Warning: These 10 Top Tips Will Help You Write Seriously Authentic Lesbian Characters

10 tips for LGBT characters
After my rant last week about the lack of LGBT characters in mainstream fiction, I thought I really ought to make some kind of suggestion as to what the differences are, (and there aren’t many) in order to help writers who want to write LGBT characters but haven’t plucked up the courage yet.

I really did have to rack my brain to find something useful to say because there isn’t much. We are human just like the rest of the world. For those looking for tips on writing gay male characters, I’m not going to be helpful in this post. I’ve stuck to what I know…lesbians. 

Before I start, I wanted to make a couple of points reflecting on the discussion the last post had. Firstly, it’s not just LGBT people who have a distinct lack of a market in the literary world, there are a multitude of minority groups that need adequate representation and don’t. It sucks for all of us, not just LGBT people. Secondly, a lot of people speculated whether it was publishers blocking the publication of LGBT character driven novels. I don’t have the answer to that, but I thought it was an interesting point. Last, I still remain surprised that TV is now at the forefront of progression instead of books – wasn’t there a time when books paved the way for new thought in society? i’m not sure how comfortable I am with TV doing it for us.

1. Language 

There’s this whole language thing to describe yourself – or not describe yourself as the case may be. Some LGBT (and minority) people hate ticking boxes, so they make a point of not identifying, that’s fine. For those that identify as well as saying ‘I’m a lesbian or bisexual’ there’s this entire spectrum of slang words to describe yourself. Take this with the pinch of salt, I don’t want to offend anyone, but this is the way a lot of people I know explain it:

Lesbian Scale of Femininity

A point to note here is: this is a generational thing as much as it is personal preference. I have some friends in their 50’s and 60’s who are feminine but would still view themselves as a dyke – it’s just a word that was used frequently in previous years. That being said, I don’t know many people my age that would refer to themselves as a dyke. It seems to have taken a much more derogatory meaning in current trends. Also, and I hate this, but this scale is a little stereotypical, but I guess stereotypes come from somewhere.

A lipstick lesbian is barely discernible from a straight girly girl – dresses, make up, heels. We’ve all been there and got in trouble for trying to chat up a straight girl thinking they were a lipstick lesbian!… Or is that just me?!

Femmes, are one step down, make up – maybe heels, probably very few or no dresses. Still interested in girly things.

Boi’s are the androgynous bunch. Mixed bag of clothing, little if any make up and a mix of boys and girls clothes, usually sporty.

Butches tend to wear boys clothes, behave a little more masculine and definitely don’t do makeup.

Dykes think stereotype: shave heads, flannel shirts, very masculine – unless they are older lesbians in which case it’s just a word much as I would use lesbian.

Another point to note is about the dating of language in a novel. If you are looking for current lingo for your story this is it. But be warned just like ‘dyke’ has gone in, out and back into fashion again I am sure the other words will too. Lesbian is probably the safest word to stick too.

2. Clothes 

In pretty woman Vivian wakes up all glam and slings Edward’s shirt on. Great, but as a lesbian, if you’re not too different size wise, you can actually steal all of each other’s clothes. This is a ‘thing’ some lesbians love it (see merging below) others hate it (me and the wife do NOT share clothes!)

3. Merging

Merging starts with the clothes, slowly but surely you end up dressing the same, matching jumpers, or converse, then all of a sudden you have the same haircut, and before you know it, you look, sound and think the same. All a bit dangerous as most couples end up imploding on each other in a messy break up like no other you have seen.

4. and 5. U-Hauling, Lesbian Bed Death and Gold Stars

U-hauling – when you start dating and then shortly after the first sleep over, your new partner basically never leaves. You move from being fuck buddies to living together with 3 cats in as many weeks. It happens a lot. It’s linked to merging, and always leads to lesbian bed death.

Which literally does what it says on the tin. You become so wrapped up in your comfortable ‘relationship spread’ you stop being sexual beings and ultimately stop schtupping each other.

