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[personal profile] blackfrancine
 This is going to be my third time to try and post this (I saved it in Word first this time. Yay). So, let’s hope that the third time is the charm.

Way back in November, [livejournal.com profile] penny_lane_42 made a list of her fiction kinks and squicks. I believe she had gotten the idea from [livejournal.com profile] snickfic (whose list is here). And it's been really slow at my job (and on LJ) this week, so I decided to make a list like that for myself. Several items on my list were either inspired by or stolen from my lovely predecessors.


Things I Like:

• Misunderstandings between characters who care about each other but are both guarding their emotional vulnerabilities. So, no one is being open and honest, and things go to shit. <3
• Jokes that are daring--maybe not everyone is going to get the reference made, but they make it anyway. (See: Troy's reference to the "super group" the Traveling Wilburies in the Community episode "Paradigms of Human Memory")
• Emotionally guarded characters
• Characters whose professions of love are rebuffed, but they continue to be good to their beloved. However, they don't hide their hurt     feelings (at least not very well).
• Examinations of feelings of exclusion (whether on account of race, gender, or interpersonal dynamics)
• When sexual desire and emotions come into conflict (love someone, but want someone else? love someone but don't have much   chemistry? want someone you're not in love with? want and love the same someone, but are afraid of ruining the love with the want or the want with the love?)
• Characters who don't like each other but have an emotional commitment to each other (think: Snows of Kilimanjaro)
• Close friendships between women
• Conflict in close friendships (esp. between women) that isn't rooted in pettiness... Or, perhaps I should phrase this as conflict that isn't depicted as being petty. I think a lot of this has to do with the storytelling--the same conflict could be depicted as rooted in pettiness or as being something significant to the relationship. I prefer the latter.
• Parents who fuck up but still love their kids for WHO THEY ARE (Emily Gilmore!!!! Also: Giles, Joyce Summers, Mrs. Kim)
• In writing, when body language doesn't feel narrated... when it's so natural and organic that it feels like an actual part of the dialogue. So, that's to say I like subtle but powerful body language.
• Competence and realism. Realistic competence. I don't like geniuses who are 27 and know everything about everything. I DO like a 30- or 40-something-year-old attorney who's a badass (like Eugene from the Practice--am I the only person who watched that show?) or a 40- or 50-something-year-old CIA agent who knows their shit (like Pamela Landy from the Bourne movies, or the whole team from MI-5).
• I like fight scenes that are PLAUSIBLE but awesome. I LOVE the Bourne-movie fight scenes. I liked the new Bond movie fight scenes. I like the fight scenes in Veronica Mars, in which Logan gets his ass kicked--and it really looks like it hurts him.
• Characters who do the wrong thing for the right reasons. Esp. if they do it wrong on purpose 90% of the time, but then there's that 10% of the time that they do the RIGHT thing for the right reason... and I just. Guh. Love. (Spike, Wes, Guy of Gisbourne, Emily Gilmore)
• Wordless forgiveness. Forgiveness that happens without any asking or any telling--it just is.
• Explorations of the humanity of people who are traditionally demonized or treated as background noise in fiction--and by that I mean the poor, POC, the disabled. But I don't want to see examples of these classes of people who are exceptional (I mean, that's fine, but it's not my kink)--I want to see people who've FAILED to rise above their circumstances. I want to get close to those people--the ineloquent ones. The ones who don't stand up and demand that you recognize how they're like you--I want the ones who sit in the corner, convinced that you don't give a shit whether they're human or not. (Think: The Wire, How Late It Was How Late)
• When the emotional dramas of children are taken seriously.
• Small settings--I like intimacy over intricate or detailed worldbuilding. Also--I like literally small settings--caves, cramped tenement apartments, train cars, etc. I like that the small space forces you into the psyches of the characters. It's the only place where there's any room left.
• The exploration of the connection between language and reality (Hotel World by Ali Smith)
• Silly flamboyant shows of emotion--which are intended to compensate for a character's general coldness in attitude. Also--rushes of emotion in general in people who are emotionally closed off/present a cold facade (Lilah in s4, Elenor in Sense & Sensibility)
• Unlikely friendships/alliances/romances
• Orphan stories (this is a carryover from when I was a kid-- I LOVED orphan stories and kids-on-their-own stories. Also boarding school stories or gone to live your great uncle's attic stories)
• Juxtaposition of humor and darkness
• Laughter through tears
• HUMOR in general. But especially when the humor is carried out in a piece that has some measure of serious intent. Fluffy humor is all well and good. But comic relief or just dark humor is way more my cup of tea.
• Humanity in my monsters--I want to hate a character because of their actions, but then cry for them--and not be sure whether their humanity should make me love them or hate them even more, because they're a human who did awful things. (Disgrace, Angel)
• I LOVE LOVE LOVE urban decay. Seedy cities, rotting from the inside out. Think: Gotham City, Baltimore in the Wire and in anything by John Waters, NYC in the 70s and 80s, Detroit today. I love the idea that something real rises up out of that—that there’s beauty in the breakdown, yes--but also that it’s a literal (or more literal, I guess if we’re being technical) cesspool—the rot and stink and filth giving rise to new life—new artistic movements, new cities, new ways of looking at the world. And I also love that people—real, unbroken, wholly formed people—make their lives there. That they find goodness and love there.
• Characters who live in a working-class community and feel that they don’t fit in (especially because their interior life feels too complex to fit in the day-to-day world of that community).
• Examinations of the effect of drudgery on the inner life.
• Uncertain endings
• Love triangles. Sue me. I’m corny.
• Complex dialogue. To quote Lauren: “Complex dialogue or dialogue that’s really layered. When people are ostensibly talking about one thing, but they know (and the audience knows) they’re really talking about something else entirely. LOVE.”
• Complex, quiet, supportive familial relationships (Veronica and Keith Mars, Buffy and Dawn, Elenor and Marrianne)
• Banter
• When a character needs his or her enemy—for help or just for emotional stability. When that rivalry becomes a part of how they define themselves
• Hurt/comfort
• Jealousy! Esp. romantic jealousy.
• Unrequited love that gets flipped around a couple of times (but not so many times that its ridiculous) and ends well.
• Characters who prize ethics above morals.
• Dysfunctional families (esp if there’s love at the core)
• Codependency
• And another quote from Lauren: “Moments of grace between enemies or people who don’t know each other that well. Bulletproof kink. Bulletproof.”


