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karaoke plots

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As a reviewer for Best of Nifty, I am always on the lookout for good story prospects. Here are some tips.

New writers need to be encouraged, so they should be forewarned when they embark on stories that rely on what I call Karaoke Plots, plots that appear over and over in the gay-romance genre. When the goal is excellence in writing and the plot is a Karaoke Plot, the writing burden increases significantly: the sense of time and place needs to be well drawn, and character development becomes crucial.

Here's my start of a list of Karaoke Plots:

1. Lifetime friends finally realize that they are both gay.

2. Co-workers are sent to a convention/training session to discover that there is only one hotel room left, usually with one bed.

3. Sexually repressed jock is assigned a nerd tutor.

4. Co-workers spend nights and weekends to complete a major company project, falling in love with each other.

and the list can go on.

Setting out this list doesn't mean that these plots should be avoided. Rather, the list is a caution that if the plot is Karaoke, the rest of the elements of a good story need extra attention.

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Dear sir,

there is absolutely nothing wrong with Karaoke. When a seventy stone walrus, such as myself, can be applauded for sounding like Kate Bush on her wuthering heights, then, in my view, all is well with the world.

Yours faithfully,

Tarquin Bim Bim Bus-stop Fa-tang Fa-tang Olay Biscuit Barrel

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The "gay romance" genre is self limiting. There is only so many directions a plot can go. It is the stories that don't just break the mold but shatter it into a million pieces that you remember.

This is done with engauging character, humor, interesting plots, genre busting, historical settings and a million other ways that take imagination and push writers to find something unique and wonderful.

Looking at Cole's characters and seeing yourself.

EleCivil's priceless humor.

Wibby's wonderfully woven and quirky plots.

Freethinker's "wonder-years" settings in the late 60s, early 70s are magic.

There are as many roads to the destination as there are authors and here at AD we are fortunate to have the sort of talent to find them.

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[...]

There are as many roads to the destination as there are authors and here at GA we are fortunate to have the sort of talent to find them.

You might want edit that line James. Not that I have anything against GA.

:blush:

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Setting out this list doesn't mean that these plots should be avoided. Rather, the list is a caution that if the plot is Karaoke, the rest of the elements of a good story need extra attention.

I agree 100% with you. Nick Archer's list and my own Gay Writing Tips piece add a bunch of bad gay fiction cliches as well. I continue to be dismayed at the number of new Nifty stories that violate many (if not all) of these suggestions. The now-retired-from-writing Keith Morissette and I used to mull over the idea of co-writing "The Ultimate Gay Cliche Story," throwing in everything but the kitchen sink, but that was one of those things we never got around to doing before his illness.

At the same time, I think if you take a cliche and then turn it on its ear to completely surprise the reader, it's not so bad. I totally agree that the "gay best friend" thing is overdone, but there's always a way of putting a new spin on it. I also think it's more important that the story avoids being dull and predictable; I think that's a bigger issue than karaoke plots.

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