A gold star is a woman who has only ever slept with other women, and a term used quite a lot in general conversation.

6. Be ‘in the know’ about Media

I just moaned about books, but I could moan even louder about films and TV. Although, there is an emergence of odd characters here and there in soap etc, there isn’t really an entire genre out there to keep you going much longer than a few days.

That being said, Netflix goes above and beyond to pull a rather healthy sized portion of LGBT films. But anyone whose anyone knows there are only a handful of lesbian tv series to talk about, and trust me, they do get talked about: L-Word is the most famous, a 5 season saga following a group of lesbians in LA if you are a lesbian and haven’t watched it… tut, shame on you. I don’t think I know a single one who hasn’t seen it!

Lip Service – the English, or should I say Scottish version of the same kind of thing that only had 2 seasons. And the three recent prison series – Bad Girls, Wentworth, and Orange is The New Black.

By way of magazines I am sure there are more, but the two lesbian ones that spring to mind in the UK are Diva, and G3. GT for the boys.

7. Pride

We are special. We get a whole festival dedicated to celebrating girl on girl action, or boy on boy or…and so on.

If you’re young, then pride is non negotiable, it’s a full-blown meat fest of shenanigans and willing victims all vying for their next shag. Of course, what I meant to say was, it’s a well established tradition to celebrate the political battles so many had when fighting for our rights… It is, obviously, but if you’re young… Erm. Yeah. Moving on.

There are even week-long pride events in places like Gran Canaria… definitely been there twice! didn’t sleep a wink for 7 days!

8. Babies

As far as I am aware, science hasn’t yet, been able to make a baby with just sperm, or just an egg. Although I have been hearing about this successes with three parent babies, for those who have mitochondrial diseases. But for LGBT people this is the major area you come a cropper.

8.a. Fertility treatment if you go through a clinic is MEGA bucks. Like THOUSANDS. I hear the average couple spends 25K on getting pregnant…

8.b. If you’re a lesbian its a shit load easier to get pregnant than if you’re a gay guy. Girls have an oven handy, all they need is the *ahem* *shudders*. That is one heck of a shopping trip – and yes, it is just like a catalogue!

8.c. Access to fertility treatment (in the UK) is unfortunately postcode lottery. It’s unfair, unjust and quite frankly disgusting. God forbid you’re a lesbian with actual fertility problems. No support, no support groups, no professional unless in a fertility clinic can answer your questions. Leading to frantic googling which often results in discovering you have toenail warts or something else equally ridiculous.

8.d. Your not always welcome in mummy groups either (I got ousted out of two). Don’t get me wrong, I am sure some are fine. But not always. It’s lonely being a mum on maternity leave. But it’s even lonelier as a lesbian mum.

I do - Lesbian9. The Questions 

For some reason, people think because my spouse has a vagina instead of a penis, that they can just ask whatever they like. Let me give you a list of questions I have been asked recently:

“How did you… you know… choose?”  Choose what? dinner? who was putting the washing on? OHH you mean who was going to get pregnant. Each to their own. The answers different for every couple, but 9 times out of 10 its bloody obvious to us, it’s just not obvious to you!

“So who’s the dad?” I try very VERY hard not to whip out my angry lesbian and smash whoever said it over the head. Instead, I smile sweetly and correct their grotesque language “actually he doesn’t have a dad, he has a donor.”

“Oh, so do you know the da…donor then?” Not that it’s any of your business but no, we don’t. We have a file of information, and before you ask, (which they always do) no he can’t contact him when he’s  18, that’s UK donors only. It’s a difficult personal decision, and believe you me, there are as many ways of getting pregnant in a lesbian relationship as there are hot meals in a year, and each one is a personal choice to that couple and results in a different type of relationship with the: donor, donor daddy, daddy, co-parent.

