Jump to content

The Edge of the Genre?


Gay fiction gone stale?  

30 members have voted

  1. 1. Has online gay fiction gone stale?

    • Yes, stale as month old bread.
      1
    • No, romance is infinite
      20
    • Maybe, you can burn out on anything
      9


Recommended Posts

Gay online fiction: a subset of romantic fiction involving gay people; this and a number of other websites bread & butter.

 

Have we reached the edge? Some of our best authors have moved on. Others haven't posted new material in months & years. How many variations of the boy meets boy story can there possibly be?

 

Has the genre gone stale?

Link to comment

I hope it hasn't gone stale, there are still on here that are romantic and different genre's mixed in.

 

Hopefully soon vlista, will be posting again, others, but we also think will still be having newer authors coming aboard.

 

Some sites that have good stories, even nifty but finding it on there is a pain and very rare.

Edited by Drewbie
Link to comment

I don't think so...there are still quite a few stories that are off-beat... Some of them can be found at GA as well. :)

 

If done with taste, there can be numerous variations of a 'boy meets boy' story...

 

BeaStKid

Link to comment
I don't think so...there are still quite a few stories that are off-beat... Some of them can be found at GA as well. :)

 

If done with taste, there can be numerous variations of a 'boy meets boy' story...

 

BeaStKid

There are a lot of variations. I will say that there are certain scenarios that do seem to be overused. I like teen stories, but I'm afraid there might be too many of them. However, if someone comes up with unusual scenarios, it can still be good. :)

Link to comment

Stale scenarios perhaps? Like the new kid in school (no offense Cosmie ;) ), new kid in town, new kid on the boat, new kid on the ranch, new kid from Australia, New kid from Dixie, new kid from New York, new kid from England...

 

WTF was wrong with the old kids??? :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Gay online fiction: a subset of romantic fiction involving gay people; this and a number of other websites bread & butter.

Have we reached the edge? Some of our best authors have moved on. Others haven't posted new material in months & years. How many variations of the boy meets boy story can there possibly be?

Has the genre gone stale?

Certainly not :great::D !

The possibilities offered by romantic fiction involving gay people are infinite. And we must not forget another point. Which other site offer more than 5'000 people possibility to read stories in GA and also in other sites and discuss them here (see story caf

Link to comment
There are a lot of variations. I will say that there are certain scenarios that do seem to be overused. I like teen stories, but I'm afraid there might be too many of them. However, if someone comes up with unusual scenarios, it can still be good. :)

 

Because I like to read adventure and intrigue, I write it, but with a gay MC. I believe my three books have what I would call unusual scenarios. Some people like them other pan them unmercifully but that's the chance we all take when we put out art on display. I have no idea if these back cover blurbs encourage or discourage readers. Certainly those looking for stock romance will avoid them but others who want an adventure story with a flawed hero just might read them.

One thing my publishers can't provide is a list of people who bought my books. I'd love to hear what they have to say. Reading these blurbs would anyone here consider them? No I won't take responses personally. Although I can't speak for Mrs Caliba who lives next door. She makes the loveliest Voodoo dolls! LOL

 

Eighteen year old Jan Phillips is on his own and heading into Philadelphia hoping to survive on money he can make from johns who frequent the city's "Tenderloin District". Still a virgin and not even that sure about his own sexuality, he has no idea of how to go about the business of prostitution and what impact it may have on his life.

Tim Morris is waiting--waiting for Jan. From his thirteenth floor apartment in the elegant Saint Roi apartment building, Tim watches Jan on the street below. He decides that they will meet.

 

Their meeting takes them on an adventure through the dark realms of international politics and their relationship--a relationship, formed from a devil's bargain and based on desperation and fear.

 

Or this:

 

4:00am. The phone rings. Waking from an uneasy sleep, Jan Phillips answers the call and in doing so brings two strangers into his life. One is a victim; the other is a deadly enemy. This phone call will propel Jan on a journey to a world where the darkest shadows of Humanity trade lives for money. It will set into motion a series of events leading to murder and intrigue, the first conflict Jan must face as the secret Mundus Society's newest Master and his discovery of the phantoms haunting his soul.

 

Or this:

 

What do three sons, One murdered by Iraqi terrorists, one who lost his mother in a fire, and one involved with underworld crime have to do with Jan Phillips?

