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22 March 2005 @ 09:36 pm
I have been saved by the buoyancy of citrus  
Right, it's probably unlike me (I don't know, I'm only me) to rant two nights running on the same topic, but there again, it's been a long time since I've bulk-read this much fic.

A question for the adoring (ahaha) populace: Am I the only one who finds it more interesting to read (and yes, write) fics wherein the protagonists are slightly less-than-perfect looking? For my own reasons, I do not really write ugly people (there are no Umbridge/Fudges to be found within my arsenal of fics), but at the same time I like making Harry and Draco faded, slightly off-centre, ordinary - that kind of thing. (Whether or not it comes across, that is what I at least try to do...) I mean, I once started a fic about a forty-year-old Harry and a vagrant!Draco, which for some reason I never finished. Can't think why. (Or wait, I can - it was crap, that's why.) I get way more plotbunnies for older!Harry/Draco than I do for school-era!Harry/Draco (one of them is tormenting me to write more about Harry's son, to which all I can quoth is: 'Bugger off, you bastard'). Love is more interesting when it's a challenge, because it is so, so easy to love those who are perfect on the outside. We've all done it, but it's often more meaningful and cool the other way. More special when the things you love are unique to your view of the person and not just pin-up generic beauty. Yah?

Ahem. Anywho. Thoughts, people? I like to see some pimples. I really do. I just...never do. People don't write them. Why is this? (I mean...mine haven't gone away. Yet. If the power of positive thinking is a power at all, they WILL, gilldammit.)
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: 'Not Now', Blink 182
Liz_eliza_b on March 22nd, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean...even in life outside of fic-dom (if there is such a thing), people without flaws are irritating. Celebrities, for instance - we all love to hate the perfect, skinny, cutesy women that seem to dominate movies and T.V. But maybe some would rather see, or write about, that sort of individual than people with (gasp) normal looks who have something to say.
...this is sort of off-topic. Oh, well.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on March 27th, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC)
Apologies for the lateness of the reply!

If this is a tangent, then it ties in perfectly well with the post. I know exactly what you mean - but then again, these people don't have perfect lives, after all. Beauty doesn't make you easy in your mind; quite the opposite, usually. It's some comfort, I suppose!
starts with k: Ollieanyotherknight on March 22nd, 2005 02:42 pm (UTC)
This sort of fits into the bad porn thing you mentioned; only beautiful people can have sex, or any sort of romance in their lives, for that matter? (I swear, if I read "monolithic tower of manhood" one more time...) It's easier (read: notably less interesting) to write perfect characters; to give them no physical imperfections, no mental tics.

This is what I love to read: Draco is skinny, Harry wears glasses, both have significant holes in their upbringing, and they're most likely not the poster children for mental health. One boy's penis is going to be larger than the other's, and both of them can't be *huge*, that's how anatomy works.

PS - Draco's hair can't be silky/fine and thick at the same time.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on March 27th, 2005 06:34 pm (UTC)
PS - Draco's hair can't be silky/fine and thick at the same time

OH YES IT CAN, if you're a Suethor!

I really wonder. I think it must be my take on relationships in general; that I don't want the generic, 'Baby, you're so pretty' kind of thing. I demand respect for my intelligence, goddammit! But obviously other people...don't.
starts with k: Ollieanyotherknight on March 27th, 2005 07:09 pm (UTC)
OH YES IT CAN, if you're a Suethor!

...Since when do we count Suethors?

I've always thought of it this way: intelligent people appreciate intelligent work and drive the community to improve. Those content with "Baby, you're beautiful" are just that, content. We want to know why, we want backstory and tension and angst and actual, well-thought, literature. It's about supply and demand, and while our demand is great, we're also (regrettably) out-numbered.