“Sooooooo….What does he call you?” UGH. You know, children actually have a habit of making their own choices. Most lesbians I know get called mummy and mama, but our boy decided to call me a variety of things from mum-mum, mum and mummy but the wife is most definitely mama. *shrugs* – kids.

“So how did you get pregnant?” I’m sorry, I don’t recall asking you what position you bonked your wife in the night you got her up the duff… what was it? Cow girl? doggie? or just plain old vanilla missionary? How the chuff do you think I got pregnant? I used some sperm, and no. It wasn’t with a turkey baster before you ask!

“So how do you have sex?” Omg. really? Stop doing that scissor motion with your fingers. STOP IT. It’s cringe worthy. You know, you could use your imagination! If you can’t then don’t ask me unless you’re researching it for a book (I’ll help then), otherwise I want to know the intricate details of your sex life.

10. One of You Game

There’s this game, a lot of lesbians plays it, although it comes under many a different name. But, essentially, you lesbian spot – it happened in a lift the other day. The wife and I absent-mindedly entered a lift behind another couple with a pram. It wasn’t till I looked up, noticed the hair, general stature, and distinctly butch physique of one of the couple that I realised – they were one of us. My eyes shot to the wife to see if she’d noticed. The piercing glare she fired back told me she had. It was now a race. A battle to see who would break first. Who would be first to nudge the other in a child like way and whisper without getting caught ‘that’s one of you’.

10. The Serious Side

It’s a sad fact that there is still some inherent inequality in the UK. Although the government has made progress and passed a same-sex marriage bill, if you think it’s provided equality, you are sadly mistaken. Did you know, I can’t divorce my wife on the grounds of adultery? Yeah, outrageous isn’t it?

But it’s not just the government. People still shout at you in the streets – some kid did it in my town over the summer, “err that’s a lesbian,” he bellowed as I raised an eyebrow and ushered my son away from the ignoramus. My wife had a knife held to her throat when she was at uni. Bigotry and homophobia is still rife, and the thing is, if your normal, then you’re unlikely to see it. To feel the constant pressure from being different, from having to decide whether you can be open or whether you need to hide yourself from the next colleague you’re being introduced to. I’m not saying if you write an LGBT character you need to go all feminist bra burning political. I’m just saying that actually, your characters facing the odd snipe, or dirty look, sadly, is realistic.

The darker side to this, is the wealth of statistics and information about mental illness, drugs and ill health. I’ve rambled for long enough, so I don’t need to add them all in here, besides, book research is healthy. But I know for a fact that suicide and depression is rife amongst LGBT people. Some statistics suggest drugs and smoking is too, especially with younger LGBT people and equally poorer health outcomes too.

Stonewall has a great starter for ten in these three booklets, being gay in Britain, being gay in school, and LGBT families.

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Have you ever written about an LGBT character? Would you? If not why not? If you’re a lesbian what did I miss? What great little details could a writer add to their stories to give them depth?

69 comments

  1. Reblogged this on Barrow Blogs: and commented:
    I’ve written gay characters into all my books – not because they are gay but because they are interesting characters, much as, I hope, the rest of my characters are. They are rounded characters living normal lives who just happen to love the person they love. And this is a brilliant post, Sacha – interesting and informative. As an author – thank you.J

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Clare 😊 and thank you for reading. It’s bad isn’t it? I used to get surprised by the questions, sadly now I expect them. I think people just don’t think before they speak. Glad you liked the post 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think you’re right – though it’s bizarre how if there’s anything about your life that deviates from the “standard” straight/married/kids path people think they have a right to quiz you on anything! Thanks for the post – will be reading more!

