One of my longtime projects has been a book based around a gay couple with a shared passion for music. Now that the project is getting closer and closer to reaching its end, I have been giving out a few copies to my most reliable beta readers.
Well, now I have no beta readers.
They all said that it would be better if the couple was straight.
I asked them why.
They said, “Because it just would.”
Now, these beta readers have been my friends for a long, long time, but I’d rather have no friends if that is how they truly feel about it. They gave me no real evidence or reasons to change them, yet they still demanded they be changed. If they had given me at least one decent reason, I may have at least thought about it, but, chances are, it wouldn’t have changed a thing. Sure, I may be a little harsh about all of this, but their words and feelings about this truly resonated with me and made me start to think.
Why had I made them gay?
I don’t think it had ever been a conscious decision. It just happened. It felt right for it to be that way. The two characters were perfect for each other (in my own opinion, of course), and by changing one of them into a girl… it just wouldn’t feel that way anymore.
In a previous post, I mentioned how much I care about my characters. I want them all to be happy, but not without trials and learning situations. I want to give them the most realistic life as I possibly can. Sure, it sounds crazy, but I truly believe the story wouldn’t mean as much or be as realistic as I had always dreamed it would be if I changed my characters. Even a minor gender change would feel wrong.
Chances are, some of you are reading this and clicking the “unfollow” button as quickly as your fingers can muster, but I hope some of you stop and think for a second. About what? Well, that’s up to you. I never meant for this book/blog to ever hold a political stance or statement, and I still feel this way.
This is all about art. I want my art to be everything I had imagined it would be. I never meant to single someone out or make anyone feel uncomfortable, but I do want people to think and to feel. Whether it was positive or negative, I will stand by it. It’s up to you how you perceive things like this. So, now I must ask you, how do you feel about it?
Thanks for reading!