Writer / Reader / Fandom Extraordinaire
Chiara / April 21, 2015 , Tue / lgbtqia, writing

Take me back to THE SWEET TIMES, THE HOT NIGHTS, EVERYTHING IS GONNA BE ALRIGHT, IN THE SUMMERTIME. BABY, IN THE SUMMERTIME.

Ahem.

Back when I was 13/14, I wrote my “first book. It was a heinous thing with no paragraphs to speak of, no plot, and just KISSING EVERYWHERE. So it wasn’t really a book, per se, but just something that had a beginning and an end and was written by moi.

After that piece of shit “book”, I wasn’t able to finish another book until I was 21 (which was last year, by the way). I tried. I tried VERY hard. I had story ideas that I thought were fantastic, that I was completely in love with, that I was sure that this time I would be able to finally, finally write a book.

I was wrong. Every time. The closest I ever got was a 25,000 word abandoned YA fantasy.

You  know the common theme with all these failed books? It was that they were all heteronormative. They all featured girl meets boy, girl and boy can’t be together for reason x, but girl and boy make it and live happily ever after.

My first finished book? It was JB, and it’s about a gay boy who falls in love for the first time, comes out to his family, and is in his last year of high school (with no concrete plans for the future). My second book is about a bisexual boy who falls in love with a boy. My current WIP (work in progress) is about a transguy who falls in love with a boy. Obviously these are condensed versions of what the books involve because they’re not JUST about these boys that fall in love – they’re about a lot more than that – but they’re certainly not in the same strain of books that I had failed to write before last year. They’re queer. And they’re about boys.

After I finished JB, and cried about finishing a book for the first time, and saying goodbye to my darlings, I realised that not only did I love this story more than the other not-finished-stories, and not only did I love these characters more than the other not-finished-stories – I realised that I’d been boxing myself in to bow down to the popular market of heteronormative books. I hadn’t even allowed myself to think that I could write these stories that had always been in my heart but never made their way to my head or to my computer screen. I had boxed myself in. I had boxed my heart in. And I had boxed my writing in.

Sure, being a queer writer isn’t easy. And I’ve already learned that in more ways than one. But it’s who I am. And who I will always be, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

(win a great queer YA book here)

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6 Responses to when i realised i’d been boxing myself in

  1. I love this post and I love that you have made wonder about diversity on books. I think I’m going to write a post on the subject in my blog, because of you. It’s so necessary to speak up about these subjects, to recognize other ways of love/life, to as you put it: get out of the box. And with this post you’re also inspiring me, Chiara, I think one of my biggest goals in life is to write a story and what you’re sharing today is making me think about this goal I’ve set for myself. So thank you, so much. And keep up the writing! :)

    • Chiara says:

      Thank you so much! That means the world <3 I look forward to reading your post, and I'm so glad that this post of mine has gotten you thinking!

  2. Romi says:

    Brilliant, Chiara.

    Something that’s really interesting to me about writing is that for so many authors I’ve read Q&As from, they’re asked was it what they always wanted to do and the answer is yes. It’s almost always yes. And for me, it’s not. For ten years I worked towards being something else, never considering this, and when that… fell apart, I guess, writing was new, something I’d only been faintly working on, but it was there for me. *tears at the beauty of such a realisation and because I’m a sap* When we find the thing we really, truly love, when we meet the characters who might not have been the first ones we worked on, or the ones we spent the most time editing, but who are really and utterly special, it’s such a… well it’s a damn gorgeous, glorious feeling. I’m so very happy that you’ve found the beginning of these characters, for you, and are writing the things you should be writing.

    OH. And I’m wondering. Do you do/are you interested in doing the critique partner thing (I’m fantastic with words, oh oui) and would you be looking for one in the next couple of months?
    Xx

    • Chiara says:

      THANK YOU, ROMI <3

      I think it's absolutely wonderful that you've discovered writing, Romi! Seriously. Like you said: it's a glorious thing, and you can tear up all you want ^.^ I have shed many a tear over my writing over the years. I think it comes with the territory. It has been amazing finding my true writer self in the characters that I have been writing recently. It's been amazing.

      As for a critique partner ... I have never had one XD But I would be interested, so if you want to email me in the coming months, feel free!

      • Romi says:

        It has always seemed like a little bit of a strange thing, to tear up over ones own writing, but I think it’s something that should be utterly embraced. I mean, if nothing else it shows how connected you are to your work, how involved. How you’re destroying their hopes and chances and it’s all for the best. That kind of thing.

        Oh yay! I’m really excited about that, thank you! I’ll definitely email you in a month or two. xx

        • Chiara says:

          It IS weird, but I think it happens to a lot of writers! And like you said: you’re connected SO much to these characters that you created, it’s like they are their own entity. Mine have wheedled their way so deeply into my heart that there is no escaping the effect they have on me. Even stories I have finished – their characters still sit in my mind, and I think about them often and how their lives are going. Which is a bit odd because *I* decide but to me they aren’t really my creations. They just chose me to be their vessel.

          No problem! :D I look forward to hearing from you <3

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