James (elven_wolf) wrote,
James
elven_wolf

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Translating Gay Culture for the Straight Reader

I don't aim to be a 'gay author', or have my books shelved under the LGBT sign. I just want to tell the stories I have in my head. The fact those stories contain a healthy amount of gay characters is no different than any other author writing about what he knows. The fantasy genre tends to break that convention somewhat, particularly if you're writing in a completely fabricated world. A Puerto Rican author wouldn't necessarily be writing about Puerto Ricans in the Mythical Land of Aguachufrita, except maybe for the lulz.

But I digress. I'm writing a fantastical story set in the real world, where you DO have Puerto Ricans, and Asians, and gay people in a specific cultural setting.

Since I begin with a set of characters as individuals somehow inhabiting this tale together, I don't start out by telling the audience where their sexual preferences lie because more often than not, it's not important to the plot, or not important in chapter one. I never thought of the impact this would have on the story.

Some of the comments I got were regarding Lincoln Guelcher's seemingly random appearance. And once I stepped out of the story and took a look at that, the Dan-Link connection did seem a little strange. Dan, for all we know at the time a 20-something slacker, somehow has this direct connection to a Private Investigator in his mid-30's.

For an instant I flailed, trying to come up with some explanation, something in both men's past that would have caused them to meet.

Then I came to my senses and looked back at the very first inklings I had of this story. I took a look at my own life and what elements of that I drew into the story. I'm not as young as Dan, but in my own circle - mind you, not my inner circle, but certainly within my circle - are men 10 to 20 years older than me whom I only met because we're all gay. And we run into each other at different parties hosted by other gay men. Do I talk to them outside of these parties? Not really. Could I? Sure. And if my best friend were in trouble and I knew one of them may somehow be able to help my best friend, I would call them up in a heartbeat. It's the same with any subculture, even fandom.

So, I have a choice to make. Leave it in the air, play with the reader's expectations and let them suspect Link for a few chapters, or put it all out in the open from the start. I don't even have to make this decision right away. It's simple enough I can retcon it later. I just thought it was interesting how something I took for granted was odd to some.

Attention to detail, I has it. Sometimes. LOL
Tags: gypsy fiddle, teh ghei, writing
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