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Two Nick Now I do write gay fiction. With a romantic, sexy edge certainly. At least, the ones who like my work. So, what are they?

And how are they different? If a book is written with a gay male audience in mind, it is gay fiction. Especially, if it lacks a strong element of romance and ignores the rules of the romance genre entirely. Gay fiction at its core is about the formation of an individual identity the basic coming out story or the formation of a chosen-family focused on adults Tales of the City.

Another determiner of genre would be the sexual behavior of the characters. Typically, gay men have the ability to separate love and sex. They can pursue both at the same time and in completely different directions. Typically, straight women view sex and love as intermingled. Gross generalizations, I know, but they do explain the preferences of the bulk of readers.

Romance readers have a distinct preference for two men developing a relationship through sex. These books often only feature the protagonists having sex, many times certainly, but just the two men. The Tin Star by J. Langley is a good example of this. Theoretically, you could write a book that is both gay fiction and still follows the rules of the romance genre. A cross-genre novel, as it were. In my opinion, the act of bending gay characters to the romance genre makes it a nearly impossible task to write much of anything with the authenticity necessary to gay fiction. You could also say this discussion is little more than an academic exercise.

Why do I think that? These publishers are, commendably I think, putting out a small amount of gay fiction.

Introduction

On the other end of the spectrum you have your gay fiction reader who goes to Amazon looking for something to read and finds that most of the top twenty books are romance novels. Now, the bulk of gay readers do not like romance novels — yes, I know there are exceptions and you may be one — but seriously, as a rule, gay men do not read romance novels.

Now, did they do this because they wanted to get a more mainstream heterosexual audience? Or, did they just not want to associate the book with the romance novels that rule the gay fiction category? Either way, I find it concerning to see gay fiction not labeled as such.

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At first, there was very little I could get my hands on, but then, as time went on I found more and more on the shelves. Over time the genre has grown, and contracted, stumbled and gotten up again. And through all that it has shaped and informed the lives of gay men. But, I think if writers and publishers become aware of the problem and begin to correctly identify themselves and their product things will slowly improve. And this is definitely my first step in removing that label. Published on September 13, Sep 14, Yes, it makes my teeth grind when I read a scene in a book that I know is totally unrealistic for a guy.


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Love the commentary. Thanks for the comment Barb. Sep 15, WeaselBox wrote: I hadn't ever thought about the problems of unintentional crossover. I actually stumbled here after happening to see your review on Chandler's Playback Which I just finished. The Boystown books do get darker as you go along, though hopefully they're not depressing. Certainly, in the 90s when there was a lot of AIDS literature and we didn't yet know where things were going it could be depressing. I've gone back and looked at some of those books and they're not as depressing because there's no longer that Though it is still all very sad.

Anyway, thanks for the comment. And thanks for taking a look at my work. Sep 22, I once received two comments from readers on the same day. One, from a leatherman, said, "Nice story. I just love this story! It's all in the marketing techniques. John Preston was able to take hardcore porn and publish it as "erotica" for the literary fiction readers.

Likewise, one can get away with marketing murder, just by putting the right label on a story: I just think the overlap between the two is larger than you think.

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My apprentice is able to find a never-ending supply of gay-male-fiction romance stories. A few factual matters: And finally: A lot of slash isn't romance. The slash writers who wrote romance were able to get published. The slash writers who didn't write romance are still hammering at the publishers' doors, for the most part. This is another reason why I'm reluctant to divide the gay-literature world into only two camps. It seems to me there's a spectrum of gay literature, with different categories shading into each other.

Sep 23, But there we're talking about lesbians who found a way to write about sexuality and work with big publishers - mainly by allowing themselves to be presented as straight women. And the attraction of these books often had nothing to do with gay men. My mother read the Persian Boy when I was a teenager. I asked if I could read it and she told me that there were homosexual scenes in the book. Then she said, "Just pretend that the eunuch is actually a girl. That's what I did. And, I really question the idea that there were a sizable number of novels I'd have to look at study you're quoting to really comment on it.

Finally, I think you misunderstood some of what I'm saying.

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I don't "divide the gay-literature world into only two camps. It's a romance sub-genre. I thought of an example that may make this all clearer. Nicholas Sparks is a popular novelist who writes romantic stories, but I would not call him a romance writer. There are significant structural and stylistic difference between a romantic story and a romance novel. He's said quite clearly that he's not a romance novelist. Now, I would guess that a large chunk of Sparks' audience also reads romance novels, while another chunk of his audience would never dream of picking up a romance novel.

I also think that a large chunk of romance novels fans would not enjoy his work. Readers do run the gambit. The reason that Sparks goes to such lengths to define himself as not-a romance novelist, is that many people do classify him as such. They look at his books and say "oh they're romantic, they must be romance novels. Content alone does not define genre.

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If that were the case, since the bulk of romance novels are about women, there would be no reason not to label them all as feminist literature. A classification that would be of no help to anyone, reader or writer or publisher. And that really is the point. Genre is meant to provide guidance to readers so that they can find what they'd like to read.

Readers who want it are having trouble finding it.

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Here's the study. It's a gathering together of a number of very unscientific studies - but the fact is, no scientific study has ever been done. The idea that slashers are all heterosexual women appeared in early academic studies of slash, back when queer folk were much more inclined to be in the closet especially if they were heterosexually married.

Sexuality unknown: It's that "sexuality unkown" factor I'd like to pinpoint. I'm skeptical of that assumption, for the above reasons.