        Liked by 3 people

  2. A lesbian character actually sounds like quite the interesting person to write about because of all the conflict situations she could find herself in. As they say conflict is the thing that gets your reader interested.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Although I am so glad that the sense for equality finally grows and grows faster, I never thought that deep into the matter. It is not only very interesting to get so much more insights but also very important in my eyes. You seem like an ambassador to bring the messages out and to spread awareness about the daily life of LGBTs in general. Thank you, Sacha!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Me too Erika, thank you for the compliment – don’t think I consciously meant to be an ambassador but that’s such a lovely thing to say – I don’t often talk about LGBT issues, so I am grateful for your lovely words.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am sure you don’t see yourself like that. But I totally mean it, Sacha. It is important to spread awareness and bring “this world” closer to those not used to it! Have a great day, Sacha 😊

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  4. Your point about merging really made me smile, Sacha, as this happens with heterosexual couples too – you must have seen the matching anoraks! My husband and I have been mistaken for brother and sister and have occasionally bought identical utilitarian clothing, then have to remember not to wear them at the same time. I’m sure, if you’re that way inclined, it’s even more difficult to avoid with a same-sex couple.
    Interesting as well what you say about film/TV leading the way – that certainly seems to be the case with transgender characters, but I’m doing my bit to change that! Don’t know if you saw this post I wrote about writing about diverse characters from the outside:
    http://www.wordswithjam.co.uk/2015/09/writing-about-diversity-from-outside-in.html
    I think it’s important for all of us to try to reflect diversity, but people can rightly be anxious about perpetuating stereotypes. My next novel features lesbian couple as secondary characters, mostly because that fits the story.
    I’m off to the LGBT forum of the mental health trust where I used to work next week to talk about my novel – how cool is that?
    It’s really helpful that you highlight these issues, Sacha. Must go back to your previous post and check it out.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha that’s hilarious! I love that you guys do it too!

      I know you are doing your bit and I love that you are. I can’t wait to read your book <3. I will hop along and read that post too.

      I agree that people are anxious about writing diverse topics – it is so important to get them right when you do and i guess that invokes fear and puts people off.

      That's so cool you have access to such perfect groups to research for your novel. I must make more effort to get out and research more. sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was thinking a bit more about the subcategories of different types of lesbians, most of which I had come across, but I’m nevertheless not so comfortable in using. But then I wondered why this should apply only to gay women, when heterosexual women also have choices about how far to comply with or subvert stereotypes of femininity. Maybe we need to claim these too!

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  5. Really interesting post, Sacha. I didn’t know you couldn’t divorce you wife on the grounds of adultery. I don’t understand the thinking on that one. I’ve never written about an LGBT character, probably because of the concern of it not sounding authentic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mary – Yes there are actually 6 points of legality which remain unequal in the British Same Sex marriage bill – I can’t remember them off the top of my head, but I know I read a few articles about it back when it was a hot topic. Sad really.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oddly, the civil partnership gave more legal rights to gay couple than to heterosexual couples.
        I sent your blog to my son, who is gay, suggesting he come up with 10 points for writing authentic gay characters but he says he doesn’t read enough gay literature – possibly because it’s not there either?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I would guess a similar lack. But you know I haven’t read much LGBT fiction either. I feel it’s less about ‘writing’ LGBT character than it is about creating authentic people. That’s the thing. Love is love, the same tingles, the same need for cuddles, the same fear of losing someone when you love them. Doing that for LGBT characters is exactly the same its just a swap of pronoun.

        Ok so maybe I wrote things that are specific to lesbians but it’s just silly quirks. I am certain there are quirks for straight people. I can think of a few for gay men, but not with enough depth to write a post. I’d be honoured to feature him if he did think of 10 things. Maybe I could help him plot something out?

        Is he interested in writing?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. There’s isn’t a reply button beneath your last reply so this is out of sequence. I’ll let him know if he gets round to the ten points he shoudl send them to you. I think he might become interested in writing but at the momen he’s a med student so doesn’t have a lot of time for other things. At least he’s a reader. Thanks for offering to help him – that will make him feel very chuffed.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thank you for the tips.

