Tag Archives: fandom/fanfic

Looking into 2012

30 Dec

The theme for this month’s blog carnival is unfulfilled desires as relating to asexuality, the ace community, etc. Because WordPress doesn’t allow you to put just part of a post behind a read-more cut, and some of this needs to be cut, I’ll talk about community first and myself second.

Community

In 2012 I’d like to see the ace communities I’m involved in be able to spend more time talking to each other, and to people interested in real discourse, and less time fending off attacks.

It makes me anxious to even start thinking of all we’ve been through this year, especially the aces, graces, and demis I know on Tumblr. I realize this isn’t really under our control, since there’s nothing we can do about people who just want to argue and rile us up, or the kind of people who don’t want to have conversations and prefer shouting matches — the kind of people who don’t respect us and refuse to try.

But I do wish for us that we can have a year where we get to have good conversations and nobody has to worry about being deliberately triggered or told horrible things about themselves.

I’d also like to see some more creative writing — original or fanfic — come up around the ace spectrum, because I like reading and being able to relate to or see commonalities in what I’m reading. I did write a fanfic prominently featuring asexuality this year, which was well-received by my small fandom, but not wanting to cross my online names I didn’t really promote it … at all.

Not that I need more projects, but it might be interesting to organize an ace fic fest since the one people had been talking about earlier never came to fruition. If I had the time and enough people were interested, I wouldn’t mind doing that.

Or possibly compiling an anthology of original fic, but I have no idea how I’d distribute it. Maybe a free e-book — but everyone contributing would have to be okay with that format, obviously.

Myself

I started this blog because I wanted to be more connected to the community. Because I felt alone, and I was too shy to be commenting on people’s blogs and I wasn’t involved with Tumblr at all, without having some kind of space to do my own writing.

Having this blog has helped me form some connections in the ace community that I never would’ve had otherwise, has introduced me to new contacts, and has shown me that I can actually make some physical transitions to get my body more aligned with my gender.

But you may have noticed I haven’t been updating as much recently.

Trigger Warning for depression and anxiety under the cut.

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Writing porn while asexual

9 Sep

One of the things about being in a small fandom where there’s often opportunities to say “prompt me” is that I get a fair amount of prompts, which my guilt superpower then makes me feel compelled to write.

Note: this post discusses writing porn, although in general terms instead of anatomical ones. But because people scrolling through this blog are more likely to be repulsed than in other areas of the Internet, I’m putting the rest of it under a cut.

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Carnival of Aces 5: Round-Up Post

1 Sep

Hey everyone! The fifth edition of A Carnival of Aces turned out pretty well, I think. We’ve got a lot of pondering about trends in media, specific characters, and even a couple of original fiction pieces.

Overall, it seems like there’s a long way to go and a lot to be desired from the media in terms of ace umbrella representation. But people are also thinking about it a lot — and that makes me think that the future media landscape will be a lot better for all of us.

You can still submit! I’ll add things to the round-up as long as you give me the link.

eowynjedi unearthed an original piece of writing about the character Silfren Aesculeus, who reflects on not falling in romantic love.

Carmilla DeWinter wrote about the concerns involved in writing H, an asexual aromantic character. Also in German/Deutsche here. (TW for instance of ableist language.)

Sciatrix laments how the creators of characters perceived as asexual react badly to others talking about the character being asexual.

veerserif discusses asexual fandom (not asexual_fandom, the DW community), interpreting characters, and awareness. (TW for instance of ableist language.)

Norah talks about the Dragon Age games, interpreting ace characters, and regrettably automatically-sexual romances.

nami_roland wants media that lets aromantics in from out of the cold, and esteems non-romantic love and non-romantic relationships.

pippin wrote Love and Punch, an aromantic retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Emily rewatches and muses on Fruits Basket, and thinks there’s room in it to easily see a queerplatonic relationship or two. (TW for animated icon.)

psyche2332 wrote about aromantic media representation and the question, “Why is it not okay to not want romance?”

Elizabeth talks about asexuals in non-fiction, specifically creative non-fiction, and the beginning of a memoir.

And I picked apart a plot device (which involved glowing based on your sexual/romantic orientation) and its many unanswered questions.

Overthinking fanfic devices

21 Aug

I’m using the Carnival of Aces as an excuse to post this odd thing I’ve had written up forever but always thought was too ridiculous to post. *cough*

Recently I read a fanfic where people start to glow blue if they like men, pink if they like women, and purple if they’re bi or pan. The plot device made me think for a far longer time than was probably intended.

For bi and pan people, there was no indication that people would be a redder or bluer purple if they leaned more heavily in one direction, especially if that direction was nonbinary. Could you be a purpler purple? If you were solely attracted to nonbinary individuals, or agender/genderless people, would you glow an entirely different color?

But, aside from that, I wondered mostly about how asexual spectrum people and/or aromantics would glow.

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Writing Experience

10 Jul

(This is a follow-up to Importance to the Plot, in which I meanderingly decided that in my own personal writing, representing asexuality explicitly, and making it important to a story, was necessary in my writing of asexual representation.)

Creative writing is a big thing for me. And I’ve written a lot of queer characters, mainly by virtue of re-entering fandom in college after a brief dip into The Pit in middle school. I could write a long tract about how important fandom has been in my life, but that’s maybe for another time. Suffice it to say, my second fandom put me in a very accepting, and vocal, space for the first time in my life.

The fandom I frequented The Pit for has approximately three human(-ish) characters, and the predominant ship is a man and a woman. The other ship requires adding about seventeen years to the end of canon to make possible — but is two men, if you were curious. But the first ship is definitely dominant in the fanfic, or it was last time I was there.

By comparison, my new fandom has about 90 percent queer ships. I don’t know the exact numbers, but a good portion of the active community members are also LGBTQA+. Mostly due to this community, which has helped me develop my writing skills like my college creative writing class never could have, I’ve written way more queer characters than characters who are straight and cis.

I’ve probably posted maybe 200 stories of various lengths in various locations. Of unposted work, I’ve got 70+ more I’ve written for individual people, as well as too much chatfic to begin to quantify. But despite there being asexual people in my fandom, and other people who have expressed interest in asexual characters, I haven’t actually sat down and written a lot of ace fic, let alone posted any significant amount of what I have written.

Of my posted work in the past three years, I’ve written three pieces with an asexual character: two fanfic and one original. Oh, and one piece where a character was ace but I never stated it. Some of the chatfic has ace characters, but it’s definitely a minority of it.

Given the welcoming environment, the presence of other ace people, and other ace fic in the fandom, why haven’t I written more ace characters? Why haven’t I explored that more? I can think of one person who might say something ignorant, but that particular person says ignorant things all the time so it’s kind of, “Oh, bless your heart” at this point. (“Bless your heart,” for the unfamiliar, can be an insult.) It’s definitely not fear of the people in my fandom who are stopping me. And there’s nothing stopping me in the random original projects I have going on.

I think the biggest thing is that I don’t know what to write about. I mean, I have now spent a decent amount of time in ace circles, I know a bit about demi and grey orientations too, I’m not completely ignorant. And there’s being ace. But I just don’t know what to write about. I could make an asexual character, but I have no idea how to make their asexuality important to the story — I would really hate to always fall back on a romantic relationship being the only way to incorporate asexuality, because my sexuality has been important to me outside of my romantic relationship.

The times I have written asexual characters, almost always their asexuality hasn’t been a major component of the story (in one story, it was nearly the impetus of the plot, but it was written from a prompt).

I can use a romance to demonstrate someone being gay, or throw in references to exes to indicate they’re bi or pan. I can do either to indicate someone’s polyamorous. It doesn’t work that way for an invisible orientation. Not only do very few people know about us, but you can’t easily demonstrate a lack of sexual attraction. Putting asexuality into a story requires breaking the “show, don’t tell” rule — a rule I know most people are sick of hearing, but is something that usually makes for a much better story.

The thing about telling is that it works a lot better from a first-person perspective, and though I’m mixed in writing first-person and third-person in original stuff, my fanfic is predominately third-person. A first-person narrator, at least to me, can introspect with better results than when a third-person narrator peers and pries.

