writing rengeek magpie mind

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writing rengeek magpie mind

The jingle of a dog's collar would be good right here

Regarding Carnivalathenais didn't like it over much, and thought Vincent and Angelo weren't very interesting characters. Fair enough, and I've got no quibbles with anything she says (I mean, most of it is personal aesthetic, and dude, not only is she entitled to her aesthetic and her opinion, I fully support her having it.) Except there's one assumption that rubs me the wrong way on a personal and political level, rather than an artistic one.****

There's a way she phrases something that echoes a construction a couple of other reviewers have also used--the SCIFI.com reviewer in particular. What I'm talking about is the attempts I've seen to define the novel as slash, or yaoi, or something, because one plot element is a m/m love story, kind of bothers me. *****

It's just a love story.

There are two of them in the book.

One ends better than the other.

That's all. It doesn't, to my mind, need to be categorized any differently because one of the love stories is same-sex and the other is opposite-sex.

Yanno, when I said earlier that some of my books have sex scenes and others don't, I was maybe a little disingenuous. Because I don't write romances, really* at least, not in the HEA sense. But I think every novel length book I've written contains some kind of love story. A love story isn't a romance, in a technical sense.

I was bothered by the assumption that the Jenny books were some sort of polemic for polyamory, and I'm bothered by this description of Carnival as slash. Not because I have any problem with homosexual erotica. But I dunno, if two page-long m/m sex scenes turn a 120,000 word book into slash, then that's suspiciously close, to me, to the "one drop" criteria of determining race. And it seems to me to reveal a pretty profound heteronormative assumption--and I suspect it's a societal assumption rather than one that's particular to these two readers. Because I think if Vincent had been a girl, say, and there were as much relationship content in the book as there is, nobody would be calling it a romance.

But, yanno. I'm guess I had better get used to it, as I knew when I was writing it that people were going to worry at that particular thread, and Whiskey & Water is going to get Teh Gay on people too**. (OMG! LESBIANS!)

...okay, so those lesbians are the only sane and healthy couple I've ever written. And all the actual smut in the book is hetsmut.



****Well, I mean, I think Angelo and Vincent are interesting people, especially in comparison to Lesa and each other. Their sexuality doesn't have much to do with why I find them interesting, though. I like the ways in which all three of them hide and reveal themselves.***

*****And god, I Spy slash? Oh, god, no. The concept of Bill Cosby with his pants off is a little too much like finding out your grandparents had sex for me.

*a few things come closer than others--I mean, okay, "Follow Me Light" is a Lovecraftian category romance. But I'm using the romance tropes to dissect some of the ickier racist implications in Lovecraft.

**although not as much as Ink & Pen will. Or, dog help us, A Companion to Wolves. And the Eddas. La.

***and I'm still really sad I didn't get to make Angelo eat a caterpillar. Because I was gonna, and it was really the worst thing I could think of to do to him.

Comments

caterpiller

I take it this would have happened during the,ah, jungle sequence, yes?
Yeah.

I really wanted to. But he just wasn't out there long enough.
But I dunno, if two page-long m/m sex scenes turn a 120,000 word book into slash, then that's suspiciously close, to me, to the "one drop" criteria of determining race.

Zing.
I feel like the book needs a warning sticker. "Dear World. I did not write this book to fulfill your kink for boysmoochies. If you do not have a kink for boysmoochies, please do not assume I wrote it to fulfill my kink for boysmoochies.*"

*Although, to be precise, I have a kink for any kind of smoochies. Does it stop being a kink then?
Maybe that just makes it kinkier!

Though I'm bemused that het relationships are just standard plot while same-sex relationships are kink. Meh.
No, I have a kink for het smoochies too.

See?
Oh I understood that. See, you're just omni-kinky, universally kinky. When everything is kinky, is anything kinky? It's an existential conundrum. :P
*loff*
As I recall how this works "I have preferences, you have kinks and those people whose apartment I secretly wired for video and audio are total perverts."
*snrch*

I have kinks, personally. ;-)
Or, perhaps: "If by the end of this book the thing that still stands out the most to you is Teh Gay Sexx0r, please get in line round the back for your dinosaur tattoo."
Owie. *g*
But you aren't bothered by Man from U.N.C.L.E. slash? I mean, come on - Ducky!

Normally, I would say that people's kinks are their own business. And yanno, I have no problem with there being I Spy slash in the world. But please God don't make me think about Bill Cosby with his pants off.