Yes, I'm arrogant, but I'm also right.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on March 28th, 2005 08:56 am (UTC)
You're both right and out-numbered. *le sigh* Still, I'll always write for people like you and not the other.
kabeyk on March 22nd, 2005 03:10 pm (UTC)
I don't write post-Hogwarts fic (mostly) of any era because I'm scared of the angst, not because I don't like the characters to grow up. And I tend not to describe my characters appearances at all, except under certain circumstances. I'm shit at descriptions.

I've never understood the need some authors have to Mary-Sue their characters into the sort of witty handsome people they'd like to be themselves, because surely it's more fun to write realistically flawed characters who are very like themselves already. Especially if you're writing about a character like yourself getting it on with teh sexay Tom Felton11!11!11!

Sorry, I should really stop coming over to your journal and eleventy-one-ing all over the place. But I like it.

But, yeah, when you're writing porn it is easier to make everyone pretty. But weirdly; there are pimples in my porn fic that I have to go and finish before minnow_53 quite justifiably kills me. Huge unsightly arse-pimples too!

every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on March 27th, 2005 06:16 pm (UTC)
That's exactly it! *jumps up and down* You don't even NEED descriptions in fanfic - that's what canon is for!

Feel free to eleventy any time. xD

Expect a pr0n review today or later today.
(Anonymous) on March 22nd, 2005 04:43 pm (UTC)
cute vs ugly
Happened upon you in livejournal surfing. Had to reply although I don't do fanfic.

I would rather read and know a person/character that is not ugly but has a strikingly unusual feature that is .... remarkable - worth remarking upon. Something in asymetrical is good. Hair, nose, eyes, mouth, whatever. An unusual and noteworthy nose is nice and much more interesting than a huge penis.

Remember: Beauty is only skin deep but ugly goes all the way to the bone.
dinzidinzi on March 23rd, 2005 03:47 am (UTC)
Re: cute vs ugly
Whether it be mentally or physically each person has their pimples, scars, flaws..there really is not such thing as perfection in the human form. Not that I am a misanthropist, as I certaintly am not but as a psychologist I see so many of what we deem beautiful people ravaged by inner turmoil and thus never really see either there true beauty or that of the possiblities of life. One person I have just read on was Jim Morrison, his mental pimples lead for the most incredible 7 last years of his young life.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on March 27th, 2005 05:43 pm (UTC)
Re: cute vs ugly
*grins* Essentially, everyone has their ugliness, inside or out. It's the ugly parts that make us interesting, not that any Suethor seems to realise that.
Minnow: Planet iconminnow_53 on March 23rd, 2005 01:53 am (UTC)
Why do you keep distracting me from the fic?

That's a fascinating question. I actually have a problem with my protagonists being anything other than gorgeous, one reason I detest scarred Remus -- apart from it being totally NOT canon. I don't know why, really. Perhaps because my astrological chart is totally ruled by Venus? Well, that's a fair enough reason anyway. I also hate Remus with a big nose. Where does it ever say he has a big nose? Or, I repeat, scars on his face? Nowhere in HP, that's for sure. I also hate Sirius being 'ravaged' at the end of OoTP. Almost worse than I hate him being dead!

I am one sick woman... :(

every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on March 27th, 2005 06:26 pm (UTC)
The Venus thing is probably why. xD It's not so much that people hate physical imperfection; I'm not so keen on it myself. It's just that they always write about 'hot', 'cute' people and never define what either of the terms means! YOU are not a culprit, my dear.
Caitcoralia13 on March 23rd, 2005 11:40 am (UTC)
I agree wholeheartedly. I think perfect looks are the sign of a Suethor.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on March 27th, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC)
People depress me so much sometimes.
denial_girldenial_girl on March 23rd, 2005 12:20 pm (UTC)
I hate how some authors think that beauty is enough to explain a relationship. I.e.:

OC heroine is beautiful + Legolas is hot = they must fall in love.

Maybe it's because I'm the kid of a romance novelist, but I know that beauty does not a good love make. Perhaps more inexperienced authors don't know how to write good characters or romance plots so they just stick in beauty as a cure-all; who needs to have a personality or reasons to like somebody if you're pretty?

