It’s the last Friday of the month and you know what that means! It’s ᖇEᗩᗪ ᗩᖇOᑌᑎᗪ TᕼE ᖇᗩIᑎᗷOᗯ time!
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This month’s topic is…
Challenges of Writing LGBTQIA+ Characters in Various SubGenres
Though I’ve enjoyed reading stories from all the letters under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella, I’ve actually only written stories featuring the G and the B. Mostly G.
As for subgenres, I originally started writing exclusively in contemporary, which has its own challenges. Though it’s the world we live in, and we are therefore familiar with it—at least, we’re familiar with our own life experiences—it needs to accurately reflect a believable reality regardless of whether or not we’re including/featuring LGBTQIA+ characters.
On the plus side, there is a wide range of reality to draw from. Our characters can vary depending upon their life experiences: where the they grew up and their family situations and, of course, their basic personalities. Stories can feature LGBTQIA+ characters without the story being all about that fact. The drama can, but need not center on the fact the main characters fall under the rainbow umbrella.
One of my stories, Closets Are for Clothes, as the title might indicate, centered around a man coming out to his family. There are as many possible experiences for this as there are people in the world, so quite a bit of leeway.
In another of my stories, Cultivating Love, the fact the main characters are gay was again important to the story as they had to face some bigotry after moving to a small town (and in their past, which shaped their outlooks).
But in most of my stories, beyond the fact that the romantic interest was going to be another man, the fact that the main characters are gay or bi isn’t really central to the storyline. And this can be an accurate reflection of reality. At least, it needn’t be a standout factor in this story-worthy slice of their life.
Maybe that’s a reflection of my desire for that perfect-world scenario where a person’s sexual identity or gender just doesn’t matter. In reality, it’s bound to have helped shape the character into the person they are in some way, but that may or may not stand out as a driving force in the story at hand.
More recently, my writing has drifted toward creating mild paranormal and light fantasy worlds. My paranormal worlds are mild in that the settings have a contemporary feel, but oops…paranormal people exist that nobody outside of themselves knows about (and they don’t necessarily hit all the usual standards for their categories). My fantasy worlds are light in that they are settings that feel historical while being totally made up. There may or may not be unreal elements included therein. So far, I’ve featured some unrealistic potions, but no real magical powers or dragons, etc.
I think I’ve found myself drawn toward writing paranormal/fantasy because I can make up my own rules/attitudes for their societies. Even though there’s a lot of leeway in our contemporary world, it’s still somewhat limiting.
True historical? I love reading it, but I don’t think I’ll ever touch it with a ten foot pole as a setting for one of my stories. Too challenging for me to want to tackle even without the addition of the LGBTQIA+ perspective.
WEBRING ~ Read Around the Rainbow!
Be sure to flip through the webring to read your favorite authors’ takes on this topic! For your convenience, here are direct links to the other WebRing participants’ posts for this month’s topic: