Thursday, June 21, 2012

Have I Been Influenced by Yaoi?

Has yaoi influenced me and my writing voice? Of course it has. Everything I read, watch, or do adds to my voice and influences my ideas, and I’ve read a lot of yaoi novels and manga in my day.

Yaoi for the most part has pretty distinct rules about the boys involved. One is usually more feminine than the other. The gap is wider in some stories. In real life we know this isn’t the case. It’s a bit discriminating and it reinforces gender biases if you think about it, but Japanese yaoi isn’t published to make social comments. As a fan I happily ignore the bits I don’t like and focus on the bubbles, sparkles, and flowers that appear out of nowhere when the two heroes stare at each other and wish real men had disappearing smn too.

I read a yaoi novel series with a cop and yakuza (Japanese mafia) leader. While the cop had his manly moments, he was vastly inferior to his seme (top) in the story. This might be a female writer or female audience preference, but I know I sometimes do this to my characters. While the two are definitely men, one is more aggressive than the other. While this isn’t strictly yaoi, I believe my character dynamics have been influenced by yaoi in this way.

In Water Waltz, Triste is a strong character on his own but he is brought down by his struggle with his love for Varun while Varun seems almost too cold. Varun has the same struggle as Triste but he isn’t weakened by it in the same way. This could be typical reactions for entirely different characters, but looking into my skill set, I’m inclined to believe there’s a bit of yaoi in Water Waltz. And that’s okay.

Every once in a while in the gay romance community a debate over female authors being unable to write gay characters will surface. I find this particularly interesting given my yaoi reading background. In yaoi, male authors are rare. (I can’t even think of one for this post. Leave me a comment with a name, please. So many more males than I thought. Still tipped into females, but thank you for the list, guys!! ^.^) Females dominate the yaoi industry and the novels are written for female readers. Since I’m female, I guess I write for a female audience, but I hope all genders can enjoy my novels regardless of my gender or sexuality. I know men read and enjoy yaoi just as much as I do.

If you want to check out my novels, they’re available on Nook, Kindle, or straight from the publisher. (Also on third party sites) Check out the Available Now section for links. Thank you for joining me on this hop, and remember to leave a comment for a chance to win the grand prize.

Read more from the Manga and Romance blog hop:

53 comments:

  1. Yaoi has been a huge influence on me, as it was the first m/m I could find for quite a while. There are parts of certain stories that annoy me from time to time (tropes involving forced sex, strict relationship roles), but when it's done well it touches me as few things can.

    vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The forced sex is a big turn off for me too. It's so common in yaoi, it has become more laughable than frustrating to me. oh well. Not my culture so I can't comment on why yaoi is obsessed with noncon or dubcon.

      Thank you for dropping by the hop!

      Delete
  2. While is exemplifies what the previous comment talks about (forced sex and strict roles) it's still one of my favourite yaoi anime AND it's written by a male! Okane ga Nai, while seemingly cruel in the beginning, is a really good four part OVA anime. :)

    lina7391(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okane ga Nai! I forgot about that one! Thank you!
      I wasn't a fan of it because of the forced sex, sure, but mostly the art just didn't tickle my fancy. The uke is so tiny and doe-eyed and I just don't know how that penis entered that small of a man. 0.0
      LOL.

      Thank you for the comment!

      Delete
  3. I have to admit that I have never read Yaoi but will be starting. I am going to check out the Available link to purchase my first Yaoi book. I am excited.
    Yvette
    yratpatrol@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great to hear! I hope you enjoy some wonderful yaoi. There's so much out there so you can be picky and find one that really stands out to you.

      Thank you for joining the hop :)

      Delete
  4. I have never really noticed the gender issues in yaoi though I always feel that the usual Seme and Uke characterization is a bit limiting but I fan girl so much about the story itself I forget to be mad lol

    Male mangaka Takatsuki Noboru?
    Gomezmruiz5@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, the uke and seme roles do seem to limit the characters. Once in a while you get a story where the mangaka tries to be different and make the seme act more like an uke. (not on the surface though)

      Ah I don't think I've read Takatsuki Noboru or remember his stuff. :/ There's many more males than I thought lol

      Thank you!

      Delete
  5. My writing is also strongly influenced by yaoi, particularly in wanting to present imagery and having strong passion between the characters. The gender roles in manga alone are worthy of academic discourse. :)
    Tali
    tali.spencer1(at)gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strong passion! Yes! The better stories really lean on the passion--emotional more than physical it seems.

