Antenna (antennapedia) wrote,

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So what is it that you like reading anyway?

So! Metafandom's been pretty dead recently, but has picked up this week with a couple of links on the topic of sex in fanfiction. The discussion starts here and continues here. Here's what I've gleaned from these discussions:

- Lots of readers skip over sex scenes when they read.
- Other readers read only for the sex.

What's a writer to do? Same thing we do every day, Pinky: write a story that pleases us.

sahiya and I were discussing the "sexy coda" approach. Some stories don't want the sex in them directly because the tone would be all wrong. But the sex is fun, and it's nice to give two characters who've just hooked up a bit of a treat. (We do love our characters.) So round off the story with a brief sequel. (I note that when I did this recently, with a brief followup to "An Antique Roman", the story is all about sex but it's completely elliptical. Hmm.)

In other cases, it seems to me that the sex is integral to the story. It's the thing that fanfiction can do that a lot of other fiction can't: explore character by means of sex. Really intense emotional circumstances, like hurt/comfort and some other things we call "bulletproof kinks", are other means we use. They're characteristic of our genre. The pressure that some writers feel to include sex might be the pressure of genre expectations. Hmm again!

Mainly, I think the author of the first post has some assumptions lurking below her list of questions. For one, that most sex scenes are gratuitous, but that including them is key to success in fandom. For another, there's this air of, I dunno, self-deprecation about the sex writing. It's "just" sex. To which I say phooey! My advice continues to be to write whatever it is you want to write, read whatever it is you want to read. Please to enjoy your hobby sans guilt.

But I'm curious about you all. Hence, some questions.
Do you skip reading the sex scenes? Skip some of them? What moves you to read a sex scene and what moves you to skip?
Are you more likely to comment if a story is prawny?
Are you more or less likely to read if a story is prawny?
What else comes to mind?

Poll #1262506 Obscure FicPoll Mark XVIII

Which story would you want to read first?

Gen, a two-character conversation with quasi-religious overtones and angst.
Shippy romance, a happy day in the life of two characters that ends with non-explicit or possibly off-stage lovemaking.
Shippy smut, sexual interactions between two characters in a relationship, with external conflict.
Straightforward smut, sexual interactions between two characters who might or might not be in a relationship, with the conflict internal.

My answer to the above question:

Might change if I knew what characters or ships were depicted.
Might change if it were a different writer asking.

(And yeah, those are the four stories I have sort of in progress at the moment, slightly obscured.)
Tags: analysis, poll

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