The common misconception about writing M/M (male and male) romance is that it’s very hard. Like most fiction, research is recommended, but in reality, writing a M/M romance is very similar to writing a traditional romance.
Stay away from stereotypes. This is usually considered lazy writing and does not portray complex main character well. When starting to write a M/M romance, delve deep into back story. Make sure you have a well fleshed out past that makes sense with the character. Don’t be overtly obvious as you build a character. Telling things like he was caught with playgirl magazine in his room, most often will not go over well with a reader. Give hints to why your main characters are attracted to each other. Touch on qualities and desires like you would in a normal romance.
Try to make your characters dynamic and stay away from the typical he’s very feminine and he’s very masculine unless you have a solid concrete reason to do so. There’s nothing wrong with a romance featuring two feminine men or two very masculine alpha men.
Don’t use phrases like it was a life style choice or a phase they are going through. As M/M becomes more popular and people are becoming more aware, many people of the LGBT community are coming to light. It’s an old opinion that it’s a phase or taboo. More so, with the growing LGBT community becoming more open, the popularity of M/M fiction is growing. This is partially do to the draw to something new in the world of readers.
Possibly one of your biggest hurdles in writing M/M, is making this relatable to your typical reader. This means, not just targeting your LGBT community. You need to get into the head of your character and the heart of your reader. Make them feel the struggled and understand. With the growing popularity of Fantasy, Sci-fi, and other genera’s in pop culture this may be one of the hardest things to write well as it’s still not very main-stream yet.
If you are starting out, and not in a M/M relationship yourself, the best place to start is research. Start with other popular M/M novels. Read up on your desired topic. Ask someone in that kind of relationship. Don’t be afraid of offending people. Often times they will be nice and let you know if that is something they are comfortable talking about. With so much false information out there, going to the source is best. Don’t pry. No one likes people probing into their personal life, so start out by asking something simple like, “I’m writing a book and thought you could help me. Would it be all right and email you about what I’m working on and if you’re interested, could I ask you some questions to help me write this?” Be courteous, and if they say no, accept it and move on.
Steps to writing M/M
1. The more outward about their sexuality the more dynamic and carefree their personality tends to be.
2. If a character is hiding their sexuality they will tend to over masculinize themselves to play the role.
3. Remember they are normal people and will act like any other characters in situations.
4. Don’t be afraid to peek into a porn site for ideas when writing explicit sex scenes.
5. Don’t name, brand, or tag these characters like they’re the ‘token’ character in your story.
6. Be detailed and check your facts.
Writing F/F romance
Writing F/F fiction (female and female) can be tricky. The biggest rule is it must be catchy. F/F fiction is well dominated by M/M fiction and tends to be a harder sell. This could possibly be because of the high amount of female romance readers over male.
To start, characters cannot be stereotypical. To capture a reader, you need to dynamic characters that stand out. Females are great emotional characters, so capturing your reader with feelings instead of intense action will be easier. Avoid derogatory terms such as lez or dike as this diminishes your character.
When writing F/F characters, don’t try to write them as if they are men, and if you do make sure there’s a very good reason. A more dynamic character may check out another woman’s butt or breasts, but are most likely not going to come on with cheesy one liners.
A woman trying to attract a woman will be very similar to a woman trying to attract a man. Remember all characters actions will be based on reason and often past experiences. A strong back story makes it easier to believe why a character will perform a certain action. How their family, friends, and peers reacted to them in the past with shape how they interact in the future.
A female character shunned for being a lesbian might try to hide it. They might sneak to places they could meet someone like themselves or even date other men to cover it up. On the other hand, someone who’s family embraced them and were encouraged by their friends might be very outgoing and open about their sexuality.
Don’t be afraid to have others read your work and listen closely to criticism. If multiple people say about the same thing, this will give you grounds and a place to start to rework your writing. If everyone says they don’t like your main character, figure out why. Ignore comments regarding their sexuality and focus on deeper things. Sexuality and things outside of a reader’s norm should not effect if they like the story or not. A common example of this is aliens, fantasy creatures like centaurs, or androids. Good writing can push a reader past their boundaries.