      Thank you for participating, Tali :)

      Delete
  6. I am mostly a m/m reader and I haven't noticed too much gender-bias in manga...I always have something to read :)

    morris.crissy@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no short supply of reading material. Which is a wonderful thing! (there is a short supply of money...lol)

      Thank you for the comment :)

      Delete
  7. Wonderful hop! So glad you did this and really, really glad I joined. I'm learning so much about yaoi! I'm fast getting addicted lol. ;)

    ~M
    nomoretears00@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just what we all need--another addiction. LOL. I'm glad you joined the hop. Thank you!

      Delete
  8. I've often wondered if the whole uke/seme (weak/strong) setup in yaoi is done so that female readers (the target audience) can slip into the skin of the uke and pretend they are him.

    Looking at the stereotypes in yaoi have definitely made me think about my own writing. I tend to write two strong male characters, but I've definitely done an uke/seme (Blue Notes). Yaoi opened my eyes to the broad dynamics of gay relationships and has definitely influenced my writing!

    Great post and a great hop! Thanks, Hayley! -Shira

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would make sense that the seme/uke setup would be there so women could identify with the uke, but back in my yaoi-reading days, a vast number of the other girls I regularly talked to identified more with the seme, and I usually felt the same way. Part of what I like about yaoi and m/m is that I don't feel obligated to identify with one character or the other based on their gender. No one is telling me I have to relate to the "weaker" half of the relationship just because I'm a girl. I can identify with either guy based on their personalities and interests and other characteristics. I've always found that liberating.

      Delete
    2. I'm with Ana. I identify with the seme if I was going to place myself in the shoes of one. I tend to like the ukes more often, but only as yaoi characters. (They are really stupid sometimes...even when they are SO smart! lol)

      I also like that I don't have to identify with the "weaker" one either. In male/female romance (or porn) I feel, as a woman, I have to identify with the woman and all too often I don't understand why anyone would want to lol.

      Thank you for the comments, you two <3

      Delete
  9. Don't enter me for the prize, because I'm participating as a yaoi provider with my group, Boys Love Bang Bang, but Haji Sakura/Sakura Kido is a male BL mangaka whose works I enjoy a lot! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I searched him and read through his works. Nothing jumped out as something I knew so I just might have more to add to my "to read" list. ^.^

      Delete
  10. I am very excited about this hop because I have always wanted to get into yaoi but never knew where to start! So thank you so much!

    Lillywriting@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ^.^ I'm so glad this hop helped! it's what I wanted to accomplish with it. Thank you for the comment!

      Delete
  11. Runs in, slides across the floor. OMG! I'm always late. Had internet issues since last night. Thanks so much for sponsoring this blog hop!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You weren't late! <3
      Thank you for participating in the hop :D

      Delete
  12. What an awesome hop! Its so fun learning all this stuff about Yaoi. *slowly becomes addicted* ;)

    ~ R
    reagz21@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ooo another forming addiction. ;) That's what I like to hear lol

      Delete
  13. I am a huge fan of yaoi manga and anime. My favorite would have to be "Tyrant who falls in Love" and Junjou Romanica.

    Thank you for participating in this blog hop!
    Tabatha Hansen
    mmparanormalromance@gmail.com
    mmparanormalromance.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the comment. I also like Tyrant but fell way behind on it.

      Delete
  14. Thanks for having this hop Hayley! I'm looking forward to learning more about Yaio.

    angietate2002@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for dropping by, AJ :D I hope you discover some yaoi stories to read.

      Delete
  15. This is such a cool blog hop, kudos to you for coming up with it! ^__^ It's so interesting to see what each one participating has to say. ^__^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've enjoying reading the blogs. I'm happy it came together so well.
      Thank you ^.^ And thank you for the comment!

      Delete
  16. Great post and thanks for heading up this hop! My writing is heavily influenced by Yaoi also. So, I know the struggle you feel when trying to break the characters out of those stereotypical strong & weak roles. At the end of the day though, they are who they are, and there's nothing wrong with that. Thanks again, Hayley!

