Many, readers and simply curious people alike, have often asked me if I felt any real difference when writing ‘straight’ romances and ‘gay’ romances, or if I do anything in particular to prepare for such characters. Frankly, I don’t. Is that a strange answer? It’s probably not one most people were expecting and probably not the most interesting response either.
Characters are just like people, however fictional they may be, and I treat them as such when I write them. All people are multi-faceted; rarely is there a single aspect or trait to their personality that over-rides every single part of them. Sexual orientation is just another one of those things; one part of many and not everything is necessarily ruled by it. A character forms by itself and who they desire occurs similarly. It’s not the first time I start writing a story and the person who they get paired up with changes, sometimes surprising me. Although it’s not in the matter of sexual orientation an example that comes to mind is Mary, from my novel Secrets Clad in Light; she took on an entirely different form than I had first imagined of her and to the point that if you asked me now what she was originally planned to be like I wouldn’t even know how to answer you. She took on a life of her own and this happens with other characters also. In Butterfly, the relationship between Zack and Alex wasn’t planned but, rather, it evolved in a way that felt most natural for them.
Those two were close for a long time and their relationship can’t be so easily broken, no matter the trials and disagreements that they constantly have between them. Do I think that either one of them would have developed the same type of romantic relationship if the other was a woman? I have no idea because once it happened I couldn’t really imagine it any other way. The only thing that is certain is that the two would not survive without each other as they are. Have there been characters who have only been attracted to the same sex? There have been. But have there been characters whose desires are a bit more complicated than that? Absolutely. Most of the time I think that characters fall for another as a person, as can happen in life,
The reasons they’re attracted to each other, the reasons they have such a strong relationship, are things that are as complicated as the way they act with each other. I don’t really believe that ‘a relationship between two men is surely like this’; I think just the way relationships between straight couples can vary the same thing can be said for gay couples. The way people act within a relationship says a lot about them; while the type of person they are with may allow them to condone the manner in which they approach their partner much of the way they act comes from within themselves.
Choices in a relationship, the way people behave in a relationship, can’t really, entirely depend on a person’s sex. Sometimes they’ll get into situations that may be a result of it, make some things difficult for them, but it’s really characters’ personalities that can shape the way they act in a relationship.
All these things make it very difficult for me to say that there are any particular considerations made when I write m/m and f/f, versus m/f. If I had to be more accurate I would say that there are particular considerations for each and every couple written because who an individual is and how they make relationships work is unique to them and not simply a result of their own sex and that of their partner.
I find myself enjoying writing romance because I don’t feel tied down. With an open mind I’m able to allow my characters to take over, acting in ways that befit their characters and forming relationships with those that they desire. This makes it an incredibly fun and intriguing journey for me and it gives me little incentive to prepare myself in any way with pre-conceived ideas of how any one of them should act.