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Halrloprillalar

You can call me Hal.

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On my way out for a long weekend. You may or may not notice.

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Today at work, I was knocked for a loop by a fic idea. It's one of those things where I feel intense infatuation -- stomach butterflies and all -- but for an idea instead of a person. Some fic I just fall in love with. It's a wonderful feeling. All of the rush with none of the human complications. *g*

~

Some interesting (but locked, so no link) comments by darkkitten1 about fanon reminded me of something I'd meant to post about.

I've long had this idea that in any given fandom there are "default pairings". Both slash and het, but I'll probably mostly use slash examples here. Most characters have a default partner, though it's not always reciprocal. For example:

In Stargate, Jack's default partner is Daniel. And Daniel's is Jack. I'm not sure about Teal'c -- probably Jack. Paul Davis -- Daniel.

The default partner is the one who probably makes the most sense. In the X-Files, I would argue that Mulder has two default slash partners -- Krycek and Skinner. (Others would probably argue that Mulder has only one -- Krycek.) But Krycek only has one default partner -- Mulder. (And here I'll spare you a digression about Skinner and Doggett and Their True Love.)

A default pairing is one that you can usually write about without having to make your case for them every time. Mostly, this is because so many people have written first time stories about this pair that fanon accrues around them. You can write about how Harry and Draco got together if you like. But if you start in media res and deal with something else entirely no one will question it. On the other hand, if you want to write something not so mainstream like, oh, Snape/Percy, you have to back it up every time. (Well, until that pairing becomes mainstream.)

So, when you want to knock off 500 words of smut or a quick drabble or a cheap joke where you don't have time to spend on the actual relationship, you can grab a default pairing and slot them right in there and no one will bat an eye. I do it all the time.

~

Found quote:

When I'm old, here’s how I'm going to describe the early 21st century: We were always having to provide people with content.

Enough content for today.


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Well I'd argue that Mulder has only one default partner and that's Skinner personally - I don't see why the M/K people get to be the only ones being difficult on the subject! (ggg) However if your argument is that you don't have to make a case for the pairing because there's such a lot of fic about it out there then M/Sk is just as much a default pairing as M/K and both can be counted.

I would argue that in the course of writing a M/K story you have to make more of a case for their relationship in order to get over their mutual onscreen antipathy (even if one reads that as UST) and the killing of Mulder's father, which might be hard to forgive no matter how horny Mulder is or how hot Krycek is, whereas with M/Sk there is at least a respect there as a basis for the relationship and some obvious affection so you might not have to reach as much. Just my personal thoughts of course! I'm not saying one pairing is more valid than another, just pondering around the concept of "default pairing" as you've defined it!

I'm telling you, I'm Xanthe imprinted, b/c the first thing I thought was Noooo...what about Skinner??? LOL.

Seriously, the reason the post was locked was that we're mining this for our paper, one central argument of which is that different communities will have different 'versions' of the canon and different default pairings (in fact, most are constructed via default pairings), though when i asked kitten what our HP community is, all we could come up with is "non-teenies who are not into h/d...mostly" LOL.

As for M/K/Sk...I think there are fandoms (for me), where the default pairing can be any pairing from a given number, for example, my Buffy default was anyone from B/A/S, my XF M/K/Sk, my HP...see icon :-) In other words, they can be together in any given combination, but not really with anyone else.

So, I'm with you, except that I also think Xanthe is correct in saying that one pairing is not more valid...we solved this by looking at specific fandom communities that agree...b/c, see, I think a rabid MSR would have kittens over both *your* and Xanthe's default proclamations. LOL.

I'm telling you, I'm Xanthe imprinted, b/c the first thing I thought was Noooo...what about Skinner???

Hee! I'm a total M/Sk shipper, so I'm with you. But I'm not talking about personal preferences, but rather fandom-wide expectations.

one central argument of which is that different communities will have different 'versions' of the canon and different default pairings (in fact, most are constructed via default pairings)

Interesting! But I think that for the most part, default pairings are the same across fandoms, whether the individual fans *like* that pairing or not. I was the no-est of the NoRoMos, but I accepted MSR as a default thing -- I just didn't like it.

HP is a difficult fandom for this theory, though, and my argument doesn't work so well given the immensity of the fandom, the huge age range, and the vast scope of available pairings. There's so much more splintering. My thoughts were developed back in the TXF days and held up through my fandoms until now. *g*

I think a rabid MSR would have kittens over both *your* and Xanthe's default proclamations

I probably missed being completely clear about this since I was writing this so late at night, but I just meant that M/K and M/Sk are Mulder's default *slash* pairings. MSR is still the default het option. And if you're not splitting by slash and het (and HP fandom is so much less likely to do that than most fandoms I've been in), then I would definitely say that Scully is Mulder's default partner.


oh, ok...that makes sense...i still think it gets more difficult the more central characters you have...i mean yes, in all cop buddy shows there really isn't much going on beyond the central pairing, but buffy, for example, might be another one very similar to hp...i mean, who is angel's default? who is spike's?

i think our theories do not actually contradict one another...it's just that some fandoms are pretty much one big community (which is when your theory works perfectly), some are two (ds anyone?) and some are many...and yes, i think that's a function of both the number of central characters and simply the hugeness of the fandom...i mean, you may find some jim/rafe fic, but when you get to hp the equivalent (ron/draco maybe?) actually has quite a few people behind it.

thanks for making me think this through more carefully :-)

I would argue that in the course of writing a M/K story you have to make more of a case for their relationship in order to get over their mutual onscreen antipathy

If that's what you're dealing with in the story, yes. But what I mean is that you could, because of all the M/K fic that already deals with this, just jump in and write a funny piece where they are arguing over who pays for dinner and why Krycek never calls when he's out of town assassinating people and people wouldn't be likely to say, "but what the hell are Mulder and Krycek doing together in the first place?" Whereas if you tried to do that with Bill Scully and Krycek, people would go "buh?"