Two threaten fear and death, forcing Jan to wield the awsome power of his office as North American head of Mundus, a sub rosa organization with roots imbedded in the ancient order of the Templars. The other threatens Jan's life and teh world he shares with Michael Lin, his partner of twelve years.

 

The love of fathers for their sons is the only constant in this story of shattered lives and despoiled devotion.

Link to comment

Nicely said, Rad! :lol:

 

That's very unjust, James. We still have so many talented authors out here. We just need a spade and dig them out. We have already got a great amount here. I think you should give the 'Promising' authors a chance. It's not for nothing we call them Promising. ;)

 

Take care,

Ieshwar

 

P.S Don't think romance will die so soon.

Link to comment
Eighteen year old Jan Phillips is on his own and heading into Philadelphia hoping to survive on money he can make from johns who frequent the city's "Tenderloin District". Still a virgin and not even that sure about his own sexuality, he has no idea of how to go about the business of prostitution and what impact it may have on his life.

Tim Morris is waiting--waiting for Jan. From his thirteenth floor apartment in the elegant Saint Roi apartment building, Tim watches Jan on the street below. He decides that they will meet.

 

Their meeting takes them on an adventure through the dark realms of international politics and their relationship--a relationship, formed from a devil's bargain and based on desperation and fear.

 

This one makes the story sound too unrealistic... a virgin moving somewhere in hope of becoming a prostitute... for a demographic he's not even sure he's a part of? That may not be what's intended to come across to the reader, but that's how I interpreted it.... It would take a fair amount of back-story before I could 'buy' that and just as a cover blurb I'd probably pass it up.

 

4:00am. The phone rings. Waking from an uneasy sleep, Jan Phillips answers the call and in doing so brings two strangers into his life. One is a victim; the other is a deadly enemy. This phone call will propel Jan on a journey to a world where the darkest shadows of Humanity trade lives for money. It will set into motion a series of events leading to murder and intrigue, the first conflict Jan must face as the secret Mundus Society's newest Master and his discovery of the phantoms haunting his soul.

 

I might be more likely to pick it up if I had a clue what the Mundus Society was.... other than that it seems decent and would depend on my mood as to whether I'd read it.

 

What do three sons, One murdered by Iraqi terrorists, one who lost his mother in a fire, and one involved with underworld crime have to do with Jan Phillips?

Two threaten fear and death, forcing Jan to wield the awsome power of his office as North American head of Mundus, a sub rosa organization with roots imbedded in the ancient order of the Templars. The other threatens Jan's life and teh world he shares with Michael Lin, his partner of twelve years.

 

The love of fathers for their sons is the only constant in this story of shattered lives and despoiled devotion.[/i]

 

"Awesome power" brings to mind magic, which I don't think was intended... It seems interesting enough I might pick it up and read a few pages...

Link to comment
This one makes the story sound too unrealistic... a virgin moving somewhere in hope of becoming a prostitute... for a demographic he's not even sure he's a part of? That may not be what's intended to come across to the reader, but that's how I interpreted it.... It would take a fair amount of back-story before I could 'buy' that and just as a cover blurb I'd probably pass it up.

 

 

 

I might be more likely to pick it up if I had a clue what the Mundus Society was.... other than that it seems decent and would depend on my mood as to whether I'd read it.

 

 

 

"Awesome power" brings to mind magic, which I don't think was intended... It seems interesting enough I might pick it up and read a few pages...

D, Thanks for the input. This is a continuing series so the Mundus reference is fully explained in the first book and in the sequel's prologue. As for Jan being 18yo virgin. Well we write what we know.

Jan in many respects is my story e.g although surrounded with family he feels somehow unwelcome. He's highly educated at an academy geared to students headed for a religious life. He's is fluent in Latin. Later in the story when he is grown and an attorney, he adopts the motto Facere iudicium. Diligere misericordiam Do Justice. Love mercy. He is a Catholic and he's devout. Note, I do not say he's a devout Catholic. He's fatherless at age 12. He's sexually untested and socially naive. He has few friends and thus he's perfect for Tim Morris' plans for a protege. It all flows from that.

 

Michael

Visit My Website

Link to comment
Gay online fiction: a subset of romantic fiction involving gay people; this and a number of other websites bread & butter.

 

Have we reached the edge? Some of our best authors have moved on. Others haven't posted new material in months & years. How many variations of the boy meets boy story can there possibly be?

