Chuck Wendig Responds to Reader Who Questions Why Character's Sexuality is Central to the Plot
Chuck Wendig responded to a reader today who whined about the inclusion of a gay male character in The Harvest, the third book in his popular Heartland Trilogy. The guy complained about something being “reviling,” called Chuck a “bandwagon” jumper and added the ultimate anti-gay troll complaint – that the character’s sexuality isn’t central to the plot. So why bother?
The third complaint is always the dumbest whine. It’s also the one which reveals that the whiner is really just anti-gay and can’t cope with the existence of anyone who is not heterosexual, lest his eyeballs explode or worse – he catches gay disease! Wendig’s response on the matter is right on the money:
I did not write the character into the story because he affects the story, but at the same time, he does reflect it — the Heartland begins as a world where teenagers are forced to marry each other, and that means very explicitly that the Empyrean government enforces heterosexual couplings and nothing else. Which is a pretty horrible place to be as a person who isn’t heterosexual like, say, how America was just a few short months and years ago. Also, is gayness supposed to be a “plot point” if the character features? Is that essential? Why does that not apply to straight people? Why weren’t you mad that the character’s straightness didn’t matter and affect the story? And how exactly is that supposed to happen? The bad guys build a machine meant to run on one kind of sexual orientation or another? “BRING ME MORE GAYNESS THE MACHINE MUST FEED.”
Amen! I certainly get tired of listening to whiners claim that authors (or filmmakers or television shows) are somehow “jumping the gay bandwagon” in an attempt to….. do what? Get higher sales? Be trendy? As if there’s some kind of white paper out there which says “gay character = total financial success!” If such a white paper exists, why is it still so notable when there’s actually a non-hetero character in our entertainment? Wouldn’t there be gay characters on every show, comic and book? Are we really all too stupid to grasp the certain financial success that being a Gay Bandwagon Jumper guarantees?
I guess according to Pouty McGee, this is all covered in the book: Protocols of the Elders of Gay-On.
Wendig also destroyed the claim that his character was nothing more than a slapdash addition to his books.
Oh, and as a side-note, you’re on the third book of a series and this character isn’t new, so…? The whole gay thing has kinda been in there since the first book. (Not to mention: the book is filled with violence and yet, none of that seemed to bother you at all. Ah, Puritanical handwaving. Violence is cool. Love is bad. Good times.) How’d you get here? There were signs. Big gay signs. That had to be a willful choice on your part, or you don’t know how to count. If it’s the former, then I ask again: what the hell? If it’s the latter, I remind you: it’s 1 then 2 then 3, not 3 then 2 then 1. I’ll let my four year old teach you about counting and I think I’ll also let him tell you about loving consensual relationships between adults of any stripe because he literally has no idea that any of this is wrong and in fact I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even notice at all.
Does Pouty McGee have any idea how long it takes to get a book from an author’s brain to a bookshelf, virtual or real? Fast decisions are not the forte of the publishing business. And authors deserve a little more respect – they know these characters better than anyone, they have revealed themselves gradually over time, and these books are exceptionally planned and paced. Anyone who thinks otherwise can go pound sand.