        As BTW, I’m not a lawyer, but I suspect that in time no one will be divorcing for adultery – because it’s way more complicated than using ‘unreasonable behaviour’ as grounds. For adultery you have to be able to prove penetrative sex with a member of the opposite sex took place (or that you have reasonable grounds to assume it did) – but you can get a divorce for unreasonable behaviour for general unfaithfulness.

        Heterosexual couples can’t use adultery as grounds when the unfaithfulness is with a same sex partner/s either (probably because men don’t want their heterosexuality called into question when they spend more time with their bros than their wife – okay joking in part, but divorce for adultery has tended to favour men for most of its history).

        You also can’t use adultery if you’re the one wants to run off with a new lover. So it’s only really usable if you want out of a marriage and your other half either agrees to be the ‘bad guy’ or has carelessly provided evidence convincing to a judge — and if they don’t agree you might as well use ‘unreasonable behaviour’ because there’s not that much revenge to be had these days from labelling your ex an adulterer and the risk of drawing out the legalities is of throwing good money at a dead relationship.

        Let’s face it, the laws on marriage and divorce are a bit of a hand-me-down of attempts to make marriages hard to dissolve and could do with some reform. Hopefully, now same-sex marriage has been achieved, the next step will be to get shorter waiting periods for no-fault divorces (where both partners agree to one) but throwing that in with getting same-sex marriage agreed on might have risked giving opponents the chance to say that heterosexual divorce was being made easier….

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      5. Hi Thank you for such a lovely long comment, I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I see your point about divorcing each other and not for adultery, however, if you don’t attribute blame in a divorce, then it takes a considerable amount more time to proceed through the divorce process. My friend is trying to end her civil partnership and because there was no blame attributable it caused a number of problems including a two year time delay. *but I am also not a lawyer and don’t fully understand the mechanics.

        I didn’t know that heterosexuals couldn’t divorce on the ground of adultery with a same sex partner – that is very good to know, thank you – learn something every day! I don’t think divorce is the only thing that has favoured men in history! haven’t most things!

        Thank again for your comment its lovely to meet you and apologies it took me so long to reply.

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  6. I can’t BELIEVE how crass some folks are asking questions like that, no matter WHAT your partnership choice is.
    As far as I’m concerned, you’re a talented writer/blogger and friend and that’s all I need to know – the rest is your own business.
    😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know right?! It’s so irritating. I sort of go through a cycle of being able to laugh to feeling annoyed to being irate over it again.

      And thank you for your lovely words – you are my favourite ape, and a lovely blogging friend ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Yvonne.

      My guess is still yes these things are common across English speaking countries – but I know your friend disagrees. I think, and I mean this politely. It probably depends on the audience you are writing for. My default audience is YA. I am still just about in this category myself. So perhaps it is less about location and more about audience age range? I am not sure I know many older lesbians that would refer to themselves as a lipstick lesbian. I wish i’d written that in the post – I just didn’t think about it at the time.

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  7. Well what a really informative and fascinating post. The intrusive questioning surprises me (and then doesn’t) because I guess we all think the questions but I hope most of self censor actually asking them. In a small way pregnancy does this as well – as soon as her bump appeared my wife’s torso was public property to be patted and touched without asking. I have written gay male characters, in my latest wip being edited just now two elderly gay men are central. I may risk stereotyping but mostly it’s using the stresses coming out has on them because they lived for so long in the shadows of illegality – we’ll see if it works. Really I think I will write a lesbian character soon – I like the challenge and really it’s just upping the scale of writing a woman. TV as the best outlet. I think I’d argue that that’s been the case since the 1960s and especially before 1990 when the number of channels diluted the impact. My dissertation for my MA was on homelessness as portrayed on TV; Cathy Come Home (1967) changed society, it changed laws, it created a momentum that is still moving. If youve not seen it it is still a hugely powerful film. Up the Junction ditto for single mothers (1965 I think). Quentin Crisp (the Naked Civil Servant) for gay men; arguably the TV adaptation of Oranges are not the Only Fruit for lesbians. Or the Brookside lesbian kiss. You’re too young to remember the ridiculous outcry this caused for being before the watershed! I know the same might be said for Black and ethnic minorities just can’t think which might be as iconic as these. These are all plays, they all have tremendous stories and the leads are real people. When there were only 3 or 4 channels they had a wider reach than any other media. so the impact reached into rooms which, before, could easily ignore them because of an ingrained bigotry. Maybe that still spills over to today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Geoffle, I agree. I hated that when I was pregnant too. You know, when I think about it, it’s less that the questions are being asked, and more HOW they are being asked. I know that it is our duty to educate and ensure that people can feel free to ask things. I guess my irk is more that the way in which they do it is SO inconsiderate, you know?

