Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Other Worldly

I don't write about the "other". I never have, and never particularly want to - not because it doesn't interest me, but because I worry too much about getting it wrong. I don't even want to use the term "other" in all honesty - unless it specifically means just something besides myself. The term is too loaded to me, too full of memories of university and tales of marginalisation and disenfranchisement.

Which is precisely why I steer clear of writing MM fiction. Though I want to stress - it's not because I think women shouldn't write MM. Far from it. Men have been writing about us (sometimes very successfully, I might add) for centuries without so much as a by your leave, so I don't see why not. And as my fellow Grippers have already pointed out: you don't need to be a serial killer or a rocket scientist or what have you to write about being a serial killer or a rocket scientist.

So I think it's perfectly possble for a woman to write a gay man, or vice versa.

I just don't want to do it myself. I don't feel qualified enough, I don't think I know enough, I'm not confident enough in my own abilities.

But I am confident in my own abilities to write about one sort of "other". It's the one I spent the most amount of time at university studying, the one the term other was most often applied to: women. I even thought of writing a book called Other based on this studying and all my own experiences of Gothic novels and how Victorian society viewed differences, pitching the strangeness of an otherwordly creature against the perceived strangeness of a woman with otherly desires.

So I suppose in that sense, there's another layer of otherness I'm willing to explore - that of the paranormal creature. It's probably why I like horror and sci-fi so much, because it gives me a chance to look at all of these issues - of difference, of marginalisation etc, without the terror of getting it wrong. I can create my own boundaries, and cross them.

And that's something I'm always willing to do.


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3 comments:

  1. You don't feel too exposed writing that clsoe to home?

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  2. I think for me writing MM would be the ultimate other, and like yourself I haven;t been able to go there. Sometimes being the right gender isn't enough. Anyway, we keep it fun.
    GArce

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  3. Hi, Charlotte,

    Actually, I think it's a huge challenge to write believable paranormal creatures. If they're too human, they fall flat.

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