You could make the character themself tell, by coming out to someone, or discussing their asexuality with someone they’ve come out to out-of-scene or before the narrative began. This is hard for me to do, because when I discuss my asexuality with people, it’s usually other asexuals, in a context where everyone is talking about asexuality. I don’t really feel the urge to come out that often, so it’s hard for me to tell when that becomes important, and where it could fit into a narrative.

What I need to do, I guess, is figure out the ways asexuality has been important to me besides my romantic relationship, and the blogging, and find how to incorporate that into the story. I guess it would be things like how I thought about the future, how advertising affected me…

Though I think the character’s asexuality would still have to be stated explicitly. It is possible to avoid writing a coming out scene if you really want to. But I feel like, unless you have a coming out scene or continually bring up the asexuality explicitly or near-explicitly, a lot of people are going to be inclined to ignore it. People are inclined to ignore it in other people even when they come out, which is why, when I sit around thinking about writing ace characters, one of my biggest questions is how to make asexuality a part of the story.

I suppose it’s easier to demonstrate to an audience that a character is asexual than it is to demonstrate you’re asexual in real life. Even with third-person narrators, you can peek into a character’s thoughts. Not so possible in real life, unless, as I’ve always feared, everybody’s developed telepathy without telling me.

On writing non-asexual romantic narratives

18 Mar

I’m in a fandom that shall remain nameless, but I’ve really been enjoying it. As fandom tends to go, though, romantic narratives are at the forefront of most of the stories. And romantic narratives are usually non-asexual narratives. Writing is one of the few spaces where I tend to think about passing as non-asexual. Sort of.

I wrote a longer story about Character X trying to ask out Character Y. One of the comments really stuck. I’ll paraphrase, but it was basically: “X never shows any sexual awareness towards Y or their situation. Is X repressed? Or just completely unaware of what happens when you date?”

My response was to start laughing because in the thousands of words that made up that story, I never once considered having X think about anything more than kissing Y. It’s really only in a story with a sex scene that I remember to try to incorporate sexual attraction. And I run every line by a beta reader to see if it “works.” Which usually, it doesn’t without editing, because I can’t make that leap to understand what sexual attraction feels like. In this story, I knew I didn’t want to write a sex scene, so incorporating sexual attraction just didn’t occur to me.

Usually I don’t really care about passing, mostly because I’ve had the luxury of usually being in a group of people who don’t sit around talking about sex often. But in writing non-asexual characters in a romantic relationship, I do care about passing. Passing when I write means that my writing’s more realistic, that more people can relate to it, that I’m telling my non-asexual characters’ romantic narratives well. And I know that I can’t actually pass.

I think I can nearly pass, enough that people can read into things as sexual attraction that I didn’t intend to be that way, unless it’s a situation where they expect to see more — an intuitive leap I can’t always make myself. And that comment reminded me that incorporating attraction doesn’t cross my mind unless it’s a glaringly obvious situation like non-asexual characters having happy, romantic consensual sex.

I thought about the effort it would take to incorporate sexual attraction into all my romantic-focused writing. I would have to figure out when noting sexual attraction was appropriate, how long it should be between “attraction” thoughts, vary what was noted, and wonder how to hold back enough so that readers wouldn’t expect a sex scene where I didn’t intend on writing one. I would be constantly catching myself and going back over what I’d written to make sure I was keeping up. And I would still fail to convey it well, because in trying so hard I’d probably end up overcompensating and any editor would make me take most of it out, or edit and edit it.

I think it would be exhausting on a level as to make me stop writing. So, I’m going to try not to put so much pressure on myself to try to do it in the future. When I write sexual people, I’ll incorporate the things I know how to incorporate — noticing small details about the other person, describing small touches, etc. Things that people in the past have told me work well, and that aren’t difficult for me to remember to incorporate.

These are things I think of as “showing, not telling.” A friend would notice things and possibly touch the other person, too, but the things they would notice and the ways I would describe the touch (as well as what kind of touch it would be) would be different. So they’re essentially the same tools I would use writing a non-romantic relationship, just applied at a different angle. Which makes writing not only manageable, but also more natural.

I suppose some time I will talk about how it is to write a sex scene from a non-asexual character’s POV. And other creative writing things.