Thursday, December 1, 2011

Is MM More Mainstream or Are We More Tolerant?

I wasn't sure what to write about this week, but this crossed my mind. Why? I'm seeing a lot more MM becoming more mainstream. That's awesome.

But I wondered if it was that the gay culture is more mainstream or is it that we as a people are more tolerant?

I was watching American Horror Story and love the gay couple subplot. It's great and it shows the characters (IMHO) in a natural light. Yes, they fight. Yes, they get silly, but you feel the fading love they had for each other. Plus it's kinda fun to watch them spar.

Now this isn't the only gay show on tv. Sheesh. Far from it. Logo is all about LBGT. That's fantastic. There's the A-List NY and Dallas, both of which crack me up because those manly men (and this is meant in all love and respect) are so girly sometimes it's hilarious.

There are the designers on Project Runway and the characters that crop up on prime time.

This also translates into books. MM is really, REALLY big right now. I'm glad. I love those stories. Its a romance and men are doing hinky things, I'm there.

Now I wonder, and feel free to chime in on this, is it that we are more tolerant and accepting of everyone or is it a bit of market chasing? Okay, so people tune in when there are gay couples. That's fine. They buy MM books because they want to broaden their spectrum. Fabulous. Now we see the statistics for books and flix with MM in them. The numbers can be staggering. People want their gay men. But when is the story/show less about the characters and more about the titillation?

There are a lot of authors out there who write quality MM work. They tackle tough LBGT issues and really make a statement. There are those who can write MM angst like no one's business.

Then there are those stories where it sure seems like Johnny was originally June and made a Johnny because the story would sell better.

There's lots of authors who are strictly or mainly MM writers. But there's a lot more wandering over. They are dabbling. Is this because they truly want to write MM or because they are, and I hate this phrase, market chasing? I had a friend who generally writes sensual romance. This person doesn't read or write erotic. When this person heard there is gold in them thar LBGT hills, the decision was made to write MM. Is this reason enough?

How do we stop this chasing and how do we ensure that the reader is getting quality work? I can tell you from personal experience, just because there are two men rather than a man and a woman, doesn't make it easier to sell the book to a house. It's not. In fact, lots of places who publish a lot of LBGT are really HARD to get into.

I'm glad.

What are your thoughts? Is it because it's more mainstream? Because we're more accepting? Or something else?


Sara York said...

I write M/M because I love the freedom to delve into the emotional issues. WIth M/F it seems too trite. I've always written men better. I like writing men. Even in my M/F books I feel closer to the male characters.

Yes, some of the books are chicks with dicks. I try not to have the guys get too mushy but still show their angst and emotions.

I've been chastised by reviewers on Working It Out that my story was too realistic with the gay experience and not enough fun. I take that as a compliment because I want to get into a gay guys head and get that down on paper to show the true emotions.

We are as a society more tolerant, but there are still areas where tolerance is not an option. I love my gay friends and hope that my writing M/M romance gives them an option to read a book with characters they can connect with and stories they love because it shows how good it can be when two gay guys get together.

Hmm, I just meant to leave a few words not a full post. Thanks for posting about this.

Michael said...

I believe society is only a bit more tolerant as well but I don't write m/m because I'm trying to make a buck. I write it because I enjoy it.

I love writing about men in love and maybe some wouldn't enjoy my characters because I like my men emotional, not girly but just free to show inner most feelings. I hate stereotypes whether they be the "macho" male or the femme gay guy.

All my characters are based on men I knew or know now and mixed them in with a bit of me. I love men more and enjoy writing them more than a female.

Good post!

SLira aka Michael Mandrake/BLMorticia

Megan Slayer said...

Thanks Michael and Sara. I got into writing MM because Kealie and I are fag hags and proud of it. It's like we draw them out. And I love all my gay friends. I never wanted to write MM to make a buck. I did it because I wanted to write stories about guys who were like my friends. Absolutely

The Romanceaholic said...

I like to read M/M because there are different issues that same sex couples face in relationships than their "straight" counterparts do, and I enjoy reading about them. It also doesn't hurt that the mental image of two hot guys doing naughty things together is completely nummy *waggles brows*

But I agree, there are DEFINITELY some books out there where it seems that one of the heroes is only a male because the author thought they had a better chance selling to a niche audience than that of traditional romance.

I think just like any subgenre of romance, a reader can usually tell if it's the author's specialty and whether or not they're knowledgeable and comfortable with their medium.

But, to answer the original question, I think the two are actually the same -- it's more "mainstream" because we're a little more tolerant.

Even so, I have a few reader friends locally who actually had no clue there was an entire market for LGBT romance. NO CLUE. They thought it was a book here and a book there, and that they solely marketed to men. (It was hard not to laugh when they told me that) So I still think it's not quite "mainstream", at least not in some areas of the country.

ella jade said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing.

I have my first m/m releasing in a few weeks. I almost didn't attempt it because I didn't think I could pull it off. As a writer, I want to create believable, well written stories with memorable characters. I was afraid I didn't know enough about the inner workings of a m/m relationship and to your point, I didn't want to make one character male just because. Once I got out of my own way, I realized the focus shouldn't be that the two main characters were both men, but more that they were a couple, falling in love.

The more I developed the plot, the more I fell in love with my couple and their story. They are by far my most favorite creation to date. I wanted it to be about the emotional connection. That's what I look for when I'm reading a m/m or any genre really. I want to connect with the characters and remember them long after I read the last page.

So for me, I'm not in it because it may be a hot genre right now. I did it because I believed in my characters and really wanted to share them.


Lydia Nyx said...

No matter WHAT the genre, you're going to have some authors writing serious, thought-provoking stuff, and other authors writing fluff. That's because there's all types of readers. There are readers who want serious issues addressed and there are readers who want sexy happy fun times because they come to books to escape. If you look at M/F romances it's the same thing--sometimes the heroines are deep and complex and sometimes it's still an old-fashioned bodice ripper with a wilting damsel in distress being carried off into the sunset. And that's okay, because there are readers who want both--and that's okay too.

That being said, I've never written m/m because of it being trendy (most of my life it has adamantly NOT been) or to get rich (because I certainly haven't had my bags of gold delivered yet). I write it because it's what I enjoy, and at the risk of sounding kitchsy, it's what I have a great passion for. I love that there's gay characters in TV shows and movies, but I think that's a different thing than in books. Gay rights are the huge issue of our time and gay people are finally becoming more visible and having their voices heard. That translates into it no longer being shocking or token to have a gay character on a show. Books I think are a whole different beast: there's a niche for everything out there, and if there's a demand for it, someone is going to write it.