Monday, 6 April 2015

An Author's Motivation for Writing M/M Romance

"Why do you write M/M Romance?" 

This is an old, old question, but it comes up time and again, and every time I get asked I wonder am I the strange one, or does the rest of the world just need to catch up? 

Maybe it's a little of both.

Actually the question was "Why do straight women write M/M?" 

Straight, bi, lesbian, pan, asexual. We authors are comprised of a real melting pot, just as most genres are, but it seems to matter more to people looking at our genre. Straight becomes a dirty word.

I will be brutally honest. I don't think an author's sexual orientation is anybody's business but their own and it doesn't validate them as an author or give them the reason for writing M/M. 

I asked a few M/M authors, picked at random, why they wrote M/M. I'll give you my answer as well. There are as many reasons as there are authors. None of us are here for the same reason. Thank you to all the authors who joined in. I think it's easier to give you their answers straight from the horse's mouth, so I've cut and pasted some of the discussion down here and added my thoughts and feelings in italics.

I have to admit that Lisa Worrall's answer made me nod furiously even though no one could see me.. 

Lisa Worrall
I like it

Because of course we do! We write it because we like the genre. I don't write something I don't want to. It's not the way my muse works.

Rhys Ford
'Cause it's a lot hotter than just one? Seriously... there's a bunch of built-in conflict with two men as society and people adjust to the question of "what does it mean to be gay?" and shifting perspectives. It's a good psychological examination...both internal and external.

This is a good point. Writing M/M is not like writing a het relationship and giving them two dicks. The psychological balance of a gay relationship, of the world around them is totally different to a heterosexual couple.

Garrett Leigh
For me, it's simply what comes out when I put pen to paper. I'd quite happily write any combo of man, woman, and/or supernatural creature. I don't give a witches tit about labels.

Say it like it is, Garrett!

Jay Northcote
The voices in my head are usually male, so like Garrett - it's what comes out.

Sara York
Because I enjoy writing men. I feel that I can be more creative and express myself better. 

Yesterday I was talking to a woman and she asked what I did I said I write books and she said you know what you should write, bromance because I've never seen one of those. I answered that I did. She was intrigued. It was a positive experience.
Dammit, we need to get the genre out there to more people!

S.a. Meade
I love the challenge of writing from a completely different perspective. And,yeah, it's mainly the men in my head who seem to want me to tell their stories.

I am very much like this. It is the men who are talking loudly inside my head.

Sarah Madison
Writing from a male perspective allows me to explore different aspects of my personality without falling into the trap of self-inserting into the story. Growing up, I always wanted to be Tarzan, not Jane. I thought Tarzan got to do cooler things! From a storytelling perspective, I love the inherent conflict of writing about two men, and the fact they meet on equal terms. Not to mention, I believe many women can empathize with feeling marginalized and discriminated against--it's one of the reasons we're GBLTQ allies!  

Oh yes! I always related to the one who got to do the action - generally the boy/man. I was so tired that the girl never made the decisions in the books I read.

RJ Scott
the conflict of writing something which isn't always an easy road to love... the sex is hot... why have one man when you can have two... It is just what I write when I sit down to write.

Jay Northcote
Also - it allows me to explore the male part of my psyche. I've never felt very female, I'm somewhere in the middle on the gender continuum, and I think writing male characters is my way of getting in touch with my masculine side. This is only something I've recently worked out, I used to have no idea why I loved reading/writing MM but I've thought a lot about it and this was one of the realisations I had. That also probably explains why the voices in my head are male!  

And then one of them said probably what all of us feel. No names but yeah!!

I get so tired of being asked that question, even though I like discussing it with other born female authors  I just wish people would stop asking me! BECAUSE I WANT TO isn't usually considered an acceptable answer *sigh* but honestly. It just irks me because it ties in to the whole negativity aimed at women in the genre - even when it's a genuine question without that intent, it still makes me feel like a bug under a microscope and I get automatically defensive.

Lisa Worrall
it's like when you say "because I said so" to the kids and they say "that's not a proper answer" - actually, yes it is.

Because I said so works for me.

Elin Gregory
Until I was about eight I was convinced that I'd be a boy when I grew up. But stuff happened and since then I've had to make do with a passionate devotion to stories about blokes doing brave things, often in pairs. I remember my first OTP so well - Jess and Slim in a tv show called Laramie. I absolutely adored them when I was 3. Gil Favor and Rowdy Yates too. And the Lone Ranger and Tonto. I told myself stories about them, started telling myself stories about made up people and, when I learned to write, wrote those down as well. I have tried to write M/F but those stories always slid into parody. Discovering M/M was a HUGE relief. I thought there was something really weird about me. The present company makes me feel - I dunno - validated? As though the way I feel inside is acceptable after all. Thanks ladies.

The conversation then delved into more personal stuff which isn't appropriate to post here, but many of us had the same experiences, the same thoughts and feelings growing up. Once we discovered M/M via fanfiction or original fiction we realised we weren't the only ones. 

Lee Rowan
I write about things that interest me.  I'm not interested in writing lesbian-feminist "wymon's" fic because I never could get into it.  The sort of action-adventure genre I enjoy has mostly been a male domain.  Maybe at some point I will write an adventure fic with all or mostly women (I've got some ideas for that) but at the moment the stories in my head are m/m.  It's not that I prefer men to woman - I'm bi and am married to a woman - but I don't see why I should write what somebody else thinks I should write.  Maybe it's past-life recall, who knows?  I see myself as a human being first, who happens to be in a female body this time around.  I don't like gender-identity labels because as far as I'm concerned, we're all just human beings anyway.  

Lee's comment that why I should write what somebody else thinks I should write I believe speaks for most of us. We write what we want to write, what rattles around inside our heads. 

I write gay characters in relationships. I'm not overly keen on the M/M title, but I understand why it's used. I can relate to all the reasons from the other authors, and I write M/M because I can.


  1. I agree that you don't have to justify why you write M/M fiction. If I could write a story it would be what I like to read, which is M/M fiction. I'm thankful you and your fellow authors do what you do and entertain me for hours. :)

  2. Thank you for asking. These are great responses.

  3. Thanks so much for posting this. I know that this is a tired subject in the m/m genre, but I think it keeps knocking around because it isn't really settled for any of us, no matter how much we protest.

    I know for me, lately, I have been more and more concerned about it. I love m/m, reading it and writing it, and I want to be proud of what I do.
    But I can't ignore the points raised by those who say I should not be, because I am a straight woman.

    So I go on writing, but I always have a bit of guilt about it. This post, reading the thoughts of others, has helped ease that guilt a little.

  4. Love reading all these varied and equally valid responses! Thank you for sharing!

  5. I write it because it's what I want to write. These are the voices that speak to me.