Facts and Myths about LGBT
Myth: Being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is just a phase.
Fact: Lots of people do experiment with their sexuality, but for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people their attraction to the same or both genders all their life is the same as straight people. Often it is felt or known at a very young age.
Myth: Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people can be cured.
Fact: This is like saying you can be cured of naturally having blue eyes or liking the color red. There is no cure and scientists have warned that trying to do so with some current procedures out there can be very dangerous.
Myth: Being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is a choice.
Fact: People don’t choose who they fall in love with. Same sex, opposite sex, old, and young.
Myth: People who are lesbian, gay, and bisexual are very promiscuous and will try and jump into bed with anyone they meet.
Fact: Sexual orientation has nothing to do with how many or how few partners a person has.
Myth: Being bisexual, gay, or lesbian is unnatural.
Fact: Scientists have shown that bisexual, gay, and lesbian relationships have existed in the animal kingdom for years. Most notably seen in bonobos, orcas, black swans, and even lions.
Myth: Gay men molest children at a high rate than heterosexuals.
Fact: Scientists found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.
Myth: Allowing gay people to serve openly will damage the armed forces.
Fact: Much research has been done on this subject and found that over the years up to 10% of our armed forced have been gay and operating under the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policies. Also no research has been found that depicts there is or have been any harm in allowing gay troupes to serve.
Myth: LGBT people can be identified by certain Mannerisms, clothing or physical characteristics
Fact: People are individuals with individual tastes and interests. Observable trends tend to start stereotypes, but most often they are untrue and not accurate.
Myth: In a same sex relationship one person usually plays the masculine role and the other a famine role.
Fact: As with heterosexual couples, this dynamic varies from person to person depending on personality, dynamics, and other factors.
Myth: LGBT people do not make good parents.
Fact: Other than stigmatism from their peers, research has shown there is no higher occurrence of issues/problems than in children of heterosexual children.
LGBT definitions and more
LGBT is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. It has been used since the 1990s.
A lesbian is a homosexual woman; a woman who is sexually attracted to the same sex.
Gay is a term that primarily refers to a homosexual person or the trait of being homosexual. The term's use as a reference to homosexuality may date as early as the late 19th century, but its use gradually increased in the 20th century.
Bisexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior toward both males and females.
Transgender people are those who have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from their assigned sex.
Pansexuality, or omnisexuality, is the sexual, romantic or emotional attraction towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity.
A person with no connection to the traditional system of gender.
Experiencing little or no sexual attraction to others and a lack of interest in sexual relationships.
Little or no capacity to experience sexual attraction until a strong romantic or emotional connection is formed with another individual, often within a romantic relationship.
Gender fluid is a gender identity best described as a dynamic mix of boy and girl.
(n) taking delight in the happiness of others, vicarious joy.
(n) the time after lunch or dinner spent talking to the people you shared the meal with.
(n) just the right amount.
(n) the overwhelming urge to squeeze or pinch something very cute
(n) a joke so poorly told and unfunny you can’t help but laugh
(v) to do something with soul, creativity, or love; when you leave a piece of yourself in your work.
(n) a longing to travel. Missing a place you’ve never been.
(n) pre-fun, the sense of enjoyment felt before a party or event takes place.
(n) ab absence of anything annoying, taking pleasure from the presence of gentle or soothing things.
(n) a person who is always late because they think they have more time than they do. A time optimist.
(n) the ability to gauge mood of others, read the atmosphere, and react appropriately.
(v) to continue eating part the point of being full because the food tastes so good.
(n) the act of buying a book and leaving it unread, often piled together with other unread books.
Thanks to Hollywood, authors may have a very false sense on what they can accurately write about volcanos. How many times have we seen bodies swallowed who by lava at the depths of a volcano? Well in reality the odds a body would make it that far is slim to none. The temperatures can reach over 1800 degrees Fahrenheit which is hot enough to incinerate the human body. For comparison the cremation of a dead body is carried out at a temperature ranging between 1400 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.
