svollga: (granat)
I haven't posted here in ages, mostly because I had a very hard-working autumn, and then I felt as I'm unused to posting to several social network sites anymore. Also, my circle here is mostly social justice feeds, and I was a bit tired of thinking about this stuff all the time. I know it's necessary, but sometimes it's so exhausting to care. But I'm back on track now.

Anyway, mostly I just want to talk about what I'm writing right now, and how all I've read so far about representation and stuff is working out. I'm writing a huge, epic novel-length fanfic thing, which is rare for me because I tend to write short stories and novellas. Another rare thing is that usually, my narrative is focused on the main characters, and all the other canon and original characters are just a background functions. But I can't do it in an epic thing with an actual plot, so I'm having a couple of dozens characters running around.
And here comes the representation thing. Because before I got caught in this whole social justice/equality stuff, I would follow the stereotypes. I need a bodyguard? I take a strong big man. I need a rape survivor? A woman or (being in a slash fanfic) a young slight boy. Older men for the authority figures. A good guy to die in a mission heroically saving someone.
Now, I still have the stereotypes in my head. But I also have a stop button. Every time I need a character for some function in the plot, I stop, and I think about which stereotype fits, and then I do any other thing that is stereotypical, or I subvert it. So there's a woman as a chief of security, and another one as a sexually assertive buddy/wingman for a main character (and also his first officer), a big manly man as a rape survivor, and other people in places where the stereotypes don't fit them in. And the best thing about it all? I didn't have to think about in consciously. It's not that I actually stopped and thought about the choice. It was all my brain working somewhere deep, so I just had to think 'who is the security personel in this scene', and I saw not a big manly man, but a blonde curly woman with a mean right hook. Or an Indian beauty with a no-nonsence attitude. Or maybe there was a big strong man, but there weren't only big strong men in security.
Okay, I still have a clingy-going-evil woman, and a leacherous/treacherous man, but I think it's okay because there are enough characters around who aren't following any stereotypical narratives and tropes for those two to exist. Because while I am all for subverting the stereotypes there's another thing going on in the subversive circles that I don't quite like: turning against any character that fits the stereotypical trope even when it's a thing that happens to people. In a fandom that praises the diversity and subversion in there show, there is a lot of annoyance if a victim doesn't fight, but freezes, though there are a lot of people freezing at the assault. A woman showing any 'stereotypically female' weakness is considered 'bad work' because she's stereotypical, though there are women like her. This troubles me, as a 'strong woman' stereotype going circles. So I think this is how this whole representation thing should work: subvert and dissolve stereotypes until they don't exist anymore, and include those very stereotypes in it's tollbox when they are from the real people's life, just see that they aren't overrepresented.

P.S.: Criminal Minds does all this stuff brilliantly. Can't stop watching.

