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06 February 2007 @ 10:28 pm
When a cigar is just a cigarette with ambitions.  
I quite like the word (phrase?) 'fan-fucking-tastic,' yet rarely find an opportunity to slot it into everyday speech. Therefore, when I do, I don't like being taken to task for swearing. I gather one of my friends is anti-swearing, which seems crazy to me in this day and age. Or at least, in this day, age, and part of the world, where swearing is a) a staple of speech and b) not against any divine law. So I was like, "What, d'you want me to put a penny in the swear jar or something?"

And she said, "Yes."

Perhaps she hasn't realised we don't have pennies any more?

No, that wasn't what I came online to say. I got a few recs recently for that originific I wrote over the summer (yup, that was a self-pimp; blink and you'll miss it). People seem to like it, yet it doesn't fulfill any fandom requirement -- obviously. It got me thinking: what are people getting out of it, precisely? And why do I read and capital-C love fics that are completely predictable -- which is what that story was? Note I said predictable, not badly written, badly characterised or PWP (not but that I don't love me some PWP from time to time, ho yeah).

When I say predictable, I mean: Boy A likes Boy B, who usually doesn't like him, likes him as a friend, or likes him but without Boy A being down with it. There is a steady build-up of UST, a False Dawn moment of realisation, and they fall into each others' arms. The end. No matter how much angst and conflict the author loads up, I know the resolution will be this way. How do I know this? I can predict it from hundreds -- nay, thousands -- of fics that have gone before. The probability is so strong that it will be this way that I can read without fear.

And the reason I like this? Because it's the one good certainty in my life. I don't have any others: not the certainty that he likes me, that I'll win this or do well at that, or ... dredging up examples here ... that my kid will be the Superbowl champion of 2020. Whatever the Superbowl is. You get my drift. I have plenty of unpleasant certainties, but who wants those? Ten-a-penny. No, give me my 99% likelihood of a happy ending (TM) any day. Keep 'em coming, laydeez.
Current Location: finding a hairbrush
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Till the end of time (DeVotchKa)
Loyaulte Me Lie: brand new information!!!shocolate on February 6th, 2007 10:48 pm (UTC)
sticking one word in the middle of another is called tmesis.....
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: 4 Weddingsscoradh on February 6th, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC)
Excellent. I'll just tell her I have involuntary tmesis.
Eoinjuliuscaesar636 on February 6th, 2007 11:01 pm (UTC)
I was about to reply with that as soon as I read this entry! I was wondering whether someone would beat me to it... :P
Loyaulte Me Lie: dorkshocolate on February 6th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC)
*attempts to high five, but is British and misses*
Eloise Lovelaceeloiselovelace on February 6th, 2007 11:00 pm (UTC)
vIt's the same reason that romance novels sell like hotcakes when they all pretty much have the same plot. (OK, there are several variations on the plot, like the Conflict being External or Internal... but they are very finite.)

I think we've all been in the situation of crushing on someone in a non-reciprocal manner and they never fell into our arms and declared it all a great big misunderstanding. Fics in which it ends well are balm for the wounded soul, because while we know that the fic-universe's p(ending=happy) = (or at least approaches) 1, our own is much lower, so the fic universe's uniformity at churning out happy ending never gets old. (It's so novel compared to real life!)

I try not to swear, generally, because of the wanting to be a teacher, but that mostly manifests itself in my swearing being particularly deliberate and enthusiastic in private contexts. :)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Star qualityscoradh on February 6th, 2007 11:04 pm (UTC)
That whole second paragraph was basically what I wanted to say, but nicer. Kudos. It's a bit like that quote I used to have on my sidebar, about knowing how stories end and yet you want to live them again and again. Works for me, so far.

Ha, I don't think it's a particularly attractive trait in doctors either. However, her basis for giving out to me was not that, I'm certain.
Eloise Lovelaceeloiselovelace on February 6th, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
I actually like your larger point that the universe sucks in non-romantic ways, too, so a happy ending is even *more* novel and refreshing! :D

And for what it's worth, I loved that story in a crazy way. It's not about the destination, but how you get there, and yours was particularly touching and wonderfully written. *fangirls*

And uh, I read romance novels like there is no tomorrow, in spite of being in a really happilyeverafter marriage. I think your point actually explains this so much better than mine.