If someone is gorgeous, then they have to go to the effort of coming up with characteristics and actual reasons why the hero would fall from them. Originality is hard!

And then there's the whole self-insertion -- or rather, an insertion of what they wished they looked like. Which I have been guilty of, I admit.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on March 27th, 2005 05:41 pm (UTC)
Everyone, but everyone, has been guilty of the last thing you mentioned. But it is something people need to overcome; that's the key.

What bugs me the most is people just not getting the way beauty means different things to different people. 'Hot' is just too bloody generic, not to mention for me it doesn't necessarily mean six packs and a tan. Urf, you've got to make it unique, make it stand out, or it's nothing.
pufftmgpufftmg on March 29th, 2005 07:01 am (UTC)
I'm still a little scarred at the prospect of reading 'Baby, You're Beautiful' in any story I'm reading - especially in a Harry Potter - Harry/Draco context.


I don't go in for descriptions too much, or at least I don't think I do. I mean, I always feel thrown when I read 'the blond(e heh) Slytherin' or 'his steely gray(sic) eyes met their emerald glowing counterparts' - giving eyes or other body parts a mind of their own always just… well, quite frankly it scares me (actually so does those toothpaste ads with the teeth that have real faces and talk to you about how much they like whatever toothpaste it is that they're trying to get you to buy... but that's because I always imagine them taking a bite out of every piece of food you eat and then, they have teeth that do the same and so on and so on....) and yes, that might be a little bit this side of completely off-topic and, not to mention, TMI... but there you have it.

Umm... my point is *brow furrowed as the passage is re-read*

Merlin, what was my point?!? :P

I mainly stick to Harry Potter - and more often than not, Harry/Draco. I like to read them because they are flawed - I mean, when I want to see something heart-sie cute or pink or pretty I'll watch Disney or the latest popcorn flick.

What I love about fanfic is that you can write about the flaws, they don't have to be 'pretty' - but that's not saying that I find Harry and Draco (or any characters that I read) ugly - I think I like it best when they're pretty much normal. It's Draco's wit that attracts me to his character - not his ‘silky long white-blond hair that dances around his glowing molten silver orbs’. Just like it's the fumbling clutz Harry who can't see the trees for the wood that I want to get to like Draco (or, of course, Malfoy) – not his ‘fantastically toned abs and seeker-built body’ or whatever rather ridiculous analogy the ‘author’ comes up with. Because, like I think you said before, basically – Draco is scrawny (I’d argue Harry is too) and probably a little bit sick looking with all that in-breeding that surely went on in his ancestry. And Harry does have messy hair – not wind-tousled or whatnot – and he does where glasses and a stupid expression most of the time. But that’s them and that’s why I read about them :P
pufftmgpufftmg on March 29th, 2005 07:02 am (UTC)
continued for part 1 (lol)....

As for real life, something I find frustratingly puzzling and not to mention just a little absurd - do you ever notice that the really stunningly beautiful men (I don't usually look at the women so closely, maybe it works the same way) and I'm not talking stock-standard Hollywood 'hot' - I mean beautiful in the 'fey', 'other-worldly', 'interesting' sense (if that's not too cliché) usually have very plain and somewhat dowdy partners? It always astounds me...

Yes, and that did turn out to be quite an essay, I don't think you'll believe me at all when I say I don't really go in for descriptions - after all the rambling I just did. I blame it on loss of internet for one week and an (currently) uninteresting f-list.

Last, but certainly not least (you're probably wondering who on earth this nut is who has taken up such an inordinate amount of your lj comment space...) I wanted to say hello and to thank you for giving me the pleasure of reading two of your stories (Sob Story and, just now, Snakes and Ladders). They were both brilliant and I really admire your story-telling skills - I think you did a wonderful job of portraying both an older Draco and an older Harry (the description (hah, sorry) of him sitting at Snape's desk without glasses and looking sixteen, while also having Draco later realise (through Harry's own grey hair) just how old they have both become, comes to mind). I’m currently writing a similar(ish) story (in the sense that it’s Harry/Draco and Harry has a son) myself, as I love the idea of an older Harry and Draco actually working things out (possibly with a little ‘help’) and, as such – I found added amusement in reading it.

