  There's that sometimes-vexed interaction with bi men, trade, straight-identified men who just need to have sex with men every so often -- the sands shift.  There's such a wide range of lifestyles, too.  You've got circuit parties, leather, bears, drag -- and so much more variety.  Yes, romance heroes need to be conventional to a certain level, although m/m romance seems less limiting.  But at least fragments of the rainbow spectrum can work into m/m books -- just try to have someone familiar with whatever scene check over your draft first.  But why have generic characters who might as well be straight?  Or might as well be women?  That's letting down the audience -- not to mention the group of people the author is writing about.
Tags: gay-related, m/m

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