      I had no idea you had two gay characters in your WIP – which one is this? I agree though – I think writing gay people is basically akin to writing straight people. At the end of the day love is love. No matter who you love you still get the same butterflies, the silly games you play together, the fear of losing them when you are so head over heels. Its the same, writing good quality LGBT characters is actually only about writing good quality people. The intricacies and quirks of the characters are just a little different.

      I do recall the brookside kiss actually. Although the details elude me – I don’t know when it was so maybe I heard about it afterwards. But I take your point. For me, literature seems to be slowing down though at the same time as TV is speeding up – just feels like its hit accelerate.

      Will be fascinated to read your lesbian character… now that would be a challenge for sure. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow. I had no idea that the equality bill didn’t include, er equality.

    This post is quite helpful to me as well because I would very much like to add more diversity in my writing, but I am always nervous that I will offend by portraying the character as a stereotype or a token character. It couldn’t be further from my intent, but it is nonetheless a crippling writing fear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup. The worst bit is, there are 6 legal points that make it unequal, can’t remember them all off the top of my head, but I know I read about it when it was going through – and i was LIVID!

      Ah, I think this is quite a common fear for people, but the thing is, if you write a genuine character as a person, the sexuality thing automatically becomes genuine. Love is love. The butterflies are the same, the fear of losing them is the same, the romance, all the same. the only difference is the squidgy bits and bedroom antics, and thats easily resolved by asking people on a research basis 😀

      you should totally do it 😀 😀 😀

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  9. What a fantastic post, Sacha, and very timely (I think it might have cut our still-to-happen conversation down by a fair few minutes)! In a way, while shocked at how intrusive the questions are – and I totally sympathise with the fact that these won’t have been asked once but many, many times – at the same time I feel it’s a reflection that society has moved on in that people are interested to find out, rather than automatically judging against perceived societal norms. This doesn’t excuse them, of course. I remember once taking my son to have a check up at the local health centre and how I felt when the nurse asked “I take it you’re the father?” And that was just the once!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dylan – I did actually think of you a little when I wrote this – you know I’m happy to chat for however long you need 😀

      and YUP so so so many times. For a while I did consider throwing a variety of ridiculous responses back – but I stayed polite each time. Shame. I wish I’d asked equally stupid questions back!

      I do agree though – in part, that society has moved on and are interested in finding out. I just think they could be a bit more tactful – and you know, ask if I mind them questioning the inner details of my relationship first!

      WHAT? Genuinely cannot believe you were asked that, who on earth else would you have been?!

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  10. I find your post incredibly timely, Sacha. I’m writing an urban fantasy where the new ‘good buddy’ to a girl with leucism (similar to albinism) happens to casually try picking her up – using a line in a bar. I don’t really explore much of what the ‘good buddy’ goes through in book one, but I’m wondering what kind of signals might be there for thinking a straight girl might be a lipstick? I could definitely weave that in 😉 Otherwise, by the end the straight girl winds up renting a room from her lesbian friend (not a gold star by the way, but definitely prefers women now that she’s knows).

    You’ve given me a lot to think about as I move forward with the plotting for book two. Thanks for sharing 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much 🙂

      Ha!! I love that, sounds like an awesome plot line.

