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Do Chromosomes Matter? Guys, how much mush can you read in a story; gals, how much hardware?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Shezan, Jan 4, 2003.

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  1. Shezan

    Shezan Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    May 14, 2001
    ... and is this really a chromosome-sensitive question? What I'm asking, really, is: how can one write for both audiences, and is it even desirable? Romance/Angst readers, will you read a shoot 'em up? Action/Adventure fans, how much mush can you take in a story? :D
     
  2. Aanix_Durray

    Aanix_Durray Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 29, 2001
    I think that basing this kind of conjecture on gender is stereotypical, considering I despise most mush and only like romance when it's very tragic and filled with problems and I only read/write it when it's in a backdrop of something with more punch like action.

    I don't think that gender inherently changes anything in a person, only the method of raising a child based on gender which our culture upholds changes the way certain genders act, so it's not really fair to say that it's the chromosome that makes you like a certain time of fiction, whether it be fanfic or profic.



    [hl=black]-~Aanix~-[/hl]
     
  3. Alion_Sangre

    Alion_Sangre Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    As an action/adventure fan with a technical fixation, I can tolerate a fair amount of mush - after all, when you have a bunch of members of the opposite sex fighting for life and limb, some sort of chemistry is going to spark. My current fic plays off a broken relationship to ratchet up the tension and fill out the characters, and most of my plots have romance at some level. While good adventure is possible without romance, it's a nice spice in the recipe [face_mischief]

    And hey, I'm not having any luck IRL, so I might as well cut a few charged dance moves with an Imperial Intelligence seductress while I'm at it ;)
     
  4. LadyPadme

    LadyPadme Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 26, 2002
    I'm not so sure that chromosomes don't matter. Hmm...double negative here. I mean to say, I think gender does definitely play a role. I know there are many women who would avoid extreme mush like the plague, but the fact is that even more men would tend to stay away from it. I like mush when it's well written, and I'm guilty of enjoying romance novels. I also follow a fan board for one romance writer, and in a year of being on that board, I've seen ONE man post. Maybe there are guys out there who like the mush, but as far as I can tell, they're either a rare breed, or they ain't telling.
     
  5. Robiwankenobi

    Robiwankenobi Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2002
    Actually, I rather like mush, but action and explosions are still my favorites. However, I still have no problems reading a fic that's all mush, as long as it's well written mush. Good stuff. :D
     
  6. Shezan

    Shezan Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    May 14, 2001
    Statistics definitely prove that chromosomes can matter... otherwise Maxim magazine would run Danielle Steel interviews instead of test-drives of the latest SUV. [face_laugh] But what I really would like to know is how much of the romance style you feel an action story can carry, and vice-versa. I myself like a blend of both, but I know readers who drop off at the first space battle description, or alternately the minute the L-word is mentioned. One writer who manages to blend both awesomely is JediGaladriel in her [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=6528225]Lady Vader[/link] series. In profic, Mike Stackpole certainly doesn't shy away from romance, whereas in Zahn's Hand of Thrawn duology, the Luke/Mara scenes read like pulling teeth. Can you think of examples where the balance is achieved?
     
  7. DarthCuppa

    DarthCuppa Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Jun 12, 2002
    I think Stackpole's r/a ratio (romance to action ;) ) is really good. He writes a few scenes (Corran/Mirax, Gavin/Asyr, and for my money the most efficient Jag/Jaina so far) that make the feelings of a couple clear, but he doesn't linger. It's also faithful to the best canon SW romance - Leia/Han in ESB. In fanfic I think Djuva does that superbly, and I also agree on JediGaladriel: I never felt the Lady Vader series were too sentimental because every scene impacted the characters' decisions. (She also wrote an "Anakin proposes to Padmé" scene that is excellent but I can't find the thread.) What I don't like are fics in which the characters seem to have all the time in the world to fall in love and have Meaningful Talks (tm), because that's not realistic in wartime (and most of SW is set in wartime.) They should be interrupted almost all the time.
     
