Takeaways from RainbowCon 2014 Day Three

After a trip to the Wawa (a Northern chain of truly amazing convenience stores) and seeing the moss growing on the trees in both a picturesque and creepy way, I attended more awesome panels at RainbowCon.  I attended “Writing Trans and Genderqueer Characters”, “The Vagina Dialogue: Women in Genre Fiction”, “We <3 Pussy: Discussion of Lesbian Fiction”, “Appropriation and Fetishization” “Behind the Curtain: An Inside Look at Publishing” and “Eww! I Don’t Like Those Bits!: Going Beyond Your Comfort Zone in Erotic Romance”. Here’s some takeaways:

  • Writing Transsexual or Genderqueer fiction isn’t as hard as marketing it
  • Some review sites have a problem seeing transsexual men as “real” men, which is totally not cool
  • You do not have to do a transition (hormones and surgery) to be transsexual –it’s a personal identity
  • Visibility of transsexual characters is important. Writers need to write the characters and identify them as transsexual so that people of that identity can see themselves in literature
  • It’s important to have stories where transsexual characters get a happily ever after because they deserve one too!
  • Storm Moon Press would love to see a genderqueer character that transitions during the story or even back and forth
  • There are more real life brutalizations of Male to Female vs Female to Male transition individuals due to Western society misogyny against women. Men transitioning to women are “taking a step down” vs women to men are joining the dominant gender
  • It’s important to have transsexual young adult category so both transgender and non-transgender kids see it’s normal
  • You can never do enough research on transsexual genderqueer when writing it
  • Women writers have been slurred in fiction-writing throughout history
  • Often the writing is not in question but Women In Genre fiction are instead attacked personally
  • For centuries Women In Genre fiction-writing have taken male or neutral pseudonyms but the internet makes it hard to hide and that might be good
  • The opposite is men who write romance as men are also getting discrimination and being told they don’t know how to love and therefore can’t write about it
  • Women are buying children’s books. They should encourage boys to read women authors
  • If you are a Woman In Genre fiction-writing you must remain professional in the face of criticism
  • Women characters in lesbian fiction deserve stories with romantic challenges and friendships that lead to relationships
  • Women are strong and we need strong fictional characters to represent us
  • Writers of lesbian fiction would love readers to come to a story and not worry about what their characters do in the bedroom or how they have sex
  • Gay men are worried women are appropriating the gay male experience
  • There is some objectification when porn is involved but most romance writers are not writing for that purpose
  • You should write what you feel called to write whether people are offended or not just write it well
  • Some gay men are just happy to see gay literature and gay characters and don’t care if men or women are writing it
  • Fiction writers appropriate everything they write, in every genre. There will always be someone who is offended
  • Never respond to an offended person especially online as it only escalates
  • All romance objectifies no matter the sex but it can also educate and show that all people love
  • Gays in literature have gone from bad guy, martyr, comic relief, fetishization and will eventually just be guys
  • People don’t complain if there’s too little sex in a story but will always complain if there is not enough characterization
  • Publishers are no longer requiring sex scenes in order to get LGBTQ readers. Sex should only further the plot
  • Fiction doesn’t hurt anybody as no real person is being harmed. Books don’t compel people to do things–if they do something there are other problems in their life that are contributing not just their reading material
  • Readers don’t always understand that the opinions of the character are not necessarily that of the author
  • All romance covers look the same because that’s what sells. Becasue people like naked chests and overflowing bodices
  • Never engag on Goodreads but if a reader takes the time to email you from your website there’s a chance for possible dialogue
  • Everybody brings their own experience to reading a book. Reviews are often about the reader not the book
  • If you can educate one person about LGBTQ issues then it will have a ripple effect on the people they know
  • Bad LGBTQ self-pubbed books will fail as the readership will abandon them and they won’t make that quick buck
  • Anyone is entitled to write anything they want. No scifi would exist if we only wrote what we’ve experienced
  • Read everything in your publishing contract and negotiate
  • Three types of stories come in to publishing houses: one that will need only light line edits; one that will need a few changes; and ones that will need to be overhauled to be published
  • If a book requires lots of work, publishers will take it on if it fits a niche or is different or on a topic trending in the market
  • A successful publishing run can go from 100 to 2000 books a month depending on the type of book, the subject matter and whether the author is famous
  • A good author can pull off a difficult story that a reader might not always choose to read
  • There has been backlash on reviewers who refuse to review bisexual or transsexual characters
  • A vocal minority often tries to set the rules for fiction trying to step out of the box–writers can’t let that minority’s limited view restrict them. Writers can’t let readers dictate what can and can’t be in their book. If you allow a few readers to control what all writers write, there will be basically the same books written over and over
  • Writer can find kinks they don’t enjoy and still find erotic elements that speak to them and help them write it
  • It’s the responsibility of the reader not to seek out books that might trigger panic attacks–do not put that on writer. Goodreads reviews can warn you much better about what’s in a book if you think you might be triggered
  • Apparently in an Mpreg (male pregnancy) story one of the partners needs a “duderus” to carry the baby–LOL!
  • If you attempt to read more widely it may make you less judgy about what other people like
  • If you don’t like Swiss cheese don’t eat it. Just because you don’t like Swiss cheese don’t say it sucks

Off to the pizza party and possibly a rainbow jello shot!  I’m so glad I wrote all this down in case I party so hard I forget it. 😉

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