 

Has the genre gone stale?

 

The genre of gay fiction certainly has not gone stale for several reasons.

 

Firstly, gay fiction isn't a subset of romantic fiction. I admit there is an inherent romantic overtone b/c homosexuality is defined in part by romantic attachment, but gay fiction can be about gay identity, coming of age, etc. Actually, it need not be about any of those and just have gay people in it. So whatever constraints apply to romance need not apply to gay fiction.

 

Secondly, even if gay fiction were a subset of romantic fiction, there's no reason that gay fiction is running out of steam. I mean, people have been writing boy meets girl stories for thousands of years and still coming up with new things. I imagine the same should go for boy meets boy stories.

 

Thirdly, I'm writing gay fiction that's showing up online, so obviously the genre hasn't been exhausted. B)

Link to comment
The genre of gay fiction certainly has not gone stale for several reasons.

 

Firstly, gay fiction isn't a subset of romantic fiction. I admit there is an inherent romantic overtone b/c homosexuality is defined in part by romantic attachment, but gay fiction can be about gay identity, coming of age, etc. Actually, it need not be about any of those and just have gay people in it. So whatever constraints apply to romance need not apply to gay fiction.

 

Secondly, even if gay fiction were a subset of romantic fiction, there's no reason that gay fiction is running out of steam. I mean, people have been writing boy meets girl stories for thousands of years and still coming up with new things. I imagine the same should go for boy meets boy stories.

 

Thirdly, I'm writing gay fiction that's showing up online, so obviously the genre hasn't been exhausted. B)

 

C, I agree. As long as people read there will always be new takes on old themes. These are the stories that will succeed and define a new breed of work.

 

Michael

Link to comment

The boy-meets-boy scenario is about as likely to go stale as the crime novel or romance in general -- and those never go stale, although there's ups and downs in every genre, as some here have said.

 

As for having to think of new scenarios, that is not true either; it's all about how you write it. A new scenario is easier for sure, but even Shakespeare used old scenarios -- and he made them absolutely great. And people do it now, too, though some fail spectacularly. There's all sorts.

 

Stale scenarios perhaps? Like the new kid in school (no offense Cosmie ;) ), new kid in town, new kid on the boat, new kid on the ranch, new kid from Australia, New kid from Dixie, new kid from New York, new kid from England...

 

WTF was wrong with the old kids??? :rolleyes:

 

Haha are you feeling left out? :P You could do something about it, or encourage others to. A story challenge might be the thing (maybe there's loads already though... 'middle-aged, bitter guy is saved from trying to drown himself by hot life-guard'... 'old, lonely, decrepit guy who's only had sex with prostitutes begins to play chess in the streets, meets cynical opponent from some obscure middle-eastern country, possibly a terrorist, hates him, then loves him')

 

There is one problem though, possibly, and that is the tiny number of reviews one tends to get. People seem to read stories but not review -- on the top ten most reviewed stories list (in e-fiction), number one has 48 (!!!) reviews only, and there are several that have only got around 30. That isn't too encouraging for a chapter story.

Link to comment

Reading all the comments above gave me the opportunity to ask (first to myself) a few questions as an analysis of gay stories as brought in GA.

What is a gay story in GA ?

Just a story in which gays play a role. It mustn't be a fiction and it mustn't be romantic. The only restrictions are given in the rules, it should be red by young people in the age of 13 without problems for the moderators !

Which qualities the readers ask for a good story ?

First to be readable (!). The main criterion : the pleasure of the reader. The description of the characters, the situation at the beginning, the evolution of both characters and situations have to offer to the reader the possibility to identify himself with one or more characters. The unfolding must have a beginning and an end, which is not so easy to realize !

Then the style must be original, singular, odd. The way the characters speak, the words the author put in their mouth, must not only bring a contribution to the progress of the story, it must suit to the feelings of the actors. The writing must be fluent. Dialogues, reflections and descriptions should alternate and give the reader an impression of real life.

I know, my standards have very high, but as a non fluently English speaking reader, I have a very easy control method :

I always try to translate the phrases of the author in my own language (French). When I success to express myself the sense and the feelings of the characters as the author want to bring it in his story, I know it's a well written story.

Aside GA, I only know another site (among the few of them I use to read) which brings so many well written stories as in GA.

