?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Con.txt - I'm so excited! - Mo's Journal
May 16th, 2006
09:43 am

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Con.txt - I'm so excited!
I'm going to be at Con.txt, a multi-fandom slash con in the DC area, in a few weeks. Details can be found here. It will be only my second con, the first being Escapade in 2005 (details of my Escapade experience can be found here, if anyone is interested).

I love the whole idea of a con, of spending a couple days with people who read and write slash and like to talk about it. I particularly loved the panel discussions at Escapade and am looking forward to them at con.txt. Since suggestions for panels opened, I have been proposing some and reading excitedly what others have been suggesting. I was thrilled to see that someone had put in a suggestion for an X-Men panel:

X-Men: Where's the Slash?

By the time con.txt happens there will be three X-Men movies as well as two cartoon series and a gazillion different (and sometimes contradictory) comic books. Which version of X-Men has the best slash potential? Why are some characters and pairings slashed more in comicsverse and some in movieverse? How to explain the relative dearth of Ultimates slash? What about mixing and matching between different forms of canon? Come to this panel to share and hear opinions on where to find slashy subtext and slash fic for X-Men and related Marvel characters.


I read that and thought "Wow! That sounds like something I'd just love to attend." Imagine my embarrassment when I realized I had suggested it :-).

Other panels I've suggested are behind the cut:


Complicated and Conflicting Canon: Harry Potter, X-Men and Star Wars

What do you do when your fandom includes several versions of the same story, and they don't agree? When "canon" includes books, movies based on books, comic books, tv cartoon series, books based on movies, movies based on comic books and/or books based on movies based on comic books, what do you do? What is canon and what isn't? What if the different canon sources don't agree? Is there a distinction between primary and secondary canon? Are the contradictions so great that you find you are writing AU before you even start? This panel will explore the issues surrounding contradictory canon and the diverse approaches that three different fandoms have taken to addressing those issues.

25 years of AIDS and 30 Years of Slash

The 25th anniversary of the first CDC report of what later came to be called AIDS is upon us. Many slashers weren't even born when HIV first came on the horizon. In real life it has changed so much about how we live and how we think about sex and illness. How has it affected slash? What are you seeing in your own fandoms? What are you writing? Are characters concerned about HIV? Do they take action to avoid infection? Do they not practice safer sex but worry about it? Have you written or read any stories that deal with AIDS directly? Indirectly? Does this vary by fandoms? Some fandoms are set in a time or place where concern about HIV would not be expected. Is there more awareness of it in the more here-and-now fandoms than others?

Lesbians Writing Slash

Ever since Henry Jenkins's Textual Poachers came out, the stereotype of the slasher is the bored housewife with a naughty secret. In reality, we're a very varied group. A lot of us aren't housewives and most of us aren't bored. Slash isn't even a secret for some of us. And, surprising many people (even ourselves) a bunch of us are lesbians. Why would a lesbian want to write and read about m/m desire, love and sex? Does it turn us on? Do we write it because we like turning other women on? Does it give us enough distance from our own sex lives that we feel freer writing about explicit sex (and don't worry that our lovers will think we're stealing our sex lives for cheap fiction)? Does stepping outside of what's expected for our gender sexually make us more open to writing from a gender non-conformist POV? Is it as simple as all the characters we're interested in are men? How are our voices different from those of our straight slashing sisters?

Slash and the Presumption of Heterosexuality

Where does slash come from? No, not from the stork, but from the presumption of heterosexuality. It's reaction to real or imagined subtext in canon that depicts all characters as heterosexual, or in canon that doesn't talk about sexuality but exists in an environment where all characters are presumed to be heterosexual. How does that presumption - in readers/viewers, in canon producers, and in the society itself - affect us as fanfic writers? What do we need to do to make our characters credibly homoerotically active and still credibly themselves? And what happens as that presumption breaks down, both in society at large and in mainstream entertainment media? Does that make media more slashy or less? Is the slashy edge gone when characters are openly gay? Is it even slash anymore?

Beyond Mary Sue: Writing Credible Original Characters

When Dorothy Sayers fell in love with Peter Wimsey and wrote herself into her novels so she could marry him, her fiction went downhill fast. Ever since then, Mary Sues have been problematic. In fanfic, self-insertion has happened so often and been done so badly, that the Mary Sue phenomenon has given all original characters a bad name. A lot of readers are immediately turned off by the idea of a non-canonical character and a lot of writers are scared to write them. Yet sometimes... an author needs something to happen and there's no canonical character available that works. Sometimes an author wants to expand on the character set to introduce new elements, new complexity, new relationships to the story. Sometimes an author just needs an original character and plunges ahead, braving the potential cries of "Mary Sue!" When do you write OCs and how do you use them? How are they introduced? What, if anything, do you do to avoid Mary Sueism? How do you ensure that your OC is credible as a character and credible within your fandom? What are your OC taboos? Would you ever have an OC have sex with a canonical character? Fall in love with one? Would you ever make an OC the center of the story? Do you worry about losing readership over OCs? How have your readers responded to your OCs?



I hope at least one or two of them will make it to the panels list.

(19 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:executrix
Date:May 16th, 2006 02:21 pm (UTC)
(Link)
There's always a notice board at a con, so if something you really want doesn't make it as a panel, you can put up a notice saying something like, "Hey, I'm going to be hanging out in the con suite at 2 pm on Saturday and I want to talk X-Men slash."

PS--you live in Brooklyn, I live in Jersey City, how crazy is it that we're going to be meeting f2f in DC?
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:May 16th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
(Link)
LOL! Pretty weird. Hey, I worked in Jersey City for a while.
[User Picture]
From:executrix
Date:May 16th, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I do a lot of writing for what used to be West Publishing. In one of the innumerable times I was assigned a new editor, the editor, who was then working at West's Rochester, NY office said that he used to live ACROSS THE STREET from me and we never met.
[User Picture]
From:penknife
Date:May 16th, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC)
(Link)
All of these sound fascinating, and I hope some of them make it to the panels list, too (it looks like I'll be able to make it to the con, but I haven't registered yet).

I think "25 years of AIDS and 30 Years of Slash" sounds interesting; there are all of the questions of escapism vs. realism vs. authorial responsibility that come up every time someone brings up the "should characters use condoms?" question on LJ, and all of the issues around writing respectfully about real-world problems, and some issues of social history about people's attitudes at various points. It's possible that you and me and about three other people are the only ones who'd be really fascinated by that conversation, but it's one I'd love to have even if the panel doesn't pan out. (Also, Many slashers weren't even born when HIV first came on the horizon makes me feel so old.)

"Lesbians writing slash" sounds interesting, too, if potentially a pretty argmentative discussion, and the "Complicated and Conflicting Canon" one just sounds like fun.
[User Picture]
From:penknife
Date:May 16th, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC)
(Link)
argumentative. I swear, I know how to spell.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:May 16th, 2006 03:24 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I never doubted it for a minute. LJ comments are like verbal conversation - mistakes are part and parcel of the medium and you're allowed to correct as you go. Well, that's my view anyway.

Why do you think Lesbians Writing Slash might be an argumentative discussion? I saw it more as a way to hear what other lesbians are getting out of it and say what I get from it. You know, basically to compare notes.

[User Picture]
From:penknife
Date:May 16th, 2006 03:34 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Oh, I think it would be a fun discussion. Possibly I just have the knee-jerk reaction that anything involving why people write slash is fraught. It's an interesting question, though, and I'd enjoy the panel.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:May 16th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It's possible that you and me and about three other people are the only ones who'd be really fascinated by that conversation,

LOL! Yes, that occurred to me. To be interested you kind of have to be either so old</> {g} or interested in history, and you have to be interested in HIV. I'd guess those requirements aren't present, together, in a lot of slashers. Still, it would be fine topic for a small group to discuss, if that's how it plays out.

I really do hope the Complicated and Conflicting Canon one happens. I don't really know HP fandom at all (although I'm a fan in the sense that I've read all the books multiple times and seen the movies at least once) and I'm really interested in how it's approached in that large and complicated fandom. I've seen really different approaches taken in Star Wars and X-Men, and I'd love to hear a discussion on reasons for that, too.
[User Picture]
From:penknife
Date:May 16th, 2006 03:44 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Yeah, I think HP would be interesting to compare to the other two, because HP doesn't have as much conflicting canon as, say, X-Men, but there are definitely issues about how much fan writers draw from the movies vs. the books, and about to what extent author interviews and the supplemental books (Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) are canon.

Interviews particularly are a big thing in HP fandom more than in the other two, I think; it's tough to find two X-Men canon creators who agree about the characters for ten minutes, so no one's word is exactly gospel, and I don't know that I've seen fan authors paying attention to what George Lucas has says in interviews the same way they do to JKR's statements about characters' names or birthdays or backgrouds.

The thing about interesting panel topics is that I always want to talk about them right now. Must be patient and wait for the con.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:May 16th, 2006 03:50 pm (UTC)
(Link)
The thing about interesting panel topics is that I always want to talk about them right now. Must be patient and wait for the con.


LOL! You don't have to wait. You can discuss in lj (here, on your own journal, or in a community). I'm sure there will still be plenty to say at the con.

That's very interesting about author interviews. I didn't know that about HP fandom, but I'd concur on the other two. George's views of Star Wars seem to be regarded as the *least* canonical source, ironically. First afaict is the movies, then the novels are considered secondary canon. Some of the other sources (like assorted compendiums) ime are considered more important than what Lucas has said. In fact, I generally find that his views are stated almost exclusively to be ridiculed! It sounds like HP fandom takes a lot more respectful an attitude towards JKR than Star Wars slashers do to Lucas.

I agree with you on X-Men, too. There's no one creator, so it's kind of a moot point.
[User Picture]
From:partly_bouncy
Date:May 16th, 2006 03:18 pm (UTC)
(Link)
If you're interested in any history type hand outs, let me know and I can send. Did that for other people going to cons before.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:May 16th, 2006 03:30 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Thank you! If I lead any panels, I will want to have handouts, and would be glad to have you to consult with on them.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:May 16th, 2006 06:32 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Yes, money makes lots of things easier. I was pleased to find a close con that I could do cheaply. I'll use an icon featuring one of my favorite indepently wealthy fictional characters. He could go to a con anywhere he liked...

Oh, love your icon btw. It made me LOL.
[User Picture]
From:eveningblue
Date:May 16th, 2006 09:01 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Oh, this sounds like fun, and all those panel ideas sound interesting, to me.

[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:May 16th, 2006 09:03 pm (UTC)
(Link)
There's still room, and DC is easy to get to...
[User Picture]
From:eveningblue
Date:May 16th, 2006 09:13 pm (UTC)
(Link)
There's so little info at that website, though! You really have to have faith that it will be worthwhile.

(I'll be returning from Colorado that weekend, so I wouldn't be able to make it anyway. But I don't think I'm ready to make the leap to con-level fannishness yet, anyhow.)

(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:May 17th, 2006 12:47 am (UTC)
(Link)
I am going. I already paid and I'm too cheap to not get my money's worth :-). I'll definitely report back.
[User Picture]
From:blue_braces
Date:May 17th, 2006 12:52 am (UTC)
(Link)
Those sound like great panels. I wish that one of my DC area trips were coinciding with the Con. Some of those panel ideas put me in mind of my friend unsymbolic's (in progress) master's thesis. He's writing about the sexual subjectivities created in HP slash. I should tell him about Con.txt, although he's already going to two HP cons this summer!
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:May 17th, 2006 01:24 am (UTC)
(Link)
I was hoping you'd make it, since you do seem to come to DC a lot. Sounds like a fun thesis topic your friend has. I have a friend who did her PhD dissertation on Star Trek fans!
Mofic Powered by LiveJournal.com