      Hmm… that’s a good question. Well, I would say, ‘trendy’ straight girls, so often lesbians don’t know whether I am a trendy straight girl, with shaved hair, or a lipstick lesbian. Take ellie goulding for example – its a bit stereotypical as an example, but a pretty straight girl with some quirk, like shaved hair always makes you stop and think. That or a straight girl loads of make up, but not wearing a dress when the rest of her group is. There’s a kind of look too – I’m guessing much the same as boy girl – the whole glance- glance back – catch each others eye but i guess everyone mis interprets those looks some times. Especially when a girl might look a little bit gay (like I mentioned above) and she touches her friend – slings an arm over, or is a tactile with lots of friends or whatever – totally innocently on her behalf but if you’re a lesbian who’s interested and your already not sure whether she’s straight, its immediately going to send you the wrong way

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  11. There’s some really interesting stuff there, Sacha. Can’t promise it will lead to a sudden splurge of LGBT characters appearing in my stories (to be fair, I’ve got a back-catalogue of at least 12 novels that needs writing, and they’re all pretty much mapped out), but you never know. And at least I’ll know who to turn to if I need any guidance – you might live to regret this!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Well I’m not so much surprised at the stupid insensitive ignorant questions people ask (I’ve come across a fair few of them myself pertaining to Carys, of course), as the fact that there are so many labels for different ‘types’ of lesbians… I never knew!

    I have never written a gay or lesbian character simply because I have no experience of it, and it just hasn’t cropped up as part of my story. Writing someone from a minority group into a story simply to show diversity would not work; to be authentic, it has to fit with the story.

    I too would feel that I might risk offending by my portrayal due to lack of experience, but that is what research is for, isn’t it? To make sure you get it right. At the end of the day, people can be offended by whatever you write… or don’t write, if they want to be, that’s what happens when you put yourself in the public domain.

    Could make an interesting writespiration…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sure you do get a lot of questions, and I guess like me its not the fact people are asking, but how they ask that annoys you? Well it does me anyway.

      Haha, you think there are a lot of lesbian names – I didn’t even mention the plethora of gay ones!!!

      I agree – a minority character does have to fit. And i agree even more about it potentially offending people. I mean has any author ever in the history of writing got away without being criticised… i highly doubt it!!

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  13. This post was Wow! You see, last time you were doing the asking about why there weren’t many LGBT books around, and you were wishing you had it in you to write one. Well, now you’ve written an amazing short on character traits and you’re ammoed up to write a book. This was a fascinating education Sach!!! And of course, I did enjoy the entertainment parts too. ❤ Off to share! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hehe, that’s the problem though – I have all the ammo I need but no bloody character jumping in my head. SO annoying. I know she’s in there. I just have to keep digging! Thank you so much for all the kind shares 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Great post! Very helpful for writers who would like to see more diversity on the book shelves! Thought I’d dovetail on the comment about why not so many books are written with LGBT characters/protagonists. As you mention, I think the same goes for any good story that doesn’t overtly feature a “minority” character/protagonist.

    As a new writer, one of the pieces of advice I have received time and again is to identify the genre of my work before I go all-in, then shortly thereafter, I’ll be told that books with [enter “minority” group here] don’t move off the shelves. So what happens, the writer has to decide: Do I try to make a living by conforming, or risk my otherwise “mainstream” story/thriller being relegated to the [enter minority group here] section of the bookstore. 🙂

