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:~: Friday, September 21, 2007 :~:

It's All Nick's Fault

If I tell you what kind of reading glom I've been on lately, you'll never believe me.

M/M romance.

I'm blaming it on the Nick Carraway/Jay Gatsby discussion going on in my classroom constantly (hey, there are serious critics who argue that Nick is gay and secretly in love with Gatsby).

Actually, I picked up a handful of m/m romances from Samhain because a) they were summer short reads and b) I'd read reviews and comments about them (as well as excerpts on the Samhain Cafe loop).

Let me say that Nick Carraway and his unreliable narration and possible suppressed homosexuality aside, I've never read much gay/lesbian romance. (Does D. H. Lawrence's Women In Love count? There was the naked wrestling scene . . .) And I knew that most m/m romance is written by straight women for straight women.

So here's what I found:

1) Good writing is good writing. Doesn't matter if it's straight romance, romantic suspense, gay/lesbian romance . . . if the writer has mastered the craft, the reader is in for a great time.

2) It's really important, if you write men, gay or straight, to make your men sound like . . . men. Really.

3) In regular or gay romance . . . there has to be a strong conflict and a great plot. Sex scenes strung together do not a great read make.

4) Romance is romance. Good writing is good writing. Oh, wait, I already said that, didn't I? But it's true. Don't believe me? Go read KA Mitchell's Custom Ride. Her prose is to-die-for and the romance she crafts between the two male leads is incredible. She has all of the above -- 1, 2, and 3.

What about you? Are you a reader of gay romance? Or is outside your comfort zone?



Blogger K.A. said...

Thank you so much for recommending "Custom Ride." It's especially great to hear praise for my prose coming from a fellow writer.

M/m romance and erotica written for women is a fairly new discovery for me. I just thought I had weird tastes. Who knew my secret passion was marketable?

There must be something in the water. In my tenth grade English class, my students tried to tell me that Rainsford had the hots for General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game." After reading a little farther and discovering that Zaroff plans to hunt Rainsford, one young lady said, "Well, I still think it would have made a better story the other way." You and me both, sugar.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

K.A. --

I loved your story. It was soooo good. I'd read some others in the same genre and halfway through, I was thinking, "Men don't talk like this." And it lowered the threshold of believability for me.

You just sucked me in. :-)

For some reason, I always have kids looking for the possible homosexual bent in stories. Try teaching A Separate Peace -- as soon as we get to the wrestling scene (at least they're not naked as in Women in Love!), the boys are all, "Oh, my God, Ms. Winfree, they're GAY!"

With Gatsby, it's usually a subtle realization and I always have one or two kids write an exploratory paper on the possibility.

And again, thanks for a great read! Custom Ride is on my keeper, er, disk. :-D

5:59 AM  

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