Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Not Quite So Daring

The other night, as I was working on a rewrite of something, I started writing a chapter from the POV of a particular character. He is a new POV for the book but not for the series. He's kind of my Jaime Lannister. Anyway, I established some things about him in previous books and started putting them on their head in this book. Then I came to the chapter I'm working on now. It's a pivotal chapter in a pivotal section. I'm sort of hastening the book a bit and moving things a little faster in this draft. And it's working. But I came to this chapter and it opens with said character in bed with someone else. And in that moment, I stopped writing because I had a thought. I was going to make the person in bed with him another male character. I didn't write another word the rest of the night.

The thing that bothered me was my reaction. Why was I suddenly squeamish about this? He's just another character, why am I struggling with this sudden inspiration to make him gay? Was I afraid to write a gay character because I'm a heterosexual male? Was I just trying to wedge in a gay character because I wanted to force some diversity into a story I felt that had very little? I didn't know what the answer was and it freaked me out a bit. All I knew was that it made me stop writing for the night. The simple words: "...[redacted] stretched and rose from the mess of a bed, trying not to rouse the sleeping form next to him." had ground me to a complete and total stop as I contemplated making this change to the character.

It didn't fundamentally change the character at all. He's still this smarmy, obnoxious jerk but now there was something that made him stand out a bit. It actually made him more interesting to write and may have added some depth to my story and world. But yet, I could not do it because, the more I thought about it, it did change the character in a fundamental change to the character. In the end, I decided not to change the character. I had laid a foundation in the plot of who that person in the bed with him is and it makes more sense for the story for the character to be the female character I intended it to be. However, looking back, I had a perfect opportunity to introduce a gay couple to the story in a meaningful way that actually works for the two characters.

I'm still a little bothered by this, though. I'm still questioning the why and I'm not sure I like the answer. I like to think of myself as daring, especially in my thinking and my writing, but I guess I'm not.

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