    NightTempestBlog@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right. They are who they are! I go for realism, but I know some men who fit the uke role pretty well...so perhaps uke and seme aren't all that pigeon holed after all lol

      Thanks for the comment :D

      Delete
  17. What a great idea! I've enjoyed seeing how others came to enjoy m/m prose, yaoi/BL. Got me thinking on when I did, and I slowly realized, I'd been a fan long before a friend loaned me my first BL book. Anne Rice was the first author to introduce me to the world of m/m relationships/love/sex. From the Vampire Chronicles, to Cry to Heaven, finally to the Beauty Trilogy where Laurent would forever be my ideal seme. Yaoi/BL brought the stories to life in a whole new way and I never looked back. Just keep 'em coming!

    lccorea at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne Rice probably introduced a lot more than anyone realizes. I didn't read her stuff until after I was a goner in the yaoi world.

      Thank you for the comment :) I'm enjoying the posts about how everyone found yaoi as well.

      Delete
  18. I don't know yaoi well at all, although I'm intrigued. Do you find that with m/m romance you are bound to fewer conventions than if you were writing yaoi?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I think so. I'm not entirely sure why yaoi roles seem to be so...strict. Maybe it's a culture thing or maybe publishers really do require the characters to fit into nice packages. Or perhaps the audience in Japan prefers it this way.

      With m/m it has no limitations, really. Yes, it does need two (or more) gay (or bi) men in the story but that's about it. At least, that's my opinion on the matter.

      Delete
    2. I think that yaoi is rooted deeply into the Japanese culture. The attraction for others is partly that air of mystery since it is not ours, as well as the couple dynamics.

      Writing mm relationships outside of yaoi using the larger/small dom/sub type dynamics is very easy. The same thing can be found commonly in bear/twink-cub or bdsm fiction as well. The roles might be a bit more fluid, but they're still there. Of course you can have a completely mainstream mm story with 2 guys the same size that are both switches and not have any yaoi type influence at all.

      Delete
  19. Ok, first, I goofed. I typed like a ton of stuff and hit the back button by mistake and poof! All gone. So here I go again. And please forgive me if I ramble on. Sometimes I just know when to stop writing or when to shut up.

    I thought it only proper to start here on Haley B. James' site with my rambling, so here goes.

    I guess I have sort of have an advantage when it comes to the M/M and BL subject, since I happen to be a gay dude. And what gay guy doesn't like bishonens (pretty boys)? I first was introduced to the yaoi scene several years ago. Several of my friends started writing in this RP forum. It consisted of several fanboys and fangirls. Eventually, we fanboys carried the load as the girls enjoyed sitting back reading our smutty stuff. And they call us pervs. I have always been a fan of anime and manga stories, but when I found stories actually involving male on male relationship, I thought I hit the jackpot! So thanks to the internet and other Otakus' (fans obsessed with anime and manga), I found the enjoyment that words and drawings are so effective in portraying. This eventually led me to finding Dojinshi's (amateur mangas) and fan fiction pairings.

    But the RP that I participated in helped intensify my love of the whole yaoi subject. I've always been told that I have quite an imagination when it came to writing. This in thanks to writing while in high school, stories that involved my friends. I loved writing crazy stories for them and seeing their responses. So that RP got me thinking that "wouldn't it be cool to write my own manga?" Then I realized that manga have to have drawings. So I tried to draw, creating the characters on paper that I had dreamed up in my often empty head.

    Just as they call the anime 'Descent into Darkness' the gateway drug to yaoi (hardcore sex) and shonen-ai (more romance related), writing stories about male on male relationships became my avenue to such naughtiness. It became such an addiction that my first yaoi story is close to 175 pages and allowed me to come up with more story lines for more books in my fictional saga, 'Embrace the Darkness'. So, back to the whole 'maybe write my own manga' issue, since I can't draw, maybe there is some other way to see my story in print.
    continued...

    ReplyDelete
  20. So I blame Twitter. Of course one of my first searches was 'yaoi'. That led me to a new prospect. Gay romance novels! What a concept. I truly had no idea that such works existed. Of course you go to the grocery store and see all these novels with Fabio like guys on the front in stories that were intended for the ladies. But thanks to such sites as Yaoi prose, Dreamspinner, Rainbow books and a lot more (forgive me since I failed to mention a lot of sites that cater to M/M romances). I thought I finally found salvation. Maybe I can't draw a manga, but maybe I can write a gay novel! To this day I am still stoked at the prospect.

    After checking out many of these sites, I found a free download by author Yamila Abraham on the Yaoi Prose website. It's going to be my first M/M novel so I'm excited. And knowing that such novels exist has led me to revise my current story in hopes that one day I can see the finished product in print. Now that would be cool.