    Anyway, I am also RTing this one! Some excellent tips. If you’re game I would love to interview you one of these days… Keep up the stellar work on your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I KNOW, RIGHT??? So annoying, so where do we stand? I don’t know the answer. I guess its a head/heart decision. But i suspect writing anything that your heart isn’t in 100% will lead to lower quality stories. So then I guess we write the minorities if thats what comes to us, and we fight to have our books in the mainstream……… I hope. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t either. I think if the protagonists are black or gay or vampire, or whatever, their actions/ behaviors/ responses to stimuli are influenced by those traits, but they aren’t defined by them. What I mean to say is those traits on their own, do not make your story. Of course, as your blog post does say, if those traits for your characters are conveyed realistically, your stories’ characters become believable, “human”, lovable and interesting for your readers. So (as you say) if your character comes to you as a minority, then it must be so for you to write the highest-quality story you can write. Then, go for it! 🙂

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  15. Well this was certainly an ‘eye-opener’ post for me. First of all I have to congratulate you on how well it was written, Sacha.

    I remember a lot of ‘awkward’ questions being asked when I inform people that I am gay. Does not happen as much these days, but the days of “Are you Arthur or Martha?” are still very much remembered.

    I’ve also shocked myself as, after I read your post, I started writing down the names of gay characters I have written in my stories. Other than one bisexual guy (although the story never really stated he was bisexual) I’ve not be able to think of one! All my characters, so far, have been straight men and women. I even tried an attempt at writing some straight erotica, which I’m going to republish on my blog soon. Not sure it worked from the comments I got but I’m going to give it another try.

    My challenge is to now write some short stories that include gay and lesbians.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting, I will be fascinated to see those stories you wrote. It’s crazy isn’t it? I’ve never written a story with an LGBT character either, its an outrage really. I don’t understand why.

      Yes that is your challenge – especially given our March challenge deadline is looming….

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I only just realised when I read this that the male characters I write are straight (yet don’t actually get any action), and the female characters I write are asexual. I just don’t write about relationships. I’m generally not in one (except now but without being negative nothing’s permanent) so my characters aren’t either. That’s quite sad really. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This is really comprehensive. Thanks.

    My WIP has two LGBT characters – both women – one is bisexual and the other pansexual. Your posts have definitely inspired me to keep exploring this.There was a time I was thinking of cutting all this out and just leaving straight relations, but that would be boring and eliminate some complications and conflict.

    The situation for LGBT people is scary here in Poland. As far as I know, there are no protection laws. It’s like the dark ages here. The words lesbian and gay are used as derogatory words. I don’t really know many LGBT people here, whereas in the US I had many LGBT friends. Not that there aren’t any, but I suspect most are scared to be obvious. I try to wear lots of rainbow colored things out of protest.

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  18. My main female character, Rio spencer, in my novel I’m working on is technically Bi, although she considers herself a lesbian. She ends her first, and only male sexual encounter with “F-k, I just lost my Gold Star.”

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      1. It’s urban fantasy werewolf fiction. Rio and her best friend, Isaac, are both werewolves, and not the nice kind. They’re sarcastic, moody, broody, and violent as hell when the need arises. It’s kind of hard to explain at this point because I recently decided the entire first half of the first draft needed to be the last part of the story instead of the beginning. So, basically it follows their lives through their first horrible shift, and all of the heartache and bullshit they have to endure from age 16 through their early 30’s. Lots of drama and violence, a little sex and a little bit of tragic romance.

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      2. Sounds like the kind of thing I’d like to read 😀 Ahhhhh I feel your pain. I have to rewrite huge chunks of mine too. It’s long and slow. but was definitely the right decision, it’s looking at lot better already 😀 good luck I wish you the best with it. 😀

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  19. i just want to say that using “gold star” is really problematic. it excludes lesbians with a history of trauma and those who feel compulsory heterosexuality to the point they sleep with men. i know its not always meant to be harmful but i’ve seen it used to purposely exclude lesbians from the community in very hateful ways. i just don’t like to see the term encouraged to be used.

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    1. I think it’s different for different groups of people. I can completely understand why some who have experienced such traumatic events might find it a difficult word, but it is a mainstream word used commonly in many circles. I personally haven’t ever heard it used in a derogatory way or to purposefully exclude people. Personally I find that abhorrent.

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