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Archived Author Help > Rules about listing content of novels...

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message 1: by Ceanmohrlass (new)

Ceanmohrlass Ceanmohrlass | 69 comments I hope this is okay to list. I waited several months for one reviewer to provide feedback on a novel. The oldest teen daughter loved my novel, but when she created the review, her mother took exception.
Long story short: If any of the support characters in a novel is gay are we obligated to note this in novel content as a warning, such as when you have explicit content etc. I did not list the fact that there are gay characters (support to main character) in my novel and the review admonished me and has refused to provide the great review the daughter wrote. I was told that this should be listed as an LGBT novel not women's fiction, I'm confused?


message 2: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) No, you're not confused. I find it sad. Sorry you lost out on a favorable review.


message 3: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) Follow up question: does your book have scenes of a romantic nature with your gay characters such as there would be with hetero scenes (smootching, etc)?


message 4: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Loofbourrow (pattyloof) | 19 comments I agree.


message 5: by Ceanmohrlass (new)

Ceanmohrlass Ceanmohrlass | 69 comments Quoleena wrote: "Follow up question: does your book have scenes of a romantic nature with your gay characters such as there would be with hetero scenes (smootching, etc)?"

No Quoleena it doesn't, they are simply supporting characters, friends of my protagonist and are well written in a good light. No graphic scenes no making out (there is a passage when the two men get married with the friends in attendance though... but it is only a small blip...) The book is just about the protag's journey and the friends she makes in her new town. I was hurt at first then got mad but I was polite and thanked both the young woman and the mother. Once I thought about it, I thought maybe I was supposed to disclose it or something. Too weird


message 6: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) Then I stand by my initial response. I bet if you did list it in that category, you'd have fans of the genre wondering what the heck.


message 7: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments If there are hints that are lightly described such as kissing, holding hands, loving words, personally I wouldn't note it. Those are every day things nowadays and should not be taboo because the people are from the same sex. For example, I don't ever recall Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show warning the audience about LGBT. (Or maybe they did? I personally never pay attention to that.)

IF your book contains more than that such as explicit scenes, then I would add a warning for that. Not because of the gay/lesbian relation but because of the content. Now if your book is centered around this relation, than I'd consider listing it as LGBT.

This is only me. I don't know the consensus about it though.


message 8: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4269 comments Mod
Ceanmohrlass wrote: "If any of the support characters in a novel is gay are we obligated to note this in novel content as a warning..."

I have a bit of a pet peeve about people that want warnings about this and that on stories. Bottom line, most anything in any story could offend someone, so where do you stop with the warnings? I have put warnings on a couple of my stories, but I don't feel good about it.

I certainly don't feel any obligation to anyone to do so. I only do it if some of the content might be a bit much for younger children.


message 9: by Ceanmohrlass (new)

Ceanmohrlass Ceanmohrlass | 69 comments I have a bit of a pet peeve about people that want warnings ..."

Sure, I would agree for younger children for the warnings, that makes sense. This is women's fiction and there is nothing erotic, explicit, or frightening and no violence in it at all. Pretty tame actually just sorta funny and crazy.


message 10: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4269 comments Mod
Ceanmohrlass wrote: "Sure, I would agree for younger children for the warnings, that makes sense. This is women's fiction and there is nothing erotic, explicit, or frightening and no violence in it at all. Pretty tame actually just sorta funny and crazy. "

Generally, I only put warnings on my horror stories as they can get violent, sexual, etc. But, in your case, I'd probably just laugh it off. A reviewer's opinion is just that - an opinion. I'd thank them for their time and go find a better reviewer.


message 11: by Ceanmohrlass (new)

Ceanmohrlass Ceanmohrlass | 69 comments Thank you everyone, I just thought I might check, maybe I did something wrong on the genre, but no, the characters are just good people living everyday life that are support characters and the only thing I can see is the short blip on the wedding, etc. I will leave it standing as Women's Fiction. Thank you all :)


message 12: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) LGBT novels need to be centrally focused around the LGBT character, so no, you would not want to incorrectly categorize your book for the sake of not offending someone's delicate sensibilities. Besides that, you run the very strong risk of being labled by fans of the genre as exploitative, which can damage your reputation far more than someone taking offense to gay characters based on their narrow-mindedness.