In doctors it is more of a tolerated eccentricity since you're not shaping young minds or anything. Just generally serving as a role model. :)
Two-Thirds Slow, One-Third Amazing.: flehwiser_9 on February 7th, 2007 12:13 am (UTC)
Ha! You're awesome.

Because it's the one good certainty in my life

Me too, pretty much. And I can't decide whether I should be celebrating that fact or not...
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Hadesscoradh on February 7th, 2007 10:42 pm (UTC)
And I can't decide whether I should be celebrating that fact or not

It's a getting pissed at a wake sort of scenario, methinks.
Serenia: Oishi writingserenia on February 7th, 2007 08:32 am (UTC)
I definitely appreciate a happy ending. Unpredictable can be aa nice surprise, but only if it's not too depressing!

I'm more likely to say 'fan-bloody-tastic'. I think 'bloody' is my staple swear word, although it changes depending who I've been spending time with. I pick up words and phrases unconsciously.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Jinscoradh on February 7th, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC)
Mmm, with you all the way on that one. It's a fine line.

Same here, although it's usually more American phrases (like burn, word, owned ...)
Margravine Palavar: Beach Margravinemargravine on February 7th, 2007 02:54 pm (UTC)
It would suck to be reading along optimistically and then have the story end when Boy A grinds up Boy B's heart into a paste and Boy B has to live on alone and eventually get a lot of cats. Or if Boy B just sort of lost interest in being tormented over Boy A mid-story and decided to focus on his schoolwork.

Oddly, the books and the movies can usually be relied on to give us a happy ending, but songs embrace the experience of unrequited and irretrievably fucked up love. This is why I've never had a mood so dark that reading couldn't fix it. (At least temporarily.)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Blue kissscoradh on February 7th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
... Yes, it's hard to imagine a gay scenario playing out like that. Someone should do it just for the novelty value.

Very true! I often think half my bad moods stem from listening to too much Bright Eyes. Bleugh.
JRevalangui on February 7th, 2007 08:46 pm (UTC)
It's a feel-good story, i think, but not without its moments of conflict, which makes the reader stay interested, they kind of know it's going to be a happy ending, but how? and when? and how much? It's like that "The god of small things" quote you had around...here *looks around wondering when it disapeared*

For me the more I can believe something *can* go wrong the more involved I get (thus my love of "Underwater light" and its extra dose of tragic)but you (and Maya) had also the ability to keep me interested in every sentence, because you twist language and make fun of everything and sometimes I start to copy and paste quotes from a 20 pages fic and end up with 14 pages of quotes XD.

Back to "The problem with elephants"(did i mention i never got the title? I think i did but i can't remember any longer. Maybe it's an English speaking kind of reference...) at first I didn't know what it was about, like, I expected slash but that was it and then I started reading about the Steeles and just enjoyed the genficciness. Also, there's nothing like the UST and the teenager angst, it's not really universally important but it's personally tragic.

Well, now that I'm done rambling about VERY obvious things I will tell you very clearly what the point was: You write marvelously, do it more often! (Don't believe those people telling you you need sleep, they are conspirators!)

every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Hai senpaiscoradh on February 7th, 2007 10:46 pm (UTC)
it's not really universally important but it's personally tragic

That's beautifully expressed, and so very, very true! Personally tragic. You hit the nail on the head there. I reckon you've also fathomed the appeal of this sort of thing, in ten words or less. [throws confetti]
JRevalangui on February 7th, 2007 11:01 pm (UTC)
hahaha. Well, at least of all those words some made some sense :p
(bumble)beecancrine on February 8th, 2007 12:33 am (UTC)
I'm a sucker for those sweet endings, too, but I have to say my favorites are the tragic "Romeo & Juliet" staples - two lovers who die by their own silly/tragic/fateful mistakes. (Beautiful World by Cinnamon did it for me in this way. You just keep hoping against hope for a happy ending.)
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on February 8th, 2007 08:59 pm (UTC)
I totally expected a different ending for BW! I'm conditioned to expect on in fandom. Boy was that a shock to the system ... >.>