I'm so easily distracted from writing Water tonight. Mostly because every time I think it's ready and I read it over, I realize that it isn't making any sense or I left a plot hole.
Bah. I'm being picky on me.
But enough about me.
There's been a slight — *ahem* — discussion on my Flist regarding m/m slash vs. f/f slash. I've been on the edges, mostly because I thought it was one kind of discussion, but it really turned out to be another kind, and not all of it pleasant.
However, I haven't seen/read any question in any of this that can be boiled down to:
Why do you write what you write?
I mean, it's a simple question, right? I imagine there's a lot of enlightenment that can happen if you simply ask the question and be willing to listen to the answer in a non-judgemental way.
I suspect that there are very few "-isms" or "-ists" that play into the answer for most people who write fanfic. Just my thought on that.
As I've said before: being willing to listen to answers, even answers that you don't like or make you feel uncomfortable, is an amazing way to make new friends and open up your worldview just a little bit more.
So, know what? I'm gonna ask the quesiton.
Let's keep from getting wanky or let's stay away from the personal attacks. I'm asking these questions with an open mind and I'm very honestly curious about your answers.
What category of fiction do you write?
My answer: I consider myself a gen writer, first and foremost, more than even a het writer. On those rare occassions when a 'ship comes into play, it's not the primary motivation for a story, or even the seconary motivation, and usually not even the third motivation. Shipping is waaaaaaay down on my list of why I write what I write.
What characters/fandoms do you tend to write in and why?
My answer: I've written in other fandoms, but I'm almost exclusevely BtVS. The reason? Actually, much as I love S1-5, it isn't so much the show itself. It's because I tend to like most of the characters and because I'm a legends/folklore/folklife/history nut. Drawning on the world of vampires and demons gives me the opportunity to play with that interest in a "safe space," so to speak.
I tend to focus on Faith, Xander, and Xander and Faith. Oddly enough, my primary motivation isn't for ship reasons and I didn't start writing either one of them for that reason at first. The reason why I do tend to focus on them is because I have a weakness for characters that code as "blue collar." They may not be the smartest or best educated-people in the room, but they've earned their place in the room through grit, determination, and street smarts. It's interesting to me that most of BtVS is a very white collar show, yet you had two blue collar main characters (Xander, Anya), one person playing at blue collar (Spike), and one blue collar minor character (Faith). Their attitudes (and sometimes their treatment) often are at odds with everyone else.
However, I won't get on my classist rant about it. :-)
Let's just say I'm familiar with/am more comfortable with the true blue collar characters. I enjoy playing with the scrappers who have to bring other skills into play while everyone around them is cracking the books and researching the latest threat. I like working with characters who have to fight to get what they want and to get recognition for what they do accomplish.
For example, Faith, by virtue of being a Slayer, had a place in the room from the start, but lost it due to past bad acts, so she has to earn her way back in. Xander, by virtue of being there from the start, also had a place in the room, but as everyone around him outstripped in him education and power, also has to work twice as hard to keep his place at the table.
Why do you write what you do?
My answer: I write what interests me. That's a bit of a simple answer. It's also the most honest. I'm more interested in friendships and the negotiation and sometimes prickly interaction that goes on in really close friendships than I am in romance. I'm more interested in how people become friends and stay friends. I'm interested in the coded way long-term friends can communicate, even when there are periods when they want to smash each other in the face or aren't particularly close. I find that level of interaction a really rich goldmine and I find it to be the most fun to write. Any romance that tends to creep into my stories is because the people involved have learned that friendship step first and have learned to communicate on a fundamental level. Head-over-heels is great, don't get me wrong. But I'm not a head-over-heels kinda gal in a RL, which is definitely reflected in how I write relationships.
So, end result, I place me in gen by default. I'm more interested in plot and the tricky interpersonal interactions of all the characters, not just the "romantic pairing" (such as it is in my stories, which, really, not all that romantic). I also tend to get categorized as a Faith/Xander shipper. I don't mind at all, since I tend toward that direction anyway. I just always found it funny that I got pegged for Faith/Xander before I pegged me as Faith/Xander.
As for why I don't write slash? *shrug* I haven't really found a slash pairing that's interested me enough to write it. Certainly I've been interested enough to read it, but write it? Not so much. Like everything else, that's subject to change, but right this minute? Nope. Not going to happen. Again, it's a simple answer, but it's also the most honest. Hanging off of it is that I'm a het gal, which means most of my RL experience is in the realm of het. I've known plenty of people who are gay, but it's not quite the same thing if you're going to get into the nitty-gritty dynamics of a slash pairing. I suppose if I were to ever write slash, I'd rather write one really, really good story, as opposed to a lot of vaguely insulting or not-so-great ones. But that's just my control-freaky, perfectionist brain at work. I should note, by the way, I'm not calling slash writers hacks, because god knows I'm not. There are plenty of m/m and f/f slash writers who are excellent writers and turn out a ton of good work. I just happen to not be in that particular writer's club.
So, y'all. How about you guys answering the questions above?
I'm legitimately curious.
And yes, "because it's hot!" is a most acceptable answer.
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