    But I don't think that none of the motivation that I have at this moment could have been possible without Hayley coming up with the whole Blog-hop subject. The whole blog has me excited to hop around and read everyone's thoughts on the whole Gay romance and yaoi topic. After all, who can resist pretty boys and their wild adventures?

    For those that haven't had an opportunity to check into the whole yaoi subject, give it a shot. Yes, some yaoi can leave you scratching your head wondering 'WTH' am I reading? And just like Hayley said in her blog, its easy to ignore the bits you don't like, but I can confidently say that with yaoi you will find something that gets you all tingly.

    So thanks to this blog hop and the interest it has caused, I eagerly browse websites that sell gay romance novels to find one to my liking, and when I do, I will be sure to shout it out to the world!

    Thanks to everyone that is involved. I will be hoping around checking out everyone's naughty little secrets. Hehe.

    I warned you, that I don't know when to stop writing.

    ~Sai

    tony_can2@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Sai! What an epic read :D
      I encourage you to continue writing and if you really want to see your work published, look up gay romance publishers and their submission guidelines. If you happen to get a rejection, revise and resubmit to another. I'm sure you'll reach your goal.

      Thank you for joining the hop and reading the other bloggers. I'm glad you're having fun with it :) And thank you for the epic comment!

      Delete
  21. Hi Hayley. I have had so much fun thinking about why I love Yaoi. This is a great hop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) I'm glad you're enjoying it!

      Delete
  22. Yay, blog hop! My first one. There was a stright romance one a few weeks ago that I missed... But yaoi is cooler.

    I can't remember when I started liking boys together, but... Gosh, it's been 7 or 8 years now, and I'm not all that old! XD

    The Loveless anime was my gateway drug into BL, though I'd known about it and was interested in it beforehand. I have all volumes of Loveless so far, and the anime, and it's one of my favorite series EVER.

    Somehow I have still not read a Yaoi novel or M/M print romance, just fanfic and excerpts and free downloads... And Gakuen Heaven volume 1, which was my first encounter with print yaoi. <3

    chibiminty@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loveless seems like a gateway for a lot of people. I encourage you to try some written yaoi or mm romance. A few authors of mm romance (and yaoi prose) in the hop have free reads available. You can try them out and see if you'd like more before purchasing.

      Thank you for having fun with the hop!

      Delete
  23. I have the same dynamic in a lot of my mm stories. The smaller/larger partner dynamic leads itself well to creating a very tender atmosphere, I believe, because the contrast of a strong, large man being gentle is very erotic to many people. Yaoi is one form of that, bear/twink-cub stories are another in mm fiction. Great blog article, I like all the male authors speaking up!

    Cia
    anordwell@live.com

    ReplyDelete
  24. Dude! I got in! Did you remove that warning label for me? lol.

    Anyway, thanks so much for organizing this. I've had a blast and I so needed that this weekend after the tragedy. All this talk about yaoi has me stealing looks at my old yaoi to re-read it and that's nothing but a wonderful distraction from difficult thoughts. Aaaahhh...Takano-San, Seme no. 1! ^.^

    Erica
    eripike at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi, Hayley. I'm having so much fun. Thanks for organizing this.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm a big yaoi manga and anime fan. Two of my favorites are Junjo Romantica and the Finders series.

    Thanks,
    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm so happy that everyone is doing this! I feel less like a freak cause I, being a female, am not the only one who read yaoi and m/m romance. Thank you!

    -- Whitney
    Whitbeach1@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thanks so much for organizing this hop, Hayley. M/M and yaoi have a lot in common in spite of their obvious differences and I'm a great fan of both! It's a great idea to try to get people to "cross" genres like this.

    Ashley E
    ashley.vanburen[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  29. Yaoi had and still has a huge influence on me. It just made my long hair fetish worse, LOL. Anyways, thanks for the hop and I'm sorry for the late reply. My computer crashed about 5 hours ago so I'm now using my rents' computer. Yes, I traveled back home to use a computer (course, I needed it for homework too so it all works out).

    tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  30. WHY DO SOME OF THESE AUTHORS LIVE IN A TIME ZONE THAT ENDS BEFORE MINE!?! I was in Seattle, doing the Pride Parade all day, so I didn't get a chance to hop to everyone's before the hop ended! I am sad Manda. You know what this means though, right? You will need to do another one of these. And have it go for like, a week. Or something. Cause seriously. SERIOUSLY. Love me my mxm/yaoi. ;~)

    ReplyDelete