Friday, July 08, 2016

Who cares about genre anyway? #amwriting

I've heard of (and been part of) many a discussion about the pure horror experienced by readers of M/M romance when all of a sudden, SMACK! BAM! in the middle of their hot man-on-man action, there's an intimate scene between a man and a woman! Gasp!

More often, it's described as a 'hetero' scene, yet in many cases, the reason the scene has found its way into an M/M romance is because one of the two male main characters is bisexual. It may even relate to other aspects of gender/sexual/relationship/identity, but that's for another post.

All I'm getting at is, the way I see it, it's at best hypocritical to be a proud member or ally of the LGBTQ community and then spit bi-erasing disgust when faced with the reality of love is love.

Preachy bit over. I mention it, in part, to make clear my writing philosophy, which is essentially to follow where the characters lead. I love the process of getting to know a character, walking alongside on their journey of self-discovery, and they often surprise me.

It does, however, mean sometimes (often, potentially always), I flout the genre boundaries. So...

The WAG and The Scoundrel - (one of) my current work(s) in progress, is, primarily, the story of Gray Fisher, an ex undercover cop. There's a (possible) love interest in Will Richards (as in, I think they'd be really good for each other, but I'm only the author), so there likely will be some elements of same-sex romance in there. I know Gray is gay. Will is attracted to men, but I'm only just getting to know him. However, the story is not a romance per se.

Now, the trouble is, when it comes to listing books on Amazon, Smashwords, ARE, etc., categories are restrictive. There is no 'white-collar crime mystery with same-sex and opposite-sex romance elements'. I'll add keywords, of course, and I'll list it in the best-fitting categories. The stories I write are, generally, cross-genre fiction that fit under the contemporary umbrella. And it's a hoooooge umbrella. You could fit a gazillion people under it and we'd all stay dry.

Anyway... I am getting to the point, I promise.

Fair warning is given, with no apology, that when the book goes on sale, it will be listed however vendors see fit, so don't come crying to me if it ain't your bag. I didn't choose the bag.

If you like your reading to tick one box only, then you should probably look away now.

The excerpt below features the other prominent character in the Gray Fisher series (which I'm envisaging as a trilogy, but who knows? Not me, that's for sure).

Readers of Hiding Behind The Couch (of which the Gray Fisher series is an entirely stand-alone off-shoot) will have briefly met Rob Simpson-Stone before. He went to school with 'The Circle' and was, erm, very close to some of them. Please also note that I do not call women 'ladies' nor endorse heroes swooping in to save damsels in distress, and Rob obviously hasn't read Othello, or he might've had something to say. In other words, this is from Rob's point of view.

OK. I'm done with the waffle. Here's the excerpt:
The town held a special place in his heart, for it was in Stratford that he and ZoĆ« had met. He’d been on duty, and she’d been with a group of her fellow students, out for a day of ‘history’ before an evening at the theatre to see Othello, followed by post-play refreshments. Rob and his partner on the beat that evening had stopped to watch the five young women stagger out of a bar, using language that was a bit ripe for young ‘ladies’, especially as the young ladies in question were well-spoken, well-dressed and most certainly well-to-do.

As they continued on their zigzag trajectory to the next establishment, the heel came off one of the women’s shoes, and she tilted sideways, lost her balance and fell into the road…or she would have done, had Rob not swooped in to catch her. She had decreed him her hero—her very own Othello—and planted her wine-wetted lips on his cheek. From that moment, he was a goner.

Rob smiled to himself as he strolled along the dark bank of the river, shimmering silver and black in the sliver of moonlight that hung in the sky like a slash in a blackout curtain. He could remember the night and day that followed so clearly it could have happened mere weeks ago.

Thanks for reading. :)
Deb x

Image of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2549765

5 comments:

  1. Wise words "to be a proud member....." nicely given with a ribbon. And I agree with you :) The excerpt looks good (duh..always from your hand)

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    1. :D Thank you, Truus. You are lovely and make me smile.

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  2. I like mixed bags--there is always a chance to discover something I never tried before. Granted, it's nice to know if there will be enough ingredients to make complete the experience, but beyond that... I am more than willing to be surprised.

    That said, I would like some clue that a character truly identifies as bi- before having a 'hetero' scene tossed in. A character who is still searching for his/her identity? That's fair, of course, but a character who knows best have a valid reason beyond the author trying to smoosh the character into a label.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Eden. :)

      To me, this is where using tags and keywords is important, not to alert readers to F/M scenes in an M/M story (or vice versa) in the event that they might find those distasteful, but for readers to find 'their' stories. The other reason is, of course, trigger avoidance, and I find the limits placed on categories/keywords make that quite tricky.

      Boo to character smooshing. ;)

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  3. I think the biggest problem with a lot of character smooshing these days is that people are writing to deadlines and (perceived) demand of readers instead of allowing their characters to become fully fleshed out.

    I mean, I get that it's not always possible for an author to spend years on a book (though, in general, the one that have really stood the test of time DO take time) so that each character can become as real as the person next door, but...

    Well, you get what I'm saying, clearly from what I've seen of your stuff

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