I love having a crush. Sometimes I feel it coming like a wave, gently washing over me, a warm feeling, I bob about in it, let myself get carried away. I remember the first crush I ever had, before I even knew what the feeling was. The time dragging in long lessons without her, saving her a seat feverishly waiting for her to take it, walking home and holding hands and feeling light-headed. I understood for the first time what the novels I read meant when they talked about swooning heroines. I was positively faint with lust. Sometimes I feel a crush coming like a flood, immediate and catastrophic. Oh no , I think, part horrified, part thrilled, you could ruin my life . I don't even attempt to avoid it, I stand still and wait to be washed away. I'm prone to mooning about, obsessing, fantasizing, daydreaming. I have been known to spend nights wallowing in self pity and sad girl playlists, staring at my phone and reveling in the melodrama of it all. Part of the joy for me as a queer woman, when writing about characters falling for each other, is the shamelessness of it all—the pain and the pleasure. Because it hasn't always felt shameless, and for a lot of queer people having a crush on someone is still something wrapped up in confusion, isolation, a necessary secrecy because of perceived or real danger. There is something deeply radical and exciting to me, about bringing into the light what is used to being kept in the dark. I didn't set out to write a queer rom com, in the sense that when I wrote my first novel, The Split, I wasn't as intentional as that, assuming like most writers that no one would ever read it. I wrote about what I knew—complicated, funny, queer, twenty- and thirty-something's muddling through life the best way they know how. I wrote what I wanted to read—a rom com with a protagonist I related to, a rom com with a love interest I fancied, with relationships I recognized, and […]
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