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Hit over the head with subtle



The current Ben and William story I'm working on set this one off. I sent off the draft for their most recent story to a good friend of mine for a read through. He's straight, and while guys doing each other isn't his thing, neither does he much care. (Which is cool, though occasionally somewhat embarrassing for me)


The boys, of course, are a couple, and more than willing to boink each other at the drop of a hat. (Ben keeps a bag of hats around, just in case) Regardless, in the few stories of theirs that are done, their relationship isn't obvious. It's important, certainly, and affects how they deal with each other, but if you didn't know they were going at it like rabid weasels it probably wouldn't occur to you. (Well, assuming you don't have a dirty mind and a penchant for guys having sex) The two stories so far could, assuming they were better written, show up in Fantasy and Science Fiction, or one of the other short story magazines kicking around and nobody'd bat an eye.


Anyway, at the very beginning there are a pair of paragraphs that make it clear how William feels about Ben. This bit, actually, with the comment:

William slumped in the seat next to the fireplace. The inn they were in was nice enough, as these things went, but it'd been a week, and he still hadn't gotten used to being in a city. Truth be told, he hadn't gotten used to wearing pants again. Being a barbarian prince had its advantages, not the least of which was the low maintenance wardrobe.


And, he thought as he watched Ben stride across the common room, there was the easy accessibility. Pants were definitely troublesome.


I jumped forward, but who is your ultimate audience? This is as blatant as you get, but I like a subtle romance/tension between the two. Not saying it


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There, there. I had an argument similar to this topic with a friend of mine, when she asked me why gay characters in books seemed to either have or crave sex 24-7. Not wanting to point out (admit) the obvious reason, I told her that since having sex is the only thing that separates a gay character from a straight character, if the characters aren't going to be having sex, then why not just make them straight and speed things up? It's akin to Chekhov's law.

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I'm up for admitting the obvious reason, though I've gotta admit it's not 24x7. (I'll grant I'm a bit older than you are... :) )


With some more thought, I realized I've made a mistake.


The initial question is "does this fit in with the rest of the story?" The answer was no.


That doesn't mean it should get yanked out. That means I should ask the question "should it?" The answer there is... yes.


More rewriting for me...

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The question you need to ask yourself is: 'What are these thoughts (of William's) accomplishing?'


I mean, is this a guy who thinks about sex all the time? If so, this might be an amusing humorous underpinning to your character; someone who pulls out sexual innuendo in all the wrong (or...right) places. On the other hand, this kind of line reeks of fan service. 'Nuff said.



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Urk, the 'f' word. That, if nothing else, is a sign it needs to be redone. Definitely not accomplishing what I'm looking for.

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I have to disagree about that having to go. Go back and read the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser stories again. Those guys are getting caught up in sex all the time (though not with each other. I discover only one!!! one!!! slash story featuring them. that's okay, slash doesn't float my boat anyway). Heinlein, even: here he's most adored these days for his juveniles, but especially his later work is crowded with sex drive.


And as for the boys being gay -- does the name Samuel Delany ring a bell? (I was a big Delany fan in my adolescence, but I was shocked, I tell you, by the book now known as Equinox and then known as Tides of Lust). Don't worry about the amazing revelation that young men in the midst of trying adventures feel surges of lust for their lovers. It does, as you say, tell you something about William. A similar tossed-off sentence somewhere will suffice to show Ben's relationship to sex and William . . . interesting if it's not completely in synch with William's, huh (lesser, greater, provoked at different times, under different circumstances)? Fodder for a hook to hang some action on, right?

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No, no, it's not that they have sex or that they want to jump each other or that they're really, truly in love, it's that the mention is entirely egregious. It's not clear from the snippet, but that's all the innuendo in the entire piece. It was meant to be playful, and give a feeling for their relationship, and while it does it doesn't do it in a way that fits with the rest of the story. Hence the need for its removal or rewriting. (Though in this case it ended up getting tossed and replaced with something that worked much better to set the scene I had in mind)

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