But there’s more. You have to get close enough. The rim of the volcano is filled with enough toxic gas to kill anyone who gets close with temperatures reaching 900 degrees Fahrenheit. When approaching you may think you’re getting tired, but it really is the toxic combination of sulfur, methane, carbon monoxide, and ammonia. Without oxygen, it would not be long before you suffocate.
Most images of the inside of a volcano we got by photographers either hovering above, drone, or who have dropped down towards the center. That’s if the smoke and updraft from the heat doesn’t force the helicopter back or just devour a drone.
Magma is also more viscous than water which means falling into it from any height would be the equivalent to falling into concrete.
So now you’ve plummeted from a great height, you’re suffocating, skin already burnt, with broken bones and most likely ruptured organs from the impact, now what? Due to the viscosity of magma you don’t plan on sinking in too far. In less then a second you’re going to look like grandfather’s ashes.
So, is it possible to fall into a volcano and live? Well, it’s rare, but it has happened. In 2007 a Maasai porter fell into a volcano but managed to pull himself out. How is this possible. Well the lava he fell into was noncarbonate lava which is only half as hot. He suffered severe burns to his legs and arms but lived. Natrocarbonatite lavas are rich in the rare sodium and potassium carbonate minerals, nyerereite and gregoryite. Due to this composition, the lava erupts at relatively low temperatures around 1022 degrees Fahrenheit. Not that this is just a mild heatwave but compared to regular lava temperatures natrocarbonatite lava has enough difference in temperature that the molten lava appears black in sunlight, rather than having the red glow common to most lavas. It is also much more fluid than silicate lavas.
Some volcanos can erupt enough sulfur dioxide to bring down the temperature globally. The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines brought the global temperature down at least 32 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the USGS.
When a volcano erupts it can cover around a 20 mile radius. And if the volcano does not get you the lightning might. Volcanic lightning occurs mostly within the cloud of ash during an eruption and is created by the friction of the ash rushing to the surface. Lightening can strike 5-10 miles away.
A volcanic eruption might not be the big blockbuster boom like the movies portray either. Sometimes only a hissing sound is heard when a volcano erupts. But, what Hollywood does have right is that the force of the sound wave can cause hearing loss and break glass.
Have you ever sat there trying to think of how to write shirts and pants better? Did you know there actually a name for every type of shirt, collar, sleeves, pant lengths, and more? Check out these numerous images to help you describe your clothing better.
Want more? Check out our Clothing For Writers Pinterest page. We'll be continuously adding more information for our authors.
Disclaimer: NeoLeaf Press does not own any of the images below. Some images are harder to see. If interested in any images below please go to our Pinterest page listed above.
Pants and Skirts
Here you are with this amazing character named Joe… Well that’s how it usually starts. Authors sometimes take for granted the power of a name. Look at the big names such as Harry Potter, Jesse Stone, Jack Reacher, and James Bond. Each name not only fits the character, it’s also catchy and memorable. This is what every author should strive for.
Choosing a name is not as easy as picking something that sounds good, it needs to have meaning (like why would their parents choose that name), needs to make sense in the location (Someone in Russia most likely won’t have a Chinese name), and needs to unique, (different than the names of other popular book characters). This makes the task a little daunting and has led to many authors having an awkward amount of baby name books on their shelves. Luckily, there are many online sites which help with name creation.
For names that need significant meaning or certain origin we recommend Behind The Name. This website has extensive information on names, origins, meanings, and even popularity depending on year.
The next is a fun UK website Name Generator. This website has a plethora of options including Character Names, Pirate Names, Hero Names, and Villain Names.
Another great option, especially for fantasy writers, is Fantasy Name Generator. This is commonly used for gaming groups and has over 100 categories for names for fantasy characters including Aliens, Elves, Dwarfs, and many more.
The last great website Fake Name Generator, also generates demographics including things like address, phone number, favorite color, and vehicle they drive.
We all struggle with finding the perfect title for out novel. Most of the time we look for something that sounds catchy and makes sense. What most authors typically miss is doing significant research on their title before picking it.
