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Tag: Yaoi

Yaoi Manga and M/M Romance Blog Hop

Yaoi Manga and MM Romance Blog Hop Icon

Welcome to the blog hop! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a published author who loves Japanese anime, especially yaoi, JRock and M/M Romance. I’ve somehow found a niche writing what I love – stories that are a little bit yaoi and a little bit M/M romance. For the blog hop, I wanted to pull something together that might help readers of M/M romance understand yaoi, and vice versa.

For me, yaoi means androgynous, pretty male characters. Most yaoi is found in comic form such as manga and anime. The stories usually involve a much larger man, who dominates the relationship and a much smaller man. Although, like everything else, not all are like this. There is a difference in the relationships in true yaoi that I don’t think we see in M/M romance so much, a difference that I believe stems from the difference in Japanese versus Western culture.  That is, there is a clear distinction between the “top”, also called seme, and the “bottom’, called uke. The seme is usually older as well as larger, more experienced more aggressive sexually, etc, than the uke. In this way, there are some very clear roles played by the characters. I think some would say that the uke can tends to be more like a female in a male body. Also, yaoi does involve sex that’s not consensual. In the Western publishing world, this is taboo. The thing I love about yaoi, is the stories and characters really seem to be made for female fantasy. It seems to me that in yaoi stories, there’s not the strict constraints on making sure the guys act like guys all the time and it doesn’t have to be super-believable. It’s about telling a good story and letting the reader get lost in it.

As for M/M romance, this comes from a Western world where I think we do tend to try and make our stories seem as realistic as possible. The male characters look more like real men, gruff, bearded, hairy chested, you get my meaning. Not that some of that isn’t hot:) What’s a bit more freeing in writing M/M romance is probably that there is not this strict seme/uke character constraint – maybe the bigger man’s the catcher, you never know. Maybe the smaller man is more aggressive sexually. What’s great is it spans the whole spectrum.

Yaoi MM Gay Art - Necalli
Necalli from "The First Full Moon" - Portrait of Necalli

So what I try to do is to write a combination of the two. I try to blend the pretty, androgynous characters of yaoi with Western world situations. Although I try my best to blend realistic gay situations with female fantasy, I attempt to make my characters break out of the “men are like this” mold. I hope that makes sense. And yes, I do get a lot of my story ideas and characters from watching anime. For instance, the character, Necalli, in the First Full Moon came from Vincent Law of Ergo Proxy. I wanted the yin and yang in him – to be powerful and brutal and also sensitive and incredibly tortured by his animal nature. For this reason, I made him a smaller man. Everything about him had opposing sides, just like Vincent Law.

My vampire books started out with a Hellsing flare. My character, Sebastian, really got his start being more like Alucard than anything else. Then I tried to drive deeper into him and his past and well, sometimes your characters dictate who they want to be, LOL.

Anyhow, thanks for stopping by!

Christie Gordon

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Famous Yaoi First Encounters – What’s Too Soon and What’s Too Late?

Yaoi Motivational Poster

So this blog post was inspired by this funny Yaoi motivational poster I found on DeviantArt: Yaoi Motivational Poster by SpirosDyingWish00

The poster made me think about all the standard, somewhat cliche first encounters we see in Yaoi – yes, the tripping into someone, the getting drunk, the angry slap followed by kiss, the OMG, you kissed me now I’m going to rape you. Most of which involve the two heros in a compromising close proximity to each other and the “aha!” moment. Oh, how we love these scenes, wait in high anticipation of them and squee with joy when they finally happen, LOL.

I suppose these things happen in a good het romance as well. So we’re following along on the same themes again as in het romances. I also suppose this begs the question -we’re all really pretty much the same when it comes to love then, no matter the gender, right?  And it’s always the discovery that the one dude loves the other dude and low and behold, the other one loves him back. If he didn’t, where would our love story be?

The build up to the love discovery is what’s most important for our first encounter. If we’ve seen a fair amount of each character sighing over the other one, arguing, denying any attraction, then wow, that first kiss is a doozy:) That’s called building the tension. It’s always hard as a writer to know when to let loose of the tension and have that first encounter. You don’t want to do it too soon before there’s a proper build up or that first kiss will hardly be noticed. On the other hand, I’ve read books where I’m more than half way through the book and the characters still haven’t had their first kiss. That makes me wonder if the story arc is only going to be about their first kiss and I get frustrated. And what I really hate? A story line that has the first encounter half way into the book and then, wham, some force takes them apart for a good portion of the book. When I read a romance, I want to read about a romance, dang it. I know each person has their own opinion on this depending on what gets them going. What do you like? What frustrates you in a Yaoi or M/M Romance story line?

Should a M/M Romance writer pretend to be another gender?

Male or Female AuthorWow, this is a tough topic these days. I just found out about AJ Llewellyn being a woman. Yes, a woman, not the gay man she pretended to be.

We both started out at eXtasy Books writing M/M Romance, though I prefer to write more of the Yaoi variety:) I’ve had plenty of banter back and forth with AJ about writing, the M/M genre and the like and I must say I feel a bit… shocked. I know that women have taken male pen names in times past in order to get published and all that. And I know that some female M/M Romance authors have male pen names currently and keep hush about their true identity. I suppose it is no one’s business but their own. Or is it?

Here’s the deal. If I read a M/M Romance book by a particular author with a male pen name, I assume certain things. The first being, that they have first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to be a gay man and maybe I’ll learn a few things. Of course, that’s the author in me. And if and when I encounter this author in a chat or on some social media site, I speak to them as if they’re the gender of their pen name. I take into account their opinions on writing and other topics based on what I think their gender is, right or wrong. I can’t help it. We’ve all been programmed to think a certain way based on our upbringing as a particular gender and have preconceived notions about the opposite gender. I hope that makes sense:)

As far as author gender and writing M/M Romance or even Yaoi for that matter, my question is this: Should authors be straight up about their genders? I mean, we’re writing about gay men for a predominantly straight female audience. M/M Romance is not the same (at least in my eyes) as gay romance – presumably written by gay men with a target audience of gay men. So it seems to me that author gender might matter. Women in general put more emotion into their romances, especially if we’re targeting a female audience. Again, my freakin’ opinion;) But women are emotional creatures. Emotion is what we crave, right?

I’m also wondering if the female authors writing under a male pen name are doing the rest of us authors a disservice. It’s hard to go about telling people who aren’t familiar with this genre that you’re a straight woman writing gay romance. I’ve blogged about my follies with that a few times. You need a thick skin and a hardy sense of humor. Maybe if more of these women writing gay romance for other women were more up front about it, it would normalize the situation a bit more and make it easier for all of us. Stand proud that you’re a straight woman writing about gay men, damn it:)

So now that I’ve said my piece – chime in here. What do you all think?