neyronrose (neyronrose) wrote,

what I'm reading now

     I've been reading quite a bit of fan fiction, and delighting in much of it.  Some is better written than a fair percentage of the "original" romances that I've read.  I don't know what it is, but in many of them, the characterization is good, the style is really quite decent, and I just get swept up in it.  I'm trying to stay away from stories with "original characters" meeting the canon characters, although I've accidentally read a few that didn't have "OC" warnings.  They were as bad as I'd thought, including one in which the original character had been brutally assaulted and mutilated.  I don't want to read that.  I don't see the appeal, although it must really work for some readers.  And I read one that was a crossover, although it didn't have a crossover warning.  That was horrible for me, as I was familiar with both the TV show and the comic book, and they never should have met, especially not that way.

     I've also been trying to stay away from the "non-consensual" plotline stories.  I don't see the appeal there, either.  I just don't want to read about characters being tortured in general.  Oddly, I don't mind in a paranormal romance if a vampire or werewolf (or whatever) hero has been tortured in his past -- the story is fantastical to start with.  And I don't mind if a hero is rather scarred up or has one of the disabilities allowed in romance fiction, as long as he's not self-pitying about it.  (Off on a tangent, I can't stand when the disability is miraculously healed at the end of the story.)  I just don't like the hero or heroine in vividly-detailed physical torment during the course of the story.  And sex with the heroine or other hero will fix all the character's mental and emotional trauma?  What is the reasoning?  Some of it seems to go in the "writer working out his/her issues by writing this kind of story" category -- that's my take, anyway.  Both the plain "non-consensual" and the "healing power of sex" stories seem to be popular plotlines.  Maybe this is like the old romance novels where the heroine is put into non-consensual situations and turns out to like it.  Because a nice girl wouldn't just agree to something like that.  It must still resonate with some writers and readers.

     I've read some fics that have angst warnings.  My angst tolerance is probably about medium, but if the characters angst past a certain level, I lose patience with it.  I'd call it another point where I have a "realism factor" going on.  I'll suspend disbelief for a number of standard romance conventions, but if the men start angsting like teenage girls, it fails for me.

     I'm learning to pick stories I'll probably like -- I appreciate stories which have the full gamut of warnings.  I am reading stories which have "lemon" -- I'm pretty used to reading explicit romance by now.  I really don't mind fluff -- some of the stories I've liked were labeled "sap," I'm pretty sure.  Considering I've read romance since I was in my mid-teens, I guess I've built up a high tolerance for fluff and sap.  Although I still don't like the stories in which our heroes go to pick out curtains together or get all "treacly" about babies.  I don't like extreme domesticity stories, especially if the heroes were assassins or bounty hunters or paramilitary or vampires or whatever to start with.  I mean, tough, scarred-up mercenary decides he wants to stay at home with the babies?  Bleh.

     It's interesting in the fan fiction that I'm not nearly as sensitive about the "gay for you" trope as I am in original m/m fiction.  Some of the authors rationalize a ladies' man character as being secretly bisexual, which kind of works as the character being a rake generally, or having good reason for keeping quiet about his same-sex encounters.  Some take a character that comes off as asexual, and have him come out as gay.  Those explanations are plausible enough that I really don't have a problem going with them.  Then again, they aren't really "gay for you" stories.  There are stories in which paramilitary characters in intense homosocial environments develop a fascination with each other -- I said something in a previous post about that plotline being something of a guilty pleasure for me -- it takes what could easily be interpreted as high levels of unresolved sexual tension and resolves it.  Some characters just have such a slashable vibe, it only seems natural that they get together.     

Tags: m/m, reading, romance

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