Why do research? Well, researching a title, keywords, and trends could be the difference between having a best-seller and a flop. A good example of this is books with the word ALPHA in them. There are so many books, that a casual shopper just entering the title will be flooded with results, and often those results will not even contain your book. Why? Because, if there are other books with a similar or the same title that have higher reviews and/or sales they will show up first.
So, what should you do? After coming up with a title idea, search various sites such as Google, Amazon, and Goodreads. You want to make sure another book does not have the exact same title and look at how many books have similar titles. If possible, try to find a title that only closely matches ten or less books. Sometimes this is not possible, but it’s a good habit to get into.
Try a swing at Google too. If your book is about werewolves in Chicago type in a few key words and see what Google auto suggests. This will show you what are the trending phrases. Just typing werewolf net the results werewolf, werewolf cat, werewolf game, and werewolf syndrome. Typing Werewolf In nets the results Werewolf in London, Werewolf in Spanish, Werewolf in Paris, and Werewolf in French. Well Werewolf in London and Werewolf in Paris is already taken for book titles, but Werewolf in French is not. Also, Werewolf Syndrome has minimal book results. (Note from publication of this article this may have changed so use it only as an example.)
All this information can help you launch your book with a bang and make it easily found by your readers. Using this method also makes it so you don’t use another popular title. Authors have been known to get hard feelings when they think someone if copying their title.
Still a little hung up? You can also try online random book title generators.
Random Novel Title Generator
Random Story Title Generator
Book Title Generator
Making a character is difficult, but with this handy chart you can work out small facts you never knew about your character. This can help flesh out a confusing character, or just get to know one better.
Character Chart Part One: First impressions
AGE: HEIGHT: WEIGHT: BIRTH DATE:
HAIR COLOR and Style:
Describe physical characteristics, body type, etc.:
Specific markingS, tattoo, scar, birthmarks:
Greatest physical flaw:
STYLE OF DRESS:
One piece of clothing he/she would never be without:
What does he/she think of this profession:
Character Chart Part Two: A brief look
Name of father: Important details:
Name of mother: Important details:
ATTITUDES TOWARD PARENTS:
Brothers: Important details:
Sisters: Important details:
ATTITUDES TOWARD siblings:
Favorite place, hangout, peaceful spot:
IS HOME A HAPPY PLACE FOR CHARACTER TO BE? WHY?:
DESCRIBE CHARACTER’S PHYSICAL HOME. DRAW OUT A FLOORPLAN IF IT HELPS:
Character Chart part three: A closer look
FAVORITE STYLE OF MUSIC:
Favorite pasttime, book, TV show, movie, etc:
Most precious possession:
BEST FRIEND, detail, description:
Person he/she would call for help. Why?:
Character chart part four: keeping it straight
BEST ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE THIS CHARACTER:
DESCRIBED BY OTHERS AS:
CHARACTER TRAITS, STRONG OR WEAK:
BIGGEST emotional flaw:
GIFTS CHARACTER POSSESSES:
WHAT DOES YOUR CHARACTER DO, HOW DOES HE/SHE BEHAVE WHEN he/SHE IS-
CAUGHT DOING SOMETHING WRONG:
Character Chart Part Five: Into the mind
OPINION OF SELF:
MOST FRIGHTENING CHILDHOOD MEMORY:
MOST EMBARASSING CHILDHOOD MEMORY:
MOST JOYFUL CHILDHOOD MEMORY:
An embarrassing SECRET:
Most powerful dream:
Goal in life:
Character Chart Part Six: Into the Heart
What characteristics do they look for in a spouse:
Name of Romantic interest, fiancée, spouse:
How do these characters interact:
A key detail about their relationship:
What would be an ideal date:
What would cause your character the most heartache? Why?:
Character Chart Part Seven: Into the soul
What is one thing youR character would never do:
In a life or death situation would your character fight, fly, or freeze? Why?:
Who is the one person your character feels they couldn’t live without:
GREATEST WANT OR DESIRE:
PiCTure a sCenario where your character is in peril. What do they do:
If you’ve been on social media lately you’ve seen them. The ‘what is your ____’ birthday games. They offer variation that’s customized to you. It makes it both a fun game and personal. These gained popularity in the same way daily astrology readings did. It’s the desire to know what you personally are like, according to that chart.
