Thursday, August 26, 2010

In Support of all the Women Writing M/M Fiction

I heard there's been a slight uproar in the blogsphere about women who write m/m fiction. I'm not going into detail about that, but I do want to offer my support and my own thoughts. I like to keep it simple and to the point, without too many fifty cent words and pedantic analogies.

First, I'm all for anyone who wants to write m/m fiction. I don't care what their gender is, with whom they sleep, or what their sexual preference is. This is partly because I'm not a fan of putting labels on people, and partly because I think good writers should be able to write on any topic, in any genre, and about anything if they work hard enough at it, regardless of their gender or sexual preference. I'm not a historical fan; it's just not my genre. But I have written a few historicals and I know I can do it.

I also don't like putting authors into boxes. As an openly gay male, I've been known to cross genres myself. I use pen names so I don't confuse readers, but not because of my sexual preference. And this ludicrous thought process that just because I'm gay I have to only write m/m fiction passes me by completely. Hell, a good number of gay men and women wrote mainstream literary fiction long before there was even a genre called m/m fiction and they marketed their books and writings to the straight community and no one ever said a word. Hello: Tennessee Williams; Gertrude Stein.

And now, all of a sudden, I'm hearing that women authors who write m/m fiction are getting slammed and bashed all over the internet. And I don't think that's fair.

To be honest, when I first heard that so many straight women were writing (and reading) m/m romances, I was a little surprised. I've been writing lgbt fiction for almost twenty years and it just never occurred to me that straight women would be interested in writing gay romances. But then I read a few of their books and I liked what I was reading. G. A. Hauser dives right into her books with the kind of energy I look for in fiction. And the sweetest love story I read all year was written by a new author, Michele Montgomery.

Personally, I've been extremely annoyed with some of the things I've seen and read about straight women (or anyone who isn't gay) writing m/m fiction, and I wanted to make it clear that I have always supported them, and will continue to support them. After all, as a gay man I've been fighting for equal rights all my life, and I'm certainly not going to discriminate against anyone else.

21 comments:

Rebecca Leigh said...

Bravo! I personally have not been subjected to this, but then again -- I don't spend as much time as I probably should (given I'm an exclusive epub author) on the internet! I have heard the same things though and I'm thankful there are people such as yourself so supportive!

Mahalo for your comments and wisdom, Ryan!

ryan field said...

And I hope you don't experience it, Rebecca. I think most people don't really care. But the ones who do seem to be so loud :)

Katrina Strauss said...

Thank you, Ryan, for sharing some positive commentary in what has been a rather ugly debate from both sides of the fence.

Heidi Champa said...

Thanks for the great post, Ryan. I've been pretty lucky in that I haven't experienced too much negativity, but it is always out there. One collection I was in (I believe you were in the book too, Ryan) got a review about how the collection was only half good, beause the stories by women writers were too "soap opera".

I really appreciate people like you, who support all writers regardless of gender.

AJ Llewellyn said...

Hey Ryan, great post. This "debate" has been going on for the three years I've been published as a M/M author myself. I think it's time for the drama to die down...there are so many fantastic authors of M/M fic and a lot of my faves are women!

Kimberly Gardner said...

Thanks for the wonderfully supportive post, Ryan.

As a straight woman who writes gay romance, and even moreso as a writer, I'm glad to hear from anyone who recognizes and supports my right to tell the stories that speak to me without regard to gender or orientation or other categorizations.

Belinda McBride said...

What a lovely, and very sensible article!

Thanks very much, Ryan!

Pia Veleno said...

Well said, Ryan!

I haven't run into that online much, but when my writing comes out in face-to-face conversations, I get that reaction a lot. More often, it tends to closer to 'How could you know how that works?' than pure negativity, but then I remind them that Stephen King couldn't set things on fire with his mind either.

The fans outnumber the naysayers, but I love the support you show as a gay man. Thank you.

Amber Green said...

Thank you, Ryan.

Dana Fredsti said...

It amazes me that people spend the time and energy deciding who should and shouldn't do whatever, based on their opinions. I agree with everything your post says, Ryan. I'm not a m/m writer, but if a straight guy can write a sex scene from a female point of view, why can't a straight gal write a m/m sex scene? Or any combination thereof?

