Tag Archives: philip avery

Creating Characters: Breaking the Archetype – The Gay Guy

When it comes to creating a character, we writers have to be very careful to avoid many things. One of those things is the archetype. Archetypes are great for miscellaneous persons with very small roles. They are also great for satirical pieces. (The re-make of Hairspray comes to mind here haha) Other than that, I find them to be pretty flat as characters. Sticking to their stereotype is what makes them what the are, after all.

A common archetype that we see in modern media (I can’t say literature because I only really read historical romances, on the rare occasion I have a moment to read) is The Gay Guy. You know him. He’s got fabulous blonde hair, his fashion sense is trendy and drool worthy, and if you’re wearing last year’s LV, beware. He’s out for you. He wastes no time in making raunchy penis jokes and is secretly envious of your boyfriend. He’s your best girl friend. He picks our your clothes for you, waxes your brows, and will cuddle on the couch with you feeling completely safe because he’s gay.

Gag me.

As someone who comes from an incredibly gay family with a cornucopia of homosexual friends and acquaintances, I really don’t understand where this came from. But this isn’t a post about LGBT equality (I make a horrible activist), it’s about characters and my own insecurity as a writer.

I never put a character into a story just for the sake of having one. Never for the sake of being politically correct, or to embrace all walks of life. Hell, I don’t even make up my characters. They come to me.

And you know what? Like everyone else in this decade, I have a homosexual male in my cast. Two, actually. But Philip Avery is such a big part of the story (The Book of Cale in particular) that I actually get nervous talking about him and working with him for that reason. I fear the reaction of people assuming I’ve jumped onto some bandwagon. He isn’t ‘The Gay Guy’. His sexual orientation has no impact on who he is as a person, it’s just a matter of preference.

But how will  he be received? I’ve already had people ask me why I ‘made’ him gay. It wasn’t a choice, he just is. He always was, and will continue to be. I can’t change him and I don’t want to.

So I wonder, will people look at me and say, “of course she has a gay guy. Everyone has a gay guy.” because like the token black guy (which I don’t have. For no reason other than none have made their way into my head), he needs to make an appearance in order for me to be culturally acceptable.

Maybe I’m over thinking it. Realistically, so long as I do my job right, present a compelling story with characters that feel real and can be connected with, I shouldn’t worry about how someone is going to be analyzed or received. If readers can accept the homicidal psychopath that is our hero, I imagine the jaded, bearded tavern owner wiping down dirty mugs isn’t exactly a difficult man to accept.

I’m sorry he’s not fabulous. He’s just a sort-of single dad trying to make ends meet in 1784.

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Alphabet Soup: I is for Isabella

I’ve been waiting a while for this letter because I knew exactly what I was going to choose. I just love letters that focus around a specific character because not only are the easy to write up, but because there are so many of them, it’s fun to focus on just one for a little while and give poor Aiden a break.

I is for Isabella

Isabella Avery, more affectionately referred to as Izzy, is, quite frankly, absolutely insane. Infected with the madness, she lives her life in an imaginary world where she thinks herself to be a woman of peerage. Always impeccably dressed, and immaculate in idiom, she wasn’t always crazy.

At what some might consider an immature age, she married her childhood friend, Philip, an illusion of love, in order to inhibit their world’s execution of him for his homosexuality. Though impoverished, the family lived happily until she fell under the influence of the madness.

Now fully convinced that Cale is her intended, she is completely intoxicated by her infatuation with the king, knowing nothing of his illness. After Philip visits imploring her to help him retrieve their missing daughter, she does what everyone had imagined to be impossible. Thought to be socially incompetent, Isabella defies what everyone has believed of her, bringing peace to the injured heart of her king, and inadvertently acting as an instrument leverage for her husband in his search for Luke, as well as Cale’s own inquest to bring down The Black Duke.