Why do I love gay romance?
I have been trying to become a better writer, and part of that journey for me means thinking about what I read, and what I like about it, and why. I’ve considered a few books specifically, in my posts here and here, and I’ll keep doing that, but then I thought… why do I read these types of books at all? And why is this the genre I’ve chosen to write in?
I almost bought a book about it, called why straight women love gay romance, but decided I can’t afford any more book purchases this month. And anyway, I don’t need a book to tell me how I feel.
I’ve been reading m/m romance for well over ten years. Honestly I started reading m/m erotica, and sort of graduated to romance. I also read a ton of other genres, although generally I avoid anything too ‘heavy’ or depressing. Reading is entertainment for me, and I prefer laughter over tears. But the stories I feel compelled to write are almost all gay romance. Why? And why do I read it? What are the qualities I look for in m/m romance? What makes me love it?
I commented on a blog post by Theo Fenraven, and this is part of what I said:
Why do I read (and write) m/m? 1. m/f romance almost always has a weak or stereotypical female lead, which is annoying. 2. two men together is hot, I don’t care who you are. 3. (saddest reason) I don’t have to compare myself to the men in my stories, I am always on the outside looking in, so I don’t need to feel bad about my own (sometimes lacking) love life.
The original post was about the appropriateness of women writing m/m fiction. But it got me thinking more about why I love to read it. All the points I made above are valid and true, but certainly there must be more to it? And if I can pinpoint what I like about reading it, I can maybe improve my writing of it.
Here is the list I’ve come up with so far:
I like men. Physically, sexually, and personally. I just do. I’ve always had more male friends than female, and I find them easy to understand, mostly. And also sexy. So there’s that.
Men showing vulnerability, expressing ‘tender’ emotions, demonstrating love, is wonderful to behold. It is rare for me to witness this in real life, except of course with my husband, or very close friends. But generally, it is an extremely intimate thing to listen to a man truly express his heart.
Men in gay romances are more like real people. In het romance, the men are usually asshole alphas and the women are either pathetically weak, or cold bitches. They fall into stereotypical roles and it’s lame. In m/m, usually the men are just guys. Normal.
So, how do I translate that into better writing? I don’t know. Maybe just keeping in mind these areas as a focus will be helpful for me. Writing deeper, more meaningful male characters, allowing them more opportunities to show emotion, and making sure they are individuals and not stereotypes.
I’ll keep trying!