Gen and Slash, or Why I See One and Write the Other

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Title: Gen and Slash, or Why I See One and Write the Other
Creator: Morgan
Date(s): January 15, 2001
Medium: online
Topic: Fanfiction, Slash, Gen, Slash Goggles
External Links: Gen and Slash or Why I See One and Write the Other/WebCite
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Gen and Slash, or Why I See One and Write the Other is an essay by Morgan.

It is part of the Fanfic Symposium series.


Labels -- Misleading, aren't they? I hate labels, but in this case you had a pretty good idea what I meant by them and that's why they get used. A shortcut rather than a long explanation that general boils down to everything else (gen), and everything else with homosexual relationships dropped on top of it (slash).

When I go back and watch the source material for a fandom that I've been reading for a while I'm always amazed at what isn't there. Sure, you get this moment or that one and that's what your dedicated relationship folks point to (of *both* types) to support their arguments. A single comment becomes the entire pivot point for a story, or a fact of fandom (oooh, another label - fanon). It's quite a slim razor on which to extrapolate the huge amounts of material that generated from it.

I read and write slash stories. Lots of them. Mostly in Phantom Menace at the moment and you want to talk about a thin basis for fiction? That's a very good case for it. The movie itself isn't much more than 100 minutes, and the on-screen time for the primary pairing that is written about has less than twenty minutes of that. Paper-thin. It was postulated right after the movie came out that most of the fandom was based on a three second touch between a dying character and one who has just defeated the visible (and hittable) villian of the piece. Fandoms have been based on less.

Let's take The Sentinel. I had seen a few episodes, found the fiction and *then* went back and watched the rest of the episodes before I read any more of the stories. I'm a fanatic about doing my homework when it comes to reading. I try to always read/view the source material before I read what comes after. Then I went and read through the Interrim archive for months on end. I watched new TS eps as they came out, but only as fodder for the stories I was writing at the time. I took things out of context to feed my slash habit. Then, I drifted out of reading TS for a while, simply because I had caught up on the archives and my voracious reading habits demanded something else. So off I went into various and sundries and I came back. I felt I should see the episodes again (that homework thing) before I started writing what was concieved as a close to canon story.

It was a shocking experience.

It came down to teeny tiny moments. One line of dialogue. A toss off. This is what I was going to base a reasonable relationship, one that could support an intricate plot?