Q is for Queer Fiction

Queer fiction and LGBT fiction is the same fiction, isn’t it? Otherwise this whole post is wrong. Very wrong. Since LGBT (or GLBT. whichever.) does not start with Q. They better be the same fiction.

So in school, there were classes on queer fiction and other classes (not necessarily on fiction) about things LGBT (or maybe it was GLBT. Can’t quite recall. whichever.).

I wondered than what was the difference between queer and LGBT. I thought they are same thing; it is just that queer is an older word from before the acronym LGBT existed. Doesn’t being queer mean being LGBT? But some teachers are older than other teachers . . .

So then I thought – still think! – that all LGBT fiction, all queer fiction and everything termed gay and lesbian fiction all belong under the same umbrella: LGBT. Is that right? If there are differences, I don’t know what they are. (Someone tell me!!!)

So, I don’t read a lot of LGBT fiction. In fact, depending on how it’s defined, I don’t read any. I have not created a GLBT shelf on my Nook; I don’t feel the need for such a shelf. I do read a few gay romances, but they are LGBT only so far as they star gay characters.

I suppose I think of LGBT fiction as the literary type of fiction. (I haven’t read any at all!!) They kind of books where the sexuality of the characters is a plot point.

The romances I read are not very literary. Neither are the science fiction and fantasy books (some of these masquerade as romance!). Sometimes the sexuality is a plot point, but lots of times it isn’t.

I am thinking of books like the PsyCop series by Jordan Castillo Price (urban fantasy). The Point of Hopes series by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett (fantasy). The Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux. This last one is marketed as romance/mystery and is the only one in which the sexuality of the characters has even a minor impact on plot. (So I think!)

They all star gay characters, all of them in relationships, so romance is a factor in all of them. The PsyCops series was, I think (not sure!), originally published by an erotica publisher, but is presently published by the writer’s own press (she founded her own! Kind of amazing, yes?). The other two are published by companies specializing in gay and lesbian titles (or queer fiction, yes, yes, yes!!!).

It’s just that in my own head LGBT fiction = literary fiction. It doesn’t mean every story with a non-heterosexual main character. I don’t know where I got this idea but . . . am I so wrong, then?

Pilfering Youth

Tell me what you think about this story? Is it confusing?

Eyebrows arched high, blue eyes wide and carefully made up to hide the first signs of wrinkles, Ashara posed in front of the crowd. Colorful fabric streamed behind her, a parody of the flags ringing the stadium. Cameras flashed, but the applause was polite.

She turned on her six-inch heels and stalked back across the stage. Her hair swept down her back in long, loose waves; it excited more comment than the flower-print folds of her dress.

Her heels left faint gold marks on the wooden boards, but no one noticed.

The next model was a slim, dark figure in white wedges, a shimmering black crop top and ivory pants. She strode over her predecessor’s footsteps.

The crowd roared and cameras flashed enough to blind anyone unfortunate enough to get caught in the glare. The model kept turning, kept moving. She was rumored to take Ashara’s place as the next top model.

A hush came over the crowd when she stumbled and went down hard. One of the stage crew helped her off.

Ashara came back in a number designed to show off a svelte body, all smooth lines and shining fabric. Whispers flowed like water at her appearance. She looked as if she had lost a decade in the ten minutes she had been off stage.

O is Opinionated Characters

Sometimes, in order to get know a character, I pose issue questions to them and figure out where they stand.

This sounds bizarre, asking questions of people who do not exist outside of my head. You would think I already know where they stand. I mean, I made them up, didn’t I? But mostly I don’t.

By issue questions, I mean controversial issues, topics on religion and politics and whatever else causes arguments. They will differ by time and place and setting. Because characters need opinions, right? Things they will do and the lines they will not cross.

And today – today I was reading a post by John Scalzi about what he calls The Four Levels of Discrimination. He makes a good argument about ambient discrimination. (You should read it.) I used to think of this as unconscious biases. But ambient discrimination is a good way to describe it, too.

Anyway, the question I have never asked my characters and now I realize would a good question to ask: what ambient discrimination affects them? Against the character or against others, it hardly matter which.

