Going from M/F to M/M

I started writing fiction around the age of fourteen. That’s when I really started making my own stories and inventing new characters. Of course, they were mostly based on people I’d read about or met at first, until my imagination grew. And back then I had one or two gay friends, but it was never really something anyone thought too strongly about. It wasn’t a big deal, it wasn’t something that made them different. Back then, to us teenagers, it was the same as having a different hair colour: it just was. It was a fact of life, something they were born with and we accepted that without a fuss.

From what I saw there wasn’t all this bullying and name calling that you read about in stories on Wattpad. And if there was, then I never saw it, because believe me I’d have been kicking their butt if it happened around me.

So when I started writing my fiction stories all my main characters were Male to Female and had extraordinary romances. That’s just because that’s what I saw on a daily basis. I came across the M/M genre – which I hadn’t previously known existed – by accident. I was doing research for a story that required a sex scene. Now, yes, at fourteen I was writing sex scenes but Shh! My folks don’t need to know that. This was, however when I was around sixteen. However this was my eighth or ninth story and the sex was getting a bit monotonous so as any other teenager would I Googled how to write a good sex scene. I found a book called ‘The Joy of Sex’, or something similar. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you who by because I never did get it. Anyway, I wanted to check out this book online to see if it was something that would be helpful and I searched on Google. What I found was surprising.

I found a Tokyo Hotel (German band) fan-fiction written by the excellent Beren_Writes AKA Natasha Duncan Drake. It was also called ‘The Joy of Sex’ and it was available to read online. Now, I’d never heard of either the author or Tokyo Hotel at the time, until I found this story, so when I opened it and read a very explicit M/M erotic short story I was gobsmacked. I’d never read anything like it, but it was amazing. It was an excellent piece of writing, with a great storyline and plot and I just had to read more. It took me a day to track down Beren_Writes live journal (of which there are multiple direct links in my post Best of Fan Fiction) but I eventually found it and HOLY GRAIL! she had written some Harry Potter fan fiction.

Well, that was it for me. I spent the next week abandoning my own life to sit and read Beren_Writers live journal. The best part was that there were downloadable version of the stories that I could keep forever. I was so excited. I downloaded everything that looked good and made little folders for them on my Kindle so that I knew where to find everything. It’s been a year or two since I first discovered her writing and I still have all of her Tokyo Hotel and Harry Potter works on my Kindle.

When I had finished reading everything of Beren_Writes that looked good to me, I started scouring Amazon for free M/M stories so that I could further explore this wonderful new (to me) genre. After a month I had discovered Kaje Harper, Lou Harper, Kyle Adams, G.R. Richards, Kim Dare…the list grows with every new week as I make new discoveries.

Thanks to Beren_Writes fan fiction stories and a magical novel by a friend D.M. Andrews that I was privileged enough to review for him, I was suddenly flooded with inspiration. I wanted to write my own magical story, inspired but not based on these two authors. I got my plan together and decided on what I wanted. Then, without even realising it, I looked back to find that my main character Riley, a banshee, was a male who fell in love with the other main character Payson, a vampire. Also male. And HOT DOGS I realised I’d just accidentally written my first M/M story, too buzzed with excitement to notice.

Of course, not everything goes smoothly when you have a new story. It sat at just three chapters for nearly six months while my first published book, Runaway Girl, was released. I had absolutely no idea how much promo was required by the author when a book was released for my new story, just called Evanders, was abandoned for a while. Then I wrote a short story to accompany Runaway Girl to go into WMP’s valentine’s anthology Novel Hearts. Here was the problem:

I’d instinctively written one of the characters, Samuel, as gay. It wasn’t intentional and it wasn’t for any other reason than that it seemed right. He and Joshua were my adorable, perfect couple and I loved them dearly. But then I got a message from my publisher saying that, due to it being an anthology of eight other authors it was best we change Joshua to a girl because some of the other authors might not be comfortable with the whole gay storyline, and neither might their readers. I hadn’t even thought about this before, so I agreed. I didn’t want people complaining or bad mouthing the entire anthology just because I had two gay characters that they might not agree with. I didn’t know who was going to read the anthology, and with all the gay rights stuff just starting in the media, I thought it was for the best, but I never deleted my original story. You can read the original ‘The Love That Never Was‘ here on the blog.

So my first attempt to get a gay romance published was scuppered. And for the next month I changed every he, him, his in Evanders to change Riley from a boy to a girl. I was going to make it a traditional M/F romance, since it was always going to be PG rated anyway. And for another six months I barely wrote anything. I got maybe two more chapters added, but five chapters didn’t make a novel.

Around this time last year I realised what the problem was: I wanted Riley to be a boy and fall in love with Payson. Without that part of the storyline and without going with my gut instincts the story would never get written. So I went back to the beginning and replaced every she and her with he, him and his to change Riley back from a girl to a boy. Now, changing the sex of your character five chapters in is never easy, but I did it and read every word of what I’d written so far. Suddenly I was writing again and to date there are now twenty-one chapters to the first book and thirteen chapters of book two written. And yes, there will be a book three. You can read Evanders for FREE here on the blog.

With the book under way I usually always hit a road block around the tenth chapter and again at the twentieth, just because these are the parts of the story where I usually have a solid idea of where I’m going. With the entire story plotted out, ready to write up, I get too comfortable with where the story is going and lose interest in getting it there. So when that happens I move on to write something else. This time last year I went on holiday to Oban, as we do every year, and I can’t remember why, but I began writing a shifter story, which turned into The Belesone Pack Trilogy. I started writing the first story intending it to be a short story, a one off foray into wolf shifters for an upcoming anthology. What I ended up with by the time I got back from Oban was the first two stories (Book one – The Alpha and the Oracle and book two – The Story of the Exile) completed and book three – The Beta and His Angel started. And no matter how I wrote it, I couldn’t put Leo, the Beta together with a girl. It just didn’t work. So he got his own mate, male Alpha Angel. The whole trilogy is now complete and available for free on Wattpad, but I am planning a second trilogy to accompany it and provide stories for some minor characters.

Ever since then I’ve written a total of eleven novels, two novellas and three short stories that are purely M/M romances. And although I can’t explain it, when I write an M/M romance story the words fall out of me and I can have them complete in no time at all. But when I write an M/F I often find myself giving up or losing interest, with no idea where to take the story. Writing M/M stories has been a breath of fresh air for my writing. It made writing a joy, a breeze, a doddle. It is so much easier for me to write a gay storyline than a straight one and every time I finish an M/M story I get that warm and fuzzy feeling that says what I’ve just written is even better than the last story I wrote.

Now the only challenge I have left is trying to find appropriate, professional, cover images on the likes of Shutterstock. It’s not easy to find stock images of two men together that fit a romantic setting, especially when you have specific details like glasses, tattoos or scars to take into account. The alternative is to find images of men on their own, which is all fine and well but it doesn’t give you that romantic setting you want. So my mission is to find the most appropriate picture of two men together for my stories. I have a few good ones that, surprisingly, I found by searching for friends. At the moment DeviantART is still the best place to find gorgeous covers for M/M stories. That is where I’ll be looking for mine until something better comes along.

I can officially say that once my M/F stories that are in idea form are finished I will not be writing any more. I’m a true M/M convert and I will never look back. I do, admittedly, have a few dozen stories sitting on my hard drive that are currently M/F’s but unless there is no way to convert them into an M/M then they will be the last M/F’s I ever write.


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