It may seem like a fun social media game, but it has many benefits for authors. These prompts are great for random inspiration, producing numerous outcomes. Also a plus is the variation. You see anything from personality type games to what’s your dragon name, making them versatile to any type of writer.
We at NeoLeaf Press decided to have some fun as well and created a few games of our own! Below are 9 great games. But there will be more! Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/neoleafpress or on our website www.neoleafpress.com.
Write the first 2 paragraphs where the only character is a car driving down a road (work on atmosphere, setting). Add a sense of peril or other interest.
During Thursday 1/17/2019 Marion County Writer’s Workshop session we discussed the above challenge. What we learned was vast as the topic drove to many different locations.
Here were a few key sentences by MCWW authors:
A road map marked with a red circle.
Flashes of lightning illuminating skinny trees in the distance.
Gloomy shadows stretched over the hood of the car.
It was once the envy of the fleet. Long and sleek, its smooth black surface buffed to a high sheen. It bore the emblem of its maker, Cadillac.
Gravel crunched under the tires.
The engine wailed.
Wind whistled through the window, broken and stuck open.
Light reflected off the broken windshield, making the cracks look like spider webs.
So what things can help you write to the above challenge?
First, cars can make different noises, but for this challenge we’re going to focus on bad ones.
Phew, this is a lot, and a nice list of things that can make a mechanic sweat.
Road sounds are also great to add to atmosphere, but did you know different types of roads make different sounds?
Here’s a quick guide:
Concrete surfaces are made using a concrete mix of Portland cement, coarse aggregate, sand and water. One of the major advantages of concrete pavements is they are typically stronger and more durable than asphalt roadways. They also can be grooved to provide a durable skid-resistant surface. The road noise of a car traveling 60 MPH is usually around 80 decibels, but it can range between 55 and 80 decibels along a highway. To put this in perspective a quiet living room is usually around 40 decibels, and a loud shout is around 90 decibels.
Road noise also varies according to road condition. A road with more pot holes and cracks will produce a higher decibel of noise.
Open-graded asphalt mixtures are designed to be water-permeable to help remove standing water from the road. Open-graded asphalt mixes can incorporate polymer-modified binders and/or fibers which add durability over a long time. They help to remove standing water from the road surface by allowing it to flow through the mix to the outer edges of the roadway. An added benefit of this porous design is good sound absorption. This is due to the compressed air from the tire being able to escape down through the mixture. The bottom layer contains larger aggregate while the top layer is a finer mix. This finer mix has less macrotexture, reducing contact forces which in turn reduces noise. Noise reduction with these mixes has been measured at the decibel range. Most of the time this application is used for higher traffic suburban roads with road speeds above 45 miles per hour.
Dense-graded asphalt mixtures
Reducing the aggregate size in the wearing surface will generally result in a quieter surface. These mixes sometimes include crumb rubber and/or a polymer binder. This type of mixture gets its sound dampening qualities by having a reduced contact area as well as an increase in flexibility allowing for air to escape at a lower pressure. It has been noted that these types of mixes can reduce road noise by as much as 8 decibels.
Fine-graded surface mixtures
Examples of these types of mixtures or surface treatments are microsurfacing and ultra-thin bonded asphalt surfaces. They can act as road preservation techniques and help reduce noise. These thin-surfaced, gap-graded mixes have less macrotexture which reduces contact areas between the tire and the road creating less noise. Reductions can be seen in the range of 2-5 decibels.
Applying gravel, or "metalling", has had two distinct usages in road surfacing. The term road metal refers to the broken stone or cinders used in the construction or repair of roads or railways, and is derived from the Latin metallum, which means both "mine" and "quarry". "Road metal" later became the name of stone chippings mixed with tar to form the road surfacing material tarmac. A road of such material is called a "metalled road" in Britain, a "paved road" in Canada and the US, or a "sealed road" in parts of Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
A granular surface can be used with a traffic volume where the annual average daily traffic is 1,200 vehicles per day or less. The noise level produced by a car on a gravel road is higher by 4 decibels than that on a road with asphalt pavement. In summertime, as car speed increases, the noise level rises by 5 decibels.
