Generally, I let the writing flow. I am, in basically every other aspect of my life, a planner. Very detail oriented. One of my partners (Partner H) called me an order muppet of the highest degree, and she is very much correct. I will have you know that this comes in extremely handy in my day job as a data analyst. It is also useful in managing family google calendars.
But writing is a release from that. It just…works. I try not to over think it. But I’m not writing in a vacuum, and it is me doing the writing, and that means I write within certain parameters. There are some things I just cannot write.
Ok, if you haven’t read Cloud Atlas and you’re planning to, skip the rest of this post as it will contain spoilers. CLOUD ATLAS SPOILERS, I SAY!
Continue below the cut if you don’t mind being spoiled/have already read it.
In Cloud Atlas, the only section that really resonated with me were the letters from Zedelghem. Sonmi’s sections were fascinating, but I bonded with Robert Frobisher. And I saw the suicide coming, I really did, but it pissed me off anyway, because the last thing I needed was another critically-lauded book that presents a queer love story only to have it tragically end in unnecessary death. I am over it. I am over the implication that queer love is always tragic, and fragile, and the deeper implication this makes that it is flawed. Done with it.
I say this because I write a lot of queer love stories, and because while not all of them turn out to be happy endings, I refuse – refuse – to have them end like Robert Frobisher. I just can’t do it. I am not saying there is no place for a story like that. Given the terrible tragedies queer youth face in the world, it is unfortunately true that these stories still exist.
But I won’t put them in my work. The stories are out there; many have been written already, and they are still being written. Other people have this covered. I am going to do something different.
I have written queer characters who die, and I have written queer characters who are self-destructive, but I won’t write queer characters who are deeply self-destructive and link that (explicitly or implicitly) to the fact of their queerness. Because I won’t do that to myself. And I don’t want some queer kid to read my work and then do it to themself. They’ll have enough to deal with without me adding to it.