Ebs said...

Thank you, Ryan. I agree completely. Hopefully this kind of mind-set goes away soon. -- T D McKinney

Jaime Samms said...

I'll echo that thanks for the quiet support, Ryan. So far, I've been lucky to secape the barbs, but I know some of my friends have not been so lucky. It's nice to know there are those out there who appreciate a good story for what it is. A good story. :)

Jaime

ryan field said...

Thanks for commenting everyone.

By coincidence, I just sent one of those suggested facebook friend requests to Patricia Nell Warren, one of my own literary idols. The friend suggestion popped up out of nowhere. And she's probably the best example of what I was talking about in this post.

Kei said...

I really appreciate your support on this. I think that it is a bit much that any one group of people should feel that they have the sole mandate to any genre. Saying that only gay men should be able to write m/m is like saying only children can write children's books. If they feel strongly that women can't write m/m, they are free not to read it. But to deny others the opportunity to both write it and read it is too much. Don't they realize the opportunity to gain support and acceptance with a wider community? Some day some of these women will find themselves having "that" talk with one of their children. How much better do you think it will go, if these same women have been reading and writing m/m prior?

Since I am not published, I'll probably never experience this prejudice. The people who read my slash are looking for it. But others shouldn't have to put up with it.

Thanks!

Deanna Wadsworth said...

Up until a year ago M/M was an unfamiliar genre for me and I began writing it by accident. Damn HBO Real Sex sparking my imagination! LOL
But the real reason I decided to persue the genre was because its sexy, fun and I'm so tired of hot secretary and gorgeous boss not getting together for some convoluted reason. I want to write characters who have to fight and scrap for their HEA.I want to touch hearts. I want to make people laugh, cry and get a little hot in the process (he he he) M/M satisfies that for me plus I can explore genres which are saturated in other markets, thus filling a gaping hole in the literary world. And its not like us girls have to stretch our imagination lusting after hot guys!
So thanks for the support, Ryan!

Louisa Bacio said...

Ryan,

You are such a standout in the field, it's wonderful to hear your take on the subject. I read some of the original posting and backlash earlier this week and was shocked as the one-sided nature of the comments. Thank you for standing up for the rights of *all* writers.

And Pia -- Your comment about King made me laugh. I'm a long-time King fan and when I've sometimes written horror for classes, people look at me shocked:"how could you?" No ... there's no bodies buried in my yard ...

Sharon M.Bidwell said...

I think I could hug you. LOL. I have to say I've not personally had any negative comments from gay men, and would feel hurt if I did -- saying that I wouldn't take any notice of anyone unless they had something intelligent to say. I'm a writer who stumbled into the genre by accident. I had an idea that nagged me to write it and having a couple of gay friends, I thought it would be wonderful to write something specifically with them in mind. The publisher wanted a series and I suddenly had an unexpected audience. I never went into it with any intent, but I quickly realised that in doing so, I had an opportunity to make a stand for my principles. I believe that love is love, and while I'm not on any crusade, surely any type of support is better than none.

I've heard a lot of ridiculous notions over the years, including someone telling me I couldn't be friends with a gay man as 'gays hate women'. That's absolute rubbish, and I know at least a couple of gay men who get a kick out of the idea of women writing m/m romance, and are even surprised how well some of them do it, too.

Alex Beecroft said...

Thanks for this, Ryan! Most of my friends have been in the thick of this, so I will pass your post on to them. I think it will cheer them up enormously :)

Speaking of cheering - I'm really glad to have followed Saritza's link and found you, because The Ghost and Mr. Moore looks awesome. I think I'll have that to read on my weekend away.

ryan field said...

Thanks again for all the comments.

ladyauthorsld said...

Thank you for your supportive column, Ryan! I luckily haven't experienced a backlash from the writing world for being a str8 female writing this genre.
I respect all who write this wonderful genre...m or f, str8, gay, tran, whatever!

ryan field said...

I think most readers and authors agree with me in this post. I've had a lot of positive responses so far and I haven't had to monitor the blog at all. All comments for this post have been posted, which is a good thing :))