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Linkspam has had a lot of stuff that's made me think hard in the past couple of days. This is one that I really liked because it gives me a level to which I can aspire:

How Do I Know If I'm Getting It Right? (by Paul G. Bens, Jr.)


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 15th, 2010 11:39 am (UTC)
Thank you; this was very interesting.

Personally, I don't read het romance and from what I know about it would HATE it with a passion. I prefer non-cliched yaoi and fanfiction. Sadly, I sometimes feel, especially with yaoi, like I'm in the minority.

Within reason (i.e., within canon characterizations), I like to keep my fanfaction realistic, but that's easier with Gravitation, which despite its wacky parts is set in the real modern world, than Saiyuki, which (except in AUs) isn't.

Moreover, since the ikkou is on the road and is in itself its own social network without regard to much else (particularly sine Sanzo, in essence, answers to no one except the Three Aspects), I'm not sure how realism, except in the physical depictions of sex, applies to Saiyuki fanfiction. It's not like we have any clue what attitudes exist in Togenkyo toward gay sex other than, as usual, it's not the norm - see the omake at the end of volume 2, when Shunrei is startled to see two of them fighting over who gets the bed.

Yes, we are privileged. We are writing about something we don't know. And, in most cases of NC-17 Saiyuki fanfiction, we're doing it in part for the hot, although I hope we're also doing it out of love for Minekura's well-rounded characters as well. But using stereotyped storylines and tropes is bad art as well as the type of fail that leads people living lives at least somewhat like what we're writing about to criticize us and leaves us open to accusations that we shouldn't be writing it in the first place, which to me is like saying censorship is okay.

Maybe, because Saiyuki fanfiction doesn't seem to attract much of a male audience, perhaps because the manga doesn't either, we escape some of the possibility of offending or confusing some about-to-come-out teen from the heartland, but I think the advice to write well-rounded characters and plausible, non-stereotyped situations is a good one no matter what.

Then again, my inclination toward someone who feels slash as a genre, or as written by people who are not gay men, is illegitimate, is to tell them to buzz off. Moreover, you and I should not be held to the same standards as a professional writer just because our writing is on the internet and (theoretically) publicly available. I post stories publicly so LJers who aren't on my f-list can read them, not so the general public can read them.
Jan. 15th, 2010 12:03 pm (UTC)

When I'm writing fic, I feel like my first responsibilities is to the characters, and at the same time the little angel on my shoulder is whispering "Would you be ashamed to show this to T?" He was a good friend in college, and for some years thereafter, who is gay ... we talk by e-mail or Facebook every now and again. We had some moderately explicit talks.

Yes, of course, Bens is talking about published fiction. I hadn't realized that there was such a mini-industry out there of original gay-character smut written by and for straight women. But some of the same rules apply, I think. We can get away with putting less background into our stories because Minekura-sensei has already done it for us, but I think that also means that to reach the level Bens describes, we need to be immersed enough in the characters that they ring true to themselves, so that even if they're in situations sensei never had in the series, it actually feels like Gojyo, or Sanzo, or whomever.

Jan. 15th, 2010 12:11 pm (UTC)
I'll have to look at it again, but I thought Bens was also talking about fanfiction that was publicly available on the web. I got the sense that was also included in the LGBT community's criticism of slash in general.

Edited at 2010-01-15 12:12 pm (UTC)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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