Apr. 9th, 2007

ext_841: (john double (by monanotlisa))
[identity profile] cathexys.livejournal.com
I'm really interested in the way fanfiction uses, changes, and inverts tropes that are readily available in popular culture as well as the ones fanfic itself has created. I've argued elsewhere about fanfiction being repetition with a difference1, and looking at narrative tropes offers one way to instantiate both the repetition (in the way tropes repeat basic plot structures, archetypal characteristics etc.) and the difference (in the way every story fleshes out the trope but even more so in the way the trope gets altered and shifts in a given story but also over time).

One trope I'm particularly interested in is WNGWJLEO (We're Not Gay, We Just Love Each Other), which to me is the archetrope of old skool slash (i.e., I'd argue that the underlying structure is one that can be found in a large number if not the majority of traditional slash narratives even if the trope itself is not actually visible). I've recently talked at length about WNG and the way I think the underlying motivations have been updated to rid the trope of much of its homophobic sentiments (though I'd maintain that even as some of the stories were indeed violently homophobic, the trope itself never has been as I read it).

Three stories that came out recently illustrate to me the way in which this trope does and does not function. In the following, I want to look at [livejournal.com profile] thingwithwings's always should be someone you really love and then briefly at [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone's You're Pretty Good Looking for a Girl and [livejournal.com profile] toomuchplor's Straight As a Circle. The reason these three stories struck me as interesting (beyond all three being meaty, well written, longish McShep romances :) is the way they ultimately are *not* what I'd expect them to be given a brief plot summary, and each one uses versions of WNG to challenge and subvert the trope in interesting ways.

Always Should Be as inverted WNG )

You're Pretty Good Looking and the vicissitudes of bodies )

Straight as a Circle as gay romance )

we've come a long way, baby )

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