I think that the "without having to make a case for them" only works for people who are already fans of that pairing. For people for whom it's not their main reading preference that story isn't going to work, even if they are willing to accept that pairing with some setup. I mean, I read Harry/Snape and sometimes Harry/Draco, but in my personal view of the characters neither is really likely, so I still need a plausible scenario every time or I'll bail on the story, whereas I have no problem with Sentinel stories slashing Jim/Blair within an established relationship. But then I'm generally more into "buddy slash" than "enemy slash". With minor pairings it's just that there is no significant audience already convinced about things like Percy and Snape being perfect for each other, whereas when you write Harry/Draco and half the people bail because the story started right with them making out, there will be still plenty of readers left.

I think this works best when talking about fic where the relationship between the pairing isn't the main point of the story. For example, if I want to write a humourous HP slash drabble and I've got a good general idea, I'll likely slot H/D in because I think most people, even those who don't really *get* the pairing, are familiar enough with it that they'll accept it for the duration of the drabble. So, it's not so much about plausibility, but about giving the audience a situation that has at least the familiarity of volume. *g*

Anyhow, as I noted in my reply to cathexys above, HP is such a huge fandom with so many characters, it's harder to pin down default pairings than in most fandoms.

Found quote:

When I'm old, here’s how I'm going to describe the early 21st century: We were always having to provide people with content.

Enough content for today.


Sent this to my information architect/design & knowledge management (flee!) coworkers who were quite thoroughly amused. Thanks!

It really made me think of LJ, actually. Before, I used to be a fanfic author. Now, as well as producing fanfic, I have to produce commentary, meta, recs, icons, links, rambling, et cetera, et cetera. The pressure! *g*

You've held up masterfully under the strain. *grins back*

In the X-Files, I would argue that Mulder has two default slash partners -- Krycek and Skinner. (Others would probably argue that Mulder has only one -- Krycek.)

Some of us would argue that slash in XF is like fur on a fish -- totally unnecessary -- since Mulder had Scully. *g* (Yes indeed, I was all about the MSR. I tried hard to ignore slash back then. *g*) But back to the slash: I'm not sure I'd agree that the prevailing preference in the fandom was for Krycek as Mulder's default partner. Definitely, tho, you're right that Krycek's default was Mulder. I can barely remember any stories where he's paired with someone else.

A default pairing is one that you can usually write about without having to make your case for them every time. [snip] But if you start in media res and deal with something else entirely no one will question it.

Yep, true. Which is a great blessing, sometimes. Unfortunately, some writers use this as an excuse to write ATG -- they tack on the character names and they're off and running. Which is probably why so many drabbles don't work for me at all; often there's nothing within the piece to singularly identify the character *as* the character, if you know what I mean. The relationship becomes less important than the character details which help to define that relationship.

It's too early in the morning for this much thinking. *g*

Some of us would argue that slash in XF is like fur on a fish -- totally unnecessary -- since Mulder had Scully.

Hee! Some of us would argue that MSR is icky.

Definitely, tho, you're right that Krycek's default was Mulder. I can barely remember any stories where he's paired with someone else.

There were some Krycek/Pendrell stories and some Krycek/Spender, enough that I would argue that Krycek is Spender's default partner. And there's quite a lot of Sk/K.

Which is probably why so many drabbles don't work for me at all; often there's nothing within the piece to singularly identify the character *as* the character, if you know what I mean.

I do. Good drabbles are difficult to write. I find the default pairing most useful with humour ideas, actually. The readers will give you more leeway there.

Yeah, we recently talked about this in musesfool's lj. I think my point is that the default pairings are not fandom-specific but reader-and-fandom-specific. I.e., for Vic Sirius/Remus needs no explanation, for Aja Harry/Draco needs no explanation, but I don't see either of those as default, and they probably don't see each other's pairing that way.

I would guess that for some writers of odd pairings, esp. those who are OTPish, they have those pairings so ingrained into them that they can pick up an established relationship story with them no problem. E.g. atdelphi for Snape/Dumbledore, iibnf for Snape/Hagrid, fabularasa for Snape/Black.

See my discussion with [Bad username: cathexys"] above re HP. This fandom is so big in terms of both fans and characters that it's hard to actually apply this theory successfully. In smaller fandoms, it seems to work quite well. I think in HP, you'd have to look more at groups of fans than the whole 8-80, 120-thousand-fanfics-on-ff.net-alone gamut of fandom.

Still, though, I don't mean so much that you yourself would be accepting of H/D, but rather that if I wrote a funny drabble which featured Harry/Draco and another which featured Filch/Fudge, where neither was *about* the relationship itself, the H/D pairing would sort of be invisible to the reader, whether they "got" H/D or not, whereas the Filch/Fudge would leave people going, what the hell?

It's not so much about personal percepetions or preferences as about familiarity through volume.

It's interesting that you say that, because that's very much how I think of Harry/Draco--not as an OTP, certainly not my OTP, but definitely as my "default pairing." If I need a romantic couple to fit a particular storyline my brain stops on H/D first, to see if they fit. I hadn't thought of it this way quite, though, and this is insightful!

That's *exactly* what I mean. For example, this fic idea I had yesterday is fairly relationship-non-specific, so my plan is to make it H/D, since that's easiest in terms of establishing their relationship. (Not that I won't write the story with relationship specifics, of course.)

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