LGBT elements in web novels

2 years ago | Thedude3445 (Member)

What's some memorable characters, elements, or plotlines in the wide world of web fiction? Bonus points if they're in stories that you wouldn't otherwise expect it!

Sorry boss, but there's only two men I trust. One of them's me. The other's not you.

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  1. Marn (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    All of the serials I work on (or have worked on) have LGBT casts! Prairie Song in particular has four LGBT protagonists, with slow burn romance between two of them, and a trans woman main character. I think it's important to show that post-apocalyptic media doesn't have to always have a gritty male protagonist to work, and that it can offer a hopeful view of the future for LGBTQ folks.

  2. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Well, if we can plug our own stuff... :P

    Graven has a pretty diverse cast in terms of sexuality and ethnicity, but there are no romantic subplots at all, as the characters are far more concerned with bigger issues than sexuality, so I can't say it actually explores any LGBTQIA+ themes.

    One straight man. Two bi women. Two asexuals. One straight with bi tendencies. One trans, female-to-male (although her/his transition has nothing to do with sexual identity, she switched from female to male to hide from the authorities; however, he's been in male form so long she more or less is now used to being in a male form, and the rest of the cast thinks of him as such, despite knowing he used to be female; more accurately, his form is sexless but masculine in appearance, so make of that what you will).

    I'm curious, actually, of the response to this, if it is considered truly representative or not. I like the idea that you can just have a cast of characters who are LGBTQIA+, and it's just a fact of their character, instead of being the biggest thing that stands out about them. Or would some perceive this as "baiting" by having such characters, but not actually putting them into relationships that show this?

  3. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Of course, it would be remiss of me not to plug the ASH Universe once again!

    Early into the main series, psychic roommates Aaron and Paul become a couple after touching minds; Paul was gay, but Aaron was straight, so the two weren't initially going to hook up. Aaron wasn't into men, and Paul might have been interested, but knew it wouldn't work with Aaron and so wasn't going to pursue him. However, during a freak training accident, Paul needed to help Aaron calm down from a dangerous surge of his powers. In that instant, the two mingled minds, and the barrier of gender fell away. The two fell in love on the psychic level. A dozen issues later, however, Paul's body is destroyed, and Aaron saves him by bringing Paul's mind into his own body. It's an interesting exploration of a relationship going beyond sex and gender.

    Another major couple in the series are the gang leader villainesses Cockatrice and Bathory, who co-lead one of the more powerful super gangs in a street war rocked New York.

  4. Thedude3445 (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    It's a tough call on what is "bait" and what is "representation." Obviously what matters is the intention behind the inclusion, but you can't usually know that for "sure" outside the most transparent network TV instances where they introduce some lesbian character in time for the Sweeps and then she dies at the end of the episode. I am of the opinion that it's a very important move to make characters that are LGBT, but without any romantic plots involved in the present-tense, but maybe that can be taken as "pandering" by some. You probably can't win with this lol

    If we're plugging our own work, my novella Rainbow Destructor has a 99% female cast and thus there is girl kissing in areas, but I don't think that counts as "good" representation lol

    Sorry boss, but there's only two men I trust. One of them's me. The other's not you.
  5. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 2 years ago

    As a straight male whose main character is a straight male, I’m in no position to say, “If you want to find LGBT characters, look at my work.” There are LGBT characters, but the Legion of Nothing is told in first person by the main character who tends to be oblivious to the romantic lives of the other characters in the story.

    That said, there are LGBT people in my life and therefore there are LGBT people in my work. It’s just that the main thing I’m writing doesn’t lend itself to exploring romance, straight or otherwise.

    The funny thing about this topic to me is that the big serials that kicked off serializing on blogs were Tales of MU and An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom. Both of them were very much no holds barred with regards to sexuality in terms of the types of relationships and what was described. I enjoyed both of them. Of course, this was back in 2007 when I first started writing online. They’re both on hiatus at this point.

    When I started though, I found myself saying, “I’m going to write a story about teenage superheroes. I wonder if there’s an audience for something online that doesn’t focus on sexual/romantic relationships or LGBT issues?”