Romance is infinite, and GA is the best proof of it.

Old Bob

Just another point :

James said :

..... Some of our best authors have moved on. Others haven't posted new material in months & years.

There could be others reasons for that than the "Edge of a genre".In the French literature, I know several famous authors who didn't bring a new book for years and then suddenly published a book which won an important price and sold many hundred thousand exemplars. The reason of their silence : just tiredness and the lack of inspiration. Our authors are also humans and have the right to rest !

Edited by old bob
Link to comment
... the style must be original, singular, odd. The way the characters speak, the words the author put in their mouth, must not only bring a contribution to the progress of the story, it must suit to the feelings of the actors. ...

This is one of my main criteria. If the words don't flow, or the dialogue especially, then I might find the story stale, even if the situation is not.

 

I'm curious to hear whether you all think that the publishing of pay stories (even the low-cost, downloadable ones) affects the quality of writing found on free sites like GA. When you think about it, the authors here are, in a sense, volunteering their time, just as much as Joe and Myr do, to keep the site running wth high quality stories.

Edited by steph291
Link to comment
This is one of my main criteria. If the words don't flow, or the dialogue especially, then I might find the story stale, even if the situation is not.

 

I'm curious to hear whether you all think that the publishing of pay stories (even the low-cost, downloadable ones) affects the quality of writing found on free sites like GA. When you think about it, the authors here are, in a sense, volunteering their time, just as much as Joe and Myr do, to keep the site running wth high quality stories.

 

Steph, For me the answer is no. I've read some excellent stories offered free and I've paid hard cash for some that I haven't even bothered to finish. It's been my experience that the poorly written stories suffer most from a lack of style rather than plot. Most of these fall into the category of "he / she did this" and "he /she did that" without much in the way of why, or worse yet, how he / she felt. So much is left out. I know several people who come up with these marvelous plots and themes but haven't any idea how to put the elements together. One was a woman who wanted desperately to be a published novelist. She asked herself, what if Jack, Kouriac, Anais Nin, James Balwin, W.H. Auden and Cyril Connolly were stuck in a tavern in Provincetown, Massachusetts during a hurricane. What would they talk about? Would they be afraid, etc.

Well, this a pretty odd mix for sure. My guess Old Bob would be one of the few in this forum who even recognizes Connolly's name. My friend asked me to help her write this tale. I said I'd write the first 500 words and she should write the next 500 and so we would dovetail our chapters until we finished. Folks, I wrote the first and last 500 words. My friend couldn't add a word AND she an author of some pretty awesome poetry.

My point is, money doesn't make a writer or even one that writes well.

 

As I see the enthusiasm the readers here in GA have for the writers, I hesitate to even bring this subject up but since I didn't, I feel I can add something without seeming to be peeing in the stew.

On the point of cash, way back in 2004 I was at a gay writer's conference in Washington DC. A well respected, and now well paid, writer addressed a standing room only audience. She said something that struck me. She said that she used to be so hungry for approbation that she posted she stories on line at no charge. Then she offered this advice, "Don't throw your talent away." In essence she was telling that packed room of writers that if you're good enough to be read, you're good enough to get paid for it.

 

There have been authors who have posted their stories on line and have gone on to broader avenues. Some here will do that too, others, for a variety of reasons, will not. The thing is, as long as this site and others like it survive, those who post their stories in them will live.

 

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." ~ Cyril Connolly

 

Michael

Visit My Website

Link to comment
Eighteen year old Jan Phillips is on his own and heading into Philadelphia hoping to survive on money he can make from johns who frequent the city's "Tenderloin District". Still a virgin and not even that sure about his own sexuality, he has no idea of how to go about the business of prostitution and what impact it may have on his life.

Tim Morris is waiting--waiting for Jan. From his thirteenth floor apartment in the elegant Saint Roi apartment building, Tim watches Jan on the street below. He decides that they will meet.

 

Their meeting takes them on an adventure through the dark realms of international politics and their relationship--a relationship, formed from a devil's bargain and based on desperation and fear.

 

No, I would not read that, even if it had kick ass cover art. The idea of an 18 year old who thinks they can sell their ass and save money is just ludicrist to me. Especially if there is a move to a new city involved where he has (presumably) no connections, no place to live and nothing more than he brought with him... if he has a sizible chunck of cash then WHY would he be selling his ass? Sorry.. just doesn't do it for me.