Would you mind terribly if I friended you? Your interests also seem akin to mine and your biography had me in stitches (being an Australian unaware, until very recently, of that nasty koala...condition) :P

I look forward to reading more of your work in the future (though I confess, I only very rarely can stomach het :( - in the Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer sense at that)


I can't believe I actually went over the allowed commenting limit. Wow. I guess that really means I rambled too much :P
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on March 29th, 2005 01:02 pm (UTC)
Wotcher! Friend away, I'll friend back, particularly when someone cares enough to respond at such length! It's way cool.

As for the pretty men/plain women, I've witnessed that phenomena. I've always put it down to the idea that pretty people are generally dull in personality, but less gorgeous people often make up for it in brains and wit (because they have to, not necessarily want to). So the pretty people are attracted to the interesting people? (Sorry, it's the only theory I have!)

I'm an Australian too, by birth! Oh, and I don't do het. I did once, but ... nah. Boring! I can get that in RL!

I love rambling. My father often says 'Ah, she's rambling again' when I am making some very POINTED and INTERESTING remarks. Ah, well. xD
pufftmgpufftmg on March 29th, 2005 01:39 pm (UTC)
Ahh cool, it's a done deal.

Australian by birth hey? Nice... I'm Swiss by birth, actually - but until 2 months ago I'd lived my entire life there!

And the rambling thing... I'm an Ancient History nut myself and by now my mum knows better than to mention anything slightly related to history because it's likely to set me going for a good half hour :P

I can't help it if I like the sound of my own voice! It's not like anyone else has important things to say anyway lol!

I would agree with your theory except that I have quite a few very 'pretty' guy friends who I know are intelligent and also go for plain girls. I've asked them and they don't even seem to notice it... it's like a conspiracy or something... if only I could work out what it meant!
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on March 29th, 2005 05:03 pm (UTC)
I have quite a few very 'pretty' guy friends who I know are intelligent and also go for plain girls.

I never thought it was true, but maybe - just maybe - some people look beyond the exterior?

There is hope for us all.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on March 29th, 2005 01:06 pm (UTC)
Okay, let me rage here!

Harry and Draco are just kids in most of these stories. I knew one guy in school with these sorts of 'abs' and shit. He was also bulimic and used to be bullied for being fat! Unless you're seriously into sports - which are NOT a big thing in wet dull places like the British Isles - you're going to be skinny, or a bit lumpy. Really, now.

And why are abs such a prerequisite for an interesting relationship? It's clothes that would fascinate me far more - how people wear them, how the hang, what happens when people walk and things. That's description. Like Pratchett said, it's not the colour of their eyes, it's the way they turn their heads.

It's a hateship. People should get their heads around that. They won't, though. *sighs*

*is intrigued* Never come across talking teeth. Probably they banned it here, like Joyce.
pufftmgpufftmg on March 29th, 2005 01:35 pm (UTC)

But people are strange like that.

And as for the banned teeth, if only I was that lucky - I have been traumatised for life.

And the whole 'seriously into sports thing' - ahahaha, sports are so over-rated anyway. The guy you mentioned though - wow, bulimic, abs and fat - that's rough.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on March 29th, 2005 01:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, he wasn't fat and ab(by?!) at the same time. I fancied him like mad, btw - which prolly says a lot about my shipping. xD
pufftmgpufftmg on March 29th, 2005 01:42 pm (UTC)
lol, ok then - I thought maybe other kids teased his abs and said that it was fat, which turned him bulimic.. which could sort of work and would also be a convincing argument against making any child!character muscle-y... but ok, I'm obviously reading way too much into it!

every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on March 29th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC)
Trust me, even telling you about him would be more trouble than it's worth. It was when I knew him, anyway. xD