A half dozen ways NOT to write m/m romance

In the spirit of one of my favourite writing books, How Not to Write a Novel (of which more anon) some, ahem, “advice” about what not to do, or at least what annoys me in a m/m romance book!

Everyone your characters encounter should be gay. The parcel delivery man. The doctor. The guy who works in the coffee shop. The barber. They’re all gay! (After all, James Lear can get away with it.) And that means you can have lots of follow up books, because the reader will be just dying to see if the mechanic who fixed the hero’s car gets a happy ever after too.

Girls have Cooties
If your book should happen to contain some straight people the very best thing you can do is make one of them an ex-girlfriend/fiancé/wife of one of the heroes (who used to be confused, never bisexual. Remember, there’s no such thing as bisexuals.) When she finds out her ex is with a guy now do not, whatever you do, have her go, “ah well, plenty more straight fish in the sea” and have a happy life that doesn’t revolve around an unattainable man. Have her buy a wedding dress and start making plans to kill off his new boyfriend.

“Aw, diddums, does oo luv daddy?”
If your characters have pets make sure they treat them as child-substitutes. This is the only reason for gay men to have pets and there’s literally nothing a reader likes more than seeing a grown man treating a cat as if it’s a baby.

The Invalid Premise
You know when someone asks a gay couple, ‘which is you is the woman?’ That’s what you have to ask yourself in your story. Two men in a relationship are exactly like a man and a woman. Make sure one of them cries a lot and never ever tops. If you already have a m/f romance written then you’re ahead of the game. Just change names, pronouns and genitalia and you’re done. (Be sure to leave a wrong pronoun or two lying around so observant readers will know you converted it and realise how smart you are.)

The Straw Man (or woman)
Homophobia is a handy shortcut for characterising someone as evil. You don’t need to add any more layers to them and it doesn’t matter what good things they do. They’re Fred Phelps and must be destroyed.

Déjà Vu – the porno version
Make sure all your sex scenes are entirely interchangeable within the book and, for extra points, between other books too!


14 thoughts on “A half dozen ways NOT to write m/m romance

  1. there’s literally nothing a reader likes more than seeing a grown man treating a cat as if it’s a baby.

    LOL! This must explain why so many writers like to include the number of cats they have in their bios – readers genuinely do want this information XD

    I’m going to have to add some of these to my Trope Tuesday list…

  2. LOL! Yes, you’ve got the ground rules there. And don’t forget the historical corollary — rather than waste time with research, just watch a couple of movies set within a hundred years or so of the era you’re writing… after all, readers don’t care if your hawt Medieval knights are wearing zipper-front Levi’s under their armor.

  3. Now I’m trying to think of m/m stories in which ex-gf finds ‘her’ bloke with another man and uses that as the impetus for her own coming out. I’ve seen/heard about it in Real Life, and used it as a plot device in a story that was all about the women.

    Or the straight woman who lives haappily with her gay best friend and is neither jealous nor a stereotypical faghag (as I just saw in a women’s litfic novel).

  4. I think if I read a m/f romance where the woman was as useless as some of these omega male characters, I’d throw that at the wall too. So for maximum impact make sure your m/f romance is horribly gender stereotyped first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.