Level B Roads
These roads are minimally maintained roads for areas of low traffic that do not serve a residence or do not require frequent access. These roads have the biggest ranges of decibel of road noise due to their condition and varying traffic speed. No research has been done on the estimated decibels of road noise. These roads offer the most variation on road noises such as crashes through potholes, grinding on the ridges of ruts, and snaps and crashes over sticks and rocks.
Another part of adding a sense of peril is the things seen from cars. Since the focus of this challenge was peril, I chose to add a few things you’d see specifically see and smell at night.
Things seen with headlights.
Glowing eyes in darkness.
The reflectiveness of a sign.
Passing trees close to the road can make a woosh woosh.
Animals may dart by, but they will only seem to be a color and size. A raccoon, fat cat, and small dog can all look the same when you pass by them in the dark.
Rain makes things blurry.
Snow makes things brighter.
A full moon casts long shadows, but things are more defined.
The reflection of headlights on power lines making the look of little silver ropes.
Stale and dusty from the air vents
Hot and dusty from the heat vents
The last thing discussed when adding a sense of peril was sentence length. This can help put your reader in the correct mood.
Multiple Long Sentences
Multiple long sentences make the story feel drawn out and slow. Imagine a professor giving a boring lecture with one tone of voice. This can be used sparingly to create a slow feel in your story, but too much can make the reader feel they are treading through deep mud.
Multiple Short Sentences
Multiple short sentences give the story a quick feel. This builds action and gives the feeling of movement. Using multiple short sentences in a row can make the reader feel exhausted. Imagine someone who talks really fast and never comes up for air.
Short Sentences with Fragments
Short sentences with sentence fragments add the above description with the feeling of chaos if done too much. This can be a good tool when trying to make the reader feel overwhelmed or confused.
A Combination of the Above
A combination of the all of the above is the most used format. This gives variation creating a natural flow. You can break in using long sentences to slow down the action and then fast ones to speed it up again. This technique is great in manipulating your reader into getting a sense of speed or slowness where needed without having to specifically things like ‘it slowed down’ or ‘it sped up’.
It’s come again. The holidays. With it came food, sweets, food, and more sweets. If you’re like most authors during the holidays you indulged. Now it’s a new year and time again to renew all those exercise and weight loss promises. But don’t forget to take down the decorations. Get that January blog ready to go. Oh, and don’t forget about starting on all your projects to hit due dates in time. .
A little overwhelming? Being an author, I find myself in this trap a lot. As an author you are never “caught up”, or “ahead of the game”. This leads to a lot of stress. Exercise tends to get pushed to the back burner, so we can fight the inevitable feeling of always being behind.
Well that can change. Here is an easy program for any author to help get back in shape and keep hitting deadlines.
Get your computer on a bar top, high table, or anywhere that you can stand and work. Yes, stand. Get upright. Use muscles. Studies have shown activity helps boost memory and brain function.
Squats- at you high rise desk perform mini squats down far enough that you can still type, but wouldn’t be able to if you go any farther.
Wall Sits- When you hit writer's block go find a wall. Place your back to the wall and then slide down until your hips and knees are at a 90-degree angle. Hold for 30 seconds while taking deep breaths.
Single Leg Stance- While writing, stand on one leg. Try not using your hands for balance and keep typing. Hold until you get tired and then switch legs.
Knee Squeezes- Place a pillow between your knees. While standing and working squeeze knees together as hard as possible on pillow and then relax. Repeat until the insides of your thighs feel fatigued.
Heel Raises- While standing and working on computer go up on your toes and then back down. Repeat until fatigued.
Chair Dip- With your back to a chair, put your hands on the seat of the chair. Slowly lower yourself down and then back up. Repeat until your triceps feel tired.
Wall Push Ups- Get up and put your hands on any wall. Bend your elbows and try to lower your nose to the wall and then straighten your arms.
Keep at it. Every time go until you feel fatigued. After a while you’ll notice you can do these exercises for longer and longer periods of time. You should feel more energized while writing. Utilize your times of writer’s block for you and your health.