As far as listing warnings, unless you are listing a mock warning for humorous effect, you would only want to put warning on your book for graphic descriptions of violence or sex, which may be deemed inappropriate for younger audiences.


message 13: by Ceanmohrlass (new)

Ceanmohrlass Ceanmohrlass | 69 comments Okay, that makes sense. I appreciate this assistance. I didn't see what the big deal is on it, but my enthusiasm for a great review got shot down quickly. I'm happy the young woman liked it and I will concentrate on that.


message 14: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments I need like a hundred content warnings, but I'd rather people figure that out on their own!


message 15: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1101 comments I agree, it was fine, no 'warnings' needed: just reflecting life. I feel bad for the girl too, she read it, posted a review (a teen doing a proactive, literary act - and she was probably pretty proud of it), but then had it removed. I admire your restraint!


message 16: by Ceanmohrlass (new)

Ceanmohrlass Ceanmohrlass | 69 comments Thank you all. I feel bad for her too ML. I understand her mom wanting to teach the values she believes but maybe it would have been better if mom read it first then let the girls read it. I don't know the age of the readers but I was led to believe they are teens to young adult. I would never purposefully mislead someone on contents of a story, it was just weird. Maybe mom was just having a bad day and I took it too hard.


message 17: by Ceanmohrlass (new)

Ceanmohrlass Ceanmohrlass | 69 comments Charles wrote: "I need like a hundred content warnings, but I'd rather people figure that out on their own!"

LOLO! I think it goes with the genre sometimes, like horror, obviously there will be violence etc :)


message 18: by Toi (new)

Toi Thomas (toithomas) | 11 comments Some readers are just sensitive. Take me for example; I'm not into the whole LGBT as a genre, but there are other genres I'm not into either. With that being said, I've read and enjoyed many books with gay characters in them. Just because a book has gay characters in it doesn't make it LGBT as a genre. Let's also keep in mind that there was once a time when writing about interracial relationships was taboo. Now there are book clubs for people who only read that. That's a bit intense for me and I'm in such a relationship ;) Point is, you just can't please some people. Sorry about your review... Oh and she should have either read the book or done more research before giving it to her teen.


message 19: by Ceanmohrlass (new)

Ceanmohrlass Ceanmohrlass | 69 comments Agreed Toi thank you.


message 20: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) No. You don't have to indicate that a novel has a gay supporting character in it. If the main character is gay, that will come out in your story's description, and will be made apparent in most cases. But for a supporting character - no. There's no need to mention it. The problem is with your reviewer, not with you or your story - sorry.

Trust me, you'll find readers who are offended by just about anything, and occasionally you'll get negative reviews because of a reader's personal opinions. You can't avoid that. You didn't do anything wrong.


message 21: by Kevin (last edited Nov 28, 2015 03:21PM) (new)

Kevin Hill (kevinrhill) | 102 comments I agree with April. I would add that reviewers can be difficult to predict. In my first novel I was dealing with some difficult experiences I had in Africa, so I set the novel in the African community of Cologne, Germany. One reviewer, having never lived in or visited Germany, believed the country exclusively blond hair and blue eyes, and because my book made him feel foolish, he gave it a poor review. I'm still waiting to hear about the scene in my new book where the hero is being hunted through the jungle and the bad guys turns a pack of pit bulls loose.

I think the point is that as an artist some people will be offended, no matter what we write. The best we can do is write our tale with dignity and let it be what it is, not a homogenized, always the same product, not formula, but stylish and original. Make it real. Make it you.


message 22: by Ceanmohrlass (new)

Ceanmohrlass Ceanmohrlass | 69 comments Thank you all. I really appreciate the input.


message 23: by Anthony Deeney (new)

Anthony Deeney | 437 comments Today, a gay character is no big deal. It would be crazy to put a 'trigger warning.' However, some people will clearly not like it.

