Plot? What Plot? (Fanfiction Specific Genres)

I started this collection with one of my very favourite fanfiction-specific genres to write. (Hurt/Comfort.) I’m continuing it with one that I rarely write – not necessarily because I don’t like it, but honestly because once I begin I tend to fail in the execution.

PWP is a pretty simple concept – it stands for Plot? What Plot? and is basically used to signify this story was written for the smut it contains. (I sometimes see the acronym broken down as Porn Without Plot as well.) A PWP story is one that was written, generally, with no other goal than to show two (or more) characters having sex. (Possibly incorporating various kinks.)

Where I generally fail is not at writing smut, but at writing smut with no plot or background story. I don’t really mind – personally I find stories with plot/background included far more interesting than straight-up PWPs the majority of the time – but that’s typically how it works for me. I don’t really try to write PWP stories any more. When I did it was typically in my ‘you should write what everyone expects’ phase. (Oh, the bumpy road of being a baby writer. A journey I’ve talked about a little here.) Continue reading

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Romance as a Genre (Original Fiction vs. Fanfiction)

I was drawn into a discussion about reading (and writing) genres recently, and it made me think (of course). The line my thoughts wandered off to the most strongly, however, was romance – it’s never been a genre that captivated my attention for long, personally.

(If I am reading a novel that is pure romance, I tend to get bored. Or sometimes the characters just aggravate me. Or I just . . . can’t get caught by the story.)

When I read novels with a romance element, they often need something else happening to keep my attention – that’s a personal thing, not a slight on the genre – so when I do, I tend to read paranormal romance, or mysteries a romantic subplot, etc. The romance can be a heavy part of the plot, but I have to have something else unfolding to tangle out as well. This is almost certainly due to the most common executions of novels in the genre, rather than an artefact of the genre itself.

I am also very, very sensitive to fremdschämen (even/especially on the behalf of fictional characters) and embarrassing or silly situations seem to be something of a staple of the romance genre, unfortunately. If I read a confrontation that makes me want to hide my face and shove the book under a pillow, I may be discouraged from enjoying the story.

All those things might make one think – not unreasonably – that romance doesn’t feature very prominently in my own writing. That assumption would be drastically incorrect – there is almost always at least some thread of love or romance. Sometimes it is close friends, siblings, etc. not always a romantic love, but those kinds of personal interactions draw me as being incredibly interesting (some of the most intense of human emotion and expression bloom from the centre of love).

Continue reading