 

4:00am. The phone rings. Waking from an uneasy sleep, Jan Phillips answers the call and in doing so brings two strangers into his life. One is a victim; the other is a deadly enemy. This phone call will propel Jan on a journey to a world where the darkest shadows of Humanity trade lives for money. It will set into motion a series of events leading to murder and intrigue, the first conflict Jan must face as the secret Mundus Society's newest Master and his discovery of the phantoms haunting his soul.

 

Maybe, depending on how the first chapter reads, but I doubt it.

 

What do three sons, One murdered by Iraqi terrorists, one who lost his mother in a fire, and one involved with underworld crime have to do with Jan Phillips?

Two threaten fear and death, forcing Jan to wield the awsome power of his office as North American head of Mundus, a sub rosa organization with roots imbedded in the ancient order of the Templars. The other threatens Jan's life and teh world he shares with Michael Lin, his partner of twelve years.

 

The love of fathers for their sons is the only constant in this story of shattered lives and despoiled devotion.

 

 

The mention of the Templars would make me consider twice. The cover art better be interesting and the first chapter baited with yummies to hook me in....

 

Now, considering this is a series (from the MC being the same) I would read the first one first, but I might talk to my friends to see if any one else out there is reading this or has read it in the past.

 

 

Jan in many respects is my story e.g although surrounded with family he feels somehow unwelcome. He's highly educated at an academy geared to students headed for a religious life. He's is fluent in Latin. Later in the story when he is grown and an attorney, he adopts the motto Facere iudicium. Diligere misericordiam Do Justice. Love mercy. He is a Catholic and he's devout. Note, I do not say he's a devout Catholic. He's fatherless at age 12. He's sexually untested and socially naive. He has few friends and thus he's perfect for Tim Morris' plans for a protege. It all flows from that.

 

 

I would be more apt to read a book with some of this information in the blurb. Ie.. why is a Catholic young man who speaks fluent latin, went to a religious school... selling his ass in Philly?

 

 

 

There is one problem though, possibly, and that is the tiny number of reviews one tends to get. People seem to read stories but not review -- on the top ten most reviewed stories list (in e-fiction), number one has 48 (!!!) reviews only, and there are several that have only got around 30. That isn't too encouraging for a chapter story.

 

 

I'm wondering if there is a way for e-fiction to be "credit based" ie... you can read one chapter, but you must comment on it to get to the next chapter. Even "I liked it, reading the next chapter now" or "I hated it, not reading any more sorry." is better than NOTHING. Same thing with single chapter stories... comment or no more stories for you. sounds harsh.. but yeah 48 for a popular story is sorta silly. I know when Joey moved my stories they lost all the comments.. but only a handful of people have comment on them in the past year, although the read count is rather high.

 

 

As for a genre going stale.. I don't think that it happens very often... I think the readers get bored, move on, get bored, come back... I know I like to read a variety of things -- not just gay fiction.

Link to comment
No, I would not read that, even if it had kick ass cover art. The idea of an 18 year old who thinks they can sell their ass and save money is just ludicrist to me. Especially if there is a move to a new city involved where he has (presumably) no connections, no place to live and nothing more than he brought with him... if he has a sizible chunck of cash then WHY would he be selling his ass? Sorry.. just doesn't do it for me.

Don't judge. This sort of thing happens everyday in the inner city. People sell their bodies for all sorts of reasons. I'd read the trilogy because I'm curious about how he went from being a ho to a Templar. But anyway...

 

I'm curious to hear whether you all think that the publishing of pay stories (even the low-cost, downloadable ones) affects the quality of writing found on free sites like GA. When you think about it, the authors here are, in a sense, volunteering their time, just as much as Joe and Myr do, to keep the site running wth high quality stories.

Good fiction is good fiction, whether money exchanges hands or not. As for the "staleness" of the genre, I think that's impossible. There will always be a market for gay fiction for as long as people are gay and want to read about characters they identify with that aren't just the leading lady's best friend.

 

I do think the gay teen romance sub-genre is prone to staleness though, because too often the writers just depict their own personal fantasies which can reek of mid-life crisis. Plus, there are only so many scenarios in which you can believably put adolescents who lack experience in life and love. It takes a lot for me to enjoy a gay teen romance. When browsing through stories on GA or elsewhere, there are keywords and phrases that automatically tell me "Skip." Here are a few:

 

New Kid on the Block: We've covered this one already. If you read one story about moving, you've read them all.

