I was just wondering what others thought the response from agents/publishers/readers would be regarding a fantasy series where the main character is a lesbian, though it doesn't show up till midway through the series and there isn't much focus on anything other than the fact that the two women are in a relationship together. I'm curious about other people's opinions, so please let me know. thanks.
May 2nd, 2007, 01:17 PM
It would depends on the agent/publisher/reader, but really I don't think the concept would be all that shocking these days. Just like every other story it would be judged on its merit as a story - character development, the intrique of the plot, the amout of suspense, overall reader experience. I could see it not being acceptable to a Christian or other religiously weighted publisher, but those publishers are usually pretty specific about what they will accept in a fantasy setting in their submission guidelines.
May 2nd, 2007, 03:57 PM
Have you heard of Hal Duncan's Book of All Hours? More important than sexual orientation is the freshness/excitement quotient of your writing, and whether it statisfies a perceived market demand.
May 2nd, 2007, 04:36 PM
Most publishers could care less. Some of them might want you to unveil her lesbianism sooner.
May 2nd, 2007, 04:53 PM
I have to agree; it obviously depends on the context of the story, but I can't see this being a particular problem.
May 2nd, 2007, 05:42 PM
Well that's good to know. I Just haven't seen it in many of the fantasy stories i've read lately so I wasn't sure if it just wasn't something around much, or if it was a no no for most publishers. Just wanted to get more experienced people's opinions or knowledge on it.
May 3rd, 2007, 10:57 AM
Are you kidding? There is a tradition of lesbian sff that dates back to the seventies if not earlier. The Lambda organization even has a special award for gay and lesbian portrayals in sff. Marion Zimmer Bradley had a whole series, so did sf author Melissa Scott, and there are numerous young things doing the same today. And China Mieville is currently getting a great deal of attention for his gay and bisexual characters.
This worries me, that this would be a concern.
May 3rd, 2007, 12:16 PM
well it wasn't really a 'concern'. I just haven't read any that have lesbians or gays in them and i was unfamiliar with the wide scope of science fiction and fantasy, i sort of have my own little pocket of stories and series i liek and haven't venture out further yet, though i do plan to soon, and since i was unfamiliar i figured i'd ask a wide scope of people who may be familiar, which proved a good idea. Thanks for the respones, it's always nice to actually have a question answered when posting on a forum instead of people leaving retarted responses. i've had bad luck with forums in the past...heh.
May 4th, 2007, 08:35 AM
Sorry Shadowbrook, I didn't mean to make you feel that you should justify the asking of the question. All questions are welcome here, whether or not we can answer them. :)
May 6th, 2007, 09:33 PM
I would only see a problem with it if you just played the lesbian card for cheap titillation, but I reckon there's a market for that sort of thing, too. While the more socially conservative types aren't all that comfortable with gay and lesbian stuff (and only the lunatic fringe rabidly opposed to it), these generally aren't the kind of people who are really into the fantasy and SF genres.
To be perfectly honest, I'm actually fairly conservative myself, but as an artist, I'm pretty broad-minded with subject matter as long as it's tasteful. There are few themes I'm unwilling to explore, both in my own work and the media I consume. As long as the characters are "real people" and not clumsy charicatures, I'd be interested in following their journey.
I reckon the real question is how you plan to treat the subject matter. Is it simply consequential (i.e. treated as something perfectly natural and not an issue) or is it a point of contention? Is it about pursuit, "conversion" (initiating the partner) or acceptance? What's the role of the relationship in the story? That'll play a large role in how it's received.
Unless you do something burlesque or insulting in some other way, I don't see many publishers or readers of the genre having trouble it. I mean, it's not like you're going to find a Southern Baptist publisher who's looking to print some swords and sorcery epic or space opera.
Know yourself, know your work, know your audience, know your market. Do these four things and you shouldn't have many problems no matter what kind of story you want to make.