You see, neither David McCallum nor Robert Vaughn have that "America's grandfather" air about them. Neither of them did Picture Pages with me when I was a kid, yanno?

Like, I suspect the kids fifteen years younger than me will have a similar reaction to the idea of Levar Burton with his pants off.

As for the other--dude, I have *published* Man From UNCLE slash. And gotten a Year's Best Honorable Mention for it, in fact. "Botticelli," which is in The Chains that you Refuse.

Yanno, actually, since I suspect that the actors themselves were working pretty hard to give the impression that Napoleon and Illya were More Than Just Good Friends (I've at least heard them joke about it in interviews), I would have to say that Man from UNCLE slash is, well.... probably not the sort of thing anybody should complain about with a straight face.
Levar Burton with his pants off is NO.

That is all, thank you.
Levar Burton with his pants off...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Huh? *confused* I mean my first recollection of Levar Burton was wearing a very ragged pair of pants and ... oh, wait a minute, probably just wearing a loincloth, actually. :-) Then the extremely clingy 1st season TNG jumpsuits. Pants off? Okay, and ...? I guess there are advantages to age, and of course to being in the UK. *g*
*g* In the US, he hosted a kid's show called "Reading Rainbow," and sort of has that Mister Rogers thing going on.
is a little too much like finding out your grandparents had sex for me.

Well, if it helps any, I'm pretty sure my grandparents weren't even CONDIERING your needs at the time.

*grins, ducks, runs for bus*
LALALALALALALALALALA.

I'm going to go commune with my TV boyfriends and girlfriend on Criminal Minds now, thank you.
Definitionally, a canon relationship is not slash.

That's the point of slash. It is not a synonym for "homosexual."
The lady has a point.

I think the problem may be that there's been so much attention paid to the slash scene right now that it seems hip or trendy or something.

Bleh.
I think the problem may be that there's been so much attention paid to the slash scene right now that it seems hip or trendy or something.

Yes. In the much same way that the presence of "Girls Gone Wild" in the world means (to some) that all queer girls are "just trying to be trendy." And the assumption's offensive in both cases, IMO.
Thank you, if someone else hadn't said it, I would have.
I'm sorry, I couldn't help thinking of I Spy! I have a dirty mind!

But okay, let me look at why I said slash. I played fast and loose with the term; sloppy writing deserves to be called down and examined.

I used the term because the specific relationship seemed extraneous and self-indulgent. To you, this love affair mattered; the story required it, you wanted to write it, that's who these characters were. To me it did not matter. And to me slash is self-indulgent an awful lot of the time. Thus, the shorthand for "You wrote a love affair, but I didn't feel it and I didn't go there with you as a reader." I think now it's because I wasn't invested in either Vincent or Angelo.

Would I have said fic if it had been a male/female pairing that I didn't particularly buy into? No, I have to say that probably would not have occured to me. I wouldn't have. So I'm guilty of using the term disparagingly in regards to a same sex relationship in fiction.

Damn, I hate finding out I'm a jerk. My apologies.
*g* s'okay. And yah, I can't imagine the novel working without it, frankly. Nor can I imagine the novel working without Lesa and Robert's relationship: those relationships drive the plot.

(I also can't imagine B&I working without Seeker and Whiskey's relationship or Elaine & Keith's relationship, to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.)

Sorry it didn't work for you, however. (I'm not going to treat you to my list of reasons why I did it that way, because yanno, nothing stupider than writers arguing with critics. *g*)

But yeah, yanno, they came that way.

And, in fairness, I was just blogging about Robert Culp's shoulders. *g* But he didn't do Picture Pages with me when I was a kid.
I don't mind someone pointing out my blinders, especially when I'm used to thinking of myself as someone who tries not to put on those blinders. And it wasn't all about me, I know.

I will say this: I didn't care all that much about the two main guys, true, but I still absolutely had to read the whole book. Those relationships had to be there; I only thought they didn't because I didn't know how to express why one relationship didn't work for me. Really, because I don't know how to express myself very well about fiction, I think.
I suspect I know, actually, why they didn't work for you. They're both very masked, frictionless characters, and an ongoing problem I had in writing the book was making them accessible to the reader, because part of the thematic point *is* the masks and the lies and the secrets. (Thus one of the reasons for the title. :-P)

Anyway, Lesa is too, but she's got the relationships with the kids to crack her open. Vincent and Angelo only have each other--and eventually Lesa.