 

Childhood/Best Friends Who Fall in Love: You mean to tell me these guys BOTH happen to be gay and BOTH happen to find each other hot and become lovers and proceed to have some kind of lifelong romance? And people say I write fantasy.

 

Closeted Jock/Soldier/etc: This paint-by-numbers story has been told five billion times. It's certainly a viable conflict, but its still the Christmas Carol of gay fiction.

 

And don't get me started on actually reading the story and the first chapter is about what the kid ate for breakfast. I think everyone should read Nick Archer's writing tips, because he covers a lot of this stuff and how to avoid cliche pitfalls.

Link to comment

I think, in readers eyes, things could go stale at times. Finding the stand-out story, by a newer, less known author could be difficult. Right now, some aren't even looking as they're holding out for an absent author or two to return from their busy life or whatever other reason keeping them away. Also, all of the garbage with the same story-lines as the great stories then one can see that things are becoming stale.

 

It's not the story-line or the idea, it's the way the small variations come together. Right now, I have a "New guy in town" story that has 8 pages in the first chapter wrote - started when I was bored, and the variations added to that, over-used plot may (or may not) bring some originality to that type of story. I wouldn't write a story like this if I didn't think there is hope brining an original story to it. Variations keep these types of stories from going stale. But you have to get out there and read a lot more before you can really say things are going stale. There are new great stories with these over used plots.

 

Anyway, online gay fiction is more easily found than print/published works, as there's not a massive audience out there (in the eyes of top publishing companies), so Online gay fiction is what's easily found. The only negative is, with things being online anyone can write it if they get the itch to - cluttering things up. It hasn't become a problem here at GA as much though.

 

But, yeah, things can easily become stale. I just don't think it's close to happening yet.

Link to comment
As for a genre going stale.. I don't think that it happens very often... I think the readers get bored, move on, get bored, come back... I know I like to read a variety of things -- not just gay fiction.

 

I pronounce the Western cow opera as dead, dead, dead stick a fork in it, its done. It has been overdone, under written and over exposed by all of the tv networks 1000 or so mediocre to awful cow operas. Had cowboys and indians had killed themselves at the rate that Hollywood woould have you believe, there wouldn't be any left of either one.

 

It can happen to any genre and exactly by that formula: by producing schlock and believing naively that the audience will always be there.

 

My complaint against gay fiction in general is that with the exception of a very few authors: Driver, Dewey, Comsie, Freethinker and maybe even Graeme is that the life that gay characters lead, I don't recognize it.

 

I recognize Driver's characters, Dewey's angst, Comsie's My Only Escape and Freethinker's world is the one I grew up in.

 

I don't recognize gay characters as popular, top of their class, with clubs and places to go, accepted by family and friends and even respected.

 

This is probably a generational thing but it is so foreign to my experience that it might as well be science fiction.

 

There are some hard realities about being gay and I fear that we set up a lot of young people for disappointment by making it sound like it is all wine and roses.

 

How's this for a story:

 

A twenty-something gay professional who is quietly out takes a job in state government that nobody else wants. By force of will and intelligent management over the years he builds that department into something to be proud of. By the time he's forty, it is the best performing department of its kind in the state. At the request of some friends, he takes a public stand on a bill that would prohibit gay marriage in the state in the 2004 election. Meanwhile a state-senator needs to find a job for his useless son-in-law without a degree and he picks that job. The state senator must first get rid of the guy holding the office. He proceeds to tear down the man and anyone that stands with him. Management at the agency sides with the senator because they can't afford to make an enemy out of someone on the budget committee. He is asked to resign for the good of the agency with help promised to get another position but it never materialized.

 

Would you read it? Probably not. It's real. It's my story in a paragraph.

 

Moral of the story? No good dead goes unpunished and at some level, every government is feudalism.

Link to comment
How's this for a story:

 

A twenty-something gay professional who is quietly out takes a job in state government that nobody else wants. By force of will and intelligent management over the years he builds that department into something to be proud of. By the time he's forty, it is the best performing department of its kind in the state. At the request of some friends, he takes a public stand on a bill that would prohibit gay marriage in the state in the 2004 election. Meanwhile a state-senator needs to find a job for his useless son-in-law without a degree and he picks that job. The state senator must first get rid of the guy holding the office. He proceeds to tear down the man and anyone that stands with him. Management at the agency sides with the senator because they can't afford to make an enemy out of someone on the budget committee. He is asked to resign for the good of the agency with help promised to get another position but it never materialized.

