Writing #OwnVoices – You Are Enough

I’m asexual. I wrote about this just a couple months ago when I realized it for the first time in my 10+ years of adulthood. Since then, I have joined the #ownvoices movement by starting to write a novel with an asexual gay man as a main character.

Let me tell you: It is hard. It is really, really difficult for me, despite being asexual myself. The temptation to put these guys into a regular old sexual relationship is strong. It’d be a lot easier to write. Despite not being sexually motivated or driven myself, writing sex is natural because it is everywhere, and I know it is expected, and a lot of readers live for the sex scenes.

Writing anything is hard. Writing gay men as a straight[ish] female[ish…person] is hard. Writing romance with a character who is not driven by sexual desire is a hard. Put all this together and add a heaping dose of crippling self-doubt on top, and it’s a miracle I’ve put a single word on the page.

“Self doubt?” you say. “Why are you drowning in self doubt? This should be easy. You’re asexual. You’re writing an asexual character. That’s like being a writer and writing about a writer. Right?”

Except I only realized I’m asexual like two months ago, and only decided to apply/embrace the label several weeks later. All in all, I’ve considered myself a part of the asexual community for like, maybe 5 weeks now. So who the fuck am I to write an asexual character? I have no idea what I’m talking about. Right? What if I accidentally write bad rep? Even though I am ace, and I have been ace forever, I could easily write something that offends someone else. I could write it wrong. The internet is a terrifying place. There are a lot of outspoken, aggressive people on every side of every issue (especially on Twitter, where I spend most of my time). What if I write this asexual character based on my own personal feelings and experiences, and someone comes along and says “He’s not asexual.”

But he’s based on me! And I am! Does that mean I’m not?!

What if I write this #ownvoices book and someone comes along and shits on me for it because I’m not repping enough? I’m not outspoken enough? I’m not… I don’t know what, but what if I’m doing it wrong?

TAKING RISKS IS TERRIFYING.

Somebody save me.

Do you see my issue?

And then, while I was musing over this hang-up I’m struggling with, here came Ana Mardoll with a miraculously well-time tweet thread:

If you could just pardon me for a moment, I’ll be in the corner, sobbing.

misha crying

Okay. Better now.

So this is what it boils down to, kids: You are enough, and the world needs your voice. No one is more enough-y than you. No one can write a marginalized character better than a marginalized person, and no one can tell you that your feelings and experiences disqualify you for the group you feel you belong to. There has been a lot of hate flying around lately–transphobia and biphobia, erasure of all sorts. There is no better time than now for writing #ownvoices, and there is no better person than you.

So I’m going to go on writing my asexual gay man, and if he wants to have sex, he will. And if he doesn’t, he won’t. He’ll find his boyfriend attractive, he will be infatuated and in love and make flirty comments and sexual jokes, and if anyone reads about him someday and says that his relationship is unrealistic, I’ll give them a great big middle finger, because I am an asexual person, and I have sex, get crushes, flirt, and make a hell of a lot of sexual jokes. Those things do not disqualify me from the a-spec. I am asexual enough to write an asexual character, even if I just realized it a few weeks ago. It’s my identity and no one will take it away from me.

(If you want snippets and lines from Alex and his asexual D/s adventures, you can follow me on Twitter. I post quite frequently.)

Rainbow Snippet – 1/14/17 – Andrew

Happy Saturday everyone! Here’s my Rainbow Snippet for the week!

This is Andrew’s POV. Trystin has come to visit him in the hospital…



“I have a spare bedroom. It’s yours if you take my job offer.”

It took a second for the words to sink in, and when they did, I had no idea how to respond. My mouth hung open as I stared at him.

“You look surprised.”

“Yeah,” I said. Here was a millionaire, or billionaire, I didn’t know, offering me a job and a place to live. I knew virtually nothing about him, and he knew even less about me.



 

Thanks for reading!!!

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!). Visit the group for links to more snippets from LGBT works! While you’re over there, shoot me a friend request!

Rainbow Snippet 4 – 1/7/16- Trystin

Happy Saturday everyone! Here’s my Rainbow Snippet for the week!