  6. Madiha N. Santana (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    As far as bait is concerned, as a gay person myself I think it would be weird if there's a bunch of hinted-at or mentioned LGBTQ characters but all of them are in straight relationships or not in any relationship at all. I don't know that I'd call it bait; there are other ways to explore lgbtq themes without romantic relationships being involved. But it's just the easiest way to approach lgbtq themes, since a lot of the struggle is in our interpersonal relationships being scrutinized and legislated. Mentioning it but not doing more doesn't really do anything for me; I want people to *explore* those themes.

    To join the plugging, I write a web serial called The Solstice War that heavily features gay and lesbian and bi and transgender characters and experiences. I'd like to think I balance it well with also having brutal industrialized warfare.

  7. BGHilton (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    The first two parts of my series were quite soap-opera-y and there were several gay and lesbian characters whose romances helped to drive the plot. My current part isn't romancy at all, and I have to admit I haven't even given a lot of thought to the sexuality of they characters. In all honesty, this isn't well thought out. I should be considering sexuality as an element of character beyond 'who can I ship them with'.

    Thanks for the food for thought. folks.

  8. Carcharocles (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    As far as The Revelation goes, I've always seen Pepper as gay and Fiona as asexual. Problem is, Fiona is also suffering from severe psychological issues due to nearly a decade of disturbing nightmares, and Pepper is implied to have antisocial personality disorder--therefore I don't intend explore their sexuality as all. Not to mention, I have no interest in my hybrid characters being sexually active, for obvious reasons.

    It also doesn't help things that by the time the story really gets going, the characters have much bigger issues to worry about.

    My advice is don't try to shove romance or sexual orientation where it's not needed. Forcing elements onto a story is a huge no-no in writing--if it isn't important to the plot, it shouldn't be in there.

  9. Calhoun (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    i actually write a fantasy/detective story (quoria) that has an entirely LGBT+ cast! the story is very much about solving cases rather than the issues the LGBT+ community faces, and I think that's a nice bit of representation in its own way. It's cool to see other LGBT+ people happy and like, living their lives and doing what they do and not being discriminated against? There's a lot of LGBT+ fiction that already does focus on that, which is awesome, but I think bringing a little peace and a little fun to things can, as marn said, bring people hope.

    the fact that the cast of the serial i write is lgbt+ doesnt really change anything about them. their orientation is what it is, but they all have their own rich and independent lives, which i think is a really important feeling for writing - if you can world build without necessarily infodumping on your readers in a way that makes your world feel as though its going on even outside of what your readers get to see, its cool and good world building! Even if it's just a small line or two, if it's directly written into the text somewhere that a character is attracted to the same sex, or your character uses certain pronouns, then that's canon babey and that's no longer subtext and its awesome for your readers.

  10. Stormy (Moderator)

    Posted 2 years ago

    I have...pretty much an entirely queer cast.

    Require: Cookie/Ash and Blue (geeky urban fantasy) has the following in the main/secondary cast:

    Ace woman (main character) (later clarified as panromantic asexual "I'm a pancake? I'm delicious?")
    Bi woman
    Grey-ace man
    Pan men x2
    Gay man
    Lesbian woman
    Self-described "genderglorious" pansexual individual
    Genderfluid & Pan individual
    Lesbian trans woman

    ...and there's more I'm forgetting.

    Of the six people I consider the main cast, we've got one straight dude. :P

  11. Thedude3445 (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    I'm glad for all the notes so far! More LGBT web fiction is always a good thing, but it looks like there's a bunch out there now.

    Sorry boss, but there's only two men I trust. One of them's me. The other's not you.
  12. ElliottThomasStaude (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    The Plastic Apple In Fruit Bowl Award for both deliberate self-reference and only skating by on technicalities goes to...
    The... primary? couple featured across the Simulacrum of Dread and Mourners, Abednego, Persistence is a somewhat messed-up-in-the-head human guy, and a member of a large unisex alien species with esoteric thought processes and tentacles instead of legs. Also, the man's arm is technically an unwanted prosthesis with a live-in artificial entity. What do you mean, that's not normal?

    If you've a head for holistic science fantasy, the Library may oblige:
    If you've a dislike for lengthy names, I'm so sorry.


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