svollga: (janto)
I've tried my fair share of PoVs in my stories (I even have a couple with very experimental creative decisions like having first and second PoV in one sentence, in every sentence), but lately, I prefer tight third limited PoV.
Mostly, I think it's because third limited comes to me naturally, so it's a first choice. It's comfortable.
I consider it either a choice that gives me most freedom, or an act of creative energy economy/laziness. Third limited gives me an opportunity not to do a lot of stuff I don't want to do: not to explain everything that's going on (because the character can miss something, can have something explained to them in a couple of phrases, or have a 'lightbulb' moment), not to write things I hate to write (fighting and action, mostly), and not to search for a unique first-person voice for the character (it's enough to do it in dialogue). On the other hand, I can still do all this stuff.
Also, third limited is how I usually experience the story I'm watching/reading. I have a character whose storyline is most interesting and/or close for me, whose feelings are the easiest to understand, and follow them. My point of view can change with time. In Torchwood, I started with Gwen, then moved to Tosh, and then, after I've watched Doctor Who, I started seeing things from Jack's PoV. In CoE, my PoV suddenly moved to Ianto, though I find him a difficult character to indentify with because he's a lying liar who lies, and we know so little about him. (And yes, watching CoE from Ianto's PoV is painful.)
It's interesting how this experience reflexts in the choice of PoV in my Whoniverse writing. I use Jack's PoV in stories about the Doctor, Ianto's in stories about him and Jack (except for those where Jack saves/loses him), John Hart's PoV in stories about him and Jack, and so on. Generally, I tend to choose PoV of the character I consider more unsure of the relationship, to have him slowly discover what's going on in the other person's head and between them too, even if the story isn't actually about relationship. (I did the same in my earlier fandoms, so I suppose it's just my thing.)
Still, third limited is somewhat limited so sometimes you need to change the PoV. It's the thing I really hate to do because I firmly believe that the change of PoV in third limited must be structurally defined, for example, by chapters, and I rarely write stories long enough to be chaptered. In my last work (written together with [personal profile] eithne  and soon to be posted), we needed Ianto's PoV in addition to the main Preston's PoV, and I made it into interludes defined my asterics, but then I had a feeling that it still mixes with preston's PoV so I added the PoV's names. It works, because the story needs Ianto's input which Preston can't be privy to, but it is structured to death.
svollga: (janto)
I've developed a new squick lately: if the characters pay a lot of attention to the fact that they are having penetrating sex for the first time, it turns me off from the scene, and sometimes from the entire story. It's interesting because some time ago (several years ago, when I was new to both NC-17 fanfiction and sex) it was my kink. Now, it makes me all 'meh' and 'bored now', and I scroll down or close the window.
I suppose it has something to do with getting rid of heteronormative paradigm which puts penetrating sexual interaction on a pedestal of Real Sex, and first time is considered Something Special, especially for the one being penetrated. I shared this concept, which is funny because while I was all for first time and penetration being special, I never felt it as special in my own experience. The only thing that makes it any different is that you have to put some more thought into logistics and preparation than, say, for petting/frottage.
Now, if the characters make a Big Deal out of the fact that they are having the Real Stick In The Hole Sex OMG, I have a sudden feeling that I'm reading some sort of bodice-ripper. I can cut some slack for the characters who were entirely straight and unexperienced and very heteronormative (in J2 AUs, for example). But when it's Jack and Ianto it feels almost as OOC to me, and also have a reaction along the lines of 'don't put this heteronormative shit into my non-heteronormative very transgressive queer couple'. (And if it's Jack who makes a Big Deal it is OOC.)
It doesn't help that in the stories where the characters make a big deal out of penetration, they often also make a big deal of who is on top. And making a big deal of who is on top (and/or having fixed positions) is another deal breaker for me because it's also too heteronormative. I had enough of this stuff in anime fandom where the discussion of seme/uke is a big part of fannish discourse and of characterization. Once again, I don't care about it in real life - why should I care for it in fiction? Also, how does the preference of sexual positions correlate with the character exactly? Often, the character who is the top is also 'the man' in the relationship, bossy and dominant and rational, and the bottom is 'the woman', weak and emotional and submissive, and here we go into mysogynistic shit. Thanks but no thanks.
I think that Torchwood fandom is doing better than most - in this fandom, the heteronormative stories aren't that often, and there are a lot of stories with diverse sexual characterization. I suppose it actually prompted the development of my squick because in my previous fandoms, heteronormative/fixed sexual characterization was a norm and I was so used to it I didn't notice how much it bothers me. Now, it does.

svollga: (sky)
What I really hate about last-days-till-deadline period is that this is the period I get tons of ideas and thoughts all boiling in my head (because my job is intellectual but mechanical at the same time), and I don't have any time to work on them, and they just keep growing.

Now, I suddenly have a desire to write in two more fandoms, both with het pairings which is totally new area for me. Well, not entirely new - but I've been writing slash since my first fanfic (which included a one male/six females orgy and male/male final pairing), and I tend to think of myself as a slasher. So, I feel like I'm walking into a strange land.

Actually, while writing this, I remebered that I have some het stories, or het pairings in multypairing stories. But the only time I had to write about developing het relationship was in a Gwen/Hart bdsm-done-wrong!story, which doesn't quite qualify as experience in writing het.

But do I really have to have experience in writing het? I discovered that it is easier to me to think about the stories if I forget that the characters are of different sex, because then, I plan it like a slash story. On the other hand, being male and female is an important part of their personalities and their dynamic, and I know it. Alex/Gene won't be the same if Alex were male, it would be more like Sam/Gene. Prentiss/Hotch has tons of additional bits to it because of Prentiss being female - a possibility of pregnancy, Hotch's distrust to women...

On the other hand, it makes it all the more interesting. I'm working on my own internalized prejudice this last year - misogyny and heterophobia, among other things - and writing het would be a very useful experience. (I already tried my hand in writing femslash, and made a good job with it in PWP, though now I want to write some long story with adventures and character development and relationship development.)

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svollga

December 2010

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