darth_stitch: (WTF Bunneh)
[personal profile] darth_stitch
I was reading a fic today that was taking the by now obligatory "Are you married?" joke about Danny and Steve for another spin and it was completely enjoyable.

I love these fics.  I know some people are getting bored of the "married" jokes, whether it's Danny and Steve and more recently for me, Sherlock and John.  But it's hilarious and when done by a good writer, completely entertaining, like the one I read today.

And then, there was a comment there that made me think about some things regarding how we write slash fics and gender roles and traditional roles of husbands and wives and perceived character/personality traits we associate with being "masculine" and "feminine."  

Mind, this is not a wank.  I started seriously thinking about it and I'm going through this from a practical perspective, from my own personal experience and not from any books on psychology, gender roles and sexuality.   (Well, maybe some help from tvtropes.org.... lol) 

It all boils down to characterization.

When most people think "gay" - the most common stereotype one comes up with is the one of the "Camp Gay" variety - swishy, flaming, effeminate - a drag queen, even. 

But we all know that's not strictly the case.  I've had gay, bisexual and lesbian friends of all sorts - straight guys who are simply attracted to the same gender, flaming queens, grand dames and at this point, I am running out of labels.   Let me rephrase myself. 

Because when you boil it down to its essence, they're people.  My lesbian friend was just like me.  We dressed for comfort when appropriate, loved boots and jeans and maybe going for the girly look every now and then.  The only difference between us was that I would probably walk up to Alex O'Loughlin and politely ask him if I could climb him like a tree while she would probably flirt with Kono.  She wasn't "butch" and yes, I have worked around lesbians who prefer to act that way.  And that's fine.  Whatever works for you, floats your boat, fits your personality - then yeah, work with it. 

And in the end, that's how I ended up writing my characters, especially the ones in fan fiction.  Danny, Steve, Face, Hannibal.... I write them as I see them in the show/movie I've seen and in the books I've read.  If Face in my fan fiction is comfortable getting in drag because he was raised by two lovely drag queens but does not suddenly gush into tears like a moody teenage girl, then that's because I remember that Face is a man in his 30's, who has been a Ranger and a Green Beret, who's gone through a war and a whole crapload of FUBAR'd situations with that famous grin intact and who eminently likes good suits, the smell of good colognes and takes care of his skin with moisturizers and lotions. 

Danny loves to talk and we all know what he's feeling and what his opinions are because he expresses them loudly and eloquently.  But he can also use his words to distract and deflect because his default setting is that he's good with language and he knows how to use a turn of phrase.  Danny Williams is a smart, accomplished Detective Sergeant who can more than hold his own in a partnership with a Navy SEAL.  If I write that he's in love with one Steven J. McGarrett, he may ruefully acknowledge that people might call him "Mrs. Five-0" but then if they say it too loudly, then someone will be eating cement.  Or be thrown into a shark tank.

Just sayin'

And yes, I could write people who perceive two male characters or female characters in a homosexual relationship as wondering who's the "guy" and "girl."  It's something people would think.  When most people think "gay/lesbian" relationship, the first response from most folks (especially if they don't know any better) is:  "Who's the guy and which one is the girl?"

And the first reaction from the rest of us may probably well be, "Does it matter?" 

And I feel that's the correct response.  Does it invalidate the homosexuality in a relationship if I am told that Character A really does consider himself to be the "wife" or "husband" or "man" or "woman" in the relationship and prefers it that way?  I don't think so.  That's what they want and if the story is told well enough then that's how they'd roll.  Lord knows that there are homosexual relationships (gay or lesbian) where the traditional gender roles of male and female are willingly taken up by the partners involved.  On the other hand, it's not always the case - sometimes, the traditional gender roles are blown to smithereens and that's okay too.  Again, it depends on the individual, their personality, what they want to be.

I remember reading something by Stephen King or maybe some other writer I admire who's all WTF about the excessive concern for political correctness and what not.  What matters to him is The Story, because we want to know what happens when Sherlock and John Watson get up to when they're not taking on cases and how on earth did Steve convince Danny to go surfing with him and the story of the Thing Under the Bed and the Boogeyman in the Closet and how the old lady in the house next door really has a million dollars stashed in the walls of her house but has forgotten all about it.  We want to follow the threads and take up the next part of the tale and tell it, come hell or high water and if we listen hard and pay attention, then we'll be able to tell the story well and get people reading/listening.

My point is - if you want to tell a good story, you are also building a world where it's not always sunshine and roses.  You take a good hard long look at people and like Sherlock, you observe and extrapolate from the little details that they give away and you build your characters from there.   And yes, if you're just beginning, you're going to start with labels and stereotypes.  But as you get better, your previously perfect characters will start becoming like real people, with genuine virtues and flaws and you write because you're following that beat only you can hear, the story you want to tell and you want to make people laugh, cry, swoon, giggle or get them mad and disgusted or even better:

You make them think.

So, discuss.  Let me know your thoughts.  What do you think? :) 



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July 2012

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