S.A. Garcia's Mutterings, Whimpers and Rants

S.A. Garcia's Mutterings, Whimpers and Rants. World Domination by 2020. Or 2025. Probably never.

Friday, June 22, 2012

It Started with Dōjinshi

I wrote m/m romance long before I even knew that yaoi existed. I understand that yaoi has existed for a long time, but back when I started writing m/m romance, I’d never heard of the term. Looking back, I realize that my initial writings really had a lot in common with traditional yaoi. One character always seemed to play a more subservient role. In 1980 when I was 20 and still discovering myself, this was how I had been raised to the world. But for some reason I was writing gay male romance.

Gay male romance is not something I recently “discovered” and decided to start writing. I started writing gay male romance back when I was in high school, long before I understood how tab A inserted into slot B, well, except through what I read in books. In 1978, a suburban teenager didn’t have a great deal of access to certain sexual information. I crept around the problem by reading authors like Gordon Merrick and John Rechy. I also had a great imagination.

Over the years, my scribbling filled notebooks. I loved writing stories filled with romance, partings, angst, and ultimately true love, well, at least for the stories which found an ending. Many of those early, badly written stories languish unfinished in those notebooks. I feel bad for those poor characters. This nasty bitch has trapped them in limbo. The few characters who escaped are damned happy.

Back in around 2000, dōjinshi works exposed me to the yaoi world, even though the concept of  dōjinshi, or self-published works, had come first. It didn’t matter; I had never heard of either one. This Lord of the Rings freak had made friends with people in Japan and Thailand. One friend lusted after a US magazine that was impossible to find in Thailand. I had a copy, and sold it to her at cost. She sent me something called a “dōjinshi” featuring Legolas and Aragorn. The art blew my mind. Lord of the Rings characters having hot gay male sex? Really? Wow. They were drawn so prettily, all flowing locks, pointed chins and big eyes. The artists even made Gimli look adorable.

My dōjinshi collection grew, thanks to my friends and a few insane eBay battles to feed my addictions. It seemed as the Lord of the Rings phase passed, the art became cruder and the stories less interesting. More rape and abuse entered the storylines. Of course I couldn’t read the stories, but the art was graphic enough to get the point across.

Collecting dōjinshi guided me to fan fiction, which offered me an insane amount of fun. My original fan fiction leaned heavily on the yaoi tradition, with one character usually in distress, but often in a comical manner. The great thing about fan fic was that I controlled the words. Better yet I could read the stories, not just look at them and wonder what did Aragorn say to make everyone blush?

Still, admiring hot male/male dōjinshi set a fire under me. The stories and art told me that many people out there enjoyed reading about male/male romance. At this point in my writing, I come at the male/male romance tradition from a point of both males sharing strengths and weaknesses. Now that I am older, showing any character as nothing but weak and defenseless pisses me off. I view everyone as having strengths and weaknesses, and no one should be put in a position of continuous weakness. That’s awful. Alpha males are boring. The me so big and bad character is a drag unless there’s great comedy involved. Complex characters owning imperfections, unique quirks and unexpected stinging strengths appeal to me. At first a character might seem weaker than others, but watch out, never corner them. They will show their true character and defend themselves.

When people are pushed, they fight back for love. Everyone needs saving at some point in life, even heroes. Romance is two flawed people caring about and protecting each other. Well, at least that is this hardened realist’s version of romance. As an exercise, I need to write the traditional fairy tale romance, where one character is the alpha male hero and the other clings to him as he rides into the sunset. I’ll mark that on my calendar for, hmm, after I deal with all the flawed romantics clamoring for attention. Those romantics fight like hell when other characters try to line jump.

I still confess to admiring the pretty boys with their big eyes and long hair. That detail will never change.



  1. Alpha males *are* awful, which is why I still hate reading a lot of het romance. I never would have tried the genre at all if yaoi hadn't led me to m/m. Great post!


  2. I am a fan of M/M but have never read Yaoi. This is now on my list to check out thanks to the blog hop.

  3. Hey S.A.! Absolutely love your covers. Awesome. I'm the opposite of you. I knew about yoai way before I found the first m/m romance book.

  4. Thanks for the insight :) really enjoying this hop! Keep up the good work.

    ~ R

  5. Hiya S.A.!

    Thanks so much for sharing! I completely agree on everyone having strengths and weaknesses, and should be reflected in romance characters. I have plenty of alpha males in my stories, and although a couple of them might be built like brick walls, inside they're like gummy bears, all sweet and squishy, even if they'd never admit it. They have real flaws, fears, and always a sense of humor. Plus there's always another fella to keep them from going all Tarzan on them.

    I don't enjoy characters who are TSTL, nor characters who are so big and brave their impervious to emotion. Both extremes are no fun, and tend to annoy me. Your covers are yummy! Have a great weekend!


  6. Wonderful post!
    I love how you describe romance. Beautiful.

    Doujins are a dangerous and wonderful thing. I was already into the world of yaoi before I was introduced to doujins, but boy did they still surprise me. Artists can get away with just about anything with those 18 pages or so lol.

    Thank you for participating in the hop :D

  7. I completely agree with you one hundred percent, too much alpha is no good on any level. Power,strength, and status are great, but where's the depth? What makes this guy a real person with thoughts and dreams? I hate power robots who have a large penis, it's boring. LOL. Thanks for the post and your covers are very beautiful, I can't wait to check them out. Thanks!



  8. Yep, true alphas shouldn't take themselves too seriously. Love when the quick-witted, mouthy bottom gets the best of the big, bad top... lol!


  9. "When people are pushed, they fight back for love. Everyone needs saving at some point in life, even heroes."
    I. LOVE. THIS. I can't even-- Just, yes.

    Thanks for sharing! Oh gosh do I ever love this bloghop. :D


  10. I blame manga in general, especially yaoi for my love of men with long hair. I know it's stereotypical, but I love the sweet, innocent, long-haired uke. Anyways, I loved your post and there are some definite wonderful quotes in there I may be steal...I mean, borrowing. :P Thanks for participating!!


  11. I'm with Emily about yaoi drawing me to men with long flowing hair. LOL DANG, they are hot, though.

    I enjoyed your post and have added some of your works to my wish list; they sound great.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  12. This was a really interesting post! I'm with you on writing m/m romance from a young age, before really knowing all the mechanics of it. It wasn't something I discovered either; it just sort of happened organically. I never had an interest in any het pairings or het romance, not even as a child growing up in the era of Disney princess movies. In fact, I wonder if the Disney princess movies are the reason why I turned away from het romance. It just never connected with me the way m/m did. Thinking back to late elementary school and early junior high, I was already writing stories about guys who were very, very close friends with each other. ;)

  13. great post. it was nice to see how you got started writing in this genre. for me a lot of het romances don't cut it like m/m romances. i think the latter has more meat and story in it for me. :)