Stary Writing Academy III: Breaking Stereotypes and Creating Your LGBT+ Character
When you decide and plan to write an LGBT+ story, you are trying to accept or have already accepted this group. However, before we start to discuss how to write LBGT+ fiction, please keep the respect for this community. Without this, no one can create an excellent LGBT+ story.
“Love is love” is a slogan that people often rally behind at events like Pride Parades and Queer Proms. The relationships, including romance, between two people in this community, are no different from those between males and females. A story featuring members of the LGBT+ community is not likely to differ from a story featuring a “straight” couple much. Thus, a “not straight” couple is a necessary but not sufficient condition to drive an LBGT+ story. Like all fiction, a genre must be determined, such as romance, fantasy, thriller, suspense, etc.
This article will discuss two aspects of creating LGBT+ fiction, designing characters and avoiding misunderstandings.
Create protagonists in LGBT+ Fiction
The character settings of protagonists are the basis of the whole story to some extent. When it comes to LGBT+ characters, there is a golden rule — design a real character, not just “a lesbian” or “a trans boy.” That means although main characters in LBGT+ fiction might have troubles with their gender identity, they should have personalities and backstories as those of the straight and cis characters have. While designing the protagonists, you need to clear the basics of this character, such as their name, age, appearance, etc., as all writers do as they start to write a story. Furthermore, the character arc will add pace, purpose, and context to the story, as well as to an LGBT+ novel. You need to carefully consider the character’s strengths and weaknesses and map out a development arc.
A writer’s ability to create a successful and sympathetic LGBT+ character depends on how much they know about the community. Before writing the first word, please read from the community and consider what the protagonists’ lives are like? What are their struggles? Which stereotypes do they hate? These clues will assist you in building a real 3D character.
Avoiding Misunderstandings and Stereotypes
There might be a lot of wild ideas that jump into your brain when talking about LBGT+ fiction, but as mentioned before, without respect and understanding about this community, no one can create a real LGBT+ fiction.
Not all gays are story men or sissies. Similarly, short-haired tomboys and long-haired beauties cannot define the whole lesbian group. While writing an LBGT+ novel, writers need to break stereotypes. The world is vast and diverse. There are people with different looks, personalities, and sexual orientations. We should not define a person by identity. A strong man can cry, just like a beautiful young girl can fight. Meanwhile, romantic love can be the main theme of an LGBT+ story but never be the only one. Romance is not the only thing in one’s life, and writers can focus on describing what kind of emotions members of the LGBT+ community will have when they feel fear, have struggles and come out.
At the same time, don’t make the characters look extreme. Success stories and good characters can drive readers to empathize. Characters and plots must be reasonable in order to accomplish this goal, especially if you want to make an overly emotional character. The protagonists’ decisions should stand up to scrutiny, and their motivations need to be reasonable that readers can relate to.
Talking about LBGT+ fiction, there must be a lot of topics and content we can talk about. However, this article only gives an overview of the LBGT+ fictional characters and misunderstandings about writing LGBT+ fiction. Practice is the key to creating a great novel. Exchange of experience with others is essential as well. So don’t forget to listen to the other writers’ experiences in the Stary Writing Academy Facebook group. For more video courses about online writing, please check HERE.