Having a same sex relationship with characters?

by Amber Camillle G.
(Gallatin, TN)

Question: Okay, so, I have this story I want to write where the main character is gay. But, I'm scared to write and try and publish something like that because of criticism, or homophobes. I'm also a girl writing with a main character who is a boy. So, how hard is it to write something like that? Is it even possible to accomplish at all?

Answer I don't think you have anything to worry about. Openly gay characters have been portrayed in fiction for many decades.

True, you may have a harder time selling your novel to school libraries in certain parts of the world (such as the southern US, Africa, or Russia), but so what? No one can write a book with the intention to please every reader or every critic. You always write to please a niche audience. Fortunately, there are so many readers in the world that a niche audience usually provides all the readers you need.

Consider where Stephen King would be if he had to please people who dislike horror fiction. Or J.K. Rowling if she let herself be stopped by religious fundamentalists who think stories about magic are akin to satanism. There are plenty of people who hate the Twilight series, but Stephanie Meyer didn't write for them. She wrote for the people who became her fans, just like every other writer does.

The fact that you're female also makes no difference. Writers create main characters who are very different from themselves all the time. (It's called having an imagination.) All that matters is your ability to create a character who comes across as authentic.

By authentic, I don't mean your character has to be like every gay person. Stereotypes read as inauthentic. The character simply has to be like themselves. Every character, like every person, is a unique individual. If your character is well-defined and consistent with the background, situation, and personality you dream up for him, he should come across as authentic.

Of course, you may have some friends and relatives who question why you are writing about such a character. You may not want to tell them too much about the book. If you eventually succeed in getting it published, I'm guessing they will respect your accomplishment, even if it's not their kind of story.

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