From 1969 until 1998 there were 28 young adult novels with LGBT characters published. From 1998 to 2003, 42 more novels were published.
That’s from about 1 a year to almost 9 a year.
Alan Chin interviewed me.
I think this is the sweetest line from the review. :)
A great blog post. Sadly, the final entry on a blog belonging to an anonymous Asian American writer.
I like to read. I read anything that grabs my interest. For a while, especially short after I came out, I was very interested in gay fiction, thirst for things I can relate to, like many gay guys did before they became jaded.
I started to notice one thing: very few books have minority protagonists.
Being Asian myself, I searched for gay books with Asian protagonists. I found two:”Crystal Boys” and “Confessions of a Mask.” “Crystal Boys” was about gay boys in Taiwan in the 70’s. It had me laugh and had me cry; I loved it. “Confessions of a Mask,” by Mishima, made me cringe and bored me to tears. Both settings are so remote I can’t relate to the main characters, who, while having their own challenges, don’t deal with the issues faced by a gay Asian in modern day America:
Of course, I think people’ll be bored to death if I only write about racial issues in the gay world. I had a story in mind. Everyone at least for one time had wanted their ex back. So that’s the main plot. A fantasy.
Then following the rule of “writing what you know,” I chose the setting of Boston, a city I spent almost five years in, and toss in a little of what I know in math and video games to create more realism and humor (I hope).
"You’re writing a novel? But you can barely speak English!"
People say that to me when I tell them that I’m writing a novel. Sometimes to my face, sometimes behind my back.
I’m not a good speaker of English, or of any language for that matter. (Some’d say this is an understatement.)
But a few friends liked the story after reading the early drafts of my book, terribly written ones. Their compliments—with my insecurity, sometimes I doubt the genuineness—and the fact they are avid readers thickened my skin.
I hired someone to make a pass at the story. Still it doesn’t feel good enough.
I decided to invest the time to editing the book myself, which took at least ten times longer than to write the first draft.
My major is Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. My day job is making crack, i.e. video games. Only writing course I took beyond high school was Technical Writing 101, which had recommended “The Elements of Style,” which I had long since forgotten.
I reread “The Elements of Style.” I took each of the rules, one at a time, made a pass on the book. I kept finding new mistakes that I had missed. Still doesn’t feel good enough.
I searched for other books on writing. ”On Writing” by Stephen King repeated many things in “The Elements of Style.” “Writing Fiction for Dummies” was surprisingly intelligent. “The First Five Pages” was the most helpful. Still doesn’t feel good enough.
I attended a writing workshop. Still doesn’t feel good enough.
I was a fast reader. Instead of just absorbing the story, I slowed down to analyze the writing techniques and apply whatever I liked to my book. Still doesn’t feel good enough.
But now “Slant” is getting published. It still doesn’t feel good enough, but I had to peel it away from me or else I’ll keep making changes. So be kind in your reviews.
P.S. Why did I write “Slant” in the first place? I’ll talk about it in another post.