 

Would you read it? Probably not. It's real. It's my story in a paragraph.

 

Moral of the story? No good dead goes unpunished and at some level, every government is feudalism.

If this were the whole of the story, uh, no, I wouldn't read it. But to me, it sounds like the ending hasn't been written yet, has it?

Link to comment

this is a very interesting topic because of what it says about itself.

 

oh yeah.

 

the question presupposes that gay fiction is a subset of romantic fiction, which reflects on 99% of the stories on this site, which i've made rants about in the past (see my blog).

 

in fact, one of the things that i don't like about the eFiction is that when you submit a story, one of the things it asks you to define is the "primary couple."

 

interesting indeed.

 

but yeah, i've said it before, and azure is saying it in this forum:

 

I do think the gay teen romance sub-genre is prone to staleness though, because too often the writers just depict their own personal fantasies which can reek of mid-life crisis. Plus, there are only so many scenarios in which you can believably put adolescents who lack experience in life and love.

 

the writing on this site, from what i've seen, as mostly stale. there are a few people running around with their heads cut off trying to do something new.

 

so i guess if i had to answer the question above (which i didn't because i disagree with the responses) i would say that it has gone stale, but not because we've reached the limits. we've set up our own fence out of stakes connected by a single rope, and we refuse to take the effort to step over or under it. (dependent on stature)

 

my remedies to this problem fall under two subheadings.

 

a ) what gay fiction must be.

 

-a story about gays with the gay element having some impact on the plot. this does not demand a couple. no no no. write about seeing life from the outside, being an "other," which is a HUGE term in literary criticism right now. write a story about being a gay and a lesbian living together who have decided to rear a child together and who develop some sort of family that way.

 

b ) what any fiction must be.

 

i can hardly define what makes a story, but i want to say this: it does not have to be a first person account of something that already happened.

 

miraculous things could happen if more authors tried:

 

-a third person point of view. (not the mental rantings of a teenage boy who's smarter than everyone and has the world out to get him)

-the present tense (oh yes. much more thrilling)

 

lets move past tense and perspective. lets acknowledge different ways of telling a story, different forms. need examples?

 

-a historical document

-a letter (this is what i'm doing for my next story)

-a contradictory series of events that show the limitations of the narrator

-a single event from multiple persepectives (not necessarily HUMAN perspectives, say, what a camera would see if it were fixed to a certain object in a room where the event was unfolding)

-a journal (a little overused, but not so much as the typical story format)

-multiple narrators, but not the lame stories told by two boys who eventually fall in love and in their perspective, seem only to acknowledge each other. no one wants to hear the same predictable love story twice.

-an entire story basically in quotes. anyone read Heart of Darkness? the first few pages come from a narrator, but then the actual story comes from another speaker. i won't get into what this accomplishes here.

-a perspective from a young child or someone who is mentally deficient. here we confront the issue of first person narrators who are allegedly, say, fifteen-year-old boys, but who have a story-telling capability and vocabulary far beyond what the average fifteen year old could have.

-read Diary of a Bad Year by j.m. coetzee and see how that story is told. each page is divided into three sections, the top of which are essays by a man. the middle is the diary of that same man. and then the bottom is the diary of a woman that man becomes interested in. but wait! it gets better. it turns out that the woman's boyfriend has bugged the man and the woman's computer, so the way the text is presented is essentially how the boyfriend sees it. four perspectives on each page!

 

i hope you get the point i'm making. documents whose purpose is not to tell a story, may still inevitably tell a story, and likewise, stories may fail to tell a story, and too many authors fail to acknowledge those limitations, and unfortunately, the readers fail to ask themselves questions about the narrators. what do i mean? i mean people are silly if they read a story from the perspective of a fifteen-year-old gay boy, and see what he endures at the hands of others, and assume that he does not cause problems himself. what is not being said is just as important as what is being said.

 

oh yeah.

 

so yes. gay fiction is stale. but it does not have to be that way.

Edited by lesfeuxdemoncoeur
Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..