Man Oh Man

Just a quick review of ‘Man Oh Man: Writing m/m fiction for kinks and cash’ by Josh Lanyon

Though ‘review’ might be putting it too strongly – ‘squee’ might be closer 🙂

If you go back through my posts on this LJ you’re bound to come across one where I gushed mightily about how wonderful Josh Lanyon’s Adrien English series of mysteries was.  Josh combines a strong mystery plot, with a more subtle but equally nuanced romance plot between bookseller Adrien and homicide detective Jake Riordan.  A romance that is tragically hampered by many things, but chiefly Jake’s reluctance to come out of the closet.

Given that Josh’s books are high on my list of ‘my favourite m/m fiction ever’ it was extremely exciting to find out that he was writing a ‘how to’ book about just that; how to write m/m fiction in such a way that publishers will want to publish it, and readers will want to read it.  It’s always good, with these sort of books, to know that the author can practice what they are preaching.

I have to admit that I haven’t even finished reading the book, which may seem like a bad time to review it.  It might be with a fiction book where a poor ending could let down the promise of everything that’s gone before, but in this case I don’t think that’s likely to happen.  Three quarters of the way through and nothing is likely to take away from what’s been an amusing, witty and eminently sensible book so far.

I’ve got to admit too that I’m not exactly un-biased.  Josh includes quotes from numerous authors, publishers, readers and reviewers, and among them there are quotes from me – and what a thrill that is!  Squee!  I get cited as some sort of expert! Behold me spouting my mouth off about such topics as ‘sex or plot?’ and the perennial ‘why do women read m/m fiction,’ in a loud and aggressive know it all way 😉

Speaking of knowing it all, to be frank, there isn’t a lot in here which would be unfamiliar to people who read <lj user=”metafandom”> on a regular basis.  The fanfiction community has pretty much thrashed out the questions of ‘why slash?’ and ‘what constitutes good writing?’ and ‘why shouldn’t I write my men like teenage girls if I want to?’ etc  But this is possibly the first time those questions have been raised in the m/m publishing community, and Josh has done a very good job of pulling together most of the answers.  He has also realigned the emphasis, from writing fanfiction to writing profiction which has a chance of being accepted by a m/m market which is growing, vibrant, and already beginning to become more choosy about the quality of the stuff it’s taking on.

If you are interested in writing m/m fiction professionally, coming out of the fanfiction community, I think that’s a new perspective that makes a big difference.  Maybe there is such a thing as too much realism?  Maybe worrying too much about your sex scenes is counterproductive when you should be concentrating on your plot?

I’m certainly finding that although I haven’t yet found a lot that’s new to me, the specific slant, and Josh’s evident enthusiasm and respect for m/m writing has got me working again on a better, tighter plot for ‘Boys of Summer’ – and any book that sends me back to my own writing with renewed purpose has got to be a good buy!

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