Pay It Forward · Reblog · Tips · Writing

Gay Characters in Mainstream Fiction

What does this mean? Well, to me, it means that there are prominent LGBT characters within a novel that is not generally sold as ‘gay literature’. So anything that has a male-female lead, doesn’t specific a sexual relationship between the LGBT characters or something that is classed as ‘general’ or ‘contemporary’ fiction, with a prominent LGBT character.

It’s not easy to blend MF and MM together. Trust me, I know a lot of readers of both and most MF readers don’t consider MM to be something they would read, because they think it always has to be explicit and sexual. While, on the other hand, a lot of MM readers gave up on MF a long time ago, because it was the same old formula – Alpha male and sensitive, needy or even whiney female. Even when authors tried to make a strong female character, us MM readers see the difference between a ‘strong’ female lead and one who seems strong, but relies on the male to do all the hard work. It’s a difficult balance to blend the two genres together.

For me, the easiest way to do this is in YA novels. Not only do the MF and MM characters not get explicit material, which makes them more readable to those who might not have considered delving into either formula before, but it also means they’re on even footing.

My next novel, out on the 31st, does this. The Alpha and the Oracle is the first book in a trilogy. Book 1 focuses on the MF lead characters, Milo and Katarina. Then, in book 2, we’re introduced to a possible romance between two males, that only takes off in book 3. So the series is 50/50 between MF and MM. No explicit content, just YA friendly romance. Book 1 and half of book 2 focus on Milo and Katarina, while the second half of book 2 and book 3 focus on the MM aspect.

I also have another series, Evanders School for Enchanted Personage, that takes this one step further. The main characters are Payson and Riley, in book 1, who late on into the book discover they’re actually part of a love triangle. Not only is it fate’s design, but denying their feelings for the third member in their relationship could prove dangerous.

I have another story, about a Female-to-Male who is still on hormone treatment and living life as a woman, for her parents sake. Magda plans to leave college, then finish her transition, but a controlled drug experiment, to earn extra money goes horribly wrong and she has to tell her life time crush and best friend, the truth of her F2M wishes and the consequences of the drug trial. The book isn’t about her being F2M, but it deals with the ramifications of keeping secrets and of the emotional fallout of living a lie. There will be a book 2, where the real focus is her best friend learning to live with the fact that Magda is now officially Martin.

In my stories, I want to open YA readers eyes to the possibilities of the world. The real world. The one where people have polyamorous relationship, where two men can openly love one another, two women can marry and be happy, where two men and a woman can live in a harmonious relationship, without anyone feeling like it’s wrong.

~

Let’s look at some books that do this :

Brideshead Revisited – the MM relationship is never explicitly acknowledged, but it’s there.

The Hadrian Enigma: A Forbidden History – a historical fiction, based on real life

Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series – a fantasy novel where the sexual orientation of the character are not a big deal.

A Song of Ice and Fire – this series has a whole host of LGBT characters, some thinly veiled others more hidden

To read other articles tackling this issue, check out:

GLBT Characters in Mainstream Fiction

10 LGBT YA Books to Read This Year

How to Write Gay Characters in Mainstream Fiction

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