POV SWITCH! This is Trystin’s POV. Something happened between him and Andrew since last week’s snip…



Leaving now wouldn’t answer my questions. Leaving now meant I’d never apologize to him properly. I’d never see him again, never make amends, and the guilt and confusion would stick with me forever. With a sigh, I leaned against the wall and shoved my hands into my coat pockets, inhaling deeply and then exhaling for a ten-count. Making amends for something like this would be much different than making amends for forgetting a birthday or insulting someone. The hospital gift shop probably didn’t sell ‘sorry I almost sent you to your death’ cards.



 

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!). Visit the group for links to more snippets from LGBT works! While you’re over there, shoot me a friend request!

Rainbow Snippet 2 – Andrew

Happy Saturday everyone, and happy holidays! Here’s my Rainbow Snippet for the week!

POV SWITCH! This is first-person POV from Andrew, the man Trystin was thinking about in last week’s snippet. Andrew has a tough life. Poor guy.



I looked at the man’s reflection as he looked at me. His slouchy presence looked wrong there, next to the clean tile walls and sleek black countertops. On the outside, I looked right—I cleaned up well—but my insides were a turbulent sea. Alcohol made it easy for me to kiss strangers, go home with strangers. Alcohol naturally made me more physical. But nothing ever quelled the fear and guilt that came from stealing.



 

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to check out the group at the link above to find snips from other authors! Check back next week for more.

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

Visit the group for links to more snippets from LGBT works! While you’re over there, shoot me a friend request!

New Story

First things first, I feel like I should clarify that I do not write short stories. I need to start. Maybe if I can bust out some short stories, I can get them published. However I tend to devote all my time to novels and I don’t really know how to write short stories, so anytime I talk about a “story” I’m writing, it’s a novel. I just don’t like saying I’m writing a novel because it sounds pretentious.

That said, I know in my last post I said I wasn’t going to really devote myself to the word count goal of NaNoWriMo, but so far I’m really motivated on this new story and I’m on track with my word count. It’s day 5, so I should have ~8,300 words, and I have just over 8,700.

I’m getting to know the characters. I did some development and pre-writing in October, but things always go awry whenever I start the actual writing process. The character profiles I put together are a good starting point, but once I sit down and get into their heads, things always start to change. Or a secondary character throws me for a loop because I didn’t spend much time developing him so he doesn’t want to fit into my preconceived plot ideas.

This story is meant to be kind of an action/adventure but also a m/m romance. The idea originated in my head when I played the final Uncharted game for PS4. Around the same time, I also read Strange Fortune by Josh Lanyon. I decided I wanted to write a cool swashbuckling treasure hunting type character. I sat down to create said character. I didn’t want him to be a Nathan Drake rip off, though. I wanted him to be not quite what you’d expect. So I ended up with a cat burglar with a sweet tooth who is incredibly squeamish.

That guy did not survive. We didn’t click. I felt no real motivation to write him. But the idea continued to linger in my head for a couple months. I wanted to write urban fantasy. I wanted to write an adventure type novel. And obviously, I wanted gay characters.

I often start writing with a concept or an emotion in mind, and no idea who the characters are. I just enjoy exploring the emotions. Plus sometimes I just want to write empty plotless smut. This one day in particular, I had an idea in my head that basically went like this: Two characters on opposing “factions” or sides of some issue or event. But they can help each other. But one doesn’t trust the other, even though the other is literally the most trustworthy person in existence. So the non-trusting one tricks the trustworthy one and basically takes him prisoner (even though there’s no need for it) and demands his help in exchange for freedom.

That was the vague notion in my head, and I started writing. And none of it went according to plan. It just all fell apart… into something better. Lo and behold, this new guy just steamrolled my brain. He just came barrelling in, full tilt, got up in my business and was like “Here I am! I know I’m not what you had in mind, but I am fucking fabulous. Write me.”

So there’s no longer any kind of opposing factions or taking prisoner or deep-seated distrust of each other. One character is a mage in a modern-day city (haven’t decided which one yet) and the other is a bit of a scholar/explorer type guy. I’m working really hard to not make either of them seem anything like the characters who gave me the desire to write an adventure/urban fantasy type novel (Indiana Jones, Nathan Drake, Harry Dresden, Atticus O’Sullivan, the characters from Strange Fortune whose names I cannot remember right now) while also still making them compelling. And of course gay.

Anyway, that was the birth of this story. It’s very strange how an entire novel can be birthed from a single vague notion or feeling or image. (I guess I shouldn’t say that as if I’ve already finished the novel, because I haven’t. I’m 8700 words in.)

I’m going to go continue writing said novel now.