When I read this article on the University Times, I shouted, booed, and cheered at my computer. I am not going to respond to it directly or to almost anything said in it. I just want to share my thoughts on the subject since it's something I have thought a lot about.
As a gender queer gay writer, my biggest fear when I got started was that I would be called or classified as a gay writer. Needless to say, all of my fears came true while the Fate's Harrow serial was coming out. I was cast off to the LGBT panels, and seemingly all of my fears came true... or did they.
I embraced the categorization, and my next two books, and found an audience that I didn't expect. Admittedly, it wasn't a large audience, but it is so supportive. Now, I have to ask myself, what was I afraid of?
Closeted Writer or Honest Stories
The real choice I faced in my writing was whether to be honest about the types of characters I wanted to write about or to stay in a closet of my own making and tell stories I thought other people wanted to read about. While the latter may be a better strategy for my business, it was a betrayal of everything in me to write.
Not all of my characters are gay or gender queer, but that is my voice as a writer. It is how I see the world and understand it. To write any other way would be dishonest to my experience of life.
I am not saying this to judge other writers for their choices. I understand what a personal decision this is, but if you are struggling with this question, I hope my experience helps you.
Write in your voice, not someone else's
Whatever state you are in, write in your unique voice. That voice is flavored by your gender, sexuality, beliefs, and experiences. Your voice isn't the same as your favorite writers', and that is a beautiful thing.
No one talks like you. No one sees the world like you. No one imagines the things you imagine. If you are a writer, it is your duty to tell your own stories in your own voice which will always be colored by your own experiences.
Embrace your uniqueness and don't compare you work to the work of others. If you were meant to write their book, you would have, and it would sound nothing like their book does.
Be strong in your own stories, and be open to the worlds bursting forth from within you. They are your challenge alone.