Being non controversial is a recipe for being drab and boring.

This said, I think that every character and event that you put into a story should be purposeful. When you write something that may upset, be aware that it WILL cost you review stars AND REVIEWERS MAY NOT SAY WHY. This is especially true if people self censor over some controversial topic.

[Robots Like Blue] Spoiler:

In my first book, I decided to give a character a 'near death experience.' My view is that whatever NDE are, last gasp dream or real spiritual experience, they are a phenomena that have been recorded enough to be a ‘factual experience.’ I called the chapter 'Lucy's Dream.'

I prevaricated over this for some time. If I had the character die quietly and exit the book, no one would grumble. However, I thought the chapter to be good and consider that it added to the story.

I sat on the fence over the 'reality' of the experience. I know that calling it a 'dream' may upset one bunch of readers, mentioning at all might upset some other readers. Another author was critical of the ‘Paranormal’ experience.

My point, you will not please everyone. If you want to be 'controversial' do so purposefully, not apologetically.


message 24: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments Unless the plot of the book hinges on the sexual orientation of the main characters, then no. There have been gays as long as there have been people. Everyone knows gay people. It's a fact of life.

I mean...should I mention the fact that some of my supporting characters are black, Hispanic, Asian, blond-hair-blue-eyed Christian Republicans?

If someone gets upset that you included a gay character, that's their problem, not yours.


message 25: by Ceanmohrlass (new)

Ceanmohrlass Ceanmohrlass | 69 comments Anthony wrote: "Today, a gay character is no big deal. It would be crazy to put a 'trigger warning.' However, some people will clearly not like it.

Being non controversial is a recipe for being drab and boring.
..."


Good point!


message 26: by Ceanmohrlass (new)

Ceanmohrlass Ceanmohrlass | 69 comments Micah wrote: "Unless the plot of the book hinges on the sexual orientation of the main characters, then no. There have been gays as long as there have been people. Everyone knows gay people. It's a fact of life...."

I hadn't thought of it that way, no you shouldn't mention it and I agree, it is her issue not mine. Thank you everyone, I appreciate it!


message 27: by Anthony Deeney (last edited Nov 29, 2015 03:33PM) (new)

Anthony Deeney | 437 comments Re reading your original question, I think my original post was a bit off topic.

You are asking should a gay side character make the book 'LGBT.'

As everyone is saying here, no. I think if listed the book LGBT, you would lose stars for low LGBT content.

LOL


message 28: by Anthony Deeney (new)

Anthony Deeney | 437 comments Charles wrote: "I need like a hundred content warnings..."

Yes, you do!

...but I'd rather people figure that out on their own!"

Yes, they do!


message 29: by Jens (new)

Jens Lyon | 47 comments Ceanmohrlass wrote: "I hope this is okay to list. I waited several months for one reviewer to provide feedback on a novel. The oldest teen daughter loved my novel, but when she created the review, her mother took excep..."

Since your book is women's fiction, then I don't see a need for a content warning. If you were writing kidlit or YA, it might be a good idea to let buyers know there are LGBT characters. Even then, a "trigger warning" is a bit much; a brief mention in the blurb will suffice.

I don't know... It's hard for me to wrap my brain around the whole notion of trigger warnings. With my book Time Trip: A Dinosaur Musical, was I supposed to issue a warning to young-earth fundamentalist Christians that this story teaches children that the world is more than 6000 years old?


message 30: by Ceanmohrlass (new)

Ceanmohrlass Ceanmohrlass | 69 comments I agree, it was so strange, but I will just roll with it and I thanked them both for their time and did not send my other novels to the them. Very strange, I just wanted to be sure I didn't break some rule since I'm still new to this self publishing :) Thank you all!


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