Things I Don't Like:


• Women who kick ass so well that it’s unrealistic (within the parameters of the story, of course. Superpowers are fine).
• Friendships between women that are undermined by showing them to have thick veins of pettiness, cattiness, and backstabbing. Conflict should not demean the characters. It should enrich them.
• Unflinching adherence to the beauty standard.
• Over indulgent characterization. I don’t want pages and pages of trivia on a character or descriptions of their wardrobe, unless it’s integral to the plot, character development, theme, or symbolism.
• Characters who are too good or too open. I like a little mystery. I want to get to know the character slowly, like I would a real person—through experience and conversation that happens over the course of time.
• Special snowflake syndrome. Especially applied to female characters.
• Stories without girls in meaningful roles. There are plenty of exceptions to this—but, in general, I think it’s true.
• Voiceovers. Again—plenty of exceptions. But still, they’re usually corny.
• OOC sex. I’m not gonna lie, I love sex in stories. Many different kinds of sex—but you have to convince me that the sex is what those characters would do. And that they’d have sex in that exact way at that exact time. Ie: No, I don’t think Buffy and Spike would have BDSM sex after School Hard.
• Too many misleads/suspense builders. Remember the movie Armageddon? I almost walked out of the theater in the last 10 minutes because they cried wolf so many times about the DOOOOOOMM! And then, no! SAVEDDDD! And then DOOOOOM! It’s too much. One mislead is plenty.
• Character bashing in fic. Or in anything. Because there’s plenty of published/released works where the creators clearly didn’t care for their characters.
• Any of the following if not handled in a thought-provoking way, or if handled in a way that condones this stuff: Parents who don’t prize their kids as individuals; parents who live vicariously through their kids; parens who compete with their kids.
• Slavery when not dealt with seriously. I don’t like it to just be a time-period marker in contemporary historical fiction. I want it addressed in a fairly upfront way.
• Same thing with Imperialism.

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July 2011

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