  8. Kyp_side_of_TheForce

    Kyp_side_of_TheForce Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 27, 2002
    I like either... as long as there is a plot. If it is pure mush, I start gagig and stop reading, too much action, I get bored. As long as there is plot and character developement, I like 'em both (I'm bad at writing both, however) I'm a girl, BTW.
     
  9. DarthSnuggles1121

    DarthSnuggles1121 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2002
    I don't really think gender has much to do with it, but, of course, it all depends on the person. For example - I have two guy friends here on the boards. One is a mush fanatic, the other is a big action junkie. Have they written other things? Of course. If you want to grow as a writer, it's necessary to stray away from what you normally write, or what you're best at writing.

    Personally, I think it's a good idea to find the balance between romance and action. True, my current story features mostly the former, but that's because it's more emotion-driven, and is not a very action-based plot. Now, if I were to read a fic that had only sickeningly sweet mush, I would lose interest quite quickly. I've never liked cheesy romance novels, and to see them in Star Wars form only makes it worse. On the other hand, I probably wouldn't get far with reading a story that only features graphic battle scenes and bloody lightsaber duels.

    Remember, kids - moderation is our friend. ;)
     
  10. Princess1

    Princess1 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 3, 2001
    I like both, although I must admit, if there isn't ANY romance in a story, it sorta dissapoints me.

    I enjoy a good blend of both, for I dislike pointless mush with a passion. I need a good plot, character development and a reason behind it. (excuse me if I'm being picky)

    For example, I definitly put romance in my stories, but it always has a point, every bit or romance advances the plot/story in some way. Never mush just for the sake of mush.

    As for guys not liking romance, I don't know about that. Its true that many of my readers are girls like myself, for really the majority of girls like romance, and guys do not. But there are also several guys who read my stories, definitly not as many as girls, but still a fair bit.


    But I'm getting of track. I guess the answer to Shezan's question for me would be this; I like mush, and action mixed, but I don't like pointless action, or pointless romance. I guess how the story is written matters most to me. :)
     
  11. Jedi_Anakin_Solo

    Jedi_Anakin_Solo Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2001
    I am getting SOOOOOOOOOO tired of people assuming that all guys hate mush. Hi, I'm a guy. I not only can "tolerate" mush, i PREFER IT. Enough with this "gender barrier" stuff, it's giving me a headache.

    EDIT:
    Chromosomes? I'm in psychology class, and I can quite confidently tell you.... no. You're completely ignoring the debate of nature vs. nurture if you say that.
     
  12. Daughter_Of_TheForce

    Daughter_Of_TheForce Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 1, 2001
    I can't tolerate more than a couple of spoonfuls of mush. Very small spoonfuls, maybe 10-15% mush. I got to have my hardware and action, but it's extremely difficult for me to find fics that don't have mush as its main feature. Balanced fics don't work for me, either.
     
  13. DarthLothi

    DarthLothi Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 4, 2001
    I'm a guy, and I don't mind mush in a story, as long as it's integral to the story, and it's not the entire point of the story. I get tired very quickly of stories in which the entire plot is a device to get two characters together romantically (especially if it seems forced, a la Zahn's Luke/Mara). And I really enjoy a great action/adventure story, as long as the action isn't "Clancy-fied."

    I think there may be a bit of a gender bias, although I have written romance stories myself and I think I'm pretty decent at it. Most male SW fans that I know prefer the space battles and lightsaber duels to the (admittedly few) romantic parts of the movies. But overall, I would guess it comes down to personal preference more than anything.
     
  14. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 4, 2002
    Give me a variety... Romance.. tenderness does not exclusively equal "mush" (more than just I love yous)... agnst and intrigue... a richly plotted story over any particular genuere....
     
  15. DarthCuppa

    DarthCuppa Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Jun 12, 2002
    Chromosomes? I'm in psychology class, and I can quite confidently tell you.... no. You're completely ignoring the debate of nature vs. nurture if you say that.

    Er... with all due respect, no, you are, or at least, you answer it by a resounding "nurture!" Chromosomes are nature.

