Ass-tastic, Batgirl, and Gay Fiction
Time flew by today and I mostly started a lot of writing and didn't get anywhere with any of it. Some days are just clearing out the crap in my head. All of those bits went into the story seed folder for later. As it turned out three of the ideas involved the same character in three different situations. I have a feeling this character is here to stay. So, welcome aboard new character.
My favorite word of the day is "ass-tacticness" quoted from John Scalzi over at Whatever where he is talking about "white male privilege" or lack there-of. This is something I've studied quite a lot of as an academic in Women's Studies. Having said that it is also interesting that I write mostly male/male fiction that focuses on the lives of gay men. I've pondered this and what attracted me to the genre and I have several thoughts.
First and foremost, I was not a romance reader. I don't know diddle shit about the romance genre as a whole. I am an admitted science fiction, horror, paranormal girl. Seriously, I have since as far back as I can remember been completely devoted to reading scary, bloody, violent, bizarre, fantastical tales of other-worlds, preternatural beings, and things that go bump or screech. I like vampires a whole lot-- just ask anyone who knows me. It's a bizarre obsession since I was a small girl. We're talking lots of years folks. This is not a new thing for me. My vampire roots go way, way back. And the only reason I ever picked up a romance book was because I discovered romance with vampires and I pretty much exhausted all the other genres.
So, my introduction to the romance genre was through J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood-- which began as a joke. I admit I got hooked in. I was surprised that Ward's books were so well written and had some good story lines going on. I was amazed that the women in her books were not all whiny, needy, come-save-me Mary Sue types. And I learned a few things about the genre-- such as happily ever after and happy for now endings.
Anyway, I can be quite "ass-tastic" when it comes to vampires and discussions of such. There is very little vampire literature (fiction and non-fiction) that I have not read. And if I haven't read it, it is because it sucks-- and not in that good sink your teeth into it way. More than once friends have told me I should blog about the vampire genre and its culture. My graduate work was specifically concentrated on vampires and representation of "the other."
Why (you may wonder) don't I write about vampires? Uh, yeah that is a whole other blog entry for another day.
So how the heck does all of this tie together...
The male/male romance/erotica genre offers readers an opportunity to "suspend disbelief" and identify with a character who brings something equal to the table. Two male leads come to the table with similarities that are impossible to achieve in contemporary heterosexual romance/erotica.
I understand why I love gay fiction. Besides the fact that gay men are hot to write and read about I do know something about the sexual practices involved. And that should be sufficiently self explanatory. I feel no need to defend my qualifications to write fiction.
That said the male/male genre is still full of white boys with other white boys. As with most genres even this sub-genre is full of white male representation. I am not complaining, it's an observation. Much of the genre is written by women or white gay men. As the genre grows and gains attention there will be more diversity. I look forward to it. It's an exciting time to be an author in this genre. It's growing like wildfire. Not to mention its growing along with the changes in the publishing industry. The male/male publishing community has embraced this new frontier wholeheartedly.
There is also a great deal of "ass-tasticness" in the debate about gay fiction. Who is qualified to write it, read it, critique it, etc... I say if you enjoy it then that is all that is needed. Even Lambda Literary has changed their award rules, which were changed two years ago, back to awarding books written about the lives of LGBTQ rather than requiring the authors to be LGBTQ. Afterall white men have been writing about women for years without being women. (And if you don't like gay literature well then don't read it).
And on that note I will finish this off with some news of the comic book kind. First, the Small Press Expo (SPX) has done something amazing with the Library of Congress. A selection of comics will be joining the permanent collection held by the Library of Congress. And over at DC Comics the only female comic author at DC, Gail Simone, who wrote the new Batgirl has had the first edition sold out! Pretty freakin' amazing!