Title: Man, Oh Man! Writing M/M Fiction for Kinks and Cash
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: How-to Manual
Length: 340 pages (print)
Rating: ***** (out of 5)
Josh Lanyon’s long awaited opus on the essentials of crafting a successful M/M novel hit the bookstores recently after a whirlwind of publicity and it was well worth the wait. This book is a step by step tutorial for both the novice and experienced writer on how to write the next great M/M novel. In his book Josh provides the reader with his own observations as well as astute and perceptive comments from others in the business such as publishers, writers, editors, reviewers and a host of insiders on how to create believable masculine characters while ensuring that the essential elements of a good novel are present in a story.
In Man, Oh Man! Writing M/M Fiction for Kinks and Cash Josh covers the basic fundamentals of good writing such as Hook, Characterizations, Dialogue and Conflict and he overlays this with the creative elements that are absolutely necessary for M/M romance in order for the book to grab the attention of editors, publishers and readers. Josh cautions that M/M romantic fiction should be from the male perspective and not stories about women masquerading as men and it must also be able to stand on its own without the sex.
I have been reviewing M/M romances for some time but didn’t quite grasp the difference between M/M romance and gay fiction until I read Josh’s succinct explanation in the book, and I’m sure that I am not the only one who was unaware of this distinction.
This is one of the most impressive how-to books that I have read in a while. What made this book different is Josh’s easy, laid back, armchair style of imparting knowledge as a result of his years as a published author. The book provides practical examples and ideas that even a novice writer could easily grasp and implement. Josh uses humour in the book which makes communicating his knowledge easy on the reader. This book is rich in content based on Josh’s experience, but he also gives us valuable information gleaned through a series of interviews conducted with industry insiders over the course of several months and offers the combined expertise of professionals in the business. Publishers give their take on what the current trends are in M/M fiction and offer a range of opinions based on reader surveys.
Josh takes us through the creative process starting with how and where to find fresh ideas and strong hooks, to creating believable masculine characters (since the majority of M/M authors today are women, I think they will find this very revealing) , to “selling” your carefully edited manuscript to a publisher and marketing the book after its release. Writers can take a page out of Josh’s book, literally, and copy some of his strategies on the marketing of this book which were extremely effective.
Man, Oh Man! is geared to the rapidly expanding market of M/M romance and I would anticipate that the numbers of authors in this genre will grow exponentially as the market continues to increase. I attended Josh’s recent on-line workshop for Cobblestone Press, which took place just prior to the release of the book and I was struck by the clarity of his presentation.
If I may, I would like to recommend a few chapters I found extremely relevant and informative – Looking for a Few Good Men – A strong character can carry a weak story; Cheat Sheets for Chicks –What makes a man and a woman different; Do the Math – Pacing – moving the story forward; What’s it all about Alfie –Theme; MM! MM! Good and Rent Boys I am not going to elaborate on all of the chapters because that would be a disservice to the reader and the book, plus there’s only so much information that a reviewer should convey.
Each chapter is a little gem but there is not enough space to mention all of them. In order to get the full flavour and Josh’s expert knowledge you need to read the book for yourself. Suffice it to say that I was inspired to write after reading Man, Oh Man! Writing M/M Fiction for Kinks and Cash, and if you’ve ever thought of writing for this genre then I think you‘ll be motivated too. Authors and would-be writers of the genre should have a copy of this excellent reference source or your competition will blow you away. One bit of advice from Josh that resonated with me – write what you enjoy reading, make it fresh and write your passion.