Saturday, September 26, 2015

Writing Fictional Characters (Who Happen To Be Gay)

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Hypothetical question: How do I write gay characters?
Simple hypothetical response: Don't write gay characters. Write characters who happen to be gay. Because there is a difference.

You aren't writing a sexual orientation. You're writing a person. "But," you might say, "I'm not gay and I don't know any gay people." To which I would reply: "I'm not, nor do I know, a dragon, or a mind reading mage, or a girl who can create and control fire, and yet I have written all these characters without the slightest bit of trouble because they all have one very important thing in common. They're all people."

It can be daunting to write what you don't know, especially when it's something that exists in the real world. After all, you don't have to worry about offending dragons, or mind reading mages, or other nonexistent beings by portraying them incorrectly.

You can do research if it makes you feel better. But it's not like researching firearms, or medieval medicines, or race cars. You won't find any right or wrong information, because people are people and we're all different from one another.

Don't sit down and say to yourself, "What would a gay character do in this situation?", instead ask, "What would this particular character do in this situation?" Because whether your character is human, elf, alien, or sentient toaster, whether they like the opposite sex, the same sex, or any other kind of sex, they have to be a person first, otherwise nobody is going to care. And if the reader doesn't care, then the writer isn't doing their job.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

No comments:

Post a Comment