And frankly, neither one of them are nice men. Angelo's a classic borderline personality, and Vincent's about one step of empathy away from being a very well-socialized sociopath. *g* It makes them challenging to identify with.
I think that it needs to be there not only because New Amazonia would *never* accept heterosexual men as diplomats, and not only because the Coalition needed these precise two people because they were the only homosexual people they had with the right combination of skills to do the job the coalition actually wanted, but because Vincent and Angelo's relationship as downright forbidden in their society is the mirror of the downright forbidden relationship of New Amazonia's society of Lesa and Robert.

but you know damned well that i have a mirroring/symmetry kink in writing, so go ahead and ignore me.
That's part of it, sure.

Also, there's absolutely no reason for them to do some spoilery things they do unless each one of them is as important to the other as their ideology is.
I agree with point A and point B, but had not drawn the same conclusion as you on point C. Interesting point C.
I just received Carnival as a birthday present (from my short wish-list). It's next on my to-read list, after I finish Arturo Perez-Reverte's Captain Alatriste.

Then I'll know what you're talking about.
;-) no spoilers--the m/m relationship is established on, like, page 3.
I read the first few pages right away.... but only when I complete the book will I have thoughts on whether the romance is necessary to the story. Although, even if it's not necessary to the non-romantic elements of the story, why not throw in some romance? It certainly drew me into the opening!
I was really weirded out by the misapplication of "yaoi" in the other review, even though it was a favorable one -- I guess I can see slippage of the term onto non-anime/manga based slash fanfic, even though it doesn't make much sense to me there either, but - when did two men having a romantic or sexual relationship, in an original work, stop being called, well, gay?[1] I mean. That is the term that would have occured to me first, had I been searching for one.

[1]okay, I do know that the answer is, when a woman's writing them. I do know what people sometimes mean by saying that a canonical relationship has a slashy vibe, but I think a good half of the time or more, all they mean is that a woman wrote it.
I dunno. I guess there's an assumption that the relationship is there in service of a sexual need rather than in service of the story that bugs me.

When the book with the hot girl on girl action comes out, I wonder what people will say.

And then there's the one with the girly lavender strap on.
I suspect it's a societal assumption rather than one that's particular to these two readers. Because I think if Vincent had been a girl, say, and there were as much relationship content in the book as there is, nobody would be calling it a romance.

I strongly suspect that you're right.

If there's one thing that drives me spare (and there are, in fact, several), it's that automatic hetero/male assumption that leads people to ask things like "Why did you make the therapist bisexual?" or "Why did you make the judge a woman?"

I recently wrote something which included the line: "The doctor meant well, but she had no idea what things were really like out here." Someone actually called me on the fact that I had used the 'wrong pronoun'. When I explained that "she" referred to the doctor, I was told that I should've made it clear that I was talking about a female doctor, because otherwise the sentence didn't make sense.

Why am I supposed to write silly things like "female doctor" and "female judge", when no one would ever expect you to say "She went before the male judge"? I think it just shows the underlying gender bias that still exists.

Of course, things like the fact that The Discovery Channel Store has different gift suggestion lists for boys and girls don't really help much either.

One answer to thse questions might be, "I don't know. Why did your creator make you an asshole?"
**although not as much as Ink & Pen will. Or, dog help us, A Companion to Wolves. And the Eddas. La.

::bounces::

I can't wait for these to come out in hard copy! (Kink, moi? *mwah!*)

I have Carnival. I have not read it yet - saving it for Xmas holiday downtime - but I have it. I fully intend to enjoy it, love stories and all. *g*

Sex in books

Isn't it profoundly weird how some readers will focus on the sex in a book, which can be 1% of the total story, and they can't seem to see past that one aspect of the tale? I mean, damn, I love sex, but the story is the thing and the sex is a PART of it.

I wrote a short story for a workshop once that had two women kissing in it, a scene that was all of a half-page long, and I swear nobody could get past that kiss. It wasn't even a sexy kiss! I couldn't get anyone to talk about the story as a whole or whether it worked. They were all fascinated and disturbed by THE LESBIAN SCENE. And it wasn't even a freakin' lesbian scene. Two women kissing once does not equal two lesbians, a fact I could not seem to get across to anyone. *Sigh*

Well, anyway, I didn't read your Jenny books as some kind of push for polyamory. I thought you were being imaginative when it came to human relationships in the book on ALL fronts. And I appreciate that.

Re: Sex in books

*g* Never put the important exposition in the middle of the homoerotic kissing scene. I learned this the hard way.