It’s a kind of world building, too – figuring out what will cause the natives to turn into rioting mobs. That’s fun also. (Causing riots!)

The challenge here, I think, is to keep the opinions from turning them into willful characters, who insist on doing something, when I want the plot to go in another direction. (I sometimes fail at this challenge.)

That sounds mad, I know, because I came up with the characters and I damn well ought to be able to tell what to do. But sometimes that does a disservice to the character.

What do you think? How do you go finding out who your character is?

N is for Noble Characters

So I don’t really feel like blogging but have to complete the challenge so…

This is a list of some noble characters.

Noble, as wordweb defines it is: having or showing or indicative of high or elevated character

l. Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden

The man works as a private detective. He consorts with paladins and vampires and faeries. Despite it all he does things that are not always in his best interest and not always -or entirely – for money.

2. Samwise Gamgee

He follows Frodo when he didn’t have to, to keep Frodo safe.

3. Surreal SaDiablo

She’s an assassin and a prostitute. But she used her skills to kill those who need killing and also put ignored her own needs to do what she felt what was right.

I am tempted to put Anita Blake on this list, but am resisting. What do you think?

Who are your favorite noble characters?

M is for Myth

M_LeMannequinI loved myths as a child.

I devoured Roman/Greek myths in grade school. (Of course they were the only myths we learned in class.) Later, I discovered Norse myths and Celtic myths and Native American myths. I tried Egyptian myths, too, but they just confused me.

Actually, I think I stopped reading myths because of that confusion. It seemed to each god had ten different names and I couldn’t tell who was talking to whom.photo-main

They were a balm when I couldn’t read my usual mysteries and children’s horror.

I turned to them when I needed to create myths for my own world. I love the loki stories, the coyote stories. And, also, the turtle and elephant stories.

That’s not to say they feature prominently in my own world. But it’s a jumping off point, you know?

L is for Lies

L-12A couple years ago, while randomly browsing the internet, Iran across this title: Telling Lies for Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block. (His books are good.)

It’s a book on writing and the title got me thinking. I never picked up the book, but the title stuck in my head.

A story is made up, a piece of fiction. It doesn’t exist. That, on one level, makes it a lie.Lies

But! Everyone knows a story can’t be real. Not everyone knows such a thing of other, more normal lies.

On the other hand, a story must have emotional / psychological truths. How would anyone relate to a character otherwise? And it must have at least some factual truths, else someone will cry: bad research!

The best lies are supposed to have truth, so that doesn’t mean the story can’t be called a lie. Even so, I cannot quite convince myself I write lies. Perhaps it would he easier if the word didn’t have negative meanings.

What do you think? Is aIl fiction some bizarre form of lying?

Has anyone read the book? Does it offer an explanation? Maybe the title is just an example of someone’s expertise at title creation something eye-catching and memorable.

K is for Kinky

Kinky is my K word-and I don’t mean hair.

I don’t talk about these books much. They are not a guilty pleasure; I don’t feel guilty. But some people act oddly around them.

I mean books where all kinds of erotic things happen – things involving handcuffs, rope and other adult toys.

I got into this genre almost by accident. The first book I read was the first Sleeping Beauty book by Anne Rice in high school. I didn’t like it and I couldn’t finish it. I still don’t. I think it crosses the safe, sane and consensual line. Especially the consensual line.

I was a member of LKH’s forum at the same time and someone recommended a book by Joey w. Hill called Natural Law. I looked it up, I read reviews -and than found it in the library.

I haven’t looked back.

Natural Law is an early work. But it is nothing like Sleeping Beauty. Nothing! I was wonderfully pleased.

Joey W. Hill is one of my favorite authors these days. Her writing has only become better over the years -hotter, more intense. I only wish I could write with such intensity.

I have found other writers I like – Kim Dare, Chris Owens.

I haven’t read Shades of Gray , but, for reasons I don’t entirely understand myself, I am not really tempted to. It’s not the subject material. I think I’ll dislike it as much I disliked Twilight.

Do you read kinky romances? How did you discover them?