    (And my answer to this one is, of course, "both". Education and gender both matter, and it's not the object of this thread to debate the exact percentile of each. The one thing I will not go with is pointless ideology, i.e. reflexive answers according to whatever PC is fashionable this week... or century... :D )
     
  16. Jedi_Anakin_Solo

    Jedi_Anakin_Solo Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2001
    *Rolls eyes* PC is the last thing on my mind, but stereotypes are nothing but often-inaccurate and always-unfair catagories for small minds to avoid thinking of people as individuals.
     
  17. Melyanna

    Melyanna Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2001
    This debate again? Guys, put out the fires. No need to burn the house down here.

    It's a little of both, I'd say. I've read some really good mush by guys, and some really good action by girls - and some of the staunchest readers in romance stories are guys, while some of the most avid action fans are girls.

    It's hard to put a meaningful answer on this when the information is coming out of a forum like this - most fan fic writers are female, don't ask me why. This seems to be true in most fandoms. So what may look like a skew towards female-dominated romance fans is probably just female-dominated fans in general.

    For me, though I write stories that nearly always have some element (large or small) of romance, I can't read romance novels or stories that have no plot other than sexual tension and kissing. I also can't read stories that are just about action. Please, give me character development.

    Mel
     
  18. Darth_Tim

    Darth_Tim Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 26, 2002
    Well, I'm known mainly for my action writing, I'm also male, and interested in history. Now, that doesn't mean I don't like romance, provided that it is integral to the plot and not just gratuitous fluff.

    I am a co writer on a story "Stolen Moments" whihc is entirely centered on the A/A love story and I'm sometimes worried, even though I founded the TACTICS thread, of being categorized as "just an action writer."

    However, a lot of the things that interest me about SW are, say, how the politics and government in the PT era worked, or the military, perhaps more than the love story...I mean, we know Ani and Ami get together and they have twins, and yes, I have to make them do that in my Ep 2 AU, but it's the other stuff that interests me more.

    Also, there are probably several dozen writers here that can do romance much better than I, but I haven't seen as many really, really good action stories around, and to me, it was the matter of finding something that I could do well rather than being just one of many similar writers...though this isn't meant to knock mush stories, just that I'd rather be a bit different from the usual.

    A good fic, though, like a good book or movie, has a little bit of everything, and it's all important and interconnects, IMHO.

    Does gender have anything to do with it? Jedi Jae is one of the best action writer's I've ever read and female, and my story, including (even especially) the action scenes, has many more female readers than male. But they like the mush too, and the guys that read my stuff don't run from those scenes.

    -Tim
     
  19. Herman Snerd

    Herman Snerd Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 31, 1999
    Romance and action both have their place and I'm sure that if a survey was taken, the data would show that men, overall, like action writing more than women and that women, overall, like romance writing more than men.

    But when you break this down to individual readers, any statistical data becomes meaningless.

    I'm sure for most people, context is the most important thing when reading. Action sequences solely for the purpose of having some action isn't very good storytelling. Similarly, chapters of mush without any story behind them aren't good storytelling either.
     
  20. PadmeLeiaJaina

    PadmeLeiaJaina Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    May 23, 2002
    Intersting question you pose here. I'm a chick. I like mush- but all mush is boring as all get out to me. All action is boring also.

    I personally like to think that when I write, I write a balanced mix of the 2. What is interesting, is that I actually have more males who delurk, tell me they enjoy my story, than I do females. I'm always shocked and confused by this since writing mush/romance is my main forte for writing; although angst and action have homes in my story as well [face_devil]

    I think it's true that you probably won't see guys just checking out exclusively mush stories, and girls just checking out only motorhead stories, but stories that blend the 2 effortlessly can achieve great and loyal readerships- regardless of gender.

    It all comes down to how well the fic is written, how good is the story, and how true to form are the characters. If the author can achieve such things, then the story- regardless of the subject- should attract both genders of readers.
     
  21. Shezan

    Shezan Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    May 14, 2001
    I personally like to think that when I write, I write a balanced mix of the 2. What is interesting, is that I actually have more males who delurk, tell me they enjoy my story, than I do females. I'm always shocked and confused by this since writing mush/romance is my main forte for writing; although angst and action have homes in my story as well [face_devil] I think it's true that you probably won't see guys just checking out exclusively mush stories, and girls just checking out only motorhead stories, but stories that blend the 2 effortlessly can achieve great and loyal readerships- regardless of gender.

    Actually, that's exactly why I was asking. When I started on [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=7352065]Hitchhiker[/link], which really was supposed to be my short entry in a "Thrawn meets..." contest at the ThrawnFQ List, I really had more of a romance/relationship story in mind, but you know how characters and storyflow take a life of their own once you've started? :D They were all screaming for more action stuff. Yes, Wynssa Starflare is introduced in canon as your typical romantic character; but how could I do justice to Thrawn, Piett etc. without action? And then guys started delurking, which of course made me jolly happy since it meant I hadn't mangled the action scenes too much.

    I like reading both, but I know, or rather thought I did, that I write character better than action. (As it turns out, when you have a character as reserved as Thrawn, and in the middle of a long action flow, writing my two sorta mush-y scenes turned out to be the hardest part of them all, because I didn't want to make him too sugary; what I did enjoy throughout was writing dialogue; and whatever action writing involved was neatly solved by writing everything from one or the other characters' point-of-view.) But it was nice to see good action/RPG-type writers like Ryozo or Darth Tim peek out of the woodwork and comment. Meanwhile, the Mush Brigade, bless 'em, were clamoring for more Thrawn-and-Wynssa scenes, of which there is actually very few so far. And having, to my delight, built a smallish but mixed readership, I was really interested as to how far I could push the genre on both sides of the envelope. Or something. :D [face_devil]
     
  22. Darth_Tim

    Darth_Tim Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 26, 2002
    Aww, thanks Shezan!

    (feels bad for lurking)

    -Tim
     
  23. NarundiJedi

    NarundiJedi Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 8, 2001
    Personally, I'd like to read a story that is written for its underlying symbolism and themes. I like stories with a lot of history and room for back stories. I like detail.

    What I don't like is for characters and themes to get buried under a mound of techincal jargon and space battles. A little is good, but if the main focus is just a bunch of people in their fighters then you've lost me. There has to be more character interaction than that.

    In the same, I avoid stories with the "Disney" theme. You know, guy meets girl, guy and girl love each other, guy disappears only to return and make the girl fall in love with him all the more. They get married with a storybook wedding where it takes 50 pages to describe her dress and flowers. Oh, and then they live happily ever after. Couldn't forget that part. :p Yeah, I can only read so many of these types of stories before I just get fed up. People, a dress should only take a paragraph at most to describe. Anything more is stretching it. ;)

    I think the main point is moderation. I don't even really like writing Male Character/Female Character stories, because that suggests that their union is the only purpose for the story. I only put names in my titles so people know who is in it. It doesn't mean that the relationship is the focus.

    Eh, that's enough from me.

    Jae Angel
     
  24. Jedi_Alman

    Jedi_Alman Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 9, 2002
    I like action, but I cannot sit through endless pages of it. I like romance, but I cannot sit through endless pages of it. I really like angst, as that usually means a stronger storyline than any of the other things. I much prefer to write romance to action, but I try to find the balance that is important.
     
  25. ArnaKyle

    ArnaKyle Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 12, 2000
    I would just like to offer the following rationales:

    1. Chromosomes determine eye color and height and gender. They don't determine your preferences in writing and attitudes towards certain ideals. Unless of course you have a genetic complex like XXY. It's society that does that, my friends.

    2. "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics." -M. Twain. Nuff said, but in all seriousness, who's to say these statistics don't come from the ladies' bridge club or the guys' sports bar. And please, that's not a stereotype, just a joke.

    3. Men and women are essentially the same, despite anatomy. Yes, we both breathe air, yes, we both eat food, and yes, we both might even think thoughts! Okay, okay, let's just get this straight-- I've been here a reasonably long time, and I've seen and read a lot of fics over the years I've been here. People like what they like, and I'll admit there were a few cases where I accidentally thought people to be the opposite gender based on their fics...stereotypical of me? Yes. Proves my point? Yes.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the biology lesson for the day.
     
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