Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Guest Bloggers A. Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder - Ladies Writing tha Buttsecks: M/M from a Female Perspective

It’s the ultimate fantasy: women reading about men having sex with… other men.

Say wha?

Susie Bright, in her excellent book THE SEXUAL STATE OF THE UNION, makes the point that she believes one of the next taboos to be broken is anal sex. I would add to that, that I think the next taboo in heterosexual ladies' erotic literature to be broken is male/male romance. It startles me that there are so many women reading and writing it, and that the target audience of this literature is not, in fact, gay men - but women.

I'm certainly not a sociologist, and I'm sure there are gay men that read literature written by women about gay men. I'd love to have a gay man or men read my stories and tell me if I got it “right.” But my coauthor and I write for other women, at least in terms of who our idealized idea of our reader is in our heads. Remember Victorian novels that would address “Dear Reader”? When we do that, we imagine a woman reading our stories, following our characters, and watching their trials and tribulations.

What’s interesting about writing male characters is getting the reactions “male”. It’s tricky to create a character that doesn’t read as female with a male name. For example, if we have a character that likes to talk about his feelings, is concerned about his looks, and cries at the drop of the hat, then chances are he’s not a believable guy. But guys aren’t all football-watching, beer-guzzling tractor drivers with ten gallon hats, either. Or at least not the ones that romance readers want to see portrayed. So how to figure out the middle ground?

For us, it starts with trying to get a feel for the person that is our character. We use a lot of graphic images when we’re writing, “casting” our characters as though we were working on a movie. We use Pandora online radio to create stations of music that fit our characters, and write character sheets that pull together the information and vital statistics about them. We try to make them as real to us as possible, so that we can get a feel for how they would react in a given situation. For example, if you work for months with a person, you tend to get a pretty good idea of how they’ll react when the copier runs out of paper, when the bathroom is out of order, and when the company schedules a picnic.

Getting gritty and remembering to throw in some cussing as well as having the characters not talking about issues and ignoring them instead, was a change. There’s nothing like a grunt or well placed “Fuck!” to get a point across in dialog. On the practical side of writing, especially when it comes to sex scenes, it is important to keep the “who is doing what to whom” straight as too many “he’s” can lose the flow and make the reader say “Huh?” But writing the naughty sex scene is the icing on the cake of male-male romance. There’s nothing like a quick and dirty blow job in an alley that most female characters would go “No way, Jose” to.

It was fun writing BURNING BRIGHT, because we got to play around with different kinds of people: military guys dealing with becoming shapeshifters, contrasting with a well-educated doctor and the son of a privileged family who grew up sheltered and cherished. All of these elements contributed to the behavior of our characters and, we hope, made the story that much more plausible.

A. Catherine Noon is an author and textile artist based in Chicago, Illinois. Rachel Wilder is an author and image consultant in Las Vegas, Nevada. Together, they love to write stories and create worlds for readers to explore and enjoy. To learn more about them, please visit their website.


daydrmzzz said...

That is one HOT cover and thanks for introducing me to another new author :) xoxo

Meg Benjamin said...

Hey ladies, welcome to the Naughty Nine! Interesting topic and some great insights!

June M. said...

I love a good m/m story, which surprised me when I read my first book dealing with this (it was actually m/m/f). For me, I love men, so you get two (or more)hot guys together and I love it.

Kelly Jamieson said...

Welcome to the Naughty Nine, Catherine and Rachel!! I'm also fascinated by this trend and share your writing concerns. The first M/M/F I wrote I was concerned about those things too and I will definitely admit I was writing to a female audience. As June says, I love me and two hot guys together is, well...hot!

Kelly Jamieson said...

That should have said, I love MEN, not me, MEN. Argh

A. Catherine Noon said...

Hi, Daydrmzzz! Thanks for the compliment! The cover folks at Samhain rock; we were really pleased with what they came up with. I'm glad you like it too!

Thanks, Meg, and thanks for the opportunity! We are grateful to you for allowing us to share our love of writing with your readers.

Hi, June! I know what you mean. It surprised me too when I found myself reacting to a good m/m sex scene. I had assumed I wouldn't find it as erotic, since it wasn't about my body-type. But it didn't matter, and it had an added element of fantasy - always lovely when reading erotic literature! :)

Thanks for the welcome, Kelly! We're sure glad to have been included. LOL. I know what you meant by "men" and not "me" but the funny thing is, it read fine either way! ~grin~

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!