Goes to Motive

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Title: Goes to Motive
Creator: Betty Plotnick
Date(s): August 8, 2002
Medium: online
Topic: Fan Fiction
External Links: Goes to Motive, Archived version (Fanfic Symposium)
bettyp: goes to motive, Archived version (livejournal)
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Goes to Motive is an essay by Betty Plotnick.

It was originally posted to her livejournal as a follow-up to another meta post, Let's Just Call It All Butter Brickle: What Is Slash?, but was subsequently posted on the Fanfic Symposium website.


So, why do we write slash anyway? Obviously, different writers have different reasons. Multiple reasons frequently overlap. Also, why do we pick the pairings we pick? Obviously, some of it has to do with the Source Material, and some of it with genetics/hormones/chance, and some of it has to do with other fic and other fans within the fandom. Multiple reasons, etc. But a lot of the time, we go for pairings that meet our essential needs, the reasons we slash at all. Here's a non-scientific breakdown of Types of Pairings, and Why Why For the Love of God Why. (For my purposes here, I'm talking about same-sex, non-canonical pairings: Pureish Slash.)
The Next Level This is sort of the foundation of slash as a genre, I think. These are two people (who may or may not be balding, co-dependent cops) who are so partnered to each other already, canonically, that it simply seems, if you have the slightest ounce of queer sensibility, a tremendous waste for them not to be sleeping together....
The Next Level, We Swear! A subset of the above, where fandom, and not canon, establishes the primacy of that relationship. In these pairings, there's some evidence that these people have that partnership/marriage/you and me against the world dynamic...but not as much evidence as we like to claim there is...
Smokey! As in, you know, where there's smoke there's fire. These pairings tend to rely on the holy grail of Actor Chemistry. They just look at each other like -- well -- like not friends! Not like I look at my friends, that's for damn sure. In canon, they may be friends, or they may frankly seem to loathe each other, but either way, they just seem a little too attached. We think there might be something they're not telling us...
FX Pairings These require a bit more effort and commitment on the part of the writer. People fall in with these pairings because they think it would be cool if they were, and they'll find a way to make it work. Sometimes we have to ignore big chunks of canon, but that can happen to the best of fandoms; I don't mean it as a put-down...

Crossovers. Yeah, mainly crossovers. Also, people who are on the same show but have basically no contact with each other. These are pairings that are usually done once, for the purposes of one plotline or one "wouldn't this be so cool?" There's not much difference between FX and Hattrick pairings, except that the level of canonical contact between the characters sinks from "some, but nothing all that slashy" to "pretty much none." However, they fill the same niche, in that the writer's slashiness has prompted her to spin out this whole non-canonical, same-sex relationship, because she felt like it.

Now, what's interesting to me is that you can do any of these things with m/f couples as well. So these classifications are not really slash by definition, but in fact a breakdown of Unconventional Pairings. They're only slash because I'm limiting them to unconventional same-sex pairings, in a purely arbitrary way...