Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fanfiction, Slash and Labels

As I was pondering the topic of my first post, the Lovely Blade gave me an idea based on his own outrage over something I myself have never put much thought into.  


I’m a fanfic writer.  Not a good one or you’d have read my work.  I write slash.  For those of you unfamiliar with this genre, slash is not a horror movie term in the fanfic world.  Slash means two male characters in a relationship, their names are separated by a / mark.  The opposite is femslash.  (For example: the original slash couple, Kirk/Spock.) I have a lot of fandoms I like but I only really read/write in three.  I like Harry Potter, Torchwood and sometimes Doctor Who.  Yes, I’m one of those girls, loving the gay and wanting to pair all male characters…except I really don’t.

Not all male characters need to be paired up and some should never even be led near anything that resembles sex even in a canon pairing.  (Honestly, do you really want to read about Hagrid and Madame Maxime bumping literal uglies?)  Conversely, just because you like to pair up certain characters doesn’t mean they have to have sex. 

I HATE writing sex scenes.  They make me uncomfortable to write.  There are just so many ways you can describe a sex scene and I’m positive that there is definitely someone out there that will judge me and comment that somehow I did it wrong.  I’m too much of a wimp to try.  So I tend to focus on the relationship.  I’m good at writing a nice, thick, angsty relationship with lots of drama and suspense.  There are wonderful stories out there that are plot thick, relationship thick and sex free while still remaining  in the ‘slash’ genre.  Sarah Rees Brennan, author of The Demon’s Lexicon Trilogy, once wrote under the name Mistful and had the loveliest pieces of slash fanfic on the internet. One is a drama called Underwater Light and another is a comedy called Drop Dead Gorgeous.  If you were lucky enough to have nabbed her work before she removed them from the ether (or you have awesome friends that have a copy) you know that even though the main pairing in these stories are Harry and Draco they are plot heavy with great endings. 

Also, no sex.  Oh, there were moments that were close but no actual sex.  That didn’t take away from the stories and if you were looking for a fu-q-fest then you would be highly disappointed. 

Conversely, there is the Civil War-verse by Sushi and The Tea Series by Telanu.  Both are chock full of the gay sexing and yet they are so plot heavy that you could skip the dirty bits and still come out utterly satisfied with stories that rip your heart out.  Civil War is darker and the tone is that of torture, rape and abuse and how two characters, Harry and Snape, deal with this and survive.  It isn’t always healthy but they do get through it.  The Tea Series is dubious in the age range of Harry and his relationship to Snape but the plot is brilliant and sneaks up on you as you fall in love with the characters.

My point being that you don’t have to write dirty to write slash and you don’t have to ignore a good plot just to write porn.

Now I shift over to Torchwood and the King Blade issue (I thought he may worry about his manliness if I kept up the ‘lovely’ bit).

In Torchwood, unlike in Harry Potter, there is an established gay pairing that most of the fanfic writers love to write about, Captain Jack Harkness and Ianto Jones (May he rest in peace).  The issue being, should it still be considered a slash fic even though the pairing is canon?  I never put much thought into it because I’ve been in fanfic for so long that, for me, it is just common courtesy.  Say, someone only likes reading Gwack (Jack/Gwen Cooper) and you don’t say that your story is Janto (Jack/Ianto), and they may become very put out and complain to your mod, thus getting you chewed out and possibly banned from that site.  (Yes, it could take something that small to be banned because we all walk on eggshells over in fanfic because of all the censorship issues that are constantly on the horizon in fandom.)  I think it is much like the disclaimer you place in your title saying you don’t own anything and that you are basically borrowing the characters and you’ll put them back when you’re done. 

I see The Mighty Blade’s point, though.    If you know the fandom, watch the show, you should know who the canon pairings are so why do you have to warn people.  I guess, being a part of that fandom for so long, I know the idiots that troll it so it is always smart to cover your butt.  There are those that only read the hetero pairings, which is crap if you watch the show you should be open minded to all canon pairings and if you aren’t then maybe you should find another fandom. 

What I find hysterical is that, if you are familiar with Captain Jack Harkness, he is always going on about labels and how he hates them and yet his fandom labels him all the time.

Now, if you are not a fan of slash yet you like a certain fandom, you can still find plenty of fanfic out there that tells the story without the graphic sex…unless that’s what gets you off.

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