In which I tackle two questions that emerged from a discussion on SLJ’s Someday My Printz Will Come blog about Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue:
- What constitutes “subtlety” when it comes to describing same-sex relationships in fiction?
- Is it believable to have same-sex relationships in a medieval-esque fantasy world?
I have seen this critique for books a lot (generally, I don’t just mean my books, though mine as well). It was ‘too obvious,’ ‘too PC,’ the writer was trying ‘too hard’ to be inclusive.
I remember one person saying about a book ‘gosh, having all the names for the tenants in this one apartment building be of different ethnicities was just SO OBVIOUS and self-conscious, I didn’t like that’… and I knew the writer, a friend of mine, had simply written down the names from her own apartment building.
Because writers make something clear, they’re seen as making it too obvious… but only because readers are used to seeing such things presented obliquely, as if they should not be spoken outright. (The love that dare not speak its name, but can sort of say ‘the name sounds like…’?)
It’s jarring for readers for a book to explicitly defy the default: it either jumps out to readers as discordant, or they refuse to absorb it. (Remember all the people shocked, shocked, that there were characters of colour in the Hunger Games.) So someone saying ‘a girl fancies a boy’ passes by without making much impression (of course! such is the way of the world!) but a ‘a girl fancies a girl’ is seen as Terribly Obvious. When of course, they’re the same amount of obvious: they’re both just facts.
I am not talking about all readers, of course: I’m just talking about a readerly trend, and one that should be examined.
The sense of discomfort comes from the world, not the writing.
- helenamanninq likes this
- pansyforyourthoughts reblogged this from alopexplasma
- tgstonebutch reblogged this from malindalo
- the-scribblesaur reblogged this from sarahreesbrennan
- tailoredshirt likes this
- jiminsole likes this
- superwhofflepuff likes this
- sarellathesphinx reblogged this from ihavealittlefeminism
- watchinghour reblogged this from vikingserket
- watchinghour likes this
- trinketsandtangles likes this
- wearethemakersofmanners likes this
- sandwichpresss likes this
- talkingdarkspawn reblogged this from ihavealittlefeminism
- talkingdarkspawn likes this
- vikingserket reblogged this from metaphoricallocker
- aimsme reblogged this from ihavealittlefeminism
- winterqueenelsaa likes this
- ihavealittlefeminism reblogged this from medeamotheroftheyear
- medeamotheroftheyear reblogged this from femmescerek
- femmescerek reblogged this from ophiucha
- femmescerek likes this
- thellamaduo reblogged this from nappynomad and added:
- dandelionjourney likes this
- bflteens likes this
- rpknaves reblogged this from kateelliottsff
- megancrewe reblogged this from malindalo
- supergirl-sass likes this
- rangerose reblogged this from akumastrife
- goodyafternoon likes this
- ridiculousmavis reblogged this from fuckyeahlesbianliterature and added:
- bizarreserenity reblogged this from motherfuckingtea
- motherfuckingtea reblogged this from sarahreesbrennan and added:
- cuntext reblogged this from fuckyeahlesbianliterature
- carnilia reblogged this from sarahreesbrennan
- pearlslaceandroses reblogged this from agentvictoriahand
- petrichorandpie reblogged this from talktomethomas
- talktomethomas reblogged this from annaverity
- dunerowl reblogged this from missivesfromghosts
- invalidgriffin likes this
- bunburyahoy likes this
- syncreticimage likes this
- chriscappuccino reblogged this from missivesfromghosts
- berezina likes this
- sexyrelicanth reblogged this from batlesbo
- gogglesque likes this
- nighbrarian reblogged this from yaflash
- dreamingonlysweetly reblogged this from ellenkushner and added: