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fannish5 Five Nitpicky Things - Mo's Journal
January 26th, 2007
06:24 pm

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fannish5 Five Nitpicky Things
This week's question: What five nitpicky things do you wish writers in your fandom(s) would get right?

X-Men movieverse is my fandom, but some of these apply to slash in general.

1. Male superheroes who sound like girls. And not even real girls, but stereotypical girls, at that. These people are in a paramilitary organization. They're tough. Having sex with a man, or being a bottom in sex, does not translate to feminized behavior. It just kills the willing suspension of disbelief.

2. Homosex that sounds like heterosex, only with two guys. Anal sex really isn't just like vaginal sex, and it certainly isn't just like vaginal sex as presented by a romance novel. Learn something about male physiology before you write m/m sex scenes. Which leads me to...

3. The idea that sex between men isn't sex unless it's anal penetration. Related to the above, a lot of heterosexual slash writers present blow jobs, hand jobs, intercrural coitus (go on, look it up) etc. as "foreplay" and anal sex as "the act" or "making love." It's an extension of the error of looking at m/m sex as akin to m/f sex, of course. In addition, I personally feel it's also completely discounting of women's experiences as much as men's to deem one form of this varied human endeavor we call sex "the real thing" and the rest just adjuncts. In any event, anal penetration is not the only sex act between men that counts. For some men it's a favorite act (on one end of it or both), some think it's okay, some don't like it at all.

4. Getting the New York details wrong. The X-Men are based in a NYC suburb. New York City is a big place - there are lots of people here and many of us would be glad to help people who want the details right. You want your X-Men to come to the city on the train, like they do in the movie? The train ends up in Grand Central, not Penn Station, not some generic train station. You want the kids to go shopping at the mall? Don't populate it with stores that aren't found in this part of the country. You want them in a restaurant? Don't give the restaurant a smoking section.

5. Distracting dialect-y speech. Rogue saying "Ah'm just so scared ah can't stand it!" Even when she's talking to herself, even when it's her thoughts not her words, even when she's writing in her diary. Nobody perceives herself as saying "Ah" when she pronounces "I". There are lots of Southern accents out there and you can convey that she has one by word choice and syntax, but when you start writing "ah" and "sugah" you make your character sound like someone out of a comic book!


Hey, that was fun! I try to keep the persnicketiness (or is it persnickitihood?) in check, usually, but it's great to let it out from time to time.

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From:opera142
Date:January 27th, 2007 03:26 am (UTC)
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#5 is rampant in my fandom as well. And what makes it worse/more funny is that often one character (usually the cutesy, feisty bottom) will speak in dialect, while others from similar locales will utter non-dialected up dialogue. I'm not proposing more apostrophe-riddled (and dangerously close to stereotyping) dialect, but at least keep it consistant.
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From:ringthebells
Date:January 27th, 2007 04:15 am (UTC)
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Speaking of details: recently I wrote a sex scene in which I had to decide whether or not the characters would use a condom. It made me think of you!
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From:mofic
Date:January 27th, 2007 01:11 pm (UTC)
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Hmm. Now why are you thinking of me wrt condoms? I do like to be thought of, but I can't figure that one out!
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From:ringthebells
Date:January 29th, 2007 02:10 pm (UTC)
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I'm pretty sure you posted an essay at some point about safe sex in fanfic! (Or maybe we just talked about it in email?)
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From:mofic
Date:January 29th, 2007 02:49 pm (UTC)
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Well that rang a bell and went back and looked. You're right, I did. Oh and bonus! In one of the comments there's a link to an essay I'd been looking for. Thank you!
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From:ringthebells
Date:January 30th, 2007 04:19 am (UTC)

warning: this comment is being written under some chemical influence!

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You're welcome! (I'm amused that I remember your essay better than you do in this case!) Your recent entries made me think of that one because you're touching on some of the same topics with respect to realism.

I'm sure I would have thought about safe sex in fic even without the conversations with you (I'm a child of the '90s; I learned how to use a condom years before I learned what on earth you were supposed to do with the penis once it was safely sheathed) but I do think you made me much more conscious of it.

I regret, really, that safe sex actually comes up explicitly in so few of my stories. It's like you said in that essay; there's time/place and/or supernatural reasons why it wouldn't. (The '70s? Nobody knew about AIDS. Vampires? Immune to everything.)

I don't even write sex all that much lately. But in the past few months I've written a couple of scenes between the same two characters, in two different stories (not in continuity with each other). In the first one, character A was known to both of them to be HIV positive and he insisted on using a condom even though character B thought it was pointless, given their mutual well-founded belief that the world was going to literally end in less than a week. In the second one, the two guys have been monogamous for a year or so, and I had to ask myself "would they still use a condom?" And looking at their backgrounds and personalities, I had to say no, realistically, they wouldn't, even though I really kind of wanted them to (in a PSA kinda way).

Um, if you're interested I'll happily expand on any of this, up to and including snipping the scenes themselves! But right now I should probably give in to the sedative I took an hour ago, and go to bed. :P
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From:mofic
Date:January 30th, 2007 11:52 am (UTC)

Re: warning: this comment is being written under some chemical influence!

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I'm amused that I remember your essay better than you do in this case!

And I'm amused that I said it "rang a bell" for me, without even thinking about your lj username. Anyway, thanks again. I wanted that essay in the comments to write about realism, and I did.

I'm very interested in hearing more/seeing the scenes. What fandom is it?
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From:ringthebells
Date:January 31st, 2007 03:37 am (UTC)

Re: warning: this comment is being written under some chemical influence!

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It's Buffy the Vampire Slayer (pairing: Spike and Xander, but in a post-series future where Spike is human rather than being a vampire). Tell you what, I'll email you the snippets. *g* (Because discussing this stuff with you is always fun.)
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From:mofic
Date:January 31st, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)

Re: warning: this comment is being written under some chemical influence!

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I look forward to reading them. I don't know Buffy, as I've probably mentioned, but sex is sex...
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From:talktooloose
Date:January 27th, 2007 04:41 am (UTC)
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"...you make your character sound like someone out of a comic book!"

You were smiling when you said that, right? Heh, comic-verse Rogue "sugahs" all over the place. But I totally agree with your point. We're here to fix canon, anyway.

Hee hee, I remember on X-Men Evolution when someone ran away and Charles figured she was at the local airport getting ready to take a commercial flight to New York. But it's not fair to bring Evo into this...
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From:mofic
Date:January 27th, 2007 01:13 pm (UTC)
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LOL! Yes, I do know that the awful dialects in fanfic have their roots in awful dialects in comic books. Same for all the mistakes when characters speak a language other than English.

See you in a few hours!
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From:realpestilence
Date:January 27th, 2007 05:26 am (UTC)
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And a great big whooping "Hell, yeah!" from me.


You're so articulate, I may never have to write anything, ever again...I can just point to your lj and grunt. It's a bit sickening, really. *is green with envy*

Pesti
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From:mofic
Date:January 27th, 2007 01:14 pm (UTC)
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Oh please don't talk like that! I love how you write, Pesti.
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From:lilacsigil
Date:January 27th, 2007 07:46 am (UTC)
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1. Not to mention the female superheroes who sound like girly girls on a mission!

3. Of course, there's no shortage of men who say they're not gay because they're going by this definition! I'd love to see a few of them in fic. Then there's Bill Clinton...

4. I can see how this would annoy people. I do my absolute best to avoid US travel and specific locales in most of my fic, because there's no way that I can get it all right. I try to stay generic, or set things in the house or on a mission. Still, you wouldn't believe how many NYC maps and guidebooks are in my house, apart from all the Yahoo communities for the place.

5. Oh yes! I really hate it when there's some kind of neutral accent, usually north-east/midwest US, and everyone else has a dialect. Thanks, Chris Claremont. Especially for the Australian characters with British accents!
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From:mofic
Date:January 27th, 2007 01:28 pm (UTC)
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1. Yes, that's awful too. Particularly Storm.

3. I'd love to see a few of them in fic.

From my latest. Adam is telling Jean-Paul about sex with his first lover. for religious reasons Yossi would do anything but fuck. Adam has just said that he didn't want to anyway, and J-P asked him why:

“I thought it would hurt, mostly. And I don’t know — I liked what we were doing. I didn’t want to do something that Yossi was so sure was wrong. I didn’t think it was wrong — well, I don’t know what I thought. I was a confused teenager. I was pretty closeted and pretty mixed up about the whole gay thing anyway. So maybe not doing that gave me an out or something? I mean, just because I was sucking my boyfriend’s cock every chance I got, that didn’t mean I was gay, right?”

4. You should feel free to ask questions anytime. Also there are a lot of us who are local and willing to beta - even just to beta for that kind of detail if you like. Or you could come visit :-).

5. If you visit you can yell at Claremont :-).
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From:candrawest
Date:January 31st, 2007 12:45 am (UTC)
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[i]5. Oh yes! I really hate it when there's some kind of neutral accent, usually north-east/midwest US, and everyone else has a dialect. Thanks, Chris Claremont. Especially for the Australian characters with British accents![/i]

Why wouldn't they have British accents? Claremont obviously cannot tell Britain from Australia. The most famous of them has a Bitish name. I have honestly polled people in Canberra about whether they can imagine anyone Australian with the name St. John Allerdyce. The kindest response was that if you reversed it, he'd sound like a social climbing ponce who got regularly thrashed in the schoolyard. Which doesn't even taking into account that St. John sounds archaic and poncy even to most Brits as a given name and there are only a handful of people born in the last 60 years with St. John as any part of their name.

Of course the reverse is also true. Marvel's London Brits (and apparently the rest of England doesn't exist as everyone is from London) sound more like they speak the Cockney derived Far North Queensland accent than anything found in England. At least one also follows Australian nicknaming conventions. Jono (and many other nicknames ending